Valley Rulers At Odds On Padma2 February 2010
The Telegraph (Kolkata)
Srinagar: The split is wide open in the first family of Kashmir’s politics over the Padma Shri to dreaded counter-insurgent Ghulam Mohammad Mir alias Momma Kana. Chief minister Omar Abdullah today washed his hands of the controversial recommendation, but his father and Union minister Farooq Abdullah unflinchingly declared he had proposed Mir’s name. Distancing himself from the move, Omar said: “I enquired from senior officers. No recommendation from the state had gone for awarding (the) Padma to this person. I am not aware of any recommendation. Someone might have recommended on a personal level,” Omar said today after an uproar by Opposition PDP. “We had made some recommendations, including that for Rukshana (who got Kirti Chakra for killing a Lashkar militant). But this (the award for Mir) is not our recommendation,” Omar added. Farooq, however, confirmed that he had recommended Mir’s name. “What is wrong with it? I recommended his name and Omar Sahib (son Omar) has nothing to do with it,” he said. The Union minister for new and renewable energy said Mir’s “good work” had prompted him to make the recommendation. “I think he deserves it and people who suffer need to be recognised.” Mir was conferred the award for public service. Police sources said he still faced an FIR for allegedly attempting to murder a civilian. He has been blamed by many in the past for committing atrocities. Counter-insurgents- gunmen who fight militants but are not officially paid by the government - are often blamed for unleashing atrocities on people, the reason no political party likes to see its name linked to them. However, Mir, who hails from central Kashmir’s Magam town and is described as the Valley’s first counter-insurgent, defended the move to award him and said his name was being unnecessarily dragged into controversy. “I have helped in arresting or eliminating 5,000 militants. I fought against them when nobody was coming forward and I have risked my life for the country,” he said today. Without mentioning the allegations of atrocities, Mir apologised to all those he may have wronged.