Ram Jethmalani (1923-2019)
Ram Jethmalani, one of India’s most prominent lawyers and the most expensive ones, who died last week at the age of 95, was the man behind the Kashmir Committee, a 2002 civil society initiative that had the Government of India in loop. The Committee was constituted after his series of interactions with the Kashmiri separatists in run up to the 2002 assembly elections.
The Committee had its members driven from diverse backgrounds. These included Vinod Grover, former IFS officer; lawyers Ashok Bhan, Fali S Nariman, and Shanti Bhushan; JawaidLaiq from Amnesty International; editorsDileepPadgaonkar and MJ Akbar. Jethmalani set up the Committee after the separatists refused to engage with Kashmir interlocutor K C Pant.
His Committee had a series of pre-poll meetings with a number of separatists. It made a number of suggestions to the central government as well. Many think the inputs by the Kashmir Committee were crucial for Vajpayee’s Srinagar speech in 2002 that led to the silencing of the Line of Control (LoC) and eventually led to the resumption of talks with Pakistan. There are people who believe Jethmalani’s encouragement to Abdul Gani Lone to be more liberal was another factor that might have contributed to his assassination.
Post 2002, the Committee existed for some time but it slowly went into oblivion. There were some efforts to revive it but all efforts failed. But that never meant that Jethmalani was delinked from Kashmir. He was always in touch with some people and his litigation was vital in getting some of the detainees freed.
Diplomacy apart, Pakistan is not leaving any area where it cannot use Kashmir. The latest is that Pakistan’s most prominent names from entertainment sector have joined hands for a track Main Kashmir Hoon. The song, reported to be “emotive and moving” has vocals of singers RehanNazim and NimraRafiq. Prominent actors Parveen Akbar, HinaDilpazeer, Noor-ul-Hassan, Asma Abbas, FaysalQureshi, Sohail Sameer, and ShahoodAlvi have performed for the video. Meanwhile, a group of Pakistani doctors formally applied to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad requested that they be permitted to enter Kashmir to treat the patients. The group of 21 doctors had said it will meet the UNMOGIP also, Pakistani media reported.
As around 150 members of Kashmir’s political class are attempting to move free from ‘precautionary detention’, three young men walked in Srinagar’s Media Facilitation Centre with a roadmap and a claim to Kashmir leadership. Telegraph termed them “obscure men” who “emerged from nowhere” to call for “a new road map and new leadership” for Jammu and Kashmir. The newspaper identified the “leaders” of the Jammu Kashmir Political Movement-I as Shahid Khan, Raja Ashraf, advocate, and MushtaqTantary. They urged media to shun negativity and “bring up the positivity about Kashmir and play a positive role” in the post Article 370 era. They urged Delhi to restore the statehood, grant domicile rights and job reservations to residents similar to those available in the Northeast under Article 371, lift the clampdown and deal leniently with the detained Valley youth.
The DupteNunem (He took my headscarf) singer AadilGurezi literally lived his song after his landlord closed doors on him in wake of the abrogation of the Article 370. A social media sensation, one of his numbers was watched by 14 million people. Gurezi, a resident of Bandipore, had flown home on August 1. When he returned on September 3, he was told by his roommates that the landlord does not want him to live in the apartment, his home for one year.
When he was searching for a room, he could not get one because of being Kashmir, he told reporters. Finally, he hired a flat in the name of his Hindu friend. Now, he has approached the police to reclaim his Andheri West flat.
A Delhi courty has finally granted Shehla Rashid, a member of Shah Feasal led JK Peoples Movement, an interim protection against arrest in the sedition case that was filed against her on September 6. She was charged under Sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion), 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intention to cause riot), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 505 (spreading rumours) of IPC. In a series of tweets, Shehla had said the Army was indiscriminately picking up men, raiding houses and torturing people in Jammu and Kashmir to serve the agenda of the ruling BharatiyaJanata Party.
Almost A Month After Passing The Jammu And Kashmir Reorganization Act, The Central Government Detected And Corrected 52 Mistakes Excluding Spellings, Tenses And Numerical Errors
Riyaz Ahmad Thickrey, 24, a daily wager, was arrested by police on September 3, from his NandporaMalikpora, in a 2018 case. His half blind mother traced him in a police lock-up and talked to him. A day later, police guided his relative to a toilet where he was dead. They were told he committed suicide. Police said magisterial enquiry has been initiated. The death in custody triggered protests which were quelled by police.
IrfanPathan was caught in a peculiar situation after the government issued an advisrory asking Amarnath pilgrims and tourists to leave Kashmir. “Nobody knew what was happening. When the AmarnathYatra was called off, we decided to shut the camp and sent back the players,” Pathn who was overseeing the training of 186 cricket players in Srinagar when the crisis unfolded. “The places which I used to visit from my hotel everyday would take 10 minutes, but those two-three days, it used to take me an hour-and-a-half as everyone was on the road. There were long queues at petrol pumps, and at grocery stores with everyone in a rush to fill their homes with food.” The camp was shut and now 100-plus players have reassembled in Jammu. Pathan has taken the seniors to Vadodra for coaching. Post-preparations, the best players would be selected for the upcoming Vizzy Trophy. They will spend a fortnight playing at the Motibaug Stadium here. The season will kick-off with the Vijay Hazare Trophy on September 24.
Gunmen barged into a home in Dangerpora (Sopore) and opened fire leaving four members of the family injured. These included Asma, a six year old girl. Police said the main target of militants was not at home at the time of the raid. In his early seventies he is a prominent apple trader. The injured include his son and granddaughter. All four are said to be out of danger and treated at different hospitals in Srinagar.
This Muharram mourning lacked everything, including the black banners, a symbol of mourning. Given the situation, the authorities avoided taking a chance and imposed a blanket ban on the Muharram processions across the city, AbiGuzar, Hawal, Hassanabad, Shaheedgunj, and Aalamgiri Bazaar. Though the major processions were never permitted beyond the local areas, this was the first instance in which not even symbolism was permitted. On eighth and tenth of Muharram, authorities imposed crippling restrictions. Indian Express quoted some clerics saying that they exhibited cautioning even in their sermons.
Journalist GowharGeelani, whose book Kashmir: Rage and Reason was released byRupa last month, was prevented from flying to Bonn in Germany where he was joining a new job as an editor with Deutsche Welle. Moments before boarding, the immigration officials told him he is not being permitted to take off. Earlier, former IAS officer DR Shah Feasal was also prevented from taking off to Turkey. He was flown to Srinagar and sent to the special jail in the Centaur Lakeview Hotel. Geelani said no specific reason was given to him in writing, except the immigration official repeating: “Aajkal Kashmir kolekarkafidiqqathai”.
34,274 Distress Calls Were Received By Crpf’s Madadgaar Helpline (14411) From Kashmiris Living Outside The State Since August 5. In 1227 Calls, The Crpf Visited The Families Across Kashmir To Establish Their Contact With The Callers