The border stories are not always about killings and loss. Last week two teenage sisters who inadvertently had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and reached Mendhar (Poonch) were repatriated within less than 24 hours. Laiba Zubair, 17, and Sana, 13, were among eight siblings of a butcher who had two wives when he died early 2020. The financial difficulties had triggered family issues and it was in the midst of these tensions that they left home and later in the evening crossed the LoC inadvertently. The immediate repatriation has created goodwill as people publicly connected that this was the quickest repatriation ever. Even people on the Rawlakot side have started asking uncomfortable questions like what the army was doing when the girls crossed over?
The word K has become an inseparable part of world politics. Last week when British opposition Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi wanted to know in the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) session in the House of Commons that if the Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) will convey to the Indian Prime Minister their heartfelt anxieties over the farmer protests in India, to his utter surprise the PM (Jhonson) said that any dispute between India and Pakistan was for the two countries to settle bilaterally. The gafe became a major embarrassment for his office and his officials had to defend him saying that he misheard the question. This is just an indicator of hoe people at high places think outside the subcontinent.
The household name in Qatar, Kashmir Fashion Tailors, is the most sought after place by western diplomats and royal families for stitching their suits. In this business from last more than six decades, this shop was started in 1955, its present owner, the third generation of his family, Abdul Majeed, said it was started by the eldest brother of his father, Mohammad Anwar with the name Kashmir Tailors and Drycleaners in Msheireb area. Before shifting to Qatar, Majeed and his brothers were stitching uniforms for Pakistan Air Force in Karachi. His father used to have many customers from the Royal families of Qatar. They still have very royal and high profile, Qatari customers. A large number of Western diplomats still prefer suits stitched at this shop. Interestingly the promoters are Pakistanis and not Kashmiris.
Adding wings to her life, Neha Fida Wani, 20, become second Kashmiri girl who bagged a commercial pilot’s license at such a young age. Born to a local Anantnag businessman, Neha after completing her schooling from Anantnag, moved to Chandigarh for higher studies and then to Madhya Pradesh where she joined Chimes Aviation Academy in 2018. Fascinated to fly since her childhood, she has recently completed her 200 hours of flying training, of which 185 hours were on Cessna 172 and 15 hours on DA42 aircraft. Earlier Ayesha Aziz had become the youngest student pilot in India in 2011 at the age of 16 years.
Struggling to survive in their profession, journalists have to face new hurdles every day. Three journalists were beaten in South Kashmir’s Srigufwara area when they were reporting the ongoing DDC elections. Fayaz Lolu, who works as a stringer with ETV Bharat, along with two other Journalists Mudasir Qadri, a stringer with News 18 Urdu, and Junaid Rafiq, who was working for TV 9, were allegedly beaten by the local police. Junaid was later taken to the local hospital and put on oxygen support. The doctors have said that he is out of danger now. The trio has also alleged that their equipment were seized by the police, which they later confirmed was returned by the evening.
For the first time, the geographical indication (GI) tagged Saffron from Kashmir was launched in Al Maya Super Market, Dubai, UAE. A geographical indication (GI) tag is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. Saffron from Kashmir stall will remain available in Al Maya Supper Market, which is headed by Group Director Kamal Vachani, AL Maya Dubai, UAE. The event was part of the happenings during the visit of a group of Kashmir traders to Dubai for an India-Dubai food event. On the sidelines, it was also announced that the Lulu group of UAE will be investing in a food project in Jammu.
Introduced to Kashmiri population in 2017, after the summer unrest of 2016 when more than 100 civilians were killed in the protests, Dineshwar Sharma, 66, the former interlocutor to Jammu and Kashmir has passed away. He was presently posted in Lakshadweep. He was a retired Kerala-cadre Indian Police Service officer. Since 2017, he held regular talks with the stakeholders, promoting peace in Kashmir until 2019, when the central government revoked the special status to Jammu and Kashmir and divided the state into two union territories.
New Delhi police have arrested two Punjab residents and three Kashmiris in the killing case of Balwinder Singh Sandhu. Back in Kashmir, the families of the trio arrested, Reyaz Ahmad, Shabir Ahmad and Muhammad Ayub Pathan, are protesting insisting that the three residents of Budgam are innocent. Reportedly the Punjab police in its investigation have denied any evidence to prove it as the act of terrorism or any Kashmir link in the case. They have already stated that they have solved the killing and arrested 11 persons. But with the arrest of five men, the Delhi police is offering a new story that three Kashmiris were arrested with one of the accused in the murder case and have also accused that they have recovered 2kg heroin worth Rs 8 crores in the International market along with Rs 1 lakhs cash and two cars from the accused. The police have also said that they have also recovered two semi-automatic pistols along with 10 live cartridges from their possession. All the five have been sent on four days remand.
Almost after nine years, a special court presided by judge Ashwani Kumar has acquitted all the five persons accused of killing the known Srinagar Jamiat e Ahl Hadis cleric, Molvi Showkat. He was killed in an IED explosion outside a mosque in Maisuma on April 8, 2011. The court has observed that the charges against the accused were not proved. All the six were acquitted of all the charges. Of the accused, one, Abdul Gani Dar alias Abdullah Gaznavi had already died on February 2, 2020. Five others who were acquitted include Nisar Ahmad Khan alias Ishaq son of Mohammad Aslam, resident of Khan Colony, Chanpora; Javed Ahmad Munshi alias Bul Papa son of Ghulam Ahmad, a resident of Chutan, Chanpora; Abdul Majid Daralias Madni son of Abdul Qadir, a resident of Khanpora Budgam; Gulzar Khan son of Ghulam Khan a resident of Baila, currently in Bemina and Reyaz Ahmad Shah son of Mohammad Yousuf Shah, a resident of Zaffron Colony, Pathachowk.
In a heart-wrenching incident, a large number of apple trees were axed in district Budgam and Pulwama by the Jammu and Kashmir Forest department. The department said the move was to retrieve the encroached forest land. But the locals have alleged that the move came without any explanation. The department, according to locals, had given them notices but before they could have filed their replies, the trees, planted by their forefathers, were already cut. They said similar notices have been issued in Budgam district’s Jabbad Branwar, Nagbal, Yusmarg, and Darwan villages. Chairman RTI Movement Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat has said that the action by the Forest department was an open violation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA-2006) as the said law provides “legal protection” to forest dwellers like Gujjars, Bakarwals, Chopans, and even Kashmiri or Dogri people living in the forest areas for more than 75 years.