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JAMMU:  The Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) is a regional political party of India. It is one of the prominent political parties in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The founder of the JKNPP is Prof. Bhim Singh, who was initially a member of the Congress and represented the party as an MLA in the J&K State Legislative Assembly. However due to political differences between the state Congress and Singh, over protecting the economic, social and political interests of the people of the state. Singh resigned from the Congress and formed his own party.

 

In March 1982, a historic meeting was held in the Jammu Gulab Bhawan, being chaired by Bhim Singh and attended by some of the prominent individuals such as distinguished scholar Ghulam Nabi Goni, Faqir Nath, Mool Raj, Janak Singh, Javed Quadri, Jay Mala, Sudarshan Sambyal, Father Aziz William and many others. The meeting unanimously supported Bhim Singh's call to establish a strong opposition to the Sheikh Abdullah-led Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC), and form a party with a differenceThe party was officially formed on 23rd March 1982. The 23rd March was chosen as it was an auspicious day of martyrdom of the revolutionary freedom fighters Rajguru, Sukhdev and Bhagat Singh. The party upheld a secular-nationalist-democratic manifesto, such that it could represent the political identities of the three regions of the state, namely, Ladakh, Jammu Pradesh and Kashmir.

 

The name of the party is significant. It was originally registered as the Jammu and Kashmir Panthers Party. Its name was changed to the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party in 1996, as approved by the Election Commission of India. Bhim Singh believes that the inclusion of the name of an animal 'panther' was significant, as the JKNPP was formed to combat the misdoings of one animal, Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah of the JKNC by another animal, the panthers.

 

Presently, the JKNPP is the main opposition to the ruling JKNC, having had a remarkable electoral performance in the 2009 state elections. The present President of the JKNPP is Balwant Singh Mankotia.

 

Election Symbol and its significance

 

The Election Symbol of the JKNPP, as approved by the Election Commission of India, is the "Bicycle". This symbol is significant as it represents the true spirit of the party. The JKNPP has its political lineage from the revolutionary ideals of Baba Saheb Ambedkar's ideology of standing up for the rights and privileges of the marginalized and oppressed sections of the society. His movement, called the Dalit Panthers, was directed to fight against fascist, anarchist, communal and authoritarian tendencies prevailing in the country at that time. In the same spirit, the JKNPP is resolved to unite in protest for the maintenance of peace and security, as well as prosperity for the three regions of the state of J&K. The JKNPP proved its mettle when, led by Bhim Singh, it fiercely revolted against the Resettlement Act which the JKNC wanted to implement in the state. The Election Symbol of the JKNPP is thus significant, as it symbolizes the march of the JKNPP, towards overall progress and development of the various communities of the state. Like a bicycle which is used as a vehicle to reach a destination, the JKNPP ensures that reaches its destination of achieving justice through rebellion. More importantly, the JKNPP has as its ultimate objective, the establishment of "a real democracy through ultimate revolution".

 

Leaders of JKNPP

 

The leaders of the JKNPP, who are also the national executives of the party, are listed below:

 

Prof. Bhim Singh, Founder and Chief Patron of JKNPP

 

He is a two-time MLA in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly. He is a Human Rights activist and lawyer by profession, practising in the Supreme Court of India. Bhim Singh has remained a two-time member of the National Integration Council, nominated by Prime Minister Narasimha Rao in 1991 and by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in 2008, respectively. He remained the Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party from its inception till 1996, though he continued till 2012. Currently, he is the Chief Patron of the JKNPP.

 

Harsh Dev Singh, Chairman of JKNPP

 

A lawyer by profession and was an Education Minister in the Congress-PDP government in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, headed by the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. He was adjusted as best legislator in the history of J&K legislature (1996-2002).   He was a three-time MLA in the J&K Legislative Assembly, represented the Ramnagar constituency.

 

Balwant Singh Mankotia, President of JKNPP (two times MLA from Udhampur)

 

He was a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, representing the Udhampur constituency. Although he took over as President of the JKNPP in 2010, he was elected in 2013 by a majority of the members of the party.

 

 The Office bearers of J&K National Panthers Party

 

As on 23rd March, 2015

 

Chief Patron

 

Prof. Bhim Singh, the Founder of JKNPP.

 

Chairman, Shri Harsh Dev Singh, Vice Chairman, Shri B.B.Kotwal,Advocate, President, Shri Balwant Singh Mankotia.

 

Vice Presidents, Shri Navin Bakshi, Mohd. Iqbal Chowdhary, Shri P.K. Ganjoo, Shri Sudarshan Singh Jamwal & Masood Andrabi

 

 

General Secretaries,  Ms. Anita Thakur, Shri Yashpal Kundal (two times MLA from Samba) Shri H.C. Jalmeria, Adv., Shri G.M. Shan, Adv., Shri Shanti Swaroop Basotra & Shri Manjoor Naik.

 

State Secretaries, Shri Basharat Ali, Shri Sukhdev Singh, Shri R.S. Manjoo, Mehboob Illahi, Shri Jagdev Singh, Shri Balwan Singh, Shri Maqbool Malik, Shri Kuldip Sharma.

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SRINAGAR:  As Photo Division of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has declared the results of Fourth National Photography Awards 2013, a young woman from the Kashmir Valley, Tabeenah Anjum could become an inspiration for many women in the Jammu and Kashmir state. There are five winners from Professional and same number from Amateur Category. Tabeenah Anjum has got Special Mention Award in Amateur Category and will be honoured by Minister of Information and Broadcasting , Mr Arun Jaitley on March 20, 2015 at New Delhi. Tabeenah Anjum will receive Rs 10,000, shawl, medal and citation.

A Journalist, Researcher and a vivid photographer, Tabeenah Anjum belongs to Kashmir Valley born and brought up in Srinagar, becomes the first girl from Rajasthan and Kashmir to have received this award.  For this year, theme for the award in the Amateur Category was 'Mother and Child and Tabeenah had clicked photos in different villages of Rajasthan including, Bundi, Achrol, Sambhar etc. The winning photos will be put on display by Information and Broadcasting Ministry in different museums across the country. 

Tabeenah Anjum  picked up Photography as a hobby during her University days. She completed her Master in Mass Communication and Journalism and later did her PG in English Literature as a regular student. From University of Rajasthan. At present she is pursuing her PhD on the topic 'Role of Social Media in Transforming Youth into informed citizens'. Apart from the newspapers her articles have been published in various Journals.  She loves to travel and most of the times, her camera is her co traveller. Earlier also she won two awards in two consecutive years at Jaipur Art Festival and won best photo award at Jaipur international Photo festival. As a photographer her preference remains street photography, heritage, photo stories - clicking women through veils, Old Shrines of Kashmir and autumn season.

 

 

 

 

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JAMMU: One of the last politicians, who has grown into the mould of an upright and unblemished statesmen, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed represents courage of conviction and a lifelong political struggle spanning over five decades. His vision for the state of Jammu and Kashmir as a distinct feature of the idea of India is complemented by the clear-cut democratic construct of his political thought, an inclusive polity and ingenious development.

 

As he assumes the charge as Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir for the second time on 1 March 2015, it seems Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is destined to be the man for hard times. In 2002 when he became the Chief Minister, with just 16 seats in the State assembly, in alliance with Congress, J&K was reeling under extremely adverse conditions on politico-economic fronts. Personal liberties were severely restricted and our army was in an eye-ball to eye-ball confrontation with Pakistan in the aftermath of the attack on Parliament.

 

Seen as a visionary leader, a smart political strategist and masterful politician, Mufti’s arrival on the stage and his deft handling of the delicate political equations resulted in an almost instant change in the situation, both within the State and in the regional context. His invitation to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to address a rally in Srinagar, first ever for a Prime Minister in nearly two decades, from the PDP stage, triggered a new wave of peace efforts which culminated in withdrawal of forces from forward areas, ceasefire along the borders, disbanding of instruments like STF and SOG, scrapping of POTA and release of political prisoners. It also led to a direct engagement between India and Pakistan and of the Central Government with the separatist leaders in Kashmir.

 

Mufti’s vision for the State and the region articulated in PDP’s Self-Rule framework besides suggesting a slew of political measures advocates a sub-regional trade arrangement with a Free Trade Zone in Jammu and Kashmir to be implemented under SAFTA or under a separate arrangement between New Delhi and Islamabad.

 

Mufti believes that facilitating free movement of goods and people through the traditional cross-LoC routes in Jammu and Kashmir would help the policy makers on the two sides of the divide to facilitate the political changes that the people in the region so badly need. He sees opening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakote roads along the LoC as a stepping stone towards forging a new economic alliance in the region.

 

Within the State, Mufti’s political focus has been on connecting communities and regions into one conglomerate of harmonious diversities. His emphasis on improving the trust levels between two main regions of Kashmir and Jammu has remained the driving force for his party PDP’s political engagement in all the regions and sub-regions s that it could emerge as a unifying force that offers channels of aspirations and representation to each one of them.

 

Responding to the people’s innermost yearning for peace with dignity, Mufti after assuming charge as the Chief Minister of J&K in 2002, crusaded the “Healing Touch” policy to repair the people’s hurt psyche, salvage their bruised dignity, rekindle a new hope in their hearts and motivate them to mould their destiny through a participatory political process. The result was there for all to behold and fortunately, the country’s leadership, at that time also understood and appreciated the rejuvenating and hopeful political transformation in the State and responded to it in good measure.

 

After remaining in the Congress for better part of his life Mufti alongwith some likeminded associates and Mehbooba Mufti founded Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 1999 and led the first PDP-Congress coalition government in the State from 2002 to 2005.

 

Early Life

 

Born in Baba Mohalla in Bijbehara town of district Anantnag on 12 January 1936, Mufti’s early life was typical of the new bourgeoisie that emerged in Kashmir in the middle of the century. Having graduated from S P College in Srinagar, he went on to obtain a degree in law, and a post-graduate degree in Arab History from Aligarh Muslim University.

 

Although Mufti hoped to gain government employment, he was persuaded by his friends to start a law practice in Anantnag, and to join politics. He joined the Anantnag Bar Association and briefly practiced as a lawyer.

 

Political Career

 

In the late 1950s he joined the circle around prominent lawyer and NC leader PL Handoo. He followed Handoo into the breakaway Democratic National Conference (DNC), led by GM Sadiq, alongwith DP Dhar, Syed Mir Qasim and GL Dogra. He was appointed district convener of the new organization, the first formal post he held.

 

When DNC rejoined NC, Mufti went with the flow. It paid him rich dividends. He was elected to the Assembly from Bijbehara in 1962, and retained the seat in 1967. As a result, he was appointed a Deputy Minister by GM Sadiq.

 

In 1972 Mufti became a minister in the cabinet headed by Syed Mir Qasim and was also elected the party's leader in the Legislative Council.

 

In 1975 he was made the leader of the Congress Legislature Party and Pradesh Congress president. He continued to hold the post of PCC chief for over a decade.

 

In 1986, Mufti was appointed as Union Tourism Minister in the Government headed by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

 

Mufti resigned from the Union Government and Congress following Rajiv-Farooq accord of 1987.

 

He later joined the Jan Morcha led by VP Singh and was appointed Union Home Minister in 1989, after having won the Lok Sabha elections of that year as the Jan Morcha candidate from Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh.

 

Mufti returned to J&K politics after having rejoined the Congress in 1996. He won the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat in 1998, but soon resigned from both his position and the party to form the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

 

In 2002, Mufti became Chief Minister of the state. His party PDP won 16 constituencies and formed an alliance with Congress to assume state power from October 2002 to November 2005. PDP was an important ally of United Progressive Alliance-I.

 

Mufti’s first term as the chief minister of the State between 2002 and 2005, led to significant steps like opening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road, initiation of trade and travel across the Line of Control (LoC) without passports and visas with India and Pakistan making some significant concessions on Kashmir.

 

The prospects of PDP started to shine again in the Lok Sabha election of 2014 when it won all the three seats in Kashmir valley.

 

Under the astute leadership of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, PDP has now emerged as a dominant regional political force in Jammu and Kashmir winning 28 seats in 2014 assembly polls with a vote share of 22.7%.