'Chattisinghpora, Mehjoor Nagar Massacres A Conspiracy'
11 March 2003
The Times of India
Jammu: Minister for Finance, Planning, Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Muzaffar Hussain Beig has said the Gurdawara Act presently operational in the State would be reviewed to encompass the amendments proposed by the Sikh community. Speaking at the 5th annual conference of the Kashmir Sikh Sangat held here today, the Minister asked the community to suggest a new model for the Gurdawara Act which can be implemented in the State. For this, he said the Sikh community should constitute a committee to suggest appropriate amendments in the present act. 'Let you decide whether you want to have Delhi model or Punjab model for the Act so that the Government can proceed ahead accordingly,' he told the gathering. Beig said due recognition would be given to Punjabi language and steps are being taken to promote it on the pattern of Kashmiri and Dogri language. He said the language defines the identity of a community and Punjabi is the identity of Sikhs. 'To safeguard the identity of the community measures need to be taken to promote Punjabi language,' he said adding that every community has the right to safeguard and promote its linguistic identity. Beig assured regularization of the next of kin of the Chattisinghpora massacre, who have been appointed on compassionate grounds on adhoc basis. He said appointment of these ill-fated persons on adhoc basis is a cruel joke with them and the government would go out of way in ensuring their regularization. The Chattisinghpora and Mehjoor Nagar carnages, the Minister said were part of a deep-rooted conspiracy to push the Sikh community out of the valley. 'However, this brave community instead of felling prey to the ill designs of the vested interests, stayed put in the valley giving a befitting reply to the conspirators,' he said adding that five innocent persons were done to death labeling them as terrorists responsible for the Chattisinghpora carnage. 'Even efforts were made to fudge with the DNA samples after the government ordered an enquiry into the matter,' he maintained. He expressed surprise that despite repeated demands by the Sikh community no enquiry was ordered into these massacres. Beig said he would take up with the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed the matter regarding conducting a thorough probe into such organized killings. The motive of the coalition government, the Minister said is to do justice with all the regions and people from all the religions 'and that is what exactly healing touch means'. He said the policy of healing touch is not going soft on militants as has been projected by some political parties who launched a misinformation campaign against the present government to draw political mileage. 'Healing touch never means that we would surrender before the killers who have created mayhem in the State, but for the people who have suffered injustices and are clamoring for justice,' he said and added that empowering of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, speedy disposal of SRO-43 cases, delivery of old age and other assistance at the doorstep of the needy, disbanding of SOG, providing good governance to eliminate supporting causes of militancy, do away with nepotism in recruitments and efforts towards safe return of Kashmiri Pandits back to their homeland are in fact the some of the real initiatives taken by the present government as a part of its healing touch policy. Beig said Jammu and Kashmir presents a peculiar and difficult situation where lot of mistrust and misunderstandings between various regions and communities have grown enormously due to the wrong policies of previous governments. 'Our aim is to remove these misgivings and build new bridges of friendship and amity so that every citizen can proudly say this is our State and we will put in our sweat and blood for its development,' he said adding that time would soon come when the barriers of hatred would give way to bonds of friendship. He said with the sincere efforts of the present government peace and normalcy would return to the valley and it would again become a paradise on earth with people from all religions living in amity and brotherhood. 'Even if our enemy tries its best to keep us away from each other, but sooner or later the evil will have to bow before the good as no power on earth can break the strong emotional bonds of love and affection between our people,' he asserted. Beig said although the Government has the responsibility to treat all its citizens equally but it should take special care of the minorities who always feel psychologically suppressed by the majority community. 'This may not be true but the minorities have always a syndrome that they are being discriminated,' he said and assured the Sikh community that they would get their due in the present dispensation. Responding to the demands put forth by the Sikh community, the Minister said that representation in state cabinet to Sikhs should not be just for showcasing, it should have a purpose. He said even if the community has no representation in the cabinet at present they would never feel neglected. Regarding compensation of land owned by Sikhs and presently occupied by the security forces, Mr Baig said a survey would be conducted to identify all such properties which are in the possession of the security forces to speed up payment of compensation. The Minister on this occasion presented trophies to the members of the Sikh community who have excelled in their respective fields. Office bearers of the Kashmir Sikha Sangat and senior members of the community also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the demands of the community. Sardar Trilok Singh Bajwa, MP, Dr Ghulam Nabi Lone, MLA and PDP leaders, Murtaza Khan and Abdul Haq were also present.