Ministers Team Meet Minorities, Talks With Majority Community Today

Ministers Team Meet Minorities, Talks With Majority Community Today

17 August 2013
The Daily Excelsior


Jammu: On ninth day of curfew in Kishtwar town and outskirts, authorities today, for the first time, gave relaxation in curfew for one and a half hours separately in two parts of the town even as a high level delegation headed by Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand and comprising three other Ministers reached Kishtwar town tonight and held discussions with representatives of minorities for over three hours and would meet the delegation of majority community tomorrow morning to resolve the situation arising out of massive vandalism resorted to by the miscreants of majority community on the occasion of Eid festival on August 9. The minorities agreed to the meeting with the Ministers only after the latter agreed that there would be no representative of the administration in the meeting, which was held in the complex of the Deputy Commissioner at 8 pm. Besides Tara Chand, the delegation of Ministers comprised Rural Development Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar, CAPD and Transport Minister Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan and PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Minister Sham Lal Sharma. The Ministers were scheduled to meet representatives of the majority community at 10 pm tonight but the meeting with minorities lasted three hours and ended at 11 pm. The Ministers rescheduled their meeting with the majority community at 10 am tomorrow after which they would try to hold a joint meeting between the two communities to strike a patch-up. The minorities in their meeting with the Ministers demanded CBI inquiry into the arson and loot of their property, Rs 25 lakh compensation for every shop and other business establishments burnt, looted and damaged by the miscreants of majority community, Rs 25 lakh relief and job for the family of a youth Arvind Kumar Bhagat, gunned down by the miscreants, inquiry into Eid procession taking Kuleed Mohalla route for the first time from Hullar, transfer of DIG Doda-Ramban range Ashkoor Wani and DySP Headquarters Farooq Qaiser and incorporating Kishtwar MLA Sajjad Ahmad Kitchlooís name in the FIR registered for rioting They told the Ministers that the police remained a mute spectator to entire barbarism of the majority community miscreants, who indulged in brazen loot and burning of their property. They charged that police didnít act against the vandalism on the directions of Mr Kitchloo, who had to resign as Minister of State for Home in the aftermath of Kishtwar violence. They alleged that police instead of performing their professional duty took directions from the former MoS Home and allowed burning and looting of the property of minorities. The minorities pointed out to the Ministers that the demand for disbanding of the VDCs by some vested interests and mischievous persons was being made at the behest of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) terrorists and their sympathizers. They didnít rule out the hand of Pakistan behind the demand for disbanding the VDCs as only the militants would benefit out of such a decision. In his reply, Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, reacting to the demand for CBI inquiry, said the Government has already ordered a judicial probe. He reportedly said the Government was ready for appointing the Judge for judicial inquiry as per the choice of minorities. On compensation, Tara Chand said the Government has already released Rs 5 lakh relief in favour of Arvindís family. He declared that the Government would also provide job to the family of deceased. On Rs 25 lakh compensation to riot victims, whose property was burnt or damaged, the Deputy Chief Minister said the relief would be paid as per the agreement reached between the Government and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry under which a Committee would make assessment of damage in one month and relief would be distributed in another one month. He said he would convey the demand for minorities for transfer of the DIG and the DySP to the Chief Minister. Earlier, due to bad weather above Patnitop, the helicopter carrying Ministers to Kishtwar landed back at Sher-I-Kashmir Police Academy (SKPA) Udhampur this afternoon from where the Ministers proceeded to disturbed town by road and reached there at 6.45 pm. The minorities agreed to meet the Ministers only with the condition that no official of civil or police administration would be present in the meeting. The Ministers agreed to the condition paving the way for the meeting. The delegation of minorities comprised representatives of all political parties, social and religious organisations and numbered 60. Meanwhile, after eight days of consecutive curfew, authorities today relaxed curfew from 1 pm to 2.30 pm from Kishtwar police station to Malipeth area and from 3.30 pm to 5 pm in rest of curfew bound areas of Kishtwar town and outskirts. The relaxation period passed off peacefully. Army, CRPF and police remained deployed in strength during relaxation period to ensure that no untoward incident takes place. Sources said the minorities came out to see huge devastation caused to their shops and other property by the miscreants of majority community. Some people came out of their houses after eight days in search of essential commodities but they were not available. Milk, ration, vegetables and other such items were not available in the town due to eight days of continued curfew. The people could get only cereals. Most of the shops selling essential items had been burnt by the miscreants. Meanwhile, the transfer of Tehsildar Kishtwar Inderjeet Parihar and Tehsildar Paddar Manoj Kumar Bhagat has further created resentment among the minorities. The two officials were allegedly transferred for not being able to persuade the minorities to bring them to the negotiating table.