|Monday, April 3, 2000,
Sikhs feel cheated
Bid to assault Mufti
Amendment Bill on marriage Act
Pak Talibanising army: Pilot
Kashmiri Sikhs feel cheated
SRINAGAR, April 2 The massive solidarity expressed with the bereaved families of the victims of March 20 carnage at Chatti Singhpora village by the nation in general and the Sikh community in particular notwithstanding, the Kashmiri Sikhs numbering less than a lakh are a saddened lot.
"We feel cheated", they say while referring to one of the bigger massacres to have taken place in the valley during the past decade. They maintain that they always believed in "peaceful co-existence with their Muslim and Hindu brethren in the valley."
Various organisations of Kashmiri Sikhs, including the Sikh Minority Welfare Forum, Joint Action Committee of the Sikhs of Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir Sikh Sangat Board and few others distributed printed pamphlets and brochures among those who attended the bhog ceremony of the "Martyrs of Chatti Singhpora".
The villagers said, "You can judge our plight from the fact that Chatti Singhpora, our biggest village, is without a telephone connection. There is a primary health centre at the village but only a peon is posted here. The Medical Assistant posted here is a rare visitor".
"Same is the story of all 135 villages where Sikhs live. Majority of us belong to middle and lower middle class families. No one from our villages has risen to be a Class I officer. We are being discriminated against at the time of recruitment in government departments. This is why a majority of us either have small businesses or are in transport business," they say.
In an eight-page pamphlet distributed at Chatti Singhpora on Friday the Sikh Minority Welfare Forum said "the onslaught of militancy has given rise to religious fundamentalism due to which anti-social elements resorted to inhuman and undignified acts to violate the communal harmony in the state which proved dangerous for the delicate social fabric of the minority community.
"Such elements did not spare even the young women of the community, who had to go out for earning their livelihood in far off places. Many incidents of harassment, including the cases of kidnapping of young women and girls of the community had been reported but no action had been taken till date by the authorities concerned. This has given a serious setback to the dignity and honour of the community," the pamphlet said.
It further said "the carnage of March 20 has further shattered the confidence of the community in the government.
Other grudges that the community has against the government, include poor or no representation in government jobs.
"For a class IV job in government, the asking rate is between Rs 70,000 and Rs 1 lakh. From where do we get this money," queried one of the residents of Chatti Singhpora citing example of his relative who paid Rs 70,000 four months ago and was still awaiting appointment of his matriculate son as a class IV employee.
The village in itself is a picture of apathy as none of the 300-odd houses there has a domestic water supply connection. Power supply is erratic and uncertain. Because of the problem of militancy, there have been no panchayat elections in the state for more than a decade now. The last elected "Nambardar" of the village, Naseeb Singh, was among 35 killed on March 20.
The Sikh Society of Chatti Singhpora has set up an English Public School on the premises of Gurdwara Singh Sabha. The school, which has 215 students has a Muslim Principal. In fact seven of the 11 teachers of the school, says Chairman of its Managing Committee, Giani Rajinder Singh, are from the majority community.
Of the remaining four Sikh teachers, one, Sartaj Singh, was also among those killed. Mr Gurbaksh Singh, husband of Mrs Narinder Kaur, also a teacher at the school, was also among those killed by the militants.
Though the Sikhs in the
valley admit that March 20 killings were the handiwork of
Kashmiri militant organisations, they do not want to say
so. However, they maintain that the Indian security
forces had nothing to do with the tragedy.
Bid to assault Mufti
SRINAGAR, April 2 (PTI) An abortive attempt to assault former union minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was made today shortly after he had addressed a convention of his Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (JKPDP) at Handwara in north Kashmir, official sources said.
Three youths rushed to the dais and tried to assault Mr Mufti soon after his opening remarks at the day-long convention but were overpowered by PDP activists and handed over to the police.
The police resorted to a mild lathicharge to rescue the three from the activists who pounced at the youths when they tried to assault Mr Mufti.
The trio had initially mingled with the crowd and patiently heard Mr Mufti and senior PDP leader Ghulam Nabi Mir Lasjans address.
But as soon as another party leader Tariq Hamid Karra began his speech, they rushed to the dais and tried to assault Mr Mufti, eye witnesses said.
Earlier, Mr Mufti opened the convention and targeted the ruling National Conference (NC) for its alleged failure to mitigate the problems of the people, especially those living in far-flung areas.
Pak Talibanising army: Pilot
SRINAGAR, April 2 (PTI) Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Rajesh Pilot has accused Pakistan of "Talibanising" its army by pursuing doctrines of hatred and bigotry against India propagated by Muslim militant groups.
After the military takeover, the Pakistan army is increasingly getting "Talibanised" as it is not only patronising, encouraging and abetting the so called "jehadi groups" but indulging in "army terrorism" in the name of jehad (holy war), he said in an interview to PTI here.
Quoting a pamphlet ostensibly brought out by the Pakistan army captioned "jehad (holy war) against India", Mr Pilot said under the changing scenario in the Pakistan army "terrorism is being shown as jehad."
The pamphlet says "one who kills a kafir (one who does not believe in Islam) will never go to hell and always remain prosperous, wealthy and successful."
He attributed the escalation in militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, including "fidayeen" (suicide squad) attacks on army camps to conversion of Pakistans army into "religious army."
Mr Pilot, who attended the bhog ceremony yesterday in Chatti Singhpora of 35 Sikhs killed by militants recently charged the Centre with not dealing with the situation in Kashmir seriously. "The government is acting only after incidents take place. It is not taking any initiative to save the situation."
He criticised Union Home Minister L.K. Advani for his statement that the situation in the state was improving and said "the fact remains that the situation is deteriorating."
Stating that May and June were going to be worse in Kashmir when militants were likely to step up infiltration from across the border, Mr Pilot cautioned that if corrective measures were not taken the situation in the state could further deteriorate.
The Congress leader, who met people of Anantnag during his visit to Chatti Singhpora, said it appeared that the alienation of the people of Kashmir was on the rise as rules and instructions framed to bring transparency to their satisfaction were not being followed by the state government and the security forces.
He said, for example, for anybody arrested or taken into custody on suspicion of involvement in militancy, authorities were supposed to inform his next of kin within 24 hours, but the incident at Brariangnan in Anantnag was a clear violation of these instructions.
Five persons of the village went missing on March 24 and it is alleged that the security forces killed them in a "fake" encounter at Panchalthan and their bodies were not handed over to their relatives despite repeated requests.
Amendment Bill on marriage Act moved
JAMMU, April 2 (UNI) Jammu and Kashmir Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.L. Hando has introduced three amendment Bills, including the Hindu Marriage Act, in the Legislative Assembly.
Introducing the J and K Hindu Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2000, in the Legislative Assembly Yesterday, he said Section 5 of the Act 1980, prescribes the conditions for a valid marriage between any two Hindus. The said Section inter alia also provides that marriage may be solemnised between any two Hindus if neither party has been subject to recurrent attacks of insanity or epilepsy.
Mr Handoo said eminent medical experts and other persons have time to time represented for omission of references to epilepsy on the ground that medical experts have found that "epilepsy" is controllable in a majority of cases and patients can lead a normal life and therefore, equating "epilepsy" to "insanity" would do great injustice to patients suffering from "epilepsy" in matrimonial life.
The Law Minister told the House that the provision of the state law needs to be amended so as to delete the word "epilepsy" from the Section 5 of the said J and K Hindu Marriage Act 1980.
Mr Handoo also introduced the Constitution of J&K (30th Amendment) Bill, 2000, seeking extension of the period for the reservation of the seats for Scheduled Castes.
Mr Handoo said, Section 49 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir provides for the reservation of seats in the Legislative Assembly for the Scheduled Castes (SC). This Section also lays down that the provisions of Constitution relating to the said reservation shall cease to have effect on the expiry of a period of 43 years from the commencement of the Constitution.
The Bill seeks, the minister said, to amend Sub-Section (2) of Section 49 of the J&K Constitution with a view to extending the period for the reservation of the seats by a further period of 10 years.
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