Briefing August 23 – 29, 2020

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Covid-19

The first GMC Srinagar survey to trace seroprevalence of IgG antibodies against Covid-19 virus involving around 6000 health workers and commoners found 3.8 per cent of commoners and 2.5 per cent health workers had antibodies. This means there is no community transmission even as the pandemic has killed more than 625 residents in Jammu and Kashmir.

Delhi has withdrawn 10,000 paramilitary men from Kashmir and politicians see is mere symbolism

MUMBAI

The Real and Unreal: Gunjan Saxena (L) the former IAF pilot with Jhanvi Kapoor, who plays her role in the biopic that has landed the producers into controversy.

Given the emphasis on the ultra-nationalism in India, it has created a situation that masala films on Deshbagti theme are making more money. People hardly care about the cast and the storyline. That is how Kashmir was tackled by Bollywood for the last 30 years. Critics shouted that whatever is being said in these movies is sheer dishonesty but nobody would listen in the time of windfall. This tradition created a situation that when Karan Jouhar did his biopic,  Gunjan Saxena — The Kargil Girl allegedly on the “first” IAF pilot who was part of the action in 1999’s Kargil war, it triggered a crisisWhile Sreevidya Rajan, another IAF pilot said that Gunjan was her colleague but not the only and the first pilot to get into the Kargil act, the veterans in IAF said the elite force has been wrongly portrayed. Rajan actually strongly disputed certain heroics in the masala movie. Karan has assured the film certification institution that he will take care of the film that is running on virtual platform Netflix. The film shot in Lucknow has Jhanvi Kapoor plays Gunjan Saxena.

JAMMU

People staged a protest in Banihal area of Ramban on Monday, August 17, 2020. KL Image: Special Arrangement

Two individuals spoke senselessly as their third colleague recorded the derogatory and blasphemous utterance on his phone. Within moments, the clip triggered a serious backlash in Jammu and Kashmir forcing the police to act swiftly. The protests are still going in almost all areas of Jammu and Kashmir seeking exemplary punishment to the trio who wanted to disrupt the communal harmony in Jammu and Kashmir. Various localities in Jammu were on spontaneous strike against the blasphemy. Nobody knows how the court will tackle the case once the police find time to file a charge sheet.

SRINAGAR

Boys bathing in a stream to beat the scorching heat. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

The August, at least till day 20, was the hottest in the last 39 years. The temperature soared as high as 35.7 degrees Celsius. Usually, it would rain in Kashmir once the mercury would cross 32 degrees. Sonum Lotus, the popular weatherman of Kashmir, has said the temperature have gone six degrees up than normal. Indications suggest that the Valley of Kashmir is gradually emerging as the key crucible of the climatic change. The snow line has already gone up over the years and the tree line is also witnessing a sort of tension. The August temperatures would have an impact on agricultural growth. Already the Covid-19 has impacted the horticulture as the farmers say the scan is more rampant and pesticide-resistant. In certain areas, the discharge in the streams has gone own resulting in routine feuds between communities on the first use. Even the water supply issues are making populations in urban belts suffer.

GWALIOR

In an interesting story, a young woman from Gwalior claimed she was lured into love and eventually marriage by a man claiming to be Hindu. Interestingly, the reality dawned when she reached her “Hindu” home in Surankote only to fund them to be Muslims. She claimed the man’s actual name was Shaukat Ali Khan. Khan was working with an event management company and allegedly said he was Sahil Kumar. She lived with him for six months and then decided to call it a day. She alleged that the family attacked her with an axe and threw her me out of their home. She as returned home and police have taken action by arrested her husband and four others. But how could the lady not talk for six months?

BENGALURU

The three Kashmiri engineering students, now bailed out but living in Bengaluru

The three Kashmiri students who were booked and arrested for sedition in Karnataka are out of the Hindalga jail in Belgaum after 109 days. The Wire news website reported that the trio, post-release, are terrified. The three civil engineering students were studying at KLE Institute of Technology, in Hubballi, when they were arrested in February 2020 for allegedly creating a “pro-Pakistan” video. They were attacked and publicly heckled on multiple occasions. Now out on bail, they have said they live in fear and are restricted to a rented room in Bengaluru. Initially, the bail has restricted their movement to Dharwad district and the requested court to relax it on security reasons and they were permitted to move to Bengaluru. They are Aamir Mohiuddin Wani, 22, Basit Aashiq Sofi and Talib Majeed Wani. Their video was termed “anti-national” by their university and were suspended. Much before the police would intervene, Bajrang Dal had beat them. The second attack took place in the court itself. The local Bar Association even passed a resolution against pleading their case. Then a team of lawyers from Benglaru appeared on their behalf in hostile conditions. Students have maintained that the video being held against them is tempered. The three students from modest backgrounds had secured admission under the Prime Minister’s Special Scheme Scholarship (PMSSS). As they were arrested, their father’s somehow managing to reach Karnataka. Watching the situation, two pf them fell ill and had to return home for hospitalisation.

GUPKAR

National Conference President and Member of Parliament from Srinagar Dr Farooq Abdullah met with another group of party leaders on the second consecutive day on Friday, August 21, 2020.

NC patriarch Dr Farooq Abdullah succeeded in getting his first line of leaders to his residence after more than year-long detention for discussion. After talking to the first flock, Dr Abdullah refused to offer any idea about what they are going to decide unless all the leaders of all the parties are free and able to sit and talk. He said Gupkar Resolution that was an all-party document in anticipation of August 5, 2019, is the core issue. He said the political parties will not remain silent and will explore ways and means to get Jammu and Kashmir out of the prevailing crisis once the leaders are free. Asserting that the people are living a miserable life, Dr Abdullah said they have been waiting for 70 years and there is no harm waiting for five more. He said he knew the journalists are free in Kashmir but not the journalism. Dr Farooq later visited Ali Mohammad Sagar along with his colleagues, apparently to test that he personally is a free man.

SRINAGAR

Lt Governor Manoj Sinha unfurled the Tricolour and took salute at a parade in SK Stadium Srinagar on August 15, 2020. Kl Image by Bilal Bahadur

On August 15, ceremonial march pass, LT Governor Manoj Sinha tried playing the right cords. In his speech, he said he is “deeply impressed by the spirit of Hindu-Muslim unity” in Jammu and Kashmir. He said he will learn Kashmiri for better communication with people. Though his speech was reported everywhere but what people mostly read was something different. The UT administration installing huge LED screens in deserted Srinagar to relay the Prime Minister Modi’s speech was a smash hit on social media. Much bigger was the BJP using Photoshop to morph a picture showing they unfurled tricolour in the Lal Chowk. This fake image was shared by tens of thousands of the right-wingers including some MPs also. Later came the statement of the party’s local leader who termed the mainstream politicians in Kashmir as “frogs”. The question being asked is if the LG is the BJP man holding an administrative position, why cannot one day belong to him.

SRINAGAR

Sand Digger identified as Irshad Ahmad Sheikh son of Bashir Ahmad Sheikh drowned in river Jhelum on Wednesday, August 19, 2020.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has amended the Minor Mineral Concession, Storage and Transportation Rules to confer mining rights to Panchayat’s. In ten first go, around 100 mining blocks have been identified for allotment to the Panchayati Raj Institutions. The 100 blocks – 5 in each district would be separate from those auctioned already. Interestingly, the auditioning for 206 blocks was done at the peak of internet blockade resulting in the bids being secured by non-locals. Though neither of them has been given the allotments orders, they are illegally working in the water bodies of Kashmir.

KREERI 

Special Director General (DG), CRPF Kashmir, Zulfikar Hassan pays tribute to slain CRPF men who were killed in a militant attack at Kreeri at RTC Humhama in the outskirts of Srinagar on Tuesday. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

In an unprecedented development, one of the three militants, who was eventually killed by the counter-insurgent forces in Kreeri shot a video of his killings and released it online. “By releasing the video of attack, militants want to glamourise militancy. But they can’t. We replied by actions & killed 04 top commanders, Sajjad @ Haider & FT Taimur Khan @ Abu Usman (seen in said video/attack) & Naseer @ Sad bhai & FT Ali bhai @ Danish within 72 hours,” the police wrote on Twitter. The 72-hours encounter led to the killing of three militants, two soldiers, two CRPF personnel and a cop. Last week, however, was very active on the militancy front. There were many encounters in the south and north Kashmir.

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