Briefing August 21-27, 2022

JAMMU

BSF shoots down drone in Kathua; M-4 rifle, grenades recovered

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted raids at eight locations spread across five districts in Jammu and one in the Kashmir division in connection with arms-dropping through drones from Pakistan and their subsequent transportation. The raids were carried out at the house of Faisal Muneer (Talab Khatikan, Jammu), Atia Mehnaz (Srinagar), Haji Sheru (Kaink Samba), Mujahid Hussain Sheikh (Bhalla, Bhaderwah), and Habib (Harya Chak), Habibullah (Mawa), Mian Sohail (Rajbagh) and Muni Mohammad (Marheen) – all in Kathua. The raids came days after police recovered arms, ammunition and explosives including sticky bombs, IEDs and cash from the possession of seven persons in Jammu and Rajouri. Media reports quoted unnamed sources that the arrested have confessed to having transported the arms.

Till June 2022, 8000 complaints by 6500 KP families led to the retrieval of 2414 kanals of land from illegal occupation.

KASHMIR

In a decision being reacted by different quarters of the society, the Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board has banned the collection of donations by trustees at shrines and mosques run by the Board. It said the nazrana collected by Muttawali’s is an “unethical practice”. The Board looks after nearly 32000 properties, including shrines, mosques and educational institutions. The Board, the order said, was in receipt of “a large number of complaints against some people” receiving donations “forcibly and through exploitative means” at Ziayarats (shrines). “Despite coming from reasonably sound economic backgrounds, such people are permanently occupying particular spots within the shrines for their activities, and there are instances when such spots are being outsourced or contracted out against receipt of large sums of money that violates the sanctity of ziyarats,” it reads, “Such unethical practices damage the sanctity of sacred places, and are detrimental to the already strained finances of J&K Waqf Board.” The Board sees it as resource “pilferage”. The ban order, it said came after these people were warned. Reacting to fierce reactions from politics and clergy, Board chairperson Dr Darakhshan Andrabi said: “Many hard but necessary decisions are a must for making Waqf an organisation as per expectations of the people of J&K. We will be continuously taking bold decisions only to maintain or re-establish the befitting environment at our shrines and also for the productive use of other properties and assets of Waqf in J&K.”

LG Sinha said 17.5 lakh youth were provided with the opportunity to participate in sporting activities in 2021 and the number will double this year

SIDHRA

In a still mysterious case of its kind, six persons of two families were found dead in their houses adjacent to each other. While Noor-ul-Habib, one of the six, who owned one house, was from Baaghat in Srinagar, all others were from Bhalla (Doda). The dead from Doda was a complete family – Sakina, a widow, her daughters Naseema, Rubeena, physically challenged son Zafar Salim and Sajad, the son of her other daughter, who was not living there. Habib, the only son of his parents has been living in Jammu for almost eight years and never visited Srinagar but was willing to come. Those related to the Doda family are telling almost the same story. The police started looking for Habib only after his sister from Srinagar rang them up and found the bodies in the initial state of decomposition. Police said it has found injections all around indicating that it was a mass suicide. Both houses had CCTV but were switched off on August 9. Police have constituted a 4-member SIT to unravel the mystery.

“Habib was living in Jammu for the past nearly 10 years. He was helping Sakina who was trapped in several court cases related to family disputes,” Habib’s uncle in Srinagar said. However, Sakina’s relatives accused Habib of not allowing them to meet her over the past four years. “He (Habib) had completely controlled my mother and other siblings,” 17-year-old Sajjad Ahmad Magray’s mother, who was waiting outside the mortuary of Government Medical College, said.

Jammu and Kashmir Police received 125 gallantry medals.

SHOPIAN

Within less than 24 hours after a Kashmiri Pandit, Sunil Kumar Bhat, was killed and his cousin, Pitimber Nath injured, in their apple orchard at Chotigam (Shopian), the Jammu and Kashmir Police arrested three brothers of a militant who is being held responsible for the killing.  Police said Adil, a resident of Kutpora was behind the killing. His three brothers – Arif Ahmad Wani, Shabir Ahmad Wani and Touseef Ahmad Wani – were arrested and the process of attaching their properties has been initiated. A dusky village, barely 600 meters from the main Shopian-Kadder-Anantnag road, the village was home to almost a dozen-odd KP families and most of them migrated during the 1990s. However, a few stayed back. They would live without any tensions till April 2022, when militants attacked one resident and left him seriously injured. The last week’s attack came within four months after a similar attack in which one of them was injured. However, the residents strongly reacted to the innocent killing. They came out in protest and asserted that the innocent killings must stop.

Jammu and Kashmir government organised 661357 lakh functions involving 17 lakh people to celebrate Independence Day

DELHI

Vikar Rasool

Congress is in crisis. After the Congress High Command appointed Vikar Rasool Wani as the new PCC Chief in Jammu and Kashmir, the part is in a state of crisis. Within hours, Ghulam Nabi Azad resigned from the Campaign Committee and Political Affairs Committee. Later, three more resignations came – two from positions and one from the basic membership of the party. Haji Rashid, a two-time MLA from Sopore resigned from the party. Mohammad Amin Bhat and Gulzar Ahmed Wani also resigned. Congressmen who opposed the idea said Azad, a veteran, cannot work under the person, who, he baptised into the party. Congress, in its defence, said they had kept Azad in the loop and had consulted him four times. Party sources said it is a fact but every time, he was asked he suggested G M Saroori be the successor of GA Mir. Even before the reorganisation, Congress was already in a mess. Its membership in the erstwhile state assembly fell from 17 in 2002 to 13 in 2008 and zero in 2014. This is for the first time that both the PCC Chief and the working president are from Jammu.

Against 220 positions, 4943 candidates qualify for the JKPSC prelims result in 2022.

PAHALGAM

After spending almost two months over the heights guarding the track for Amarnath pilgrims, a bus load of ITBP was on its way to their cam when the bus fell into a deep gorge. Seven personnel were killed and 33 others were injured, some of them seriously. The ill-fated bus driven by two JKP cops carried 37 personnel of ITBP met an accident near Chandanwari. The injured are being treated at 92-Base Hospital.

BUDGAM

Riverbed Mining undertaken by NKC Projects Pvt Ltd cranes in Shali Ganga around Trumbi Bagh Lal Gam District Budgam
Pic: Raja Muzaffar Bhat

In a first, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed for an immediate halt on the riverbed mining (RBM) in Shali Ganga stream in Budgam by a Gurgaon-based construction company, which is executing the work on Srinagar Ring Road. The orders were passed on the basis of an application by green activist Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat, who proved that the environmental clearance was granted to the company without any replenishment study, thus violating Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016 and Enforcement and Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining, 2020.

REASI

The Reasi Railway Bridge is a crucial link between Banihal and Katra. It is one of the world’s highest bridges railway, much higher that the Eiffel Tower Photograph: Asrar Sultanpuri

The railway bridge that connects the Bakkal and Kouri belts, located on the two banks of the Chenab in Reasi, and is higher than the Eiffel Tower is 98 per cent complete. It is a crucial link between 111-Km Banihal and Katra track. The Rs 1250 crore bridge is 1.3-km-long long and is located 359 meters above the Chenab riverbed. Its overall height puts the bridge – an engineering marvel – almost 30 metres higher than the Paris Eiffel Tower. The bridge required 28,660 MT of steel fabrication and has the capacity to withstand wind up to 100 kmph and bear earthquake forces of zone V. The work on the massive project started in 2004 and involved more than 1300 workers and 300 engineers. The Banihal Katra track has remained the most challenging one. More than 75 per cent of the total 37 bridges and 97.6 per cent of tunnelling work is complete. This section predominantly involves tunnelling of 164 Km (97.57 km main tunnel and 66.4 km of escape tunnel), in addition to the construction of 37 bridges on Chenab river and its tributary Anji Khad. Right now, 160.52 Km of tunnelling (95.47 km of the main tunnel and 65.05 km of escape tunnel) and 28 bridges, out of a total of 37 stand ready.

NEW YORK

Reema Rasool, a US Democratic Party activist is running for representing NY3 in US Congress. Before that, however, she has to manage her primaries later this month.

Kashmir-origin businesswoman Reema Rasool is in the race to represent the New York-3 constituency in the American Congress. She is one of the six candidates seeking the Democratic Party endorsement for the race on August 23, the date for the primaries. Earlier, she managed her primaries. Daughter of Kashmiri physicians who migrated to the USA in the 1970s, Reema is a single mom, and mother of two boys. An impressive talker, Reema has a BA and MA in creative writing from NYU.

BUDGAM

Husband-wife duo drug peddlers arrested in Budgam on August 14,2022

In a first, the Jammu and Kashmir Police arrested a husband-wife for drug peddlers and claimed recovery of contraband substances from their possession. The couple was living in a rented accommodation near Railway Station Budgam. “During searches, police party recovered 4 grams of Heroin like substance, one digital balance and some insulin syringes,” the police spokesman said. They were identified as Shah Faisal son of Gulzar Ahmed Shah and Nowsheen Faisal wife of Shah Faisal, residents of Mohanpora Ompora Budgam.

UDHAMPUR

The dead body of a civilian, Vanshu Bangotra from the Roundmail area was recovered in Chenani town on a roadside. The death is being seen as mysterious and reports in a section of media in Jammu suggest the person was highly critical of Jammu’s political class. Police said they are following section 174 CrPC in the investigations. Later a detail footage of his car waiting near a toll plaza was released by the police that suggested the dead man was fighting with his friends and wanted to drive the car. Soon, he got missing.

JAMMU

Drone shot down in Kathua on May 29, 2022

The police said a jailed militant who was part of a militant module involved in the collection and ferrying of weapons and explosives dropped via drones died of a heart attack in the Kotbalwal jail. The under-trial was identified as Muni Mohammad, 36, a resident of Rampura Kathua. Earlier, in another incident, another person, who was brought out of jail and taken for an operation, was killed in a firing incident in Toph, Arnia. Identified as Mohammad Ali Hussain alias Qasim alias Jehangir, a Pakistan national was injured in the firing along with a cop. They were admitted to the hospital where he died. Police said the accused attempted snatching the service rifle of the cop and flee and was injured in retaliation.

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