On the day one of the yatra to Amarnath cave, there were more than 8000 pilgrims. The VVIPs included home minister Rajnath Singh and governor N N Vohra. They flew to the cave, interacted with the pilgrims, prayed and returned. Kashmir Life photo chief Bilal Bahadur spent the night in a tent at Baltal, had his Sehri and left to cover the trek of the first group of pilgrims to the cave. He clicked them on ponies, palkies, and on foot, queued up in between multiple glaciers and sliding spot over the heights. Officials put the number of labour forces at around 3000 which, they say, will increase in next few days.
Hundreds of Pakistani nationals died in Kashmir but rarely were their corpses sent home. Even Islamabad was reluctant thinking receiving a body bag might vindicate Delhi’s claim that it is facing a proxy war in Kashmir. But things seem to have changed. Last week, India took the coffin carrying body of Waheed Noor Khan Sudhan to Attari in Wagah and handed it over to his brother Zahid and cousin Rasheed. Sudhan, a resident of Char Mang (Rawlakote), died in a grenade explosion in a police vehicle when he was being driven back to jail from Sopore after attending the court. One of the six injured cops was also killed.
He is the health minister of the state but Lal Singh’s conduct smacks of his unhealthiness. While visiting a local hospital here, he was seen inappropriately fixing the apron collar of a young lady doctor. Routinely accused of being rude, Singh has been landing in controversies while “disciplining” female staff. Within days of his taking over as the health minister, he rebuked a lady doctor in Jammu for not wearing uniform. It triggered condemnations but that did not help Singh from his ‘white collar’ indecencies.
Afeefa Farooq Fazli, a student of Dolphin International School in Pulwama has flown to US for nearly a month long stay to participate in the ‘Building Bridges’. University of Rhode Island is organizing the event at its Kingston campus. She passed her matriculation recently. Her US flight was not her first one out of Kashmir. She represented J&K in the national baseball team at Bhubaneswar and later was part of WISCOMP workshops at Delhi and Srinagar. The US event is a global exercise in which the select students from diverse cultures exchange ideas.
Last week, Kashmir got its first PhD scholar in nursing. Munira Kachroo, already teaching at the nursing sciences institute of the SKIMS completed her PhD from Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi. She worked on ‘Prevention of low birth rate in high-risk pregnant women’. A post-grad from Delhi’s Rajkumari Amrit Kaur College, Kachroo is already 53 and a mother. A migrant Kashmiri Pandit P Koul was her guide.
All of a sudden it became an issue. As the local authorities permitted Dangal (wrestling) at a local graveyard in Bal Jogiyaa belt of Bishnah, Muslim Gujjars were seen protesting outside the office of Divisional Commissioner in Jammu. In 2014 when authorities permitted Dangal Management Committee to hold annual Shinj on the cemetery, tensions were so high that authorities imposed curfew restrictions. Authorities should have avoided repeating the mistake but they revived the practice. With BJP in power, it was seen normal. Even PDP’s vocal minister Zulfikar Choudhary says Dangal was always held in the same premises!
Mufti government may take more time to hire people but it cannot wait to fire some of them. Last week, five KAS officers, three medicos and two Chief Engineer rank officers were among 63 officials forcibly retired by the coalition. Of them 25 were caught red- handed accepting bribe as 27 others have established corruption cases against them. Under Article 226 (2) of state’s civil services regulations, there is a proper set up for this action and it was revived by Mufti government last time. The 63 officials forming the latest gang of deadwood is actually the fourth group that was send home since 2003. Last group of 13 officials was dismissed by Omar government in February 2012.
BJPs darling encounter specialist in Chenab Valley Shiv Kumar Sharma alias Sonu has been out of jail for a long time now. But he is not out of crisis. Currently he is fighting a woman Rajni Devi of Hadiyal who is apparently seeking her rights as his second wife. Sonu’s erstwhile darling has gone to the court alleging he had raped her on gun point in 2012. When she approached the police, he took her as his second wife. They lived as man and women for six months and then everything changed. When Sonu was arrested in a series of fake encounter cases on June 4, 2013, she approached police and court alleging rape and sexual harassment. Now she claims she is apprehensive he might eliminate her. She claims he intend to get her killed in a road accident. On May 30, he allegedly visited her home and asked her to withdraw the cases.
As Kashmir is reporting 40% fall in tourist footfall, nearly 40 Lakh have already visited Vaiho Devi by the end of June.
State run hospitals in Kashmir are proud owners of only 52 functional ventilators. Conventional norm requires five ventilators for every 100 beds.