Kashmir novelist Mirza Waheed’s second creation The Book of Gold Leaves has been shortlisted for DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015. Winner for the US$ 50,000 is expected to be announced by an international jury at the Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka on January 16. The novel is a heartbreaking love story set in war-torn Kashmir. Waheed’s debut The Collaborator was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, Shakti Bhat Prize as it was long-listed for Desmond Elliott Prize.
Finally, Rafiq Masoodi, was booked by the State Vigilance Organization for his shady role in making appointments as Secretary of the Cultural Academy. He has been accused of making 19 illegal appointments of orderlies, chowkidars, gardeners and sweepers by abusing his official position in 2006.
Muslim League leader and separatist poster-boy Masarat Alam is back in news, this time for getting against PSA. His party says the fresh detention orders were served to him in the jail itself. His last PSA detention was on April 17, 2015. Masarat was released on September 1, when the High Court quashed his detention but was re-arrested. While Masarat and PSA have played a long hide-and-seek, the timing of fresh detentions is interesting. Government, apparently, did not want Masarat to even think about the celebrations in the “extended” Hurriyat (g)!
A girl student had gone to appear in her tenth class examination where a person, Nisar Ahmad, took her to a bathroom and raped her. Later the victim informed her parents and police were approached that took the cognizance of the crime. No more details are known. But it was not the only incident on women exploitation front that dominated news. In neighbouring Ramban, a 13 year old girl was “forcibly” married to a 40-year-old Chanderkot man. Police have arrested Ramesh Lal, the groom and five of his relatives.
While it may take some more time to prove what killed Tufail Mattoo, the first casualty that triggered 2010 unrest, a court has sent two cops to judicial lock-up in the Wamiq Farooq case. Wamiq, a seventh class student, was killed on January 31, 2010, by a tear-smoke shell in Gani Memorial Stadium. Cops ASI Abdul Khaliq Sofi and SPO Mohammad Akram were ordered to be sent to judicial custody by City Forest Magistrate, B A Munshi. The case will now be heard by Principal Sessions Court Srinagar. The two cops had skipped appearing before the court since August 22, 2013 when CJM had issued non-bailable arrest warrants against them. The warrants were renewed on November 21, 2015.
The ‘battle of ideas’ has opened a new front. Police have detained Fayaz Ahmad Rather, the president of the local Auqaf in the Bugam village of Kulgam. Within two days after his arrest, he has been slapped a Public Safety Act. While the village has remained on the other side of democratic demarcation in last few elections, the latest that seemingly has infuriated the police is Rather leading thousands of people in the funeral prayers of slain Lashkar commander Abu Qasim on October 29. With Rather cooling his heels in Kathua jail, will the government change the village?
In anticipation of the daughter succeeding the father as Chief Minister, ruling PDP is keeping the women in focus. Under the brand new ‘State Marriage Assistance Scheme for Poor Girls’ (SMAS), the state’s Social Welfare Department would support the marriage of girls from state’s under-privileged classes by offering them a financial assistance of Rs 25,000 and cost of five grams of gold. It is an upgrade of an earlier scheme that has been improved and will be implemented instantly.
Of the 628 people who died of AIDS in J&K, 76 were Kashmiris
112461 persons in 10 district of Jammu are occupying more than 10,40,241 kanals of state land illegally