Briefing February 27 – March 5, 2022

CHENNAI

Shahzadi (third from left) got a new lease of life after she received a donor heart from an 18-year-old brain dead boy |

It is a Tamil heart beating in a Kashmir chest. The story is not less interesting. A heart that belonged to an 18-year-old brain dead donor was transported over 350 kilometres to Chennai and provided and it gave a fresh lease of life to a 33-year-old Kashmiri woman suffering from terminal heart failure. The lady travelled 3000 kilometres to get a new heart.

Ms Shahzadi Fathima from Srinagar was suffering from Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM), a condition where the chambers of the heart become stiff over time thus not performing well. Transplantation was the only option. On December 31, 2021, she was admitted with signs of severe heart failure and doctors at MGM Healthcare started treating her with isotropes. On January 26, 2022, a suitable brain-dead donor was identified in a private hospital in Trichy. The heart was soon rushed to Chennai through a green corridor and high-risk heart transplantation was carried out. She made an uneventful recovery.

Of 4970 people in Jammu and Kashmir, 54 are foreigners – 10 are convicts, 39 under-trials, and five detenues.

UKRAINE

Russian leader Putin with the key killer, AK47

In the new global village, every time a crisis erupts, Kashmiri finds caught in it. When Putin’s Russia invaded its weak neighbour, Ukraine, more than 180 students were caught in the crisis. Not getting any support from the host country that got into panic mode with the pulverising missile attacks, the boys started calling home. Mostly boys, they are enrolled in various medical schools. With the airspace closed, now the MEA has started sending its officials from different states surrounding the Ukraine border to offer some help to a few thousand Indian citizens.

These students are scattered around in various states including the capital Kyiv, Odessa. Some had moved towards the airport but they found it closed after the series of assaults. Even their panic calls had interesting humour. One student said that he is calling from the war zone and is able to make a call to friends but not his home in an old city where the internet is being rationed!

In the next 365 days, 13 million trees will be planted on 1000 Sq Km degraded forests

HABA KADAL

Habba Kadal in 1985

Delimitation Commission is reported to have reversed the erasing of two assembly segments – Habba Kadal in Kashmir and Suchetgrah in Jammu. While the Haba Kadal is the constituency that is linked to the identity of Kashmiri Pandit, Suchetgarh is a BJP stronghold in Jammu where the party is facing a crippling crisis as members left in protest. The Commission has met and agreed to these two suggestions by the association members (five MPs) and once they agree to it, the proposals would be put in the public domain. There is no information if the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat that has been annexed to Rajouri-Ponch is being reconsidered.

In the last two months, at least four teenagers went missing from their homes across Jammu and Kashmir. These include a cop’s son who had secured 88 per cent marks in his tenth class.

POONCH

Pahari leader from Surankote (Poonch) speaking to a public gathering in 2014.

With the collapse of the PDP, seemingly it is the turn of the NC. Last week, the party lost its two-time Surankaote lawmaker, Syed Mushtaq Bukhari. He resigned saying his party is not supportive of the cause of the Pahadi speaking people who are seeking ST status. The resignation of a politician who has been with the party for more than three decades is not an ordinary loss. This comes after a spate of resignations starting with Devinder Singh Rana. Bukhari’s resignation came within a few days after he shared dice with BJP leaders over the Pahadi issue.

While Bukhari is caught between the Gujjar-Pahadi divide in his area, the party has regretted that their erstwhile leader has misrepresented the facts. Its Pahadi flock has issued a detailed statement offering dates and details about how the party pursued the ST status for the Pahadi community. Pir Panchal range districts have a serious crisis between the Pahadis and the Gujjars. While the latter are STs the former are desperate to get the same status. At least four assembly segments in the region stand reserved for the ST population.

Jammu and Kashmir government has approved the transfer of over 300 kanals of land in Kathua for a high-security prison for “treasonous and insurgent criminals”. These include 148 kanals land in Dambra village and 160 kanal 4 marlas of state land.

CHANDIGARH

In the sensational case of shooting down of a Mi-17 chopper during the aerial strikes in Pakistan territory in February 2019, a trial by General Court Martial (GCM) was started by IAF last week. It will be trying two senior officers – Group Captain SR Chowdhury and Wing Commander Shyam Naithani, for their lapse that led to the crash of battle chopper and killing of six IAF personnel including two pilots and a civilian. The civilian was also killed in the crash when the burning chopper landed in a Budgam. A Court of Inquiry has conclusively established that a projectile launched from within Kashmir hit the battle chopper and not the enemy fire.

JAMMU

The Second Additional Sessions Judge Jammu, Rajinder Sapru has awarded life imprisonment to five persons. Convicted included Bashir Ahmed, a resident of Chowadhi, along with his sons Abdul Majeed and Javed Ahmed. They had Shamsuddin, Bashir’s real brother, in a land dispute. They had used firearms in killing their kin after a series of mediation by the local community failed in the resolution of the dispute.

6.65 lakh tourists visited Kashmir in 2021, the highest in the last seven years.

SRINAGAR

In a record time of almost 20 days, the Jammu and Kashmir Police filed a 1000-page charge sheet in the Hawal acid attack case. Three accused include a minor against whom a charge sheet was filed before the juvenile justice board. “We have enough evidence in this case. Maximum punishment, in this case, can be life imprisonment,” the Srinagar City Police Chief was quoted saying. “We have recorded at least ten statements. Forensic evidence has collaborated with our probe. We have also recovered an acid bottle from the house of the accused. Fingerprints of the accused have matched with those on the acid.” The acid attack victim is undergoing treatment in a Chennai hospital. Her family has said they are satisfied with the investigations and the fast pace at which it was concluded.

GANDERBAL

The government has shunted out a Tehsildar rank officer after a young man, Amir Hamid Sheikh, set himself afire when the demolition squad went to undo the encroachment. The family had created a shop-line on encroached land and nobody objected to it when it almost completed the first floor at Gund e Rehman by the Haran family. It is located on the banks of Sindh, barely 100 meters away. When he set himself afire, some people shot a 28-second video that went viral pushing police to tell media not to use it. Though the entire administration was around, it was a few civilians who somehow caught the burning man and extinguished the flames. He is now in hospital being treated for multiple burn injuries. A probe has been announced and police have visited Shah in hospital. After the self-immolation bid, protests were triggered and the demolition was stopped.

Export registration in Jammu and Kashmir goes up by 173 per cent. The importer-exporter code (IEC) numbers increased from 204 new registrations in 2020 to 557 in 2021. Jammu and Kashmir has now 2,863 registered IECs. Exports have increased from US$ 124.47 million to US$ 159.64 million.

KOKERNAG

Last week was quite heavier for BJP’s in Kashmir. While police in Udhanmopur caught Nazir Ahmad Gilkar, a BJP corporator, driving a “stolen” vehicle. In Srinagar, the police in Kokernag arrested Mohamad Sidiq Khan, one of its leaders, for sexually exploiting a young lady. The arrest along with his accomplice Shahid Bhat, took place a=on court orders. Two ladies, mother and daughter, had moved an application before the court at Vailoo accusing Khan of raping and blackmailing. On basis of the application, the court directed the police to arrest the accused and start investigations. BJP in Srinagar said they will wait for the police investigations even though their leader is “clean”.

QAZIGUND

There is a famous Kashmiri saying: Peereh Tateh Karzem Yari, Yeti Paneh Aeseakh Durbdar (My Peer, help me (at a junction) where you yourself will be wondering). It was almost the same situation in Qazigund, where disciples of a female Peer, left her unconscious and looted her belongings. A female faith healer Raasiya Banoo, the wife of Manzoor Ahmad Najar, lives in the Badragund area of Qazigund. One fine morning, her disciples used a chemical spray which left her unconscious. They took her valuables including her jewellery. They also took some cash as well. The police has started investigating the case.

SRINAGAR

Zaira-Wasim file image

Kashmir’s Dangal actress Zaira Waseem who quit Bollywood to revive her spiritual and religious moorings has finally jumped into the Hijab ring saying covering the head is not a choice but an obligation in Islam. In a brief post on her Instagram, Zaira has termed it “absolute injustice” if women are given an option of either to study or to cover their heads. “The inherited notion of Hijab being a choice is an ill-informed one. It’s often either a construct of convenience or ignorance,” she wrote. “Hijab isn’t a choice but an obligation in Islam.” Zaira said that a Hijab-wearing woman is “fulfilling an obligation enjoined upon her by the God she loves and has submitted herself to.” She added: “I, as a woman, who wears the Hijab with gratitude and humility, resent and resist this entire system where women are being stopped and harassed for merely carrying out a religious commitment,” Zaira wrote in her brief comment.

PUNJAB

Mushtaq Ahmed Mir, a resident of Sirajpora Handwara was hawking shawls with his neighbour Amin Beg in Punjab for 20 years. On February 17, he did not report to his room and his phone was switched off. Beg reported to the police and on February 18, 2022, he was found dead and his body in a sack on a road linking Ferozepur to Mallawal. Punjab Police registered case u/s 302 IPC at Bhad Police Station Sadar Ferozepur. Within 24 hours, they arrested Sonu son of Janta Singh of Sodhe Wala and Beant Kaur, wife of Shaan Singh resident of Baure. The body was sent home and laid to rest in a village-wide commotion. The motive of the murder is still not known

RAMBAN

The 86-page judgement pronounced by Haq Nawaz Zargar, the Principal Sessions Judge Ramban, that sent a surrendered militant turned SPO to life imprisonment, the horrors of a daughter are recorded verbatim. The convict, Abdul Gafoor Bhat, had killed his wife, mother of his three children, and her brother firing 19 bullets from the AK56 rifle that police provided him as part of his duty. His wife Rehmata Begum was also an SPO. This bloody drama took place on May 9, 2011, at Maitra locality in Ramban where Bhat was living with his wife. Together, they had three children, two daughters, Intsam, Arzoo and Aayan. Bhat, son of Dina, is a resident of Jura village that falls in Thathri tehsil of Doda. He was a militant. On May 13, 1999, he surrendered before the police and the army.  Two months later, he was appointed as SPO and told to report at Ramban. Back home, they had a threat to life as his two brothers were killed by militants after his surrender. In Ramban, the family is literally undone – mother in a grave, father in jail. The three children are on their own.

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