Srinagar, Feb 2: After the stir over the Indian-American hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal being honoured with a Padma Bhushan, yet another controversy over a Padma awardee has emerged.
According to a report in The Indian Express, Ghulam Mohammed Mir, whose name figured in the 2010 Padma awardees list, is a surrendered Kashmiri militant.
The man against whom cases of extortion and attempted murder are pending has been awarded with a Padma Shri for public service!
However, it should be noted that the government did not recognise his efforts as a militant but awarded him for his work as a counter insurgent.
After surrendering to the security forces, Mir turned into a counter-insurgent.
Police sources told Indian Express that Mir was considered a major asset for the security establishment during the peak years of militancy, alongside counter-insurgents like Kuka Parray, Javaid Shah and Naba Azad.
The Jammu Kashmir government reportedly took several days to trace the awardee.
When asked about the recommendation, JK chief minister Omar Abdullah said, "I don't remember recommending his name. At times, there are individual recommendations or the Government of India checks the credentials of a prospective awardee directly."
With a fraction of the country is reading into the 'former militant' part of the awardee more attentively than the 'counter insurgent', Mir being awarded has sparked off a controversy.
This comes after the controversy surrounding the fraud-tainted NRI awardee Chatwal. Following to objection raised by the country, the Government issued an unprecedented clarification on its decision to award Chatwal.
The government said that 'due diligence' was done before selection after stating that the cases of financial irregularities against him were closed.