Briefing February 19-25, 2023


JK Police arrested the founder of Awami Awaaz Party on February 16, 2023 for being anti national. The party came into being after the reading down of Article 370 in August 2019. Pic: JKP

In an interesting twist in the Kashmir tale, the police booked three ‘leaders’ of a post-2019 “political party” under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), for allegedly ‘intimidating’ journalists and making anti-national statements. Identified as Suhail of Mustafabad HMT, Nadeem Shafi Rather of Maloora HMT and Umar Majeed Wani of Soura, the trio were running Awami Awaz Party. It was one of the many “nationalist” groups that would unfurl the tricolour in Lal Chowk and sing the national anthem to the social media cell phones while attacking the “dynasts” for the bloodshed in Kashmir. “I urge all youth of Jammu and Kashmir to take the pledge on this Republic Day to make our country proud on the world stage,” Khan said in his Lal Chowk speech on 2022 Republic Day.

The arrest came within days after a press conference in which they rebuked the “media” for working against the “interests” of Kashmir. “Our party was formed by the army. I have hoisted the tricolour,” one of the trio was quoted as having told the presser. “But when I saw atrocities on common people I decided to fight for freedom.” Police termed them “miscreants” and “anti-national”. A senior army officer told NDTV that “the group may have been supported by some individual officers, but the army has nothing to do with such groups”. The U-turn, Khan led trio claimed came in response to the use of bulldozers against the people. The group had been vocal on the mysterious disappearance of a driver in a Kupwara village in army’s custody.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) yearly survey has found a construction worker in Jammu and Kashmir is Rs 524, one of the highest daily wages in India. It is only Rs 362 in Maharashtra, Rs 250 in Tripura, Rs 267 in MP, and Rs 296 in Gujarat.


Chairman and managing director of JSW group Sajjan Jindal laid the foundation stone of a steel processing unit in Pulwama on February 17, 2023.

Leading steel maker Jindal South West (JSW) laid the foundation stone of its first steel processing plant in Lassipora. Group MD Sajjan Jindal personally flew to lay the foundation in, what he said, “the heart of Kashmir”. The Rs 150 crore plant spread over 70 kanals of land has installed capacity manufacturing 1.2 lakh metric tonne colour-coated for local consumption. It will also make steel sandwich panels and steel doors for the local market. This is said to be the first project that was set up after the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was read down in August 2019. Kashmir in the last decade had set up two steel plants, one each at Lassipora and Rangreth, to reduce its dependence on Jammu plants. Of the two, one was closed already and another one is battling for survival owing to the post-2019 work conditions. Jammu has traditionally been the main supplier of steel to Kashmir, apart from SAIL.

IMHANS run Tele Mental Health Assistance received more than 4000 distress calls across Jammu and Kashmir since its launch on November 4. These included 694 calls were about sadness, 619 about anxiety, 502 about stress-related issues, 191 related to suicidal ideation or attempts, 454 had reduced interest in pursuing activities, 441 were palpitation-related, 416 related to sleep disturbances, and 283 related to hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, and guilt.


M M Khajuria

MM Kahjuria, former Jammu and Kashmir Police Chief passed away after a brief illness on February 16, 2023. He was 91. He is survived by three daughters, six grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. Born on June 11, 1931, Khajuria is reported to have spearheaded an agitation for free education up to the postgraduate level before joining the JKP in 1954. He eventually became the first JKP officer to be inducted into the IPS. Khajooria was JKP’s second DGP from January 16, 1985, to May 25, 1986.

After the government clubbed schools, owing to low roll, 33 government school buildings in Rajouri remain vacant and locked. Now the authorities are working to repurpose the infrastructure.


Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha presenting a Saffron tray in full bloom to the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on November 13, 2022.

The National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) is busy drafting a preliminary report to construct a road to Amarnath shrine so that it is accessible from Pahalgam as well as the Baltal side. If approved this year, it will be ready within the next five years. The announcement was made by LG Manoj Sinha. “I think you will see that day with the blessings of Lord Shankar,” Sinha said.

The finance department has released Rs 714 crore for clearance of Rs 458 of pending GPF bills and Rs 256 of Gratuity.


Jasia Akhter

Making history, Jasia Akhtar, 34, a female Kashmir cricketer got a berth in India’s Women’s Premier League (WPL). A resident of Shopian’s Braripora, she was taken by Delhi Capitals at Rs 20 lakh in the last WPL auction where 409 players from 15 countries participated. Passionate about the game, Jasia, a right-hand batter, shifted to Punjab where she is playing domestic cricket for around eight years now. In 2022, she moved to Rajasthan. Currently, she is the second-highest run-getter in the senior women’s T20 Trophy.  A total of 409 players from 15 countries went under the hammer for the WPL auction.

The Elder of five siblings, Jasia is the daughter of a marginal farmer, Gul Mohammad Wani. Her first bat was chiselled out of a willow log by her father when she was five, using his axe. At the peak of tensions, she would normally play with the boys in the village till she was noticed for having a great capacity and required coaching. “My father had made a willow bat and had kept it in the rice container fearing that I would hurt myself with it,” Jasia was quoted as having said after her selection. “I would take the bat out and hide in my pheren and go to play with the boys in the village ground.” Later she would play with boys at Government Higher Secondary School at Kaprin. In 2010, she was selected by JKCA for its women’s team. In 2011, she impressed everybody when her team played against Harmanpreet Kaur-led Punjab team in the BCCI domestic competition at Jammu – 39 runs off 25 balls, following which Kaur gifted her bat to Jasia. In 2012, she shifted to Amritsar to play for the BBK DAV College team and later played for PCA women’s team.

Sarla Devi from Jammu also made it to WPL, this season.

226 thousand people visited 131 public libraries across Jammu and Kashmir in 2022.


Kashmir neuroscientist, Dr Mubarak Hussain Syed, is among the 125 scientists from USA and Canada who were declared prestigious Sloan Research Fellows for 2023. Every one of them receives US $75000 to pursue their research within two years. Syed is an assistant professor of Biology at The University of New Mexico and runs his Neural Diversity Lab which has already helped solve certain mysteries of mind works in fruit flies. The Alfred P Sloan Foundation said the 2023 fellows “represent the most promising scientific researchers working today” and their “achievements and potential place them among the next generation of scientific leaders in the US and Canada.” The nomination is given in “recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field”. His laboratory is working on fruit flies, which offer an excellent model system to understand the genetic basis of nervous system development and function. His extensive work has given him a nickname within the scientific community – Fly Guy. His lab has already identified a novel role of insect growth hormone in regulating neural stem cell temporal gene expression. Now they are testing if this hormonal signalling regulates the formation of diverse neuron types in the fruit fly brain. “I am humbled,” Syed said. “It is an honour to be on this list of extraordinary scientists.”

Jammu and Kashmir Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) caught 136 government officials red-handed while accepting bribes in the last three years with the Srinagar district topping the chart.


The Jammu and Kashmir Police have booked the Jammu newspaper Taskeen editor for cheating under section 420. He is also a member of the Waqf Board. The case has been registered at Peer Mitha police station on the basis of an audio recording produced by the complainant, Dr KL Sharma, wherein Kazmi is being heard demanding Rs 5 lakh from the complainant in lieu of a government job. Reports said he had taken the money in 2021 but the candidate did not get selected and he did not return the “bribe”

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has declared Jammu and Kashmir’s eight water bodies as `polluted’ based on Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD). These include Srinagar’s Chuntkol (11.21), the entire length of Jhelum from Srinagar to Baramulla (7.8); Pahalgam’s Lidder (7); Gawkadal (3.2); Tawi Jammu (14); Katra’s Banganga (6.2); Udhampur’s Devaka (10) and Samba’s Basanter (4.2).


Under a thick blanket of snow and crowded by hundreds of skiers from across the world and youngsters participating in various winter sports events, Gulmarg saw India’s Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and top Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi. While Thakur visited as part of the game management, Rahul flew for five days to cool his heels over the slopes after remaining busy with Bharat Jodo Yatra for many months. Over the slopes, Omar Abdullah, an impressive skier, joined him. Rahul was seen zigzagging on the slope at Gulmarg skiing resort with an instructor filming the video. Pictures of the Congress leader were also shared on social media platforms.

The government has terminated the services of Saleem Ahmad Beig, a Jail Superintendent and Abdul Majid Bhat, a former Assistant Regional Transport officer.


The court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Kupwara turned down the bail application of nine persons including five soldiers who were arrested in a drug peddling case. The five soldiers were operating a drug peddling gang from the Panzam garrison and were arrested in January 2023 for running the drug cartel from Tangdhar, a town located on the Line of Control (LoC). The court observed that soldiers were supposed to protect society but regretted this bunch worked in contravention of it. The accused soldiers were identified as Naib-Subedar Puran Singh, Anil Kumar (driver) Sepoy Sushil Kumar, Naik Waseem Ahmad Mir and Mohammad Shafiq Khan. Their civilian accomplices were identified as Mashkoor Sheikh (working as a porter with Army), Mohammad Yousaf Kothari, Saleem Sheikh and Mohammad Imran Teli. Earlier, the NIA arrested a BSF officer posted in Handwara – also part of the frontier Kupwara district, “on charges of cross-border drug smuggling linked with the Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist group”. Identified as Romesh Kumar, the report said Rs 91 lakh cash was recovered from Kumar. On December 23, 2022, JKP arrested 17 people including five of its own cops for drug peddling.

MHA declared Jammu and Kashmir Ghaznavi Force (JKGF) and Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) as outfits bringing the total number of such illegal organisations to 44.


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