Briefing December 27, 2020 – January 2, 2021


A key shot of the match between Real Kashmir and East Bengal on March 9, 2020, in Srinagar. Host Real Kashmir lost the match. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

For the first time in the history, Real Kashmir FC won the 123-year-old IFA shield. While playing at Salt Lake Stadium, Real Kashmir thwarted local outfit George Telegraph’s spirited challenge to record a 2-1 victory. Applying pressure from the beginning, the star players of the team, Lukman Adefemi and Mason Robertson scored a goal apiece for the I-league team in either half of the final, while substitute Goutam Das netted one for the Calcutta Football league side. However, breaking through, the Kashmir team found solid resistance from the Telegraph defence.


Two Kashmiri Markhor’s feeding over a hillock in Lachipora wildlife sanctuary. Pic: Dr Reyaz Ahmad

Within an hour after he disembarked from his vehicle, the 82-year-old American hunted 10-year-old Kashmir Markhor. The hunt took place in Toshi Conservancy on Garam Chashma Road near Chitral in Pakthunkhwa. A trophy hunter, Joe Lawrence Walraven obtained a permit from the wildlife department for the US $140,000 (INR: 98 Lakh). Acting swiftly, Lawrence fired a shot at the 48-inch long Markhor from a distant range by his Remington rifle. Unlike India, Pakistan permits hunting and 80 per cent of the income goes to local communities. The funds are utilized for collective development purposes through the village conservation committees. The increase in the number of hunted animals was made possible only after locals were organized for the conservation of wildlife. Kashmir Markhor that exists in Kashmir is Pakistan’s national animal.


J&K Bank Corporate Headquarters Srinagar. KL Image

Deviating from a decades-old tradition of ensuring a lot of publicity by using free wall calendars and diaries, JK Bank has gone digital this year. It said the orders had come from the finance ministry for all banks to reduce expenditure. So a digital version was launched ceremony in Srinagar by Chairman and MD, RK Chibber. This is one of the many bank-related decisions that people disliked. The two items, mainly the calendar has remained a souvenir of emotion rather than wallpaper on which people write the basic bread and butter accounts,

1870 people were killed by Covid-19 including 1174 in Kashmir. The overall infection by the disease is touching 120 thousand.


Pooja Devi JK’s First Women Bus Driver. (Screengrab)

Passionate about driving heavy vehicles, Pooja Devi broke the taboo and created history. A resident of Sandhar (Basohli) and mother of two, Pooja became the first woman driver of the erstwhile state. Initially facing resistance from the family, she somehow managed the pressure and finally performed what she wanted. Starting from Taxi, she graduated to a truck driver. Now, she is plying the bus on busy Jammu-Kathua-Pathankjot highway. Not educated enough to get a good job, Pooja, who is in her mid-thirties believed that she can manage to have her passion as a profession. Expressing gratitude to her employer, she said when women can fly jets, why can’t she drive a bus. For now, she is on the highway, negotiating male counterparts confidently.


Madan Lal Sharma

Veteran Congress leader who represented Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabha constituency twice in the Parliament, Madan Lal Sharma is no more. Survived by wife and three children, Sharma, 68, passed away at a private hospital in Katra. A politician with experience of decades, he was first elected as MLA in 1983 and again in 1987 from Chhamb constituency on Congress mandate. In 1988 he became a minister in the NC-Congress coalition government. He again became a minister in the PDP-Congress government after wining elections in 2002. Two years later, in 2004 and subsequently, in 2009, he was twice elected to the Lok Sabha from Jammu-Poonch seat. However, he lost the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to BJP’s Jugal Kishore Sharma.


Dr Shakil Ramshoo

Adding another feather to his cap, the prestigious Indian Society of Geomatics (ISG) has elected Prof Shakil A Romshoo, Dean of Research at the University of Kashmir, as its Honorary Fellow. An outstanding achiever, he has already won several other prestigious and international awards for his contribution, besides being a fellow of many top-notch scientific societies and academies. This award to Prof Romshoo was given by Dr K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO and Secretary Department of Space, Government of India. His role for his outstanding contribution to the development and application of Geomatics for the earth and environmental sciences in India had been widely appreciated.

In 2020, 205 persons got killed in around 90 different gunfights across J&K, which included 180 militants. Nine militants were also captured alive.


Accused of abusing minors, a 35-year-old man from Kashmir has been arrested by CBI. Charged for running an online child abuse racket from India, targeting minors living in the USA, his arrest came on the basis of information received from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It is reported that the suspect, Niyaz Ahmad Mir, uploaded pornographic videos and images over the dark web for financial gains. Not only Mir is involved, but reportedly he was running a racket with his US-based wife, Tamara Stanley, who was involved in a “master-slave relationship” with her husband. Officials said it was on Mir’s direction, that Stanley exploited minors, recorded these abuses and sent them to him through multimedia messages and emails. She was arrested in June and is currently lodged at the federal detention centre at SeaTac, Washington, and was investigated by the FBI.


A collage of the photographs of three Rajouri labourers who , according to their families, were killed in a fake encounter in Shopian in summer of 2020.

After around three months of Amshipora killings in which three Rajouri labourers were killed and later dubbed as militants, a local army court has found a Major guilty of exceeding the AFSA powers. Reportedly he has to face court-martial. Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court disposed off public interest litigation saying that the PIL by the third party cannot and should not be entertained. The PIL was filed by Jammu & Kashmir Reconciliation Front through its chairman Dr Sandeep Mawa.

Three youth— Abrar Ahmed (25), Imtiyaz Ahmed (20) and Mohammed Ibrar (16) were claimed to be militants and killed in a “gunfight” at Amshipora Shopian on July 18, 2020. As they turned out to be innocents, on October 2, their bodies were exhumed in Baramulla and handed over to their families. It embarrassed the system and the Lt Governor Manoj Joshi personally visited the families and assured justice.


Wearing camouflage uniform like prints have always been in fashion but last week this fashion trend cost Awantipora resident Abdul Rehman Dar dearly when local police arrested him for allegedly running an illegal business of uniforms and other cloth accessories of armed forces from his home. The police have accused him of running this business without valid permission or registration of a business enterprise from his home in Larmoh village. A sizeable quantity of CRPF uniforms and other accessories were seized.


Urmila Matondkar with her Kashmir husband Mohsin

Since the day Bollywood diva Urmila Matondkar married a Kashmiri businessman Mohsin Akhter, she remains constantly in controversies. Last week while speaking to Mojo storey she talked about the constant trolling that her family and husband Mohsin have had to face on social media platforms. She also said that she was distressed when the netizens called her husband “a terrorist, a Pakistani.” She believes it all is happening because her husband is a Kashmiri Muslim. The actress further stated that the social media users also edited her Wikipedia page and changed her parents’ name. Urmila is a member of Shiv Sena.


Amar Singh College Srinagar

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) last week gave two major news to Kashmir. In one, it gave an award to the Amar Singh College Srinagar for being restored to an earlier position (by INTACH) after years of neglect, especially after the devastating September 14 floods. UNESCO experts termed it a noteworthy model. The building was basically constructed in 1913 and upgraded to a better status in 1942. In a second decision, the UNESCO appointed a senior geologist, Prof G M Bhat on its 6-member expert scientific team. A resident of Pampore, Prof Bhat teaches at the University of Jammu.


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