Briefing September 19-25, 2021

Aziz Hajni
(March 7, 1957 – September 11, 2021)

Abdul Aziz Parray aka Dr Aziz Hajni

Abdul Aziz Parray aka Hajni was born in Sonawari on March 7, 1957. After completing his higher secondary schooling locally, he attended Government Degree College, Bemina. He did his masters in Kashmiri and got a gold medal, the first-ever gold medal in the Kashmiri stream. He did his PhD from the same university. He became a +2 lecturer and was a research officer in the department of education. As Deputy Director Academics, he got like-minded academics to and compiled Kashmiri textbooks for class first to twelfth. Eventually, in 2015, he was appointed as Secretary of JK Academy of Art Culture and Languages. He was also convenor of Sahitya Akademi for New Delhi’s Northern Regional Board. Before that he headed the cultural forum, the Adbee Markaz Kamraz. Hajni was a writer, a poet and a broadcaster. He was a well-travelled man as well. Some of his books include Pantchahan Variyan Hund Kashur Adab, Paer Zaan, Kaashire Naat, Noor-e-Nooran, Vitasta Ki Saer, Kashur Aqeedati Adab Punjabie Shayiri, Ze Gaz Zameen. His 2015 book Aaini Khani – a collection of critical write-ups in Kashmiri, won the Sahitya Academy best book award and has been translated into many languages so far. Earlier, in 2013, his book Teuth Pazar also fetched the translation award by the Sahitya Academy. The book is a translation of short stories from various Indian languages.

At the age of 64, he passed away in peace at home with his entire family around.

WASHINGTON

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US Vice President Joe Biden during former’s US visit a few years before Biden was elected as the President of USA

It is now official that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be flying to the US to attend the Quad summit that President Joe Biden will preside over at the White House on September 24. Prime Ministers’ of Australia and Japan are also joining. Quad is the 4-country strategic grouping, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue that came into being in 2007. Apart from the Covid19 pandemic, the four leaders are expected to discuss “contemporary global challenges” with a focus on Afghanistan and China. The Foreign Ministry said the four leaders will “discuss regional issues of shared interest”. They met virtually almost six months ago.

In anticipation of the summit, interesting reports are emerging from the US. Republican Senator Marco Rubio, during a Congressional hearing, has said that the role of Pakistan in enabling the Taliban is a victory that is not sending a good message to India.

“India … I know that there was an announcement today there’ll be a meeting of the Quad fairly soon, which is a good development, except that the Indo-Pacific region, if you are India, you’re looking at this and saying, ‘If the United States allowed Pakistan to unravel their standing,” Rubio was quoted saying. “Because the Pakistani role in all this – and I think multiple administrations are guilty of ignoring it. The Pakistani role in enabling the Taliban is ultimately a victory for those pro-Taliban hardliners in the Pakistani government.” He added: “They (Indians) have to be looking at this and saying if the United States could have, you know, a third-rate power like Pakistan unravel its aims, what chance do they have of confronting China? So, I think this leaves us in a terrible situation..They were able to go there to rest, to refit, to train, to recruit. And so, in summary, even before the withdrawal, we had a terrible status quo. The security forces, a small number of US forces, you know, continued to die.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations that the US was in touch with India on using it as a staging post for aerial strikes in Afghanistan, while it will reassess its relationship with Pakistan.

“I’m talking northwest India as a potential because Qatar and Doha are just a little bit too far,” said Blinken, but refused to elaborate, observing that, “Let me just say generally we’re deeply engaged with India across the board with regard to any specifics about over-the-horizon capabilities and the plans that we put in place.” The Pentagon’s last over-the-horizon strike had killed nine civilians instead of a suicide bomber.

These statements in anticipation indicate that not only the Quad Summit but also Prime Minister’s UN speech will be interesting.

Apparently, off the camera, 140 women participated in a cycling event involving covering a distance of 65 km from Baramulla to Kaman Bridge at the LoC in Uri. Commander of Srinagar based 15-Corps Lt Gen DP Pandey met the participants that included Anupama Bhave, 75 – one of the 10 women from Pune; model and actor, Milind Soman and his wife, Ankita Konwar, flagged off the event and also participated in it.

KATRA

Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty reaches Mata Vaishno Devi temple to offer prayers on Wednesday, September 15, 2021.

The day Mumbai Police chose to submit the 1467-page supplementary charge-sheet in sensational pornography racket involving Raj Kundra and three others, his wife, actress Shilpa Shetty footed a 13-km distance to reach the cave shrine of Vaishno Devi. Shilpa was seen in photographs on a horse and after paying her respects, she interacted with some media persons. “It was due to the goddesses’ call that I came all the way to pay obeisance to her,” Shetty said. It also means that the police case against her husband is fool-proof and now she is praying for a miracle. Mumbai police have so far arrested 11 persons in the case that was busted after a raid at a bungalow in Madh Island in February 2021 where porn films were allegedly being shot. Kundra and Thorpe, who headed his company’s IT, on July 19. Shetty has distanced from the case early but is fighting a legal battle to get her husband free.

Only 3000 of the estimated 25000 migrant Kashmiri Pandits families living in Delhi reported to a special camp to get domicile certificates. Of 3300 West Pakistan refugee families living outside Jammu and Kashmir, 100 have applied for the document.

SRINAGAR

Kashmiri Pandit women praying at the Khir Bhawani temple at Tulmula (Ganderbal). KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Jammu and Kashmir High Court has ruled that not all Kashmiri Hindus are Kashmiri Pandits. The ruling came while dismissing a petition that sought to include Kashmiri Hindus in a government special recruitment drive, announced for KPs. “Kashmiri Pandits is a separately identifiable community distinct from other Hindus residing in the Valley like Rajputs, Brahmins other than Kashmiri Pandits, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and many others,” Justice Sanjeev Kumar observed. The court said it is difficult to accept the contention of the petitioners, who are mostly Kshatriyas, Rajputs, Scheduled Castes, non-Kashmiri Brahmins, to be treated as KPs and admitted to the benefits of the Prime Minister’s revised package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants, given effect to by the Rules of 2009 read with SRO 425 of 2017. The significant judgement has long term implications and some people are saying they will challenge it. By 2010, there were 114 Kashmiri Hindu families and about 700 KP families living in Kashmir so when special recruitment for 1997 posts was announced all applied. “They are not Kashmiri Pandits,” Satish Mahaldar, chairman, Reconciliation, Return and Rehabilitation of Migrant Kashmiri Pandits (RRRM), was quoted saying. “We have a distinct culture, religious customs and traditions. We do Bhairav puja and they pray differently. How can we be part of a huge milieu? We are a smaller community but have a distinct identity.” In another petition in which non-migrant Pandits were seeking quota in a professional college, a division bench of the High Court disposed it off with no direction to the government.

Latest revelations suggest various offices of Jammu Municipal Corporation have Rs 86 crore unpaid power tariff. Police establishment in Jammu City unpaid power tariff is at Rs 5.67 crore.

TEL AVIV

Dr Noor ul Owase Jeelani, one of world’s most respected super specialists in separating twins conjoined in heads

Making a global headline, a Kashmiri born British Muslim doctor helped a group of Israeli doctors to successfully operate on a pair of twins conjoined at the head. The 12-hour operation took place in Beersheba, Israel with the support of Soroka Medical Centre and is the first of the five such complex surgeries that Dr Noor Ul Owase Jeelani carried outside the UK. Jeelani, a pediatric neurosurgeon at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, is considered an authority of such complex surgeries and has set up a charity Gemini Untwined in 2018 to fund these procedures. With the help of the charity, he and his colleague, Professor David Dunaway have carried out four separation surgeries on twins who were conjoined at the head with fused skulls, intertwined brains, sharing blood vessels. Every year almost fifty craniopagus conjoined twins are estimated to be born around the world, of which it is thought only 15 survive beyond the first 30 days of life. With current technologies, approximately half of these cases would be candidates for successful surgical separation.

LADAKH

Sarchu, the scenic camping site on Manali Leh Road is gradually emerging a bone of contention between the traders of Lahul and Leh

Years before the Red Army started systematic incursions into Ladakh, Leh and Kargil had done almost the same thing to Himachal’s huge belt in Lahul Spiti, albeit for economic reasons. The issue involves Sarchu and Shinkula pass on the Manali Leh highway, which emerges as the most sought after camping sites during peak summer. Hospitality professionals from Ladakh are accused of encroaching upon the sites and physically attacking the Lahul professionals. Both the areas are part of the Lahul Spiti district. Though Sarchu, a starting point for challenging Zanskar Trek, almost 222 km from Manali, is officially a part of the Lahaul-Spiti district, the Jammu and Kashmir had earlier set up a post almost 17 km inside Himachal’s territory. At one point in time, when the Survey General of India visited the spot in presence of the Deputy Commission’s of Kargil and Leh, it was decided that the two governments would deposit some mandatory fees to the Geological Survey of India for final demarcation. However, neither Himachal nor the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir government paid the fees as a result of which the issue is still hanging. Now the traders routinely attack each other.

Crimes against women in Jammu and Kashmir have jumped from 3069 cases in 2019 to 3414 in 2020, an 11% increase. In 2020, there were 247 rape cases, 783 kidnappings and abduction of women cases, 349 cases of cruelty by husband or his relatives, nine dowry deaths, 24 cases of abetment to suicide, 1744 cases of assault on women with intent to outrage modesty, and 10 cases of attempted rape.

JAMMU

Rahul Gandhi being received by G A Mir, Prof Saifuddin Soz at Srinagar airport on August 9, 2021

In his latest Jammu visit, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi accused the RSS-BJP combine of trying to break the composite culture of Jammu and Kashmir. “The feeling of love, brotherhood and composite culture exists among you all. I feel sad that the RSS and BJP are trying to break this culture,” Gandhi said in his address to party workers during his 2-day visit, after paying his respects at Vaishno Devi shrine. “They attack love and brotherhood… You got weakened and as result, they took away your statehood.” He also mentioned the sufferings of the Kashmiri Pandit families, on a Facebook post: “Goodwill to my Kashmiri Pandit brothers and sisters. The country will never forget the pain of your families’ sufferings. Humble tribute!”

BJP reacted quite sharply. “The problems of Jammu and Kashmir are the legacy of the Gandhi family. It was Jawaharlal Nehru who was responsible for the problems of Kashmir,” BJP spokesman Sambit Patra said.

SRINAGAR

An aerial view of Royal Golf Course, Srinagar.
An aerial view of Royal Golf Course, Srinagar.

Jammu and Kashmir organised a 4-day golf tournament involving a 72-hole stroke play with the cut being applied after two rounds. Almost 125 golfers – 119 professionals and six amateurs, participated in the TATA Steel Professional Golf Tour of India’s (PGTI) 13th season of the golf tournament at Srinagar’s picturesque Royal Springs Golf Course (RSGC). These included Olympian Udayan Mane, Indian star Jyoti Randhawa and PGTI Order of Merit leader Karandeep Kochhar.

KHANYAR

Police Officer identified as Arshid Ahmad died in Khanyar attack on September 12, 2021

When militants shot at sub-inspector, Meer Arshad in a Khanyar neighbourhood, it was recorded by CCTV camera. It was a point-blank murder that evoked strong criticism from the mainstream parties. Meer was quickly rushed to SKIMS where he died. Police Chief, Dilbagh Singh said that Meer was deputed to the hospital for a check-up of an accused person and when he was coming out, he was shot at. He said the killer has been identified. A resident of Kulmuna Kupwara, when his body reached his home, the entire belt came out to be part of his last rites. In solidarity, all senior cops changed the display picture of their Twitter handle to that of a picture of police officer Arshid Ahmad Mir, after which, #WeAreAllArshid, started trending on social media.

DELHI

A special NIA court has sentenced a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant from Pakistan to seven years of rigorous imprisonment for conspiring to carry out terror attacks at different locations in India. Mohammad Amir,a resident of Karachi, was sentenced under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Arms Act, the Explosive Substances Act, the Foreigners Act, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act and relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. He was arrested in November 2017 from Magam (Handwara), following which NIA filed a charge sheet against Amir in May 2018.

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