Briefing December 19 – 25, 2021

   

RANGRETH

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Forces personnel clear the road blocked by a group of protesters after a brief encounter with militants at Rangreth on the outskirts of Srinagar, Monday, December 13, 2021. Two militants were killed in the shootout. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Jammu and Kashmir Police arrested a mother and her daughter who had questioned the “encounter” after two militants – Adil Ahmad Wani (Daramdora Shopian) and an unidentified one, were killed in a shootout in Wanbal. Currently held at Womens’ Police Station, Rambagh, The Afrooza Jan wife of Mushtaq Ahmad Sofi and Aisha, stand booked in a case registered under a case under sections 147 and 148 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly) and 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) IPC. After the shootout, some youth were seen protesting and then a video appeared on social media that showed some women accusing police of “killing youngsters in fake encounters”.

“They are picking young boys from the roads, killing them and later dubbing them militants. How long should we tolerate this? I don’t believe them,” a young lady is seen telling some reporters. “My brother is in class 10 and tomorrow if he comes out on the streets and is killed and labelled a militant, do you think we will believe it?” Another woman is heard saying: “How can they end a gunfight in two to four minutes? Where are the guns, we need proof they were militants?” They said the slain duo carried no weapons.

“Both of them (women) were identified through social media videos that went viral after the shootout,” a newspaper quoted a police officer saying. “The duo tried to provide misinformation about the operation that created a doubt-like situation among the people. More people are being identified through various footages and police will soon arrest them.”

The arrest of the duo has been widely condemned with Mehbooba Mufti terming it “a new low” for the administration. Terming the situation “extremely suffocating”, Sajad Lone said the administration has “gone berserk” and is arresting people “in brazen violation of democratic and civilized norms.” National Conference and Apni Party also denounced the arrests.

The UAPA Cases in Jammu and Kashmir have gone up from 227 in 2019 to 346 in 2020.

SRINAGAR

Co-founders of a logistics company, FastBeetle, Abid Rashid (L) and Sheikh Samiullah (R). They got an institutional investment of 100 thousand dollars after their less than 2-year start-up was evaluated worth a million-dollar company.

Barley two years old Srinagar logistics company, FastBeetle has successfully raised the US $100 thousand. Valuated at a million-dollar company, the fresh capital has come from angel investors including Sandeep Patel from Nepra, Saurabh Mittal – Entrepreneurship Evangelist in the Himalayan region, Vikram Sanghvi, Rohit Qamra, a few non-resident Kashmiris. This is the first start-up from Kashmir that has been able to bring in the capital on basis of its performance as a last-mile logistics delivery set-up by diluting is equity. The company said it works with over 800 micro-entrepreneurs and SMEs, mostly women, apart from the major retailers like Amazon and Flipkart.

Company co-founders, Sheikh Samiullah, and Abid Rashid said they will use fresh capital in expanding their reach in the Kashmir periphery and Jammu. Currently manned by 70 people, the company handles 2000 parcels including 500 generated locally in a 24 cycle operation. Managing professional partnerships is a rare feat for a start-up started in 2019 that was promised a million bucks loan by a state agency but later denied.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Home Affairs has recommended a “suitable increase” in monthly relief of the Kashmiri migrants which is presently Rs 13,000 per family or Rs 3250 per person.

SRINAGAR

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah with others party leaders during the convention at Ganderbal on December 14, 2021

After his return from Chenab Valley, Omar Abdullah is out on daily basis indicating that political activities are gradually being permitted by the system. In his speeches, he has been hitting right, left and centre. Insisting that the security situation has deteriorated hugely, Omar insists the people are feeling insecure and the where militancy had been wiped out, the fugitives and the bunkers have returned.

Omar revealed that BJP was attempting to set up the next Jammu and Kashmir Assembly to endorse the August 5, 2019 decisions. “The same resolution will be then produced before the Supreme Court with the plea that the people of J&K were satisfied with the August 5 decisions,” he told a Bandipora gathering. Since the party knew such a resolution can not be passed without support from Kashmir, “it has propped up parties to divide the votes in the Valley.”

Since Art 370 abrogation, outsiders bought seven plots in J&K, all in Jammu: Govt

SHALIMAR

Prof Dr Nazir Ahmad Ganai, VC, SKUAST

Dr Nazir Ganai has been cleared as the next VC of SKUAST-K. Presently Director, Planning and Monitoring, Ganai, 66, has served in the varsity for nearly three decades and was instrumental in securing Rs 30 crore World Bank ICAR project which helped the university to become the sixth in India. He has studied Genetics and Breeding at various universities including Wageningen University of Research (WUR), Netherlands. He has also received seven fellowships which include Joint fellowship on Academic Leadership by IIT Roorke/ Michigan University USA in Nov-Dec 2018, Durham International Fellowship for Research and Enterprise Durham University, UK Oct-Dec 2016, Visiting Fellowship Wisconsin State University USA in June 2012, Erasmus Mundus Fellowship of European Union at Wageningen University Netherlands Jan-March 2009, SABRE Fellowship European Union Roslin Institute, Scotland in Nov-Dec 2008.

The government told the parliament that seven plots of land have been purchased by persons from outside Jammu and Kashmir since August 2019, all in Jammu.

DELHI

The NC delegation led by Devinder Singh Rana handing over a memorandum to Delimitation Commission Chairperson in Jammu on July 8, 2021

The Justice (retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai led Delimitation Commission mandated to increase seven berths and redraw the seats of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly is meeting on December 20 and its agenda includes the proposed allocation of constituencies in the 20 districts. Five MPs of Jammu and Kashmir are its associate members and they will be attending the meeting. The Commission had met in February last with the associate members. Meanwhile, a report in a Delhi newspaper suggested that the Commission has not seen the last delimitation award given by Justice K K Gupta in 1995, as the relevant report has mysteriously gone missing. The newspaper reported “indications” suggesting while the number of constituencies reserved for Scheduled Castes may remain at seven, nine seats may be reserved for Scheduled Tribes across Jammu and Kashmir. It quoted an officer saying: “For example, there are large but thinly populated constituencies allocated in Kashmir areas like Gurez and Karnah (Kupwara). Yet the same formula was not applied while allocating constituencies in Jammu region, particularly in a big area like Kishtwar with less population density but far-flung habitations.” It quoted sources talking about the “likelihood of a separate constituency being carved out of the border district of Samba, to accommodate villages close to the border where the residents have unique concerns like shelling from Pakistan.” The commission, it added, “has not just gone by population criteria in earmarking constituencies but taken into account physical features, existing boundaries of administrative units, facility of communication and public convenience, as required by Section 9(1)(a) of the Delimitation Act, 2002.”

Information revealed through RTI by Haryana-based activist PP Kapoor has suggested that since 1990 as many as 89 Kashmir Pandits were killed in Jammu and Kashmir. A 2010 figure, however, was at 219. It has put the migrant number at 1.54 including 53,958 Hindus, 11,212 Muslims and 5,013 Sikhs.

BEJBEHARA

The State Investing Agency (SIA) has finally started its operations. Creating early December on the NIA pattern, the new investigator raided 16 locations across Kashmir in a “land grab case” at Bejbehara on which Jamiat-us-Sualihaat is located at Marhama. Those raided were either Jamaat-e-Islami members or the revenue officials living in Anantnag, Pulwama and Srinagar. The case registered with CIK at Srinagar (FIR No.14/2021U/S468,467, 120-B IPC, 13, 38 UA (P) Act of P/S CIK Srinagar) suggests the alleged members have made illegal and fraudulent entries in the revenue records for transferring 35-kanals (under Survey No.4683- Min) of Kahcharie land illegally and fraudulently.

A court has imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh on Shamshada Shah, who had taken domestic violence route and frivolously dragged her husband, Aijaz Shah to the court, after 30 years of marriage. The trial conclusively proved the wife had taken over the jointly owned house and thrown him out.

ZEWAN

In an attack that triggered panic across Kashmir, militants killed two cops and left almost a dozen others injured when a JKAP bus was carrying the personnel to the camp. “The bus carrying 25 policemen was returning to the camp, as per routine, when three terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad opened fire on the vehicle,” Kashmir Police Chief, Vijay Kumar, said, insisting one of the assailants was a local and two were foreigners. “This was a planned attack. They must have conducted recce and seen that the bus is coming back every day in routine after getting off duty.”

Three cops, ASI Ghulam Hassan and constables Shafeeq Ali and Rameez Baba were killed. The next day, on December 15, when Hassan was laid to rest in his Chachater (Ramban), a Tempo Traveller (JK06-2675) stuffed with his relatives from Topneel (Doda) village skidded off the road and fell into a deep gorge near Ganote area of Kastigarh mountains killing five people, four of them women. They were on their way home after attending the last rites of the slain cop.

The Zewan attack, however, brought back the deteriorating situation in focus with reports that Jammu and Kashmir has emerged as a key target. In 2019, only 11 cops were among 83 security personnel killed. In 2020, only 16 cops included the overall death toll of 60 security men. In 2021, so far, of the 40 security men killed, 20 were members of the Jammu and Kashmir Police.

Besides, Srinagar is emerging as the new hot spot. As many as 20 militants were killed in Srinagar in nine encounters in 2020. In 2021, already, around 20 encounters and shoot-outs have taken place in which 34 people, including seven cops and 14 militants were killed. Srinagar district witnessed 10 civilian deaths.

LEH

Ladakh students protesting over the delayed recruitments in the UT of Ladakh. Pic: Social Media

With nothing much-taking place in the standoff between Delhi and Beijing, the region threw a new challenge with a day-long strike in support of a statehood demand. The peaceful strike in the BJP-represented region was spearheaded by Leh Apex Body (LAB) and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA), a loose alliance of stakeholders in politics, society, trade and faith. The December 13, strike was the second after August 29, 2021.

They also demand Sixth Schedule like Constitutional guarantee, two Lok Sabha seats and one Rajya Sabha berth. In the next stage, the two bodies are planning protests on roads. Apparently isolated in the region, the BJP MP, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal spoke in the Lok Sabha seeking “constitutional safeguard” on the line of Sixth Schedule so that land, employment, environment and cultural identity is preserved.

JAMMU

NC leaders with Panthers Party Leaders at Jammu on November 11, 2021.

With part of Kashmir’s political class in Jammu, there are certain things happenings in the erstwhile winter capital. Congress, for instance, has accepted the resignation of all the pro-Ghulam Nabi Azad leaders and now appointed an anti-Azad man, Raman Bhalla as the Working President. This could leave not a huge room for Azad other than creating his own party.

On the other front, Bhim Singh of Panthers Party – a strong champion of abrogation of Article 370, is being seen talking of a joint movement for the restoration of statehood. These statements started coming after Dr Farooq Abdullah met him and was followed by a meeting with Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, the spokesman of the PAGD. Earlier when PAGD, when it was not skirted, had opted for a reach-out in Jammu but there were no takers. Seemingly, there is a rethink at some level.

“As far as we including the PAGD is concerned, there is a strong feeling that there will be no forward movement without representation from Jammu, or without any credible dialogue with the cross-section of people including civil society in Jammu,’’ Tarigami was quoted saying. “Kashmir cannot march ahead without Jammu and likewise Jammu too can’t ignore Kashmir and Ladakh.”

US

Kashmiri Journalist, Raqib Hameed Naik receives Aminah Assilmi Media Excellence Award In the US in December 2021.

Doda journalist, Raqib Hameed Naik based in the United States has received Aminah Assilmi Award in Media Excellence – 2021 from the Sound Vision Foundation USA, for his reporting. Earlier, Naik was also shortlisted for the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award. Naik mostly writes for al Jazeera. His report on US Covid19 funding received by Hindu right-wing groups became a flagship story leading to extensive public scrutiny and media coverage on the rise of Hindutva among the Indian diaspora. It led in a lawsuit filed by one of the recipient Hindu nationalist groups in a federal court in Washington DC.

RiSE Delivers Exceptional Results In NEET

In the very first batch focussed on NEET, RiSE has had 25+ selections in NEET. The institute is confident that at least 25 of its students will make it to GMCs and other government medical colleges across J&K.

RiSE co-founders have studied at IITs

After years of unprecedented results in IITs now RiSE has started delivering exceptional results in NEET as well. The institute aims to deliver an extraordinary number of selections in AIIMS and GMCs next year. Next year, RiSE will have its first-ever long-term batch focussed on NEET taking the exam. In this batch, students started preparing for NEET from Class XI itself.

“When we started RiSE in 2012, we pioneered the concept of starting preparing early for JEE in Kashmir. It is still an uncommon practice in Kashmir, but at that time it was considered too radical,” Imbesat Ahmad, an IIT Kharagpur graduate and co-founder at RiSE, said. “In the first year we just had four students studying with us, and this year we had 10+ students making it to IITs from RiSE itself. Interesting to note in 2012, 1-2 Kashmiris would make it to IIT every 2-3 years from Kashmir.”

“Over the years RiSE only focussed on JEE but received a lot of inbound interest from NEET aspirants and their parents. Students would enrol in our JEE batches and learn physics and chemistry from our IIT faculty and manage biology on their own. Eventually, we started looking out for Biology faculty and for the last one and half years started offering comprehensive NEET guidance to aspirants. This year our top scorer was Maleeha Zahoor with 662/720 marks,” Salman Shahid, an IIT Kharagpur graduate and co-founder at RiSE, added.

The reason that RiSE saw an uptick in IIT selections in Kashmir is that a lot of students, though still a minority, have started preparing for JEE in class 11th itself. Every year they come across more and more IIT aspirants who are eager to practice complex numerical problems and take mock tests right after class 10th. Having mastered the paybook of mentoring Kashmiri students to do well in competitive examinations RiSE has decided to extend its offering to NEET aspirants as well.

“The key to doing well in any entrance examination is starting early and staying consistent while preparing. For NEET and JEE the two years of class 11th and 12th are very crucial. Most students are very sincere during class 11th and once they move to class 12th they realize it is too late. Many students don’t focus on concepts and problem solving, instead focus just on theory and when they look at a NEET practice paper for the first time they get overwhelmed with the lack of know-how on how to approach such a question paper. My simple advice to all NEET or JEE aspirants out there is whenever you complete a topic look at all the questions that were asked in NEET or JEE from that topic. Only when you can solve more than 90% of those questions means you have completed the topic. Trust me this one simple habit gets you ahead of 95% of the aspirants”, says Mubeen Masudi, one of the co-founders at RiSE, who secured State rank 1 and all India Rank 350 in JEE 2007 (Then AIEEE)

 

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