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Mufti Sayeed sworn in as Kashmir chief minister as rebels attack his home

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was sworn in as the ninth chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir by governor Girish Chander Saxena at Srinagar this afternoon soon after a rebel grenade attack on Mufti’s home, Saturday November 2. 

Mufti will be chief minister for three years, thereafter Congress nominee will take over as chief minister for the remaining three years of the life of J&K legislative assembly.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and his daughter Mehbooba Mufti, who is also a prominent PDP leader, were at home at the time of attack. The grenades that fell a little away from their residence did not hurt anyone. Mangat Ram Sharma of the Congress Party was sworn in as deputy chief minister.

The nine-member cabinet includes PDP’s Muzaffar Hussain Beig and Ghulam Hasan Mir as well as Congressmen Peerzada Mohammed Sayeed and Madan Lal Sharma. Harsh Dev of Panthers Party, too, got a cabinet position. Three days later more ministers will be inducted.

Two ministers of state from Ladakh's Leh and Kargil regions will also take oath of office. The PDP-Congress coalition government is being supported from outside by the Peoples Democratic Front (PDF), a group of independents, and Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Mufti Sayeed has vowed to fight corruption, cross-border terrorism, protect human rights, prosecute rights violators and try to arrange talks between militants and the Centre.

Sayeed is already making gestures to militants by pledging to release all people held without serious charges against them. An important militant of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front ((JKLF), Showkat Bakhshi, was released from prison after 12 years Friday, November 1.

Bakhshi was one of the accused in the kidnapping of Sayeed’s daughter Rubaiya in 1989. The new government’s gestures like the release of unjustly held prisoners will bring relief to the people.

The swearing-in came in the backdrop of fresh violence that claimed seven lives, including three village girls, who died while they came in contact with ammunition. The girls were collecting firewood when the accident occurred.

Suspected militants shot dead today a member of National Conference in Srinagar as well as a local leader of the Congress Party. Three more people died reportedly at the hands of militants.

Sayeed’s major steps for confidence-building include disbanding the anti-militancy task force of the police, which has been involved in extortion, extrajudicial killings and human rights abuses.
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03 Nov 2002

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