SRINAGAR: Two law officers in Jammu and Kashmir were sacked today over their alleged failure to defend the state government's stand in the beef ban case in the high court, in an action that led to protest by BJP fuelling fresh confrontation with its coalition partner PDP.
The services of the two officers--Additional Advocate General Vishal Sharma and Deputy Advocate General Parimoksh Seth-- were terminated by the law department which is being held by PDP minister Basharat Bhukhari. "The government has ordered the disengagement of Additional Advocate General, Jammu, Vishal Sharma and Deputy Advocate General, Jammu, Parimoksh Seth with immediate effect," an official spokesman said.
He said the orders to this effect were issued today. BJP General Secretary Narinder Singh, however, contested the state government order and said "we lodge a strong protest over the government action. This is a coalition government and the alliance partner (PDP) needs to consult us".
Earlier this month, Sharma was moved from sensitive Home department to Education department after Jammu and Kashmir High Court ordered that a little-known law passed in 1932 banning cow slaughter and the sale of beef in the state be strictly enforced.
The order led to massive protests and the opposition National Conference said it would introduce a bill to bring changes in the 1932 law. Seth was one of the persons who had filed the PIL in the court which led to the directive. The PIL was filed some months before Seth was appointed as the Deputy Advocate General.
The PIL had led to an embarrassing situation for the state government after its own Deputy Advocate General was listed in the litigation. Efforts to make him disassociate from the PIL failed. The court directive triggered protests in the Muslim-majority Valley with the separatists and religious groups terming it as interference in religious affairs.
Main opposition National Conference will be moving a private members bill in the next state assembly session. VHP and other BJP-affiliated trade organisation have threatened an economic blockade if the matter was discussed in the state assembly, a statement which triggered an angry reaction from Kashmir Valley-based traders who also threatened to boycott purchasing goods from Jammu business houses.