Briefing November 7 – 13, 2021

NOWSHEHRA

PM Narendra Modi with soldiers in Nowshera on November 4, 2021, for celebrating Diwali.

Yet again, Prime Minister Narendra Modi kept his date with the soldier of Diwali and he flew to Nowshehra to celebrate the festival of lights with the army. In his more than half an hour speech, Modi recalled the 2016 surgical strike on the other side of the LoC but skipped mentioning more than three-week-long operation against militants in the same belt. The Army Chief, General NN Naravane had flown to Jammu and Rajouri, for the second time in a week, ahead of the high profile short visit of the Prime Minister.

“The role played by this brigade in the surgical strike fills the hearts of every citizen with pride. I will always remember that day,” Modi told the soldiers, referring to the 2016 crossing in the follow up to the killing of 19 soldiers in Uri. “I was constantly on the phone at the time of the surgical strike. I wanted to ensure that each soldier who was part of the strike should return safely. All the soldiers who carried out the strike made me feel proud by returning to their unit safely.”

Prime Minister said the attempts to disturb peace “continue to happen today”, adding that “terrorism” had received a “befitting reply” every time.

However, he chose to reflect on the past glories of the army, recollecting how Nowshera’s history celebrates the bravery of India and its present is the embodiment of the courage and determination of the soldiers. He paid rich tributes to Brigadier Mohammad Usman and Naik Jadunath Singh, who died in the 1947 Indo-Pak war.

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

GST collections have seen an upswing in Jammu and Kashmir. In October Rs 648 crore were collected.  The GST collections were at Rs 377 crore in September, Rs 392 crore in August, and Rs 432 crore in July.

ISLAMABAD

India and Pakistan troops exchanging sweets on the day of Diwali on November 4,2021

On Diwali, the rival armies of India and Pakistan were seen exchanging sweets on the Line of Control (LoC), at Tangdar and in Uri. Though the photographs displaying young officers smiling behind their Covid19 masks indicated that the ceasefire is holding and the rivals are keeping the basic minimum relationship, the fact is the bilateral relations are as cold as January of Srinagar.

Days ahead of the visual bonhomie, Pakistan refused airspace for Go First’s Srinagar Sharjah 4-times-a-week flight that Home Minister, Amit Shah inaugurated on October 23, 2021. Since November 2 – after using the Pakistani air space on October 23 and 31, the flight now takes the Gujarat route that now takes 4.15 hours, a net increase of 45 minutes. The time increase will add to the ticket costs. The flight could become a replica of Sonia Gandhi inaugurated Srinagar-Dubai Air India Express flight of February 2009.

Terming it puzzling, Mehbooba Mufti alleged that Delhi skipped seeking formal permission from Islamabad for using its air space. “Only PR extravaganza without any groundwork,” she tweeted. Now Delhi has requested Islamabad to grant the permission keeping in mind the larger interest of common people who have booked the tickets on this service.

Pakistan has not offered any reason for refusing air space use. “I had hoped that @GoFirstairways being permitted to overfly Pak airspace was indicative of a thaw in relations but alas that wasn’t to be,” Omar Abdullah tweeted.

Had there been a thaw between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, Pakistan would have agreed to take the first flight to attend the regional conference on Afghanistan that Delhi is hosting next week with representatives flying from China, Russia and some Central Asian States. Though Delhi’s invitation was a departure from the recent past, Pakistan has decided against obliging Delhi.

Meanwhile, a resident of PaK, who had inadvertently crossed the LoC and was arrested in Poonch was repatriated after three years. He was identified as Saif Deen, a resident of Gangrian village of the Mandi-Saujiyaan belt, which he had crossed over in June 2018.

Women paramilitary personnel frisking Kashmiri woman in the city centre Lal Chowk on Sunday. 31 October 2021
PHOTO BY BILAL BAHADUR

Almost 5000 additional CRPF personnel have joined already 70,000 strong forces in Kashmir.

JAMMU

The main entrance to the Central Jail Srinagar, Kashmir’s major jailing facility.

In the latest, the Jammu and Kashmir government sacked a Deputy Superintendent of Jails, Feroz Ahamad Lone and Javed Ahmad Shah, Principal of a Government Higher Secondary School for Girls Bejbehara. Dismissed under Article 311 (2) (c) of the Constitution of India, they have been accused of having militant links. Lone joined the prison department in 2012, he has been accused of working with top Hizb commander, Riyaz Naikoo and has facilitated a meeting of two of his confidant’s to meet a detained militant in the Central Jail Srinagar. He was arrested by NIA in 2018. Working as a teacher since 1989, Javid has been accused of advising Hurriyat and Jamaat cadres during the 2016 unrest. In the last four months, the government has terminated services of at least 29 government employees including four from Jammu.

This apple tree in a Heerpora, Shopian orchard tells the story of costs that Kashmir will pay for an early snowfall. Upper reaches of Kashmir are witnessing massive snowfall started early October 23, 2021.

After declaring the early snowfall in October as a national disaster, Jammu and Kashmir will give 12000 apple growers a cumulative relief of five crore rupees.

JAMMU

Vikram Randhawa

After police registered a case against former BJP lawmaker, Vikram Randhawa was removed by his party from all party positions. In the aftermath of India’s defeat in a T20 cricket match with Pakistan, Randhawa had spewed venom against those who celebrated the event. He had gone to the extent of seeking skinning alive of the girls. As anger splashed the social media over the hate speech, the police registered a formal case against him. In a quick follow-up, the party stripped him of its state secretary all the party positions for “reckless and defamatory remarks against particular community and women”. Many in Jammu believe, the party had many issues of discipline with him, already

Jammu’s Dengue caseload is about to cross 1100, more than half in Jammu city.

DODA

An aerial view of the Ramban located between the Jammu Srinagar highway and the Chenab river.

Union Power Minister, R K Singh virtually inaugurated the diversion of the Marusudar river of Pakal Dul Hydro Electric Project in Kishtwar that is owned by CVPPPL. It is a major milestone before the construction of the dam. Once ready, the Rs 8212 crore project would generate 1000 MW clean energy by 2030. Marusudarriver, a Chenab tributary, now being diverted will witness an increased construction activity on the dam.

Authorities have identified 122 acres of land to set up a 25000 sq meters new airport terminal at Jammu. This is a follow-up to runway expansion by 30 per cent recently.

JAMMU

For the record, Jammu boy Tanmay Gupta topped the NEET examination and secured all the 720 marks. More than 16 lakh students appeared in the examination. He shared the top position with three others. Son of dentists, Dr Akshay Gupta and Shivali Gupta, Tanmay had secured all the marks in his tenth standard CBSE examination. Then, he was studying at KC Public School Jammu. With a dream of joining the best medical school in India, Tanmay studied his two classes in Delhi.

PARIS

Judo bronze winner, Rakhshanda Maha and her coach were taken from Jammu airport to M A Stadium in Jammu. in November 2021. She is from Kulgam.

Rakshanda Mehak, 23, who is part of the Indian team for the deaf clinched a bronze medal in World Deaf Judo Championship held at Paris Versailles, France. Mehak and her coach, Suraj Bhan Singh, were taken in an open jeep from Jammu Airport via Gujjar Nagar to MA stadium where a crowd of sportspersons welcomed them amid. In India’s 6-member Judo team, two were from Jammu and Kashmir – Mehak (78 kg category) and Vishal Khajuria (66 Kg category). Basically from Kulgam, Rakshinda’s family lives at Gujjar Nagar, Jammu along with her family. Vishal hails from Shahpur Brahmana in Jammu. Rakhshanda’s father Bashir Ahmad Dar migrated to Jammu for educating his two 100 per cent deaf kids and admitted them to Samaj Kalyan Kendra (School), at Shaheed-I- Chowk Jammu. Rakhshinda is currently pursuing graduation from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). Before getting a bronze at the international level, she has bagged 13 golds so far.

USA

Renowned Kashmir physician, Dr Kundan Lal Chowdhury, who was one of the founding members of the Panun Kashmir, died in the USA. He was 80 and is survived by his wife and two daughters. Born in Srinagar in 1941 to a criminal lawyer, Chowdhary did his MBBS from Punjab University, MD from Delhi University and his fellowship in Neurology from London. For most of his life, he served the GMC Srinagar and post-migration started the charity and indulged in community politics. He is being created for propounding the City State idea for migrant Kashmiri Pandits.

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