KUNAN

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Kunan (Kupwara) family protests in Srinagar on December 21, 2022, seeking the whereabouts of their son, Abdul Rashid Dar

In the twin killings outside the Rajouri garrison, the Jammu and Kashmir Police have constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to probe who was behind the killing. The army claims the militants killed the two and the host population held the soldiers responsible. LG Manoj Sinha announced the compensation. While the issue is yet to be settled formally, another issue cropped up, this time in Kupwara’s dusky, Kunan village. On December 15, evening, a family alleged that soldiers from Trehgam based 41-RR raided their home and took away their ward, Abdul Rashid Dar, a load carrier driver. Shabir, Dar’s SPO brother said they reported to the camp the next day but were denied entry and they later intimated the police. In the evening the family said the army had conveyed to the police that Dar escaped from their custody. After failing to get any information locally, they moved to Srinagar for a protest and appealed to LG to intervene. Army has reportedly told the police that he escaped during a search operation in Marhama but the family refuses to buy the claims. Police say they are investigating the case.

3093 government schools (20 per cent of the state-run school network) lack toilet facilities for female students.

JAMMU

Tara Chand speaking to his supporters

In anticipation of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo yatra reaching Jammu and Kashmir, the news mints are in operation. Ghulam Nabi Azad, who deserted Congress to float his own party, has sacked his Vice Chairman, Tara Chand along with Dr Manohar Lal Sharma and Balwan Singh. They have been accused of resorting to anti-party activities. In the last 20 days, RS Chib, one of the top executives of the Azad Party said, Tara and Co were talking to some other party (read Congress). Out within a few months, Tara said that they had joined Azad with 64 top leaders and now they will come out with double the strength. He said he is participating in Rahul yatra once it reaches Jammu. Tara has said that while he is being accused of anti-party activities, where the party is – a reference to Azad’s party called Democratic Azad Party. The party, being referred to as BJP’s B-team, will take more time in establishing on the ruins of Congress.

So far only 1025 transit accommodations for Kashmiri Pandit migrants have been constructed and 1488 are under construction.

DELHI

Justice

A court has bailed Ganderbal Imam, Javaid Ahmed Lone. Arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a terror-funding case, he was accused of being a member of the banned Jamaat-e-Ismali. He was accused of helping a person build a house and assisting another with his daughter’s medical treatment. NIA had accused him of collecting Rs 15 lakh from Jamaat cadres. While granting the bail, the court ruled that helping a person build a house or providing financial help to a man for his daughter’s medical treatment cannot be considered as incriminating. Lone was arrested on February 15, 2022.

In the last three years, 15,000 vacancies in various government departments have been filled and selection for 8,000 more is in progress.

JAMMU

While in service, a number of teachers enrolled with different universities and got master’s certificates in ecology and environment studies in distance mode. On basis of these certificates, they were elevated to in-charge lecturers and were teaching in higher secondary schools for the last three years or more. Now, their certificates were termed to be not at par with the courses taught by the universities at Jammu and Srinagar. The respective directorates of education also did not support the idea and the government reverted them to teacher’s status. Of the 72 reverted, 67 are from Kashmir. It was also astonishing how science can be taught in distance mode and how the certificate holders can be permitted to teach students formally when they have acquired the speciality informally.

The unemployment rate in Jammu and Kashmir declined to 5.9 per cent in 2020-21 from 6.7 per cent in 2019-20, the government told Lok Sabha.

BANDIPORE

Sonaullah Bhat, 62, was waiting for his turn to get his documents verified for the old age pension when he fell and died in the Social Welfare Department’s tehsil office. Since early this month, Social Welfare Department has asked all the beneficiaries of its various schemes to report to designated offices with their documents for verification. Regardless of the weather conditions, earlier they were asked to one designated spot and when there was a reaction, they were asked to come to the respective tehsil offices. Most of the beneficiaries are either widows, old aged, sick or infirm. Though civil society had suggested that the officials should be deputed to go to them, the government decided the other-way round.  Reports said Bhat had reported to the office for verification early morning and could not brave the weather condition. Bhat’s family said he had been in the line on Monday but could not get a turn and then he went back on Tuesday and collapsed. While verifications are a normal process, initiating mass verification of people – mostly aged or infirm, during chilly winters is unprecedented.

Investment in Jammu and Kashmir declined by over half in the last four years. The total investment in 2021-22 was Rs 376.76 crore, down from Rs 412.74 crore in 2020-21 and a massive drop of 55 per cent from Rs 840.55 crore in 2017-18.

KASHMIR

Property belonging to the banned Jamaat-e-Islami was seized by State Investigation Agency (SIA) on December 24, 2022. The agency is investigating a case registered under UAPA at police station Batamaloo.

In one of the biggest operations ever, the State Investigation Agency (SIA) is busy seizing the properties that banned Jamaat-e-Islami’s own across Jammu and Kashmir. So far, the investigator has identified 188 properties that value at more than Rs 100 crore. The seizures are said to be the outcome of FIR No 17 of 2019 U/S 10, 11 and 13 UPA registered with police station Batmaloo on February 28, 2019. The properties include land, orchards and built-up areas.  Three houses in late Syed Ali Geelani’s name were also sealed. Earlier, the administration demolished the house of a designated Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant, Ashiq Nengroo, who had built it on encroached government land in Pulwama. Nengroo lives in Pakistan. “These properties include institutions and buildings that are being used to keep terrorism alive. One by one all such structures are being identified and stern action will be taken against such properties as per the law,” Police Chief, Dilbagh Singh recently said.

172 militants including 42 foreigners were killed in 2022, so far.

JAMMU

Sargam Koushal

Sargam Kaushal was crowned Mrs World 2022 in the international beauty pageant for married women in Las Vegas (USA). She was one of the 63 contestants from across the world. Sargam is from Jammu’s Bahu Fort area. She is the daughter of Meena Kaushal and G S Kaushal (a retired Chief Manager, of the Bank of India). She did her schooling at Presentation Convent Senior Secondary School, Gandhi Nagar Jammu, and graduated from Women College, Gandhi Nagar Jammu. She has Masters in English Literature and a BEd degree as well. A teacher by profession, content writer, model and painter, Sargam, 31, is married to Aditya Manohar Sharma, a Lieutenant Commander in the Indian Navy. He is also from Jammu. Before winning the title of Mrs World, in June this year, Koushal won the Mrs India World 2022-23

Almost 10,000 Kashmir Pandit and SC employees protest in Jammu since May 12, 2022, are unlikely to get their salaries.

SRINAGAR

Lt Governor Manoj Sinha pays obeisance at Dargah Hazratbal on Thursday July 7, 2022

The BJP-led Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board has disbanded all local committees of the shrines and mosques under its jurisdiction. The move comes months after the board banned the collection of donations by the traditional caretakers, called khudams, of Muslim shrines. Interestingly, the Board has banned any photography around the Hazratbal shrine. Jamia Masjid Waqf has also banned photography of women and women on its lawns.

BANIHAL

A Train Moves on a Banihal Baramulla railway track after heavy snowfall in Srinagar,

The 12.89 km tunnel (T49), the longest escape tunnel ever built in India, on the 111 km under-construction Banihal-Katra railway line was completed last week.

This is the fourth tunnel on the track following the 12.75 km tunnel T-49 (the longest tunnel of Indian Railways), which was completed in January 2022. On August 14, the world’s highest rail bridge over the Chenab river in the Kouri area of the Reasi district was completed. “Tunnel T-49 connects Khari and Banihal stations of Katra. An official said the modified horseshoe shape twin tube tunnel connecting the Sumber station yard on the south side and tunnel T-50 after crossing bridge number 4 over Khoda nullah on the north side at Khoda village. It comprises the main tunnel (12.75 km) and escape tunnel (12.895 km) connected with 33 cross-passages.

MUMBAI

Kanhaya Lal Dhar

Kanhaya Lal Dhar, who head Jammu and Kashmir’s Information and Public Relations department at the peak of militancy in 1990, passed away in Mumbai. He was 84. He is survived by his wife Dulari Dhar and two daughters – Aarti and Monica Dhar. A thorough gentleman, he was very popular among politicians and journalists.

RAJOURI

Dr Masud Choudhary

Former Additional Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police and founder Vice Chancellor of Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah (BGSB) University, Masud Choudhary passed away after a prolonged illness at his Ghandi Nagar residence in Jammu. He was 78. He is survived by a son and two daughters.

KOLKATTA

The Unsettled Shade, a documentary exploring the stories of bride trafficking from Bengal to Kashmir has been selected for the competition section at the 28th Kolkata International Film Festival. The film features the stories of Haseena, Fehmida, Ruby and Mashquoora. Kashmiri men, according to filmmaker, who can’t ‘afford’ local brides rely on traffickers to ‘fetch’ them brides from Bengal at a cost.

SRINAGAR

Veena Gupta and Farooq Fayaz got Sahitya Akademi Award 2022 for their literary creations in Dogri and Kashmiri languages. Nirmal Vinod and Shabnam Tilgami were awarded Sahitya Akademi Prize for translating Dehra Ch Ajj Bi Ugade N Saarhe Boohte in Dogri and Gitanjali, respectively.

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