Wednesday, Sep 10, 2003
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Jammu & Kashmir
By Luv Puri
Late last night, the Jammu and Kashmir Government took over the Hazratbal and Charar-e-Sharief shrines as well as the properties of the trust, alleging financial mismanagement.
An ad hoc governing council will look after them and the Chief Minister will be its ex-officio chairman. The State Government has this sought to end the "monopoly" of the Abdullah family on the MAT.
A number of important shrines and buildings in the Kashmir valley are managed by the Muslim Aquaf Trust, whose life-president was Dr. Farooq Abdullah.
The famous Hazratbal, which symbolises Kashmir's ethos and culture, also comes under the MAT's control.
Talking to The Hindu today, the National Conference president, Omar Abdullah, alleged that, "it was clear vendetta against the National Conference and the Mufti Government had shown its true colours. The man who remained a bitter critic of my grandfather was out to settle personnel scores."
Interestingly, Mr. Abdullah dropped enough hints about "the involvement of a section of Central Government" in the decision. "The Mufti Government decision comes at a time when my father Farooq Abdullah announced the formation of an Islamic university in Kashmir. I know there was opposition to this idea in Central Government circles," he said.
He described the decision as a "diversionary tactic" of the Mufti Government. "It is a ploy to divert people's attention from issues. The human right's record of the State Government had shown no improvement and militancy-related activities were increasing in the State and exposed the claims of normality by the Government," he said.
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