Briefing December 20-26, 2020

GULMARG

The lieutenant governor of Union territory Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha addressing Press conference at Raj Bhawan Srinagar on Thursday, October 15, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Making it categorical, J&K UT’s LG Manoj Sinha has said that if corruption charges against his advisor Baseer Khan are proven, he will be removed from the post. Talking to Indian Express, Sinha made it clear that “if corruption charges are proved, the person whosoever it would be will not remain there.” He was responding to a question asked about the scandal and Khan’s role as his advisor. He further said that “it is one thing that there is a prima facie charge of the allegation, and another that investigations have revealed these to be true. Let us wait for the report.” One of the high-profile cases, the Gulmarg land scandal involves top officials including Khan. They were booked for allegedly violating the Roshni Act to transfer state land to private persons. It was in 2009 when a case was registered against 20 people including Khan. He was alleged to have misused his position as Deputy Commissioner Baramulla. Later he was arrested in 2013 on charges of corruption but was released the same day. Currently serving as an advisor, he also held the position of Kashmir Commissioner and was even given an extension. As ACB in June, this year was directed to further investigate the case, in October a report submitted by the agency indicted Khan once again. However, this time now the special anti-corruption judge adjourned the hearing for want of powers.

DELHI

High Court , Srinagar - KL Image by Bilal Bahadur
High Court , Srinagar – KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh in 1985, Justice Pankaj Mithal from Allahabad High Court will be the next Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir. Recommended by Supreme Court Collegium, Justice Mittal practised before the Allahabad High Court until 2006 when he was elevated as an additional judge of the same High Court. He became a permanent judge in July 2008. He succeeds Gita Mittal, who superannuated last week.

KOLKATA

A key shot of the match between Real Kashmir and East Bengal on March 9, 2020, in Srinagar. Host Real Kashmir lost the match. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Continuing it’s winning streak, Real Kashmir FC set up a summit clash with George Telegraph with a 4-0 rout of Mohammedan Sporting in the 123rd IFA shield. For the first half, Real Kashmir was well contained by Kolkata heavyweights Mohammedan SC at Satlake stadium. The counter-attacks were held well, but the Black Panthers defence cracked under pressure when Nigerian forward Lukman broke the deadlock in the 59th minute. Later, he continued to make inroads to complete his hat-trick with goals in the 66th and 87th minutes. As if this was not enough, Mason Robertson (90+1st) sealed the issue from a counter-attack to score Real Kashmir’s fourth goal. The final is going to be held at Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday.

BOULEVARD

Boat Carrying BJP Activists Capsizes In Dal Lake on Sunday, December 13, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

As BJP leaders led by union minister Anurag Thakur and spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain were out on the waters of Dal Lake for a Shikara Rally, the main slogan for most of the time was “Kashmir is walking with BJP.” However, moments later, towards the last leg of the rally, the Shikara carrying the saffron brigade capsized at Ghat no 17, leaving the leaders drenched in freezing waters. Amid chaos and confusion, locals, along with Police rushed to the spot and rescued the BJP workers and media persons. Viral on social media, the pictures from the spot triggered a huge response, and BJP was ridiculed over the accident. While Congress leader reacted saying “BJP drowned in the Dal lake, National Conference additional spokesperson sarcastically called it “water jihad.”

SRINAGAR

Funeral of slain Personal Security Officer (PSO) Manzoor Ahmed at his native village Nagam, Chadoora in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Monday, December 14, 2020. He died saving the life of PDP leader Parvez Ahmad in Srinagar.

In the latest attack on Kashmir politicians, suspected militants shot dead constable Manzoor Ahmad when he was guarding Peoples Democratic Party leader, Parvaiz Ahmad Bhat at his Natipora home. Claimed to be two in number and dressed in pheran, the militants opened fire inside Bhat’s residence. Present on the spot, the guard retaliated and got injured but Bhat escaped unhurt. Later, as Manzoor was shifted to a nearby Bone & Joint hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries. A resident of Nagam in Chadoora, he is survived by elderly parents, wife, and two children. On the other side, Bhat, a militant turned-PDP leader, claimed that it was the third attack on his life since he joined mainstream politics. He was earlier a militant of Hizbul Mujahideen. He said that his security detail was reduced from five personnel to two personnel last year. The area was cordoned off immediately, but nobody was arrested. Post attack, the appeal of two families in the neighbourhood went viral. It is reported that two youth from the area are missing. Late Friday one audio clip was released claimed that one among them has joined militancy but the family including their aged parents requested them to return. And subsequently, in the vicinity area of Barzulla, police laid cordon and search operation almost thrice in the same week. 

KULGAM

Indian Flying Fox Captured In South Kashmir’s Kulgam on Monday, December 14, 2020. KL Image: Special Arrangement

A certain set of belief system has remained part of every society. Out in the field to eat fruits, when the Indian fox, commonly known as the greater Indian fruit bat was captured in Kulgam, it created a furore. As a large number of people rushed to see the rare mammal, the Wildlife department had to dispel the myth associated with the large flying fox. They are considered to be “ill-omens”. Later, the nocturnal animal was released into the orchard after being treated for injuries. 

 BANDIPORA

Fazi Begum who attended BJP meet in Hajin to get her jailed son released.

Keeping her hope alive that she would see her son again, a 100-year-old woman Fazi Begum is fighting on all fronts. The latest in the kitty was when she participated in a BJP rally in Baniyari (Hajin). Promised by “Jan sahib” of BJP that her son would be released if she attends the rally, the old lady took the support of two neighbours to reach the spot. Lamenting her luck, she said her son, Ghulam Hassan Dar is in jail for the last 10 years and that too “without any offence”. Contended, she further said the leaders who addressed the rally gave her patient “hearing” and “assured” that her son would be released soon. Reportedly, Dar is in jail after being booked under section 302 after a brawl over some issue broke out in their village, and later a person was killed.

JAMMU

Renowned Film Director, Imtiaz Ali interacting with media in Jammu.

In awe of Kashmir’s art and culture, Imtiyaz Ali, a renowned film director said he is willing to be part of the promotional campaign. Roped in by Manoj Sinha administration, Ali in his media interaction in Jammu said the vast pool of talent found in J&K is diverse and would be sufficient from beginning to the climax of the film. He said the past efforts have been enough as there are so many stories to be told in the best cinematic presentations. The interaction of Ali was part of the programme started by the government to promote local art and culture by providing the necessary platform to the local artists and youth of the place. Ali is distinguished to be someone from Bollywood who has a keen interest in making films casting local artists using local themes, music, and art. 

 PARIMPORA

Family of one-year-old Zika Farooq Tuesday protested at Press Enclave here against a private hospital alleging that the girl is in the Intensive Care Unit for the past year due to an overdose of anaesthesia.

Struggling to see their daughter recover, a family in Srinagar hit the streets. Protesting against a local private hospital has been a year of trauma for the family. Holding placard to seek justice, the family told the media that their one-year-old daughter Zikra Farooq was pushed into a state of despair when doctors at ASG Hospital in Parimpora gave her an “overdose of anaesthesia”. This they said led her to gain weight and later to physical disability. She had been in SKIMS intensive care for 26 days after which she was admitted to PG Hospital in Delhi. It has been a year now, but there are no signs of improvement. On the contrary, the expenses incurred are huge. The family alleged that the management of the hospital dared them to file the case. But the manager of the hospital said the consent was taken from the family and as they say it is a hazard. “The consent paper mentions that the anaesthesia sometimes claims the life of the patient.” The hospital, he said has spent over Rs 1 lakh on the treatment on humanitarian grounds.

MUMBAI

Aditya Narayan and Shweta Agarwal in Kashmir. They married on December 1, 2020, and a few days later they flew to Srinagar.

Kashmir is emerging a new destination for newlywed couples of the glamour world. After Sana Khan, who flew in with the Gujrat Mufti for a honeymoon, this time it is singer Aditya Naryan and actress Shweta Agarwal who have chosen Kashmir as part of their love story. Recently married in Mumbai with close group guests around, the couple is in the valley enjoying their first trip as husband and wife. In courtship for more than a decade, the young people seem to enjoy the Kashmir beauty. With snow around and cold waves gripping, the newlyweds in the valley keep the social media abuzz with their pictures and comments, about the place and the people.

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