Briefing (November 22-28, 2020)


IAS officer Tina Dabi and Athar Khan soon after their marriage at Pahalgam. Pic: Instagram

Every time love does not last forever. Two years after their wedding, 2015 UPSC topper, Tina Dabi, Athar Khan, the then-No 2, have filed for divorce with mutual consent in a family court in Jaipur. Their wedding almost a hugely covered romance of the year, was attended by VVIPs – Venkaiah Naidu, Sumitra Mahajan, Ravi Shankar Prasad. There were wedding receptions in Delhi, Jaipur and Pahalgam. At the peak of the love Jehad, their relationship was seen as a symbol of communal harmony to the extent that even Rahul Gandhi virtually prayed for their love to “grow from strength to strength” and emerge as “an inspiration to all Indians in this age of growing intolerance and communal hatred”. The Muslim-Dalit couple got Rajasthan cadre. Time will heal the injuries of the IAS’s all-time lovebirds and may eventually reveal the details about why their love could not even stay for a 1000-days.


Kashmir to Kanyakumari is always a point of reference for several reasons. Last Thursday as part of the infinity Ride 2020, a Limca Book of Records holder and India’s first para-cyclist Aditya Mehta along with Asian Para-Cycling Championship bronze medallist Harinder Singh, and Asian Games Track Cycling bronze medallist Gurlal Singh joined by India’s other para-cyclists, began a 3,801km long ride from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Scheduled for 41 days, the ride will be covering 34 cities and will culminate at Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari on December 29. The ride was flagged off by Rakesh Asthana, Director General BSF from the banks of Dal Lake at Nishat in Srinagar.


Masarat Aalam

Known to be the coordinator of 2010 protest rallies, Masrat Alam has over two dozen pending cases against him. Behind the bars under 38th preventive detention, Bhat finally had a sigh of relief when a Division bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court ordered his release from protracted detention under the dreaded Public Safety Act (PSA). The order came after the court quashed the detention order against Bhat. First arrested in the 1990s, Bhat has been in and out of the jail for the last three decades. He was briefly released in 2015 by the BJPDP government. But the order has not actually helped Masarat to be free. Now he is in jail for a case of money laundering that NIA is investigating.


Home Minister Amit Shah

Once the partners in the government, as Kashmir based mainstream parties, joined hands to fight united, the feathers ruffled in Delhi. Reacting to the united show of PAGD in Kashmir, Union Home Minister labelled them as “Gupkar Gang”. Shah accused them (including three former chief ministers and two union ministers) of getting “foreign forces to intervene” in the issue of the scrapping of Article 370, taking away the rights of women and Dalits and bringing back “terror and turmoil” in the Union Territory.  In a series of tweets, he also targeted the Congress asking the party to clarify its position on the issue. He was attacked back by both the former CMs of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir calling it as the “frustration” of the minister at the Jammu and Kashmir alliance’s decision to contest elections. Caught, Congress leaders rejected claims of being part of the PAGD. By then, they had already taken their share of the seats at least from south Kashmir.


A man shows new Rs 2000 currency after exchanging old Rs 500 and 1000 denominations at Srinagar on Thursday 11 November 2016. KL Image Bilal Bahadur

In the times of recession when the economy is in a shock, any idea of doubling the money gives goosebumps. This happened in Jammu’s Kathua. A firm allegedly duped people on the pretext of depositing money and taking back double the amount. When the reality was revealed, it came as a shock. Finally, at least seven people of a private firm were booked by the Police Crime branch for cheating people and fraudulently transferring Rs 34 lakhs with a promise of doubling their money. The accused who have been booked for the fraud, cheating and conspiracy are Mukesh S, the director group of companies, Deepak Malik, the CEO group of companies, Sonu Rani, Parveen Kumar and its members Ranjeet Singh, Jaspal Singh and Sukhwinder. All of them are from Haryana and Punjab.  The trigger to action became complaint of Varinder Singh of Kathua.


Saffron in full bloom

Saffron in Kashmir has suffered on many counts. At times the market became the hitch and sometimes the quality was compromised. There were interventions from the system as well to revive the crop. Recently, an international outreach program for Kashmir’s Saffron Industry was held in New York. This virtual conference was organised by the Consulate General of India, New York in association with Jammu and Kashmir Trade Promotion Organisation (JKTPO) and US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF). The event was targeted to enable the reputed exporters of Saffron to connect with the potential US importers. More than 40 Saffron exporters registered with the JKTPO for this event. The event concluded with a Q&A session and the Jammu and Kashmir were shared with CGI, New York to connect the buyers and sellers.


Truck damaged during an encounter at Nagrota on Thursday, November 19, 2020. KL Image: Special Arrangement

When any type of election is around in Kashmir, the activities increase on both the sides of the divide. As 48 battalions of CRPF were re-deployed in Kashmir, four suspected Jaish e Mohammad militants were killed and two policemen were injured in a three-hour long gun fight with government forces that took place at a toll plaza on Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Nagrota. Reportedly the militants were travelling from Samba in a truck, which was intercepted by forces near Ban toll plaza. At least 11 AK-47 rifles, three pistols and 29 grenades were recovered from the truck. The driver of the truck is said to be missing. As the local police claim the militants were planning a big attack in view of the upcoming Block Development Council elections, the case has been taken over by the National Investigating Agency (NIA).


Before e-game, PUBG mobile was banned in India two months ago, Zeyan Shafiq, 18, a resident of Anantnag, had managed to qualify from South Asia in the PUBG Mobile Pro League (PMPL) under the banner of Stalwart Esports. As the roster of Indian players was unavailable, due to the ban, he reached out to the members of the Pakistani champions, Team Freestyle, across the border, who agreed to play with him. For fans, it was a strange game where Pakistanis were playing to win for India. Even if his team could not win last week, it was a win-win for his fans, reported The Indian Express.


Mehak Parvaiz, an engineering student who has started candle making in Srinagar.

As the entrepreneurs in Kashmir are facing tough situation after August 5, Mehak Parvez, 22, a resident of Elahi Bagh in Srinagar, is winning accolades for her business concept of designing candles. An engineering student at SSM College, she gets nostalgic while recalling her childhood days when power cuts were more frequent in Kashmir and people had to lit the candles. But she calls the scene as a joyful atmosphere where a single candle used to glow up a room. In business from last two months, she has started taking 4-5 orders every week.


Kashmir continues its rendezvous with the film city in Mumbai. The latest is of Zee which has launched its new video song Janan featuring model Sapna Moti Bhavnani, Kashmiri singers Noor Mohammad and Irfan Bukhari. The song has been shot in Kashmir showing the handicrafts and picturesque Kashmir. In just a week, the song has got more than one lakh hits on Youtube. Post-Covid, there has been much shooting going on these days, which included some ads and web series as well.


Lord Nazir Ahmad

One of the strong anti-India voices in the UK is silenced. Lord Nazir Ahmad, the Kashmir origin British politician and a member of House of Lords since 1998 resigned. He stepped down a day ahead of a House Committee held him responsible for sexual misconduct in a case of exploiting a vulnerable woman, also of Kashmir origin. A single mother Tahira Zaman had approached him to get police act against a faith healer who was exploiting women. This led to a relationship between the two and they fell apart after two months when Lord refused to marry her. She was being treated for depression. She approached BBC and its investigative report led to the House to act and finally, the report was out last week. Lord refuses to accept the charge.


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