Briefing April 24-30, 2022

JAMMU

Navin Choudhary (IAS) presented the J&K Budget 2019-20 to governor Satya Pal Malik in a SAC meeting at Jammu on December 15, 2018. DIPR

Finally, the federal investigator, CBI has started working on the inputs that former Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik has offered. He had famously claimed that he was offered Rs 300-crore bribes to clear two files including one related to an RSS leader: “One of the secretaries told me that these are shady deals, but he can get Rs 150 crore each. I told him that I had come to Jammu and Kashmir with five kurta pajamas and would leave with that only. I alerted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who told me that there should be no compromise on corruption.”

“The CBI had registered two separate cases on the request from the Jammu and Kashmir government on the allegations of malpractices (i) in the award of a contract of the J&K Employees Health Care Insurance Scheme to a private company and the release of Rs 60 crore (approx) in the year 2017-18 and (ii) in the award of the contract worth Rs 2,200 crore (approx.) of civil works of the Kiru Hydro Electric Power Project to a private firm in the year 2019,” the CBI said in a statement. The cases were registered after LG Manoj Sinha’s public statement: “As a person holding high office had said something, we have given our consent to the CBI for investigations in both the matters. And the truth will come out after the investigations.”

One the case is against Anil Ambani’s Reliance General Insurance Company and another against officials of Chenab Valley Power Projects Pvt Ltd (CVPPPL). In one day, 14 locations were raided and searched at Jammu, Srinagar, Delhi, Mumbai, Noida, Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) and Darbhanga (Bihar). Those raided include IAS officer Naveen Choudhary, then chairman of Chenab Valley Power Projects Pvt Ltd, its MD MS Babu, directors MK Mittal and Arun Mishra and promoters of Patel Engineering Ltd.

Interestingly when the insurance case was investigated by ACB, it found no case was made out. In the case of the Kiru Hydel Project, ACB has found some issues in awarding the contract. Reports said CBI has seized electronic gadgets, documents pertaining to investments in properties and details about various bank accounts.

As many as 113 PDD workers were killed while repairing the power supply lines in the last 12 years. Of them, 53 were regularized and 60 were casual labourers, daily wagers and need-based workers. 63 others survived injured.

BANDIPORA

Union Home Minister Amit Shah is meeting BJP workers in Srinagar on the 3rd day of his visit to JK on Monday, October 25, 2021.

After police established a case against two BJP leaders from the Bandipora district, the party sacked them. District president Abdul RehmanTikri and his colleague, Mushtaq Ahmad, a Sarpanch of Darmahama, had accepted one lakh rupees from a woman Anjum Khursheed in lieu of releasing her incarcerated brother Aqib Khursheed from jail. Police registered a case (FIR No 64 under Section 420 IPC) and seized the money from the two BJP men and permitted them to move out on bail. Now the party has sacked the two.

By October 2019, CAG says, Jammu and Kashmir’s debt was at Rs 83,536 crore

MUZAFFARABAD

United States (US) Congresswoman Ilhan Omar with Pakistan Administered Kashmir President Barrister Sultan Mehmood

A diplomatic crisis erupted after Ilhan Omar, a US congresswoman landed in Pakistan and administered Kashmir (PaK) during her 4-day Pakistan visit. She visited the LoC and shared dice with various local politicians after meeting a number of Pakistan leaders.

“I don’t believe that it (Kashmir dispute) is being talked about to the extent it needs to in Congress but also with the administration,” the Somali American lawmaker told reporters. “On the question of Kashmir, we held a hearing in the foreign affairs committee (of Congress) to look at the reports of human rights violations.”

During her meeting with Sultan Mahmood Chaudhary, the PaK president, Omar was quoted saying: “We are deeply worried about India’s 5th August 2019 action.” She hoped her visit would lead to “many more conversations” on the Kashmir issue.

India strongly reacted to Omar’s visit. “We have noted that US Representative Ilhan Omar has visited a part of the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir that is currently illegally occupied by Pakistan,” MEA spokesman, Arindam Bagchi said. “If such a politician wishes to practice her narrow-minded politics at home, that may be her business. But violating our territorial integrity and sovereignty in its pursuit makes it ours. This visit is condemnable.”

In response, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said: “As I understand it, Representative Omar is not visiting Pakistan on US government-sponsored travel.”

In three months of 2022, Traffic Police in Srinagar City lodged 70,000 challans, which is 1000 more than the number of challans registered in the entire of 2021.

SRINAGAR

A scene at the airport after 6 flights carrying 562 stranded passengers arrive at Srinagar landed in Srinagar. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Srinagar is one of the most crowded and busiest airports right now. It is managing more than 100 flight arrivals and departures on daily basis. It is in the midst of this crowd a rat appears. The mouse was located on an Air India flight and it takes the staff more than two hours to trap him. Only then the aircraft is permitted to fly. Now an enquiry has been ordered about how the rat managed to board the aircraft without a ticket!

In fiscal 2021-22, Jammu and Kashmir government collected a GST of Rs 15217.17 crore, against Rs 12105.95 Cr in 2020-21, Rs 10345.46 Cr in 2019-20 and Rs 9562.80 Cr in 2018-19.

SHALIMAR

2 SKUAST-K Students Selected For Erasmus+ Fellowship In Italy

Two Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir students were selected for Erasmus+ Fellowship at the University of Padova, Italy. The Plant Biotechnology students will undergo advanced training for plant proteomics and metabolomics. Ammarah Hami and Madhiya Manzoor are pursuing PhD Biotechnology and will spend six months in Italy.

In 2022, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) registered 25 cases.

DELHI

The MHA has designated seven Pakistan based militants as terrorists under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Done under the recommendation of the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s CID, they are SajjadGul, Ashiq Ahmed Nengroo, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar aka Latram, Arjumand Gulzar Jan aka Hamza Burhan, Ali Kashif Jan, Mohiuddin Aurangzeb Alamgir and Hafiz Talha Saeed. So far 38 Pakistan-based militants stand banned under the UAPA. North Block sources told a newspaper that the idea is to take up these dossiers with the UN, target their associates and seize the properties that they might have acquired. Besides, the data bank will be useful for Financial Task Action Force (FATF) which has placed Pakistan on a grey list.

Of 18000 kanals of land set aside for industrial use, 5747 kanals in Kashmir stand allotted.

DELHI

Home Minister, Amit Shah and LG Manoj Sinha in a security review meeting in Jammu on March 19, 2022

Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said the security grid is capable of establishing peace by “destroying the ecosystem of the terror network”. He told a select group of reporters: “Gone are the times when peace used to be bought in Jammu and Kashmir. We don’t buy peace, we will establish it. We will destroy the entire ecosystem of terrorism.” He said the security forces have already broken the “backbone” of terrorism in Kashmir and those trying to disturb peace would also be crushed. Speaking to reporters on the upcoming visit of the Prime Minister to Jammu on April 24, Sinha said militants are committing targeted killings in frustration. “Earlier also, they did it and they will try this in future also. But this is true and the entire country has also accepted that security forces have gained a big upper hand over the militants (in Kashmir),” he said.

SOPORE

Authorities were forced to act when a video showing a non-local halwai using his feet for kneading the dough went viral. A commoner had shot the rare shocking video in Sopore. Police quickly arrested the two persons and sealed the shops rented by the halwai. Later, civil administration officials also visited the spot. Residents said these halwai’s come to Kashmir in anticipation of the month of fasting and usually make Fenni which is hugely consumed by people with tea.

WASHINGTON

Kashmiri American Cardiologist, Dr Iftikhar J Kullo

Top Kashmiri American cardiologist, Dr Iftikhar J Kullo was nominated to the National Advisory Council on Human Genome Research (NACHGR) that the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) runs. The orders were issued by Xavier Becerra, Joe Biden’s Secretary of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Dr Iftikhar will be part of the council till September 30, 2024. A top-ranking professional, Dr Kullo serves as a Professor of Medicine and Science, and a Consultant in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Gonda Vascular Center at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota. He is the head of the Atherosclerosis and Lipid economics Laboratory and a chairperson of the Cardiovascular Genomics Task Force. Through his Atherosclerosis and Lipid Genomics Laboratory, Dr Kullo is investigating the use of new methodologies in refining cardiovascular risk stratification. These include genetic markers, circulating biomarkers, and noninvasive tests of arterial function and structure.

DUBAI

The Srinagar-Sharjah international flight has been grounded for being economically unviable. It became unviable after Pakistan denied its use of airspace. The last flight operated in the last week of January.

LADAKH

Amid the India-China standoff in Ladakh, three mobile towers have come up very close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Hot Springs area on the Chinese side. Konchok Stanzin, Chushul Councillor, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), said only one out of the 12 villages in his constituency had a 4G mobile tower whereas the Chinese had installed three near the LAC in an uninhabited area. China is building its infrastructure in the area. In January 2022, Beijing constructed a bridge on the Pangong Tso lake that connects the northern and southern parts of the lake and helps in the quick mobilisation of troops.

RiSE NEET Star, Shahid Makes It To AIIMS

Shahid Nazir

Hailing from Handwara, Shahid Nazir succeeded in realising his dream of pursuing an MBBS in a prestigious institution. NEET2021 results led him to get a berth at AIIMS, Jammu. Shahid credits his teachers at RiSE for his success. “RiSE follows a different strategy which others do not. The system of classes on alternate days gives more time for self-study and solving the test series. They provide unrelenting support and have an excellent teaching faculty. Doubt clearance sessions, limited class strength and the competent test series give RiSE the distinct place in coaching in Kashmir,” Shahid said. “I was taught by an incredible set of faculty members. Near about 70 to 75 questions were directly asked in NEET from biology sir’s notebook and if one studies the class notes, there is no need to solve MCQs in biology.”

“RiSE has sent students to the top colleges of the world and the country. Our student making it to AIIMS is a landmark step and an inspiration for the students of Kashmir. Now, more and more students will dream of studying at AIIMS,” commented Mubeen Masudi, RISE co-founder. Add Salman Shahid, another co-founder: “Our students are our inspiration who push us to innovate daily. We improve our strategies every day. We keep up with the changing pattern of the exams. This helps our students to outdo others.”
Imbesat Ahmad, the RiSE third co-founder deconstructed the recipe for success. “You have to be consistent and work hard. NEET is becoming more and more competitive every year. A lot of practice is needed for cracking NEET, you have to be very fast in solving questions and you have to be very accurate as well. Do not leave even a single topic. Give a lot of tests. Solve all the previous year’s questions,” he said.

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