After decades, the Republic Day function at Srinagar’s Bakshi Stadium was very well attended with thousands of men and women gathering to see the unfurling of the tricolour. There were long queues outside the stadium and the officials took a long time to ensure that everybody was properly seated. Hundreds of students from various schools displayed cultural programmes and their talent. Officials said the participation at Jammu and Srinagar’s two major functions was above 40,000 people. In anticipation of the major function, the security grid remained overbusy in sanitising the venue and its surroundings. On Republic Day, however, the internet remained operational, unlike past. The tricolour unfurling took place in all districts, major towns, institutions and all the departments across Jammu and Kashmir.
With a bed capacity of 750, there are around 100 births in Lalla Ded Hospital Srinagar
Dr Khalid Zaffar Masoodi, a scientist at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology Kashmir (SKUAST-K), has bagged a patent for his functional food that helps fight Prostate Cancer and related health issues. Masoodi’s laboratory had filed for the patent some time back for its Magic Food Taxo, a food supplement, carrying molecules extracted from various Kashmir crops having anti-cancer properties. The food contains molecules effective against improving prostate-related health by directly targeting the Androgen Receptor, a key gene in Prostate cancer progression. Masoodi laboratory screened around 400 medicinal herbs and crops and identified 16 anti-cancer molecules, with five originating from underutilised edible sources consumed in Kashmir for centuries. Meanwhile, the university’s two students – Dr Sahar Saleem Bhat and Irfan Gul, have secured two Biotechnology Ignition Grants (BIG) of Rs 50 Lakh each, reaffirming its commitment to fostering innovation in agriculture. These funds are seed money for the validation of Proof of Concept for start-ups.
LG Manoj Sinha said after August 2019, 31830 appointments were made and recruitments for 12264 posts are under process.
In an embarrassing incident, a SKUAST professor was sentenced to a one-year prison term, after being found guilty in a sexual harassment case by a local court in Sopore. The development unfolded at the university campus in Wadoora, Sopore. The professor who headed the university’s Department of Extension has also been fined Rs 15,000. Pertinently the conviction comes within a record time of nine months.
Of 1132 gallantry and service medals, 133 were given to personnel for their contributions in Jammu and Kashmir. The police in Jammu and Kashmir topped the chart with 72 medals.
Kashmir woodcarver, Ghulam Nabi Dar, 72, was bestowed with the Padma Shri award for his contribution to wood carving. He has given six decades to art and created masterpieces time-fighting against odds. Dar was introduced to wood carving art at a young age because his father suffered losses in his business. He was expelled from the school for not being able to pay his tuition fees, as a result of which he was sent by his family to pick a skill. A Sekidafar resident in old Srinagar city, he received a state award in 1984. In 1990, he visited Baghdad and displayed his art. In 1996, he got a national award.
Home Minister Amit Shah launched 100 fully air-conditioned e-buses in Jammu.
The arid desert region of Ladakh has landed in yet another controversy. The region’s influential Buddhist organisations have opposed the Central Government’s decision to rename the healthcare centres in Ladakh as Ayushman Arogya Mandirs. The move to rename Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs) as Ayushman Arogya Mandirs was initiated by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in November 2023. The Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) has termed it as an affront to the sentiments of the people in the two-district Union Territory.
Notwithstanding the dry well, around 50 thousand tourists visited Pahalgam in January.
In a rather bizarre incident that took social media by storm, a woman travelling from GB Pant to Radio Kashmir Gate handed over a gold coin to a bus conductor, instead of a routine currency coin. A resident of Batamaloo, the woman intended to sell the gold coin to cover the medical expenses of her brother-in-law, who is currently undergoing treatment at AIIMS Delhi. Frustrated and tense, she could recognise the mistake only after she reached the jeweller’s shop. The story was picked by almost all the media, it was not immediately known if the driver returned the gold coin to the deserving family.
The tourism department in Jammu and Kashmir is all set to register and train 100 female tourist guides, to promote inclusivity and fair gender participation.
Ishfaq Hamid, a 13-year-old Rabab player from Kreeri won the coveted Pradhan Mantri Bal Puraskar Award. President Daroupadi Murmu gave him the award for being an exceptional Rabab player. Ishfaq previously has won NGO Sarhad’s Bhai Mardana Award back in 2020. Besides Rabab, the sixth grader is also a skilled matka player. Ishfaq is the fourth-generation Rabab player of his family, his father, grandfather and great-grandfather are also well-recognised and skilled rabab players. He has been playing Rabab since the age of eight. His father Abdul Hamid Bhat has been playing the instrument for the last 35 years and was invited to play for G20 guests in Delhi last year.
Out of 1000 allocated eco-friendly bicycles under the Smart City Project in Srinagar, only 600 are operational while 389 cycles have been vandalised and five others have been stolen.
Four specially-abled players from Kashmir have secured spots in the Indian Physically Disabled Men’s Team for the upcoming five-match T20 series against England in Ahmedabad. The cricketers include Wasim Iqbal, Amir Hassan, Jaffer Amin and Majid Magray. Amir was already in the news after Sachin Tendulkar appreciated his exceptional skills and later he was adopted by the Adani Foundation. He has lost both his arms in an accident as a child. Since then, the passionate player has been playing amazing cricket. The DCCI-organised series is supported by the BCCI and is a significant platform for players with physical disabilities.
The Administrative Council (AC) has approved the Jammu and Kashmir Power Transmission Corporation Limited (JKPTCL) to take up the intra-state transmission projects worth Rs 1,190 crore through Tariff Based Competitive Bidding (TBCB).
Dr Nirupam Madaan, has been appointed as the first-ever woman Medical Superintendent (MS) of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS0 New Delhi. Interestingly, Dr Nirupam hails from Jammu and holds her degree from Government Medical College Jammu. She completed her MD from SKIMS Kashmir. During the COVID era, she has also served as an Additional MS of the JPNA Trauma Centre, and her leadership was widely acknowledged and praised.
Ladakh’s major socio-political groups, Leh Apex Body (LAB) and Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) have urged the Government of India to extend Ladakh’s territorial control up to Gilgit-Baltistan on the other side of the Line of Control (LoC) to counter threats from China. In a recent memorandum to the Home Ministry, LAB and KDA emphasised the strategic importance of Ladakh and called for Statehood with guarantees of the Sixth Schedule for internal stability. They argued for including Gilgit-Baltistan within Ladakh, reserved seats for the area, a full-fledged legislature, and a separate public service commission. The memorandum also highlighted Ladakh’s ecologically fragile areas and sought an increase in parliamentary representation. This comes as a high-level committee chaired by Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai has been holding meetings with representatives from the two bodies representing the two regions of Ladakh. The ministry had sought a list of demands from the two bodies in writing during their last meeting on December 4.
An IT professional, Pankaj Kumudchandra Phadnis, who is also the president of the Abhinav Bharat Congress, has filed a review petition in the Supreme Court challenging its December 11 judgment upholding the Centre’s decision to revoke Article 370 and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories. Phadnis seeks modifications, including the suspension of Article 370 until the Parliament gauges the views of Jammu and Kashmir’s people on constitutional autonomy.
Federal investigator, National Investigation Agency (NIA) has made progress in the Dhangri massacre case of January 1, 2023, apprehending a juvenile for harbouring assailants to the killings in Rajouri district. The juvenile, already in custody for a separate case, was produced before the Juvenile Justice Board after NIA found his involvement in sheltering the killers responsible for the attack that claimed seven lives. Earlier arrests of Nisar Ahmed and Mushtaq Hussain revealed their role in providing logistical support to the militants at the direction of proscribed Lashkar-e-Toiba handlers. NIA’s ongoing investigation focuses on identifying the actual perpetrators of the heinous attack. On January 1, 2023, four civilians—Deepak Kumar (23), Satish Kumar (45), Pritam Lal (56), and Shiv Pal (32)—were killed after unidentified armed men indiscriminately opened fire at Dhangri. Twelve hours later, two children, Vihan Sharma (4), and Samiksha Sharma (16), died when an improvised explosive device (IED) planted by the terrorists went off. On January 8, Prince Sharma, who was injured in the firing, succumbed to the injuries.
The half-day off on the occasion of the consecration of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya was not the only activity in Kashmir. There were special pujas, each at the Shankaracharya temple and in Lal Chowk. An archaeological site in Anantnag, the Sun Temple at Mattan also observed a special hawan and a similar puja was witnessed at the Hanuman temple as well.