The government defended the decision to confer a Padma award to former militant Ghulam Mohammed Mir saying he has extended a "yoeman's service" to the national cause. "From the records available with us, Ghulam Mohammed Mir has performed a yeoman service for the national cause. Besides, we have glowing testimonials from eminent personalities like Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, Union Minister and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah and so on. We believe that his services in one sense were for a national cause," Union Home Secretary G K Pillai said.
Mir was a counter-insurgent who helped the security agencies capture militants. Pillai was asked about conferring award to Mir against whom an FIR is reportedly pending. To a poser on whether the system of conferring Padma awards needed to be changed in view of the controversies, Pillai denied any "crack in the process." "It is a decision taken by the (Padma Awards) Committee because we have citation before us, we have recommendations with us and a very conscious decision is taken," the home secretary told NDTV. He said besides citations and recommendations, the committee verifies facts "to try and ensure that nothing adverse is there and then a considered view is taken by the committee."
Asked if the Padma awards committee decides to say 'no' to somebody then no one can overrule that not even the prime minister, Pillai said "yes, no doubt. They would be acceptable without doubt." "First of all one has to understand that Padma awards committee itself has members--both official and non-official. This year, we had received about 1400 applications or nominations before the Padma awards committee. After screening all the names, the committee took a considered view as we have a limited number of awards in various categories and the final decision is taken by the committee," he explained.