Omkar Nath’s is the lone Kashmiri Pandit family living in Haal, on Mughal Road between Pulwama and Shopian, as all others, estimated to be around 85, migrated. There are many KPs living just on the banks of the local stream, at a stone’s throw from Nath’s home, in prefab huts that government built for KP employees. But now, there is possibility of this village getting revived and rebuilt. Unlike the belt that houses Muslims, Pandit houses are deserted, dilapidated but protected. Last week, Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed and his FinMin Dr Haseeb Drabu visited this village to see the status of existing residential infrastructure. Drabu has announced creating ethnographic villages at Haal and Mattan to showcase intrinsic cultural and heritage strength of the people that would require rebuilding and recreating aspects relating to the tradition and culture of Kashmir. The process has taken off as some officials have already visited these spots and identified the areas that could be tackled to make these villages, eventually a tourist attraction.
It is the new sensation. People come from other states, manage entry into the government, secure state subject certificates and create assets. Right now the man in news is Suresh Rekhi, a DGM in J&K Project Construction Corporation. State’s Vigilance Organization has established that Rekhi who joined PCC in 1991 on consolidated pay and gradually became its DGM and managed various projects is a resident of Jullunder. A communication has gone to the DC Jammu and Divisional Commissioner Jammu that his PRC should be cancelled. Investigations have also revealed that Revenue Department has issued a PRC to his daughter when she was in London though the records indicate somebody appeared in her name to record the statement. How many such cases can there be in Jammu?
There might be a semblance of peace but that does not stop the processes. Srinagar based JK Yateem Foundation, that took off as an NGO to manage the conflicted created destitution, has entered Chenab Valley where it set up a Rs 1.70 crore Bait-ul-Hilal, a boarding cum lodging educational institute at Hudri. Exclusively for orphans, it has the capacity to manage 100 inmates and by now 17 are already in. Foundation runs two major such facilities in Kashmir.
Controversy over the cell phone in Sopore led to a confrontation between Syed Ali Geelani and a shadowy outfit. As the normality resumed, there was a murder. Somebody pumped in three bullets in the heart, head and an arm of Altaf-ur-Rehman Sheikh near bus stand. Sheikh has spent more than five years in jail and was recently picked up during mobile phone controversy too. A staunch Geelani follower, his father, a Jamaat-e-Islami worker, had fled to PaK in 1990 and returned home in 2004. Sheikh’s brother was allegedly killed by army in 2000 near Srinagar’s BB Cantonment. Geelani accused security agencies for the killing and sponsored a north Kashmir strike against it. Police says militants behind the killing would unmask soon.
In 1891, the Authors set up Edwardian cricket team and all the leading lights of that era played the game. 1912 witnessed the last of the matches the authors played. Exactly a century later, the team was revived by the new generation of authors and it included Kashmir novelist Waheed Mirza. In October 2013, Mirza wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, a long essay using cricket to tell Kashmir story. He played various matches so far. “I can tell my grandchildren I took two wickets in two balls in my first game at Lord’s,” Mirza wrote on Facebook. “Glorious day of cricket. Authors CC beat The Actors by five wickets!”
Jyoti married Vijay Kumar, a soldier from Serh village in Akhnoon on February 17. They spent 45 days together. On June 4, evening she was a widow as Kumar, a 6-Dogra Regiment soldier, was one of the six Jammu soldiers who were slain in an ambush in Manipur. Others included Satpal Bhasin from Muthi, Sunil Kumar Sharma (Phal, Sunderbani), Ram Singh (Nandpur, Ramgarh), Kuldeep Raj (Burn, Gharota) and Randeep Singh (Bomal, Akhnoor). June 7 witnessed highly emotional and tearful adieu when they were consigned to flames in their respective homes.
Apparently, it seems Engineer Rashid, is coming closer to secretariat. Last time, he unfurled state flag in Sher-e-Kashmir Park. This year, he choose Partap Park to unfurl the state flag on June 7. Engineer belongs to the section of masses who believe J&K has its own Republic Day and must observe its ‘Flag Day’. J&K adopted its flag on June 7, 1952. The flag and the state republic day landed Mufti government in controversy as it issued an order in its support, later withdrew it and even announced an enquiry. The case is already in the court. But now the issue is shortening for Engineer. Which way is he going next summer?
Convergence of real and the virtual world created yet another interesting story. A bank techie Saadut Hussain was picked by Mufti Sayeed to head his grievances cell, an Omar Abdullah initiative that had registered more than 10,000 complaints. Deputation of a government servant is the sweet goodwill of the employer. But Kashmir knew Hussain as @ibnbatuta, his twitter handle. Followed for his catchy tweets, June 10 started and ended differently for this brainy, towering techie. GAD appointed him formally in the morning and by evening Hussain had signed off from twitter. Reason: his hurt fans turned abusive. “@ibnbatuta, bagal main jouta”, wrote one. Accused of being a PDP troll by NC, Omar personally spearheaded the campaign. Omar, an erstwhile avid blogger, had interestingly left virtual space for personal abuse. History, again repeated itself.
Investments in public health seem to be getting waste as J&K still lacks a dependable gynaecological care, especially in the periphery. Rubeena of Kakarpati Diver died in Sogam hospital after a pharmacist helped her deliver a baby boy normally. Post-delivery, she complained of chest pain and in absence of a doctor she died two hours later. In the subsequent protest, Rubeena’s corpse was used to block the road. A police case was registered and the services of BMO were attached. In Kishtwar, Rehmata Begum of Nowpachi was in labour and reached Marwah. The doctor was absent and the Begum died. Government has slapped a show-cause notice on Dr Arshad, for his absence.
To improve its presence on the 1,597-km Sino-Indian Line of Actual Control (LoAC) in Ladakh, ITBP is seeking additional 6,000 personnel (six battalions) for deployment. It currently has only seven battalions in the region.
Of Rs 16,886.63 that banking sector advanced in J&K in 2014-15, Rs 12,447.13 crore (74%) belonged to state’s own J&K Bank.
A Rs 5 coin is the most precious item for Mohammad Ashraf Mattoo because this coin was the last worldly thing that his only son Tufail had in his right hand when he was killed in 2010. His murder was key to 2010 unrest and nobody knows his killers.