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Kashmir governor knows he is proactive

Shahnawaz Khan

Srinagar, January 20, 2008:

Power Punch: Sinha at an army exhibition in Jammu
The governor of Indian administered Kashmir, S K Sinha, a retired lieutenant general, known for his controversies with former chief minister and his pro activeness in office is writing a book these days.

The book which will deal with Sinha's tenure in Kashmir's Raj Bhavan (gubernatorial residence and office) is most likely going to be titled 'Proactive Governor: My days in Raj Bhavan'.

The name isn't finalised yet, but yes it will mostly likely be titled as 'Proactive Governor' as he is generally called, a source close to Governor Sinha said.

Sinha, who consistently took cudgels with former chief minister Mufti Muhamamd Sayeed over the duration of annual Hindu pilgrimage to cave shrine of Amarnath in Kashmir's Pir Panjal range has also been known for his frequent takes on Kashmiriyat, a term for syncretic Sufi traditions of Kashmir.

Sinha was responsible for extending the duration of annual Amarnath Yatra to two months from its original duration of 15 days, in spite of resistance by former chief minister Sayeed on security grounds.

He has been criticised by environmentalists who blame the extended duration and heavy influx of pilgrims to Amarnath cave for violating the ecological balance of the region.

An ice stalagmite formed inside the cave annually taking the form of Shiv lingam is revered by the Hindu devotees, thousands of who trek the risky tough terrain annually in the heart of conflict ridden Muslim dominated Kashmir Valley.

In 2006 the Amarnath Shrine Board headed by Sinha was in the centre of a big controversy with allegations against it of putting up an artificial ice lingam inside the cave after a natural one had failed to form.

The ice lingam failed to form again in 2007 and ecologists blame the heavy influx of pilgrims over extended period -imposed by Sinha- for the failure.

Sinha who was among the first Indian troops to land in Kashmir in 1947 is known for his long speeches on hailing Indian troops and the Kashmiriyat in the region where an anti-India insurgency broke out in 1989.

Recently, while opening the budget session of the Kashmir legislature Sinha said that in 2007 the government had achieved the goal of zero tolerance for rights violations in the region as promised by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in May 2006, this in a session where Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had to admit that Indian Army personnel had murdered a teacher and a baker in cold blood in north Kashmir.



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