(Eds: Updating with minister’s statement) Srinagar, Oct 12 (PTI) Jammu and Kashmir government today suspended an officer and ordered a probe in connection with a picture of jailed separatist leader Asiya Andrabi appearing along with Indian women achievers in a banner on ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign.
Shamima, the Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) of Breng block in Anantnag district, has been placed under suspension and an inquiry has been ordered into the incident, Deputy Commissioner of Anantnag Mohammad Yunus Malik told PTI.
“The CDPO in question has committed a grievous error of judgement by including Asiya Andrabi in the list of distinguished women achievers of the country.
“The person responsible for this goof up has been immediately placed under suspension and an inquiry has been ordered against her for the conduct,” said Social Welfare Minister Sajad Lone.
The state government yesterday faced a major embarrassment after the picture of Andrabi, the pro-Pakistan chief of ‘Dukhtaran-e-Millat’ (daughters of the nation) organisation, appeared in the banner along with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Mother Teresa, Indira Gandhi, Lata Mangeshkar, tennis star Sania Mirza and Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi.
The poster, aimed at highlighting the women achievers of the country, was hoisted at a function held to promote girl education in south Kashmir’s Kokernag area yesterday.
Lone said Andrabi was not a role model for women in Jammu and Kashmir or anywhere else in the world.
“The department unambiguously states that Ms Asiya Andrabi is not a role model — neither for women of Jammu and Kashmir nor elsewhere in the world. She at best is an aberration, representing the aimless fringe afflicting societies across the world,” the minister said in a statement posted on his Twitter handle.
Lone said the publicity wing of the department works in a decentralised format and CDPOs devise their own publicity, which does not require approval of higher authorities.
Andrabi, who is currently detained under Public Safety Act, openly advocates for merger of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan.
She has several cases registered against her including some for hoisting Pakistani flag on August 14 and March 23 — the Independence Day and National Day of Pakistan, respectively.
Opposition Congress slammed the Mehbooba Mufti government over the development.
“This is total failure of the PDP-BJP government and it should apologise for hurting the nationalist and religious sentiments of the countrymen and insulting our national leaders besides taking stern action to check such incidents,” State Congress spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said.
Sharma wondered if the act was a part of deliberate attempts to appease the separatist element in the state.
Panthers Party also criticised the government over it.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.