Given the build-up in anticipation of Eid, even the commoners were tense. Authorities resorted to two things quite fast: massive deployments and plugging of the information highway. For three days, people had no access to the internet. Even various functionaries of the government faced music on this front as they could not push documents from one end to another. On the day first, there were clashes after the prayers. The worst and slightly longish one was in the sprawling Eidgah, where thousands had come for the prayers. Locals said the rush was lesser than last Eid. Authorities limited Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to his home, making him to communicate with the Eidgah crowd on phone. All separatists were either formally detained or restricted to their homes. Police have made arrests in Srinagar. But the major solace was from Jammu where no tension was reported at all.
It is weird but interesting. Mohammad Hussain Bhat, a resident of Shalimar, invoked RTI to seek information about the mechanism of recruitments in the United Nations Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). His mail was responded by group’s official Nester Odaga Jalomayo conveying their inability to tell him the “internal procedure”. “However as we stated earlier, if you are so grieved, please feel free to take any action that you deem most appropriate to you,” the response read. So, in order to teach UNMOGIP a lesson, Bhat petitioned State Information Commission (SIC) and interestingly SIC issued a notice to UNMOGIP seeking presence of its representative on September 16. UNMOGIP did not respond and now SIC wants their presence on October 5.
It is Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai, again in Ladakh. On the 67th Chinese National day on October 1, senior military officers of India and China met and exchanged pleasantries on the Line of Actual Control (LoAC). Two ceremonial Border Personal Meetings were reported in the Red Army’s huts at Chushul and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) in eastern Ladakh. Top officers from both sides spoke on the occasion and insisted they would contribute in maintaining peaceful relations. While Indian delegations were led by Brigadier R S Raman and Colonel B S Uppal, Senior Colonel Fan Jun and Colonel Song Zhang Li headed the Chinese delegations.
The Bakhshi era Pahalgam club set up in 1960 was abandoned after it went up in fire in 2005. Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed, the biggest fan of Pahalgam, set a deadline for its reconstruction and it happened, yes, in six months. The Club took Rs 24 crore and it got a new identity. A blend of traditional and modern architecture, it has 21 luxury suites, a multi-cuisine restaurant, a coffee shop, an auditorium, conference and banquet halls, bowling alley, eating joints, gymnasium, spa, swimming pool, a beauty parlour, library-cum-reading room and an exclusive showroom for Kashmir crafts. When Mufti drove with a large number of guests to formally throw it open, it was a huge function. The Club is being managed by the JKTDC.
Behind the fall of state owned J&K Cements Ltd, are two major decisions. Firstly, the purchase of a new plant that was either faulty or the staff could not run. Secondly, setting up of a 300 ton grinding unit in Samba, to help PSU expand. It is the latter that is creating new records. Though it is yet to be operational, it already has had four inaugurations – the latest on September 20, by Industry Minister C P Ganga. The same unit was earlier thrown open by MLA Samba Devinder Kumar Manyal, Sajad Kitchloo and SS Slathia on October 19, 2014.
Swarming locusts are mentioned in the Koran. The insect moves in tens of thousands like a cloud and behaves like a single organism. The last locust attacks were reported from Ladakh where it destroyed every single green leaf in 2013. But Gund Jehangir is witnessing something different. For the last few days, tens of thousands of strange insects are entering every place, hearths, pots, beds and seem to be hanging on walls to the extent that people have fled the village. Normally appearing during nights, locals even dislocate the government school. Flanked by ‘experts’ top officials visited the village but nobody is able to tell what the insect is. Finally, residents sprayed insecticides and it reduced the population to an extent. Locals attribute the attack to near-by forests where the insects are ruling every single inch.