BJP protests Kichloo’s re-induction

Jammu, Dec 21: The BJP Saturday protested Jammu and Kashmir chief minister’s decision to re-induct Sajjad Ahmad Kichloo into the state cabinet after he was given a clean chit by a commission that probed violence in Kishtwar.

Jitendra Singh, chief spokesman and member of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national executive, told IANS: “It was a conspiracy of the state government.”

“The moment the interim report of the (Justice Retd R.C.) Gandhi commission was submitted to the government, the report was leaked and even cards sent out for Kichloo’s swearing in at the Raj Bhavan in Jammu today (Saturday),” he said.

Governor N.N. Vohra is scheduled to administer oath of office and secrecy to Kichloo at the Raj Bhavan here Saturday.

Sajjad Kichloo, a National Conference legislator from Kishtwar assembly constituency, had resigned as the minister of state for home from the state cabinet in August this year.

Kichloo had said he resigned to ensure that the probe by the commission into Kishtwar violence did not get influenced.

Gandhi commission has exonerated Kichloo and said that he was a victim of the violence in Kishtwar, instead of being an accused.

The commission had held the district administration, including the then deputy inspector general of police (DIG), the superintendent of police and others in the district administration responsible for their failure to stop the violence in the town that left three people dead and over 150 shops and houses gutted by rioters.

Jitendra Singh said: “We had expected that the Gandhi commission would end the bitterness between the two communities in Kishtwar following the Aug 9 riots there. The commission has instead increased distances between the two communities through its interim report aimed to please the Congress and the National Conference”.

The BJP spokesman said the party Saturday held protests outside Justice (Retired) R.C. Gandhi’s residence in Rehari area of the Jammu city.

Hari Om, another senior BJP activist, said: “What was the necessity of acting in such a haste on the interim report of the commission? Why couldn’t the state government wait for the final report?

“Why was the interim report selectively leaked by the state government? It is a drama the state government enacted with the assistance of the Gandhi commission that was given three extensions to ensure that its interim report is tailor made to suit the political interests of the ruling coalition.

“We will protest the report and also its likely fallout on communal amity.”

He said that “the commission has in its interim report recommended that the village defence committee with Hindu members should either be disbanded or similar committee be formed with Muslim members”.

“What sort of logic is this? Is now security also to be determined on communal lines?”

IANS