Category Archives: Political Leadership

Local issue – Golf or Grazing? Or just Politics?

Prepare Pahalgam to lure tourist by way of a good Golf Course, or provide the same land so that cattle and horses can use it for grazing? This dilemma is rocking Pahalgam. Is it a really a valid local issue, or really just part of local politics? See the news coverage below, and contribute your opinion.

(Agencies) Srinagar, Jul 12  Hundreds of villagers todayprotested against the state government demanding removal of the fencing around under-construction golf course in Pahalgam tourist resort in south Kashmir.

Nearly 250 villagers assembled at the local bus stand and raised slogans against the government demanding the removal of the fencing as they use the land around the golf course for grazing their animals, official sources said.  Police tried to persuade them to disperse but when they refused, they resorted to lathi-charge and lobbed tear gas shells, the sources said.  Later the local shopkeepers also closed the market against the alleged highhandedness of police in dealing with the protesters, the sources said.    Meanwhile, a government spokesman denied the charges and claimed that the police saved PDP legislator Mohammad Rafi Mir from a furious mob which attacked his hotel in Pahalgam raising slogans against the party.

Locals turn violent over shrinking grazing lands in Pahalgam

From etalaat (Abid Gani Wani):

Pahalgam July 12: Massive protests erupted in the world famous health resort of Pahalgam in the south Kashmir’s Islamabad district on Sunday where the protestors were demanding the return of land where the government has constructed golf course three years back.

The protestors turned violent and broke windscreens of vehicles and staged a sit in near the hospital. The angry residents pelted stones on the caravan of the local MLA Mohammad Rafi Mir and also broke the window panes of Volga hotel owned by the MLA.

Local residents accused that the government has increased their worries by turning grazing land into golf course. Mohammad Amin, one of the residents told this newspaper that there is no space available for their cattle and horses to graze.

“We do not need golf course but a grazing field for our cattle and horses who are dying due to lack of fodder. The golf course will not feed the empty belly of our cattle and horses,” said Amin.

Another resident Gulzar said that most of the locals earn their livelihood by horse riding and put tjhem into the grazing lands to graze during nights.

“Now there is no place in the Pahalgam where we can put our cattle for grassing. We are passing through tough times as we have no alternative other than sell our cattle and horses due to non availability of fodder,” he said.

Six persons including five lady constables were injured when the protestors turned violent. The protestors stop the movement of vehicles and forced the shopkeepers to down their shutters.

Meanwhile police succeeded in protecting PDP MLA, Rafi Mir, when furious mob attacked his hotel and were raising slogans against him and his party.

According to Police, PSO of Mir fired from his official weapon when he realized that violent mob was advancing towards them. The mob ransacked and pelted stones on the hotel of Mir at Pahalgam.

DIG and Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag reached to Pahalgam to bring situation under control and ensure no harm was allowed to be inflicted by the protestors on Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Mir. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was later safely rushed back from Pahalgam.

An enquiry into the circumstances which led to firing by PSO on orders of PDP MLA while controlling the mob has been ordered.

Station house officer Pahalgam talking to this news paper said that the situation has been brought under control and traffic has restored.

Pahalgam incident, a concoction to divert attention: PDP

Etalaat News Service

Srinagar, July 12: Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that government is using its men and machinery for diverting attention from the unrest against the six months old government and was resorting to baseless stories against its political rivals.

Describing the government information department’s handout on the incident in Pahalgam as a fragment of imagination, a PDP spokesman said that that the tale about the protest being against Mufti Muhammad Sayeed was concocted only to offset the grim reality of Abdullah household having being stoned for the first time in history today.

The spokesman, in a statement issued here today, said that it was ironic that only yesterday the National Conference led government had accused PDP of engineering the trouble on the streets of Kashmir and today when some women of Pahalgam demonstrated against the government on some land compensation issue the spin doctors of beleaguered government have now tried to present it as an anti-PDP demonstration.

Giving the facts of the incident at Pahalgam, the spokesman said that some people, mostly women, of Pahalgam village were demonstrating against insufficient compensation paid to them for the land which the government had acquired some times back.

Instead of listening to them the police as usual resorted to brute force including firing in air to disperse the protestors. The protest demonstration was held in the market in Pahalgam market where PDP MLA Mr Rafi Mir owns a property, the spokesman said adding, the MLA had contacted IGP and asked him to hold his men back from using force against the protestors but the IGP Kashmir advised him to talk to SSP Anantnag on the issue. The SSP in-turn told the MLA that he would visit the spot which he never did, the statement said.

“Mufti Muhammad Sayeed at that time was more then a kilometer away from the spot with his family and there was no question of the demonstrators having raised slogans against PDP unless NC and police combined wanted them to do so”, he said.

The spokesman said that infect earlier in the day the NC workers had pelted stones on the house of NC patron Dr Farooq Abdullah on the highly guarded Gupkar Road. The incident, he said, is first of its kind in the eighty year old history of National conference and Abdullah household. It is obvious that the government and its political tools, police and information department, should have tried to find a way to divert attention of the people from this important happening.

The Pahalgam incident, he said, apparently came in handy and was twisted to suit the occasion. He suggested the government that instead of resorting to such tactics, it should focus on the mitigating the sufferings of the people

Update on polls in Pahalgam constituency

Here is a comprehensive piece on current political situation in Pahalgam, vis-a-vis the upcoming Assembly Polls. Its by Mr. Khalid Gul and published in Greater Kashmir.

Pahalgam, Nov 19: In Pahalgam an interesting contest is in the offing. Two prominent former National Conference leaders, Muhammad Rafi Mir and Irfan Ahmad Bhat are in the fray against a new face, Altaf Kaloo, nominated by the party this time.
Pahalgam sent Mehbooba Mufti the president of People’s Democratic Party and her father Mufti Muhammad Sayed to the state legislative assembly in 2002 assembly elections and 2004 bye-elections. Mufti realized his dream of a win in the Valley after 22 years from this constituency. In both the elections Muhammad Rafi Mir of National Conference lost narrowly to the father-daughter duo, even though he was a favorite. This time he is fighting as the candidate of PDP, which has groomed this constituency for the past nearly a decade. 
Polling would be held here in the 6th phase, and it would witness a triangular contest between PDP, National Conference (NC), and Congress.
Muhammad Rafi Mir was denied a mandate and he quickly switched over to PDP, giving up decades of association with NC. He is said to have a good voter base. A new face, Altaf Kaloo known to the people here more as a businessman than a politician, will contest as the NC candidate. Irfan Ahmad Bhat, son of former Congress leader Ghulam.Nabi Bhat, who parted ways with the National- Conference after he was denied a mandate has been approved by the Screening Committee of the Congress for candidature from Pahalgam, according to Congress sources.
Muhammad Rafi Mir has an edge over his rivals for two reasons. First, he has a support base in the two most populous villages of the constituency- Sallar and Wullarhama. Second, the differences within the ranks of NC workers caused over the mandate to candidates would help Mir.
A political analyst attributed the defeat of Mir in 2002 elections to his contesting elections on ticket of the party which the people of the constituency always accused of ignoring the area.
Altaf has a support base in upper belts of Aishmuqam and Seer Hamdan, but political analysts here believe the people of these areas are not likely to cast votes, as they participated in the massive pro-independence rallies. 
Irfan might find supporters in Kullar and Liver villages–as populous as Sallar and Wullarhama—and also in the Gujjar community.
Mir and Irfan deserted National Conference, accusing the party leadership of being corrupt and ignoring the people of their constituency.
Though the constituency according to the people saw overall development in all the basic sectors but they blame the PDP regime for disturbing the ecosystem of the world famous tourist resort of Pahalgam.
“During the PDPs rule many of the constructions came up in the green belt here and only the influential people with the patronage of the government were benefited,” said the Abdul Razak of Pahalgam.
They also accused the PDP regime of not doing enough to stop the wanton loot of forests in the belt.
The constituency has 70,032 voters with 35,686 male and 32,973 females. In 1996 the poll percentage was 16 percent, and in 2002 it was 26.