Insurgents shot dead Bashir Ahmad Dar, 40. A ruling NC worker, Dar’s father Jamal Dar was assassinated by militants in 1995. He was block president of the party and had survived the peak of militancy but was killed in the prelude to 1996 elections.
Bashir was running his own shop and was killed just outside it, minutes before he was about to start his day. Assassins used a pistol to kill him. CRPF posted not far away from the spot took Bashir to hospital where he was declared dead. Police have registered a case. Though a number of outfits have staked the claim for the killing, police is verifying which one of them could have the capacity to kill. The killing was widely condemned across the ideological divide in Kashmir. Off late, there have been a series of attacks on NC workers including minister Ali Mohammad Sagar.

It has been happening ever since the LoC came into being. Last week, a midnight bush fire started in forward Balakot area and converted itself into a huge conflagration engulfing around 40 hectares of green forests of Chitali Ziyarat. And then there were blasts as the minefields of the LoC started exploding. It even impacted some forward positions of the Pakistani army. As the efforts of controlling the fire are underway, the incidents are being analyzed. Security experts accuse rival army of initiating the fire so that area gets demined and it becomes a route to push in militants. Given that wisdom, most of the belts in Balakote are demined as there were a series of such conflagrations in December 2010 and January 2011.


In a fit of anger, a CRPF man shot dead three of his colleagues in a Kulgam camp housing 118 battalion last week. One survived injured. The dead included head constables Suman Pillay, P Sibbu and Constable Javed Hussain. S D Murthy is still admitted to the hospital. It was a dispute within the drivers and mechanics of the battalion who were sharing the same space that led to the killings. Fratricide in the security agencies is not so uncommon especially if they operate in high level of stress, insecurity or subhuman conditions. In April, four soldiers were killed in a similar incident by one of their colleagues in a Bijbehara garrison. Accused S K Roy who was arrested along with many others for the killings has alleged that he was being harassed by his colleagues for some time. On Friday a BSF man shot dead his colleague outside IAF station in Awantipora.


Finally, the psychological barrier is smashed. The shrine of Vaishno Devi finally crossed the one crore mark when there were three days still left of 2011. Dr Rakesh Vishavakarma from Jaipur became the ten-millionth pilgrim to the shrine on December 28 and he was received by Board’s additional CEO Dr Mandeep K Bhandari. His family became the guests of the Board and they will be hosted free for the next five years. Unlike Tirupati, Shirdi and Sidhi Vinayak – India’s other major Hindu pilgrim destinations getting more than ten million pilgrims a year, which are fully accessible by road, a visit to Vaishno Devi needs a 13-kms trekking. The last highest figure was 87.2 lakh yatris in 2010. SMVDSB was set up by governor Jagmohan in 1986.

It is the twenty-first century and the age of nanotechnology and super-specialization. Even in thefts and frauds. Police recently unearthed a gang that was specializing in snatching of cell phones, purses, golden ornaments, especially from the females. Though there was no formal complaint, the police acted suo moto and detained the kingpin. On his disclosures, the police have recovered some snatched property that included two mobile phones, five ladies purses, bank passbooks and chequebooks and phone accessories.


A development that has huge repercussions, the high court has stayed investigations in an FIR registered at Domana police station that could impact the political career of Lal brothers of Akhnoor – MP Madan Lal and minister Sham Lal. They are accused of actually trying to grab a piece of land from commoners and the police records also suggest that the complaint is not untrue. A police officer who was later attached had alleged the minister had threatened him of serious consequences. Justice JP Singh has issued notices to the government and directed a halt in investigations. The directions came in the petition filed by the couple that claims the genuine ownership of the 2.5 kanals of land preying halt in investigations in the FIR registered at the behest of Lal’s.

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