Majid Kapra

JK Bank, civilian killings: NC hits streets

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‘Shocked’ Rather demands role back of JK Bank decision

Srinagar, Nov 26: National Conference (NC) on Monday hit streets to protest unabated civilian killings in Kashmir and Governor’s recent decision of converting Jammu and Kashmir Bank into Public Sector Undertaking.

The State Administrative Council (SAC) under the chairmanship of Governor Satya Pal Malik approved last Thursday the proposal for treating the Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited as a PSU.

According to officials, the SAC approved that the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2009 shall be applicable to the bank like other PSUs. Besides, the bank shall follow CVC guidelines.

Holding banners and placards which read “stop civilian killing, converting JK Bank into PSU unacceptable” hundreds of slogan shouting NC leaders and activists this afternoon took out a protest march from party headquarters against killings and what they termed “eroding the financial autonomy of JK Bank.”

Led by the party general secretary and MLA Khanyar, Ali Mohammad Sagar, the NC activists also held a ‘dharna’ (sit-in) outside Jammu and Kashmir Bank’s Corporate headquarters here demanding immediate rollback of the SAC decision.

Protesters while taking a dig at the Governor’s administration for “eroding the financial autonomy of J&K Bank by converting it into PSU” alleged that such moves are basically aimed at weakening the special status of the state.

They said NC being the oldest regional party of Jammu and Kashmir will not allow anyone to fiddle with the special status of the state and will continue its fight against communal forces hell-bent on disturbing peaceful atmosphere here.

“The aim of holding this protest march is to convey message to Governor Staya Pal Malik and his council of administrators that the decision of converting J&K Bank into PSU is arbitrary which must be rollback,” said Sagar.

He also lashed out at the Governor administration for allegedly failing to protect people of Kashmir who he said are being killed with impunity.

Sagar said “a war has been waged against the unarmed Kashmiris”.

Sagar claimed that an 18-months-old girl, who was hit with pellets in her eyes, is the latest example of brutality meted out to the people of Kashmir.

“What was her fault? Why was she targeted? Isn’t this inhuman and barbaric to hit a suckling baby with pellets? Civilian killings have become the order of the day in Kashmir with administration watching everything as a mute spectator,” he added.

“We too are humans and should be treated like ones. The killing of innocents in Kashmir is further alienating Kashmiris,” he said, asking the government to stop such killings.

Terming Governor Satya Pal Malik’s decision of converting J&K Bank into Public Sector Undertaking as a major blow to Article 35-A, Sagar said NC core committee will deliberate the issue on Tuesday.

“First, they attacked our financial autonomy through GST regime and now by turning J&K Bank into a PSU. The people of Kashmir would not tolerate any such attack on our autonomy,” Sagar said.

Demanding immediate rollback of what he termed was an “arbitrary decision”, he said Governor has to reconsider his decision for the larger interests of the state.

Others who participated in the rally including, NC additional general secretary Dr. Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani, MLA Habba Kadal Shameema Firdous, Irfan Ahmad Shah and others.

Meanwhile, expressing shock at Governor administration’s decision of turning J&K Bank into a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU), former finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather Monday said he fails to analyse the purpose and reason underlying such a decision.

Right from its inception since 1938, the J&K Bank has been a strong partner in the economic and social development of the state. Besides, its role in employment generation, direct as well as indirect, has been quite commendable, Rather said in a statement here.

He said the bank has been rendering excellent services – “a fact reckoned and recognised by one and all in the banking industry till date”.

Every government and political dispensation in the state has been whole-heartedly supporting the bank, its businesses model and the management for improved efficiency, he said, adding that the outcome of such policies has been translated on the ground for everybody to see.

“Comprehensive and competitive performance of the J&K Bank vis-a-vis other commercial banks and financial institutions would indicate the overall role and scope of J&K Bank in the state economy. A reference to SLBC data for last four to five decades corroborates and reveals the same. It may be seen that J&K Bank has contributed 65 percent to overall credit growth as against 35 percent put in by other 50 banks and financial institutions operative in the state,” Rather pointed out.

J&K Bank has undoubtedly been a commercial resort for all sections of the population in the state, he said and added that it has notably done exemplary hand-holding of the poor artisans and farmers.

“It has spread the network of its branches in other parts of the country and its performance there also has been appreciated by all the concerned,” Rather said.

“But unfortunately while deciding to reduce its stature to that of a PSU, all these services and the high role of the bank have been ignored,” he said, adding the decision “will facilitate undue interference in the day-to-day working of the bank which will prove disastrous for this premier institution, as evidenced by the other PSUs of the state.”

He urged the Governor to appreciate all these facts and revoke the decision in order to ensure that the J&K Bank continues to function for the betterment of the state smoothly.

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