Briefing

SRINAGAR

Last time when Pakistan had to justify its nuclear test before the world, its foreign minister read out the statements that Dr Farooq Abdullah, the then Chief Minister, had made in follow up to Pokhran. More than two decades later, some of his statements are part of the dossier on basis of which a case of his detention under Public Safety Act has been made out. The 21-page dossier lists 27 charges, 16 police reports, three FIRs and 13 statements, he has made. Restricted to his home since August 5, Dr Abdullah, the five-time Chief Minister was formally arrested on September 14.

Accused of fanning the emotions of general masses against India, the dossier, according to Indian Express mentions his December 2016 speech at his father’s grave where he suggested Hurriyat factions must unite. In July 2019, speech, he said: “If Article 370 is temporary, then Jammu and Kashmir’s ties with India are also temporary.” His reference to Kashmir as “this nation”, is another charge, besides his statement over February 14 Pulwama attack has been mentioned as “reflecting his sacrilegious agenda by insulting valour of brave forces”. In his August 5, statement, the dossier said, he “crossed the limits of guaranteed freedom of speech and expression” by calling for “an uprising” in the state. Of the three FIRs recorded in the dossier, two have been fled in J&K and one in Delhi.

LEH

For the first time since the Siachen glacier was occupied by the armies of India and Pakistan, the Indian army has launched a drive to clear the glacier of mounds of waste. Launched in January, so far, 130 tonnes of waste was brought down. It includes 48.4 tonnes of biodegradable garbage, 40.32 tonnes of non-bio-degradable and non-metallic waste and 42.45 tonnes of metallic scrap. The presence of army is creating 236 tonnes of waste on the fragile glacier a year. The idea is to clear the glacier of all wastes in next 15 years. Besides, the army is planning to permit domestic tourists to the belt.

KATRA

It a new twist in the display of Laxmi, the Vaishno Devi shrine will have a gold plated gate. It will be formally installed during the Navratras. The “golden entrance”, according to Shrine Board has been carved with pictures of gods and goddesses. “The golden entrance has a dome, three golden flags and a huge ‘golden chattar’, besides pictures of Mata Vaishno Devi, depicting her nine looks like Mahagauri, Sidhidarti, Kalratri, Chamunda,” officials told reporters. “At the right side of the entrance, a tall golden picture of Goddess Laxmi has been printed and on the left side, the aarti (special prayer chamber) of the goddess has been placed and at the centre of the dawar and a 25-kg bell made of silver and gold has also been hung.” Vaishno Devi is one of the wealthiest north Indian shrines that is visited by around 10 million pilgrims a year. The golden installation required 12 kgs of gold, 1100 kgs of silver and 1200 kgs of copper.

London

Kashif Siddiqi, a top British Asian footballer, who is part Indian origin and has played for Pakistan as well, was signed by Real Kashmir Football Club, Guardian reported. The unorthodox loan move from League One Oxford United to Real Kashmir FC will see Siddiqi, 33, playing in Kashmir, a conflict spot that is in news for many months now. The player has said his ‘loan move’ is a proof of his commitment to the wider importance of the game. In 2013 he co-founded with former Chile international Elías Figeroa the Football For Peace charity, which runs a number of programmes around the world that use the game to address social issues. In UK, the group tackles knife crime and gang violence. He is slated to address the UN general assembly on his work, this week. Real Kashmir co-founder Sandeep Chattoo has said the decision is beyond the game: “Kashif is a unique player who will fit right in and we hope that his football for peace efforts will align with our mission and continue to bring hope and joy to the region.” Peacemaking has real worries. “Of course, I’m a bit worried. I’ve been following the news and know that things are really difficult there at the moment,” Siddiqi was quoted saying. “But I know what this club means to the youth of Kashmir, and I know that football can make a difference to their lives, as difficult as they are.”

In an interesting development, also related to the Real Kashmir FC, a documentary on the Club by BBC Scotland has been nominated to two categories at British Academy Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Film Awards Scotland. The documentary focused around the journey of David Robertson to Kashmir was aired by BBC Scotland earlier 2019.

MIRPUR

More than 37 deaths were reported after 5.8 magnitude earthquake Mirpur on September 24. Officials said 579 people survived with injuries in the quake that was also severely felt in Jammu and Kashmir. As many as 1619 houses have been destroyed by the quake. United States Geological Survey said the earthquake struck at a depth of 6.2 miles, in Jatlan village in Mirpur outskirts, barely 30 kms from Jammu and Kashmir. Al Jazeera reported that freighted people – the area was literally decimated on October 8, 2005, stayed outside their homes overnight. The earthquake has led to the sinking of almost 3 kms of a major road. Most of Mirpur lives in Bhiringham (UK).

SRINAGAR

For a cosy winter sojourn, the CRPF would be setting up over 40 pre-fabricated huts and improving infrastructure in existing private houses and hotels they are living in. The prefabricated shelters would be insulated with Poly Urethane Foam (PUF) to insulate the interiors from the winter chill. The paramilitary will acquire over two lakh coir mattresses for its jawans deployed in Kashmir. Earlier, they would sleep on a darri (thin mat), according to The Hindu. The CRPF, since 2003, operate from “a little over 100 small hotels and houses abandoned by Kashmiri Pandits”.

JAMMU

Congressman Ghulam Nabi Azad – Kashmir’s only Chief Minister, who has not been arrested, visited parts of Kashmir for 6-days after being permitted by the Supreme Court, has termed the situation “very bad.” He said the state administration did not permit him to even visit 10 percent of places he wished to go. “There is no sign of freedom of speech in Jammu and Kashmir,” he told The Indian Express. After being sent back from Srinagar airport thrice since August 5, Azad finally got permission from the Supreme Court to visit parts of the state. He will submit his report to the Court.