For many, the New Year may not be different from 2020. Jammu newspaper Daily Excelsior reported around 100 politicians, political workers, anti-India leaders and OGW’s of militants will face “preventive” detention or will be booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA). The new drive, it said is being launched by the administration to prevent “breach of peace.” Interestingly, these days mainstream politicians are more on radar than the separatists. In the last few weeks, police have already arrested three senior PDP leaders, a day before the counting of votes in DDC polls and one NC leader from south Kashmir, after the declaration of results. The detained leaders, officials said are under preventive detention under section 107/151 CrPC as there were apprehensions of “breach of peace.”
Kashmir was again in the international media, albeit for a local reason. Splashed over the screens, a young Kashmir born lady is going to be part of team Joe Biden. As reports emerge, Aisha Shah is going to be one of the key functionaries in the US President Joe Biden’s Digital Strategy Team. Shah, whose family was part of the city in Srinagar belongs to one of the influential families of Kashmir, that has contributed immensely in the field of education. She is said to be the granddaughter of Syed Ahmad Shah, who retired as DIG in 1982. He was the eldest among his siblings Dr Naseer Ahmad Shah, husband of Dr Girja Dhar, Mehmooda Ahmad Ali Shah and Barkat Begum. Aisha was born in Kashmir to Dr Amir Shah (son of Syed Ahmad Shah) and Elfy (daughter of Mansoor Ahmad) raised in Louisiana. The family had migrated to the US in 1993. She would be the Partnerships Manager at the White House Office of Digital Strategy, which would be headed by Rob Flaherty, Director of Digital Strategy. Aisha has been coming to Kashmir every year along with her sister and mother.
Bringing laurels to her beautiful and small hometown Doda, Dr Syedah Asma Andrabi, a PhD scholar of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) Jammu has been conferred with IAVP-Dr Balwant Singh Memorial Young Scientist Best Oral Presentation Award-2020 by Indian Association of Veterinary Pathologists. She was awarded for her research paper Molecular detection and characterization of field isolates of chicken anaemia virus and its effect on immune cells.
Mehak Mirza Prabhu, 37, who dared to display a placard “free Kashmir” in Mumbai was freed of all charges last week. The Mumbai Police has filed a C-summary report before the Esplanade magistrate court in Mumbai stating that the allegations against her were not found to be true. She was booked on January 7, when anti CAA protests were going on across India. Mehak, a storytelling artist, had earlier told in several interviews that she was speaking of basic constitutional rights and freedom of expression in Jammu and Kashmir in view of the internet shut down there.
Asking courts in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to avoid revealing the identity of survivors of rape in proceedings and judgments, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has sent the same direction to a health professional as well. The division bench of acting chief justice Rajesh Bindal and justice Sanjay Dhar directed the professionals to desist from the two-finger test on rape survivors. The bench was hearing an appeal filed against a judgment passed by the Principal Sessions, Judge, Bhaderwah whereby accused/respondent was acquitted of the charge of rape. In its judgment, the court observed that “rape is not merely a physical assault but it is the destruction of the personality of the victim. Therefore, courts have to act responsibly and with sensitivity while dealing with the cases of rape, particularly, while referring to the prosecutrix.”
In the last episode of Mann Ki Baat for the year 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about Kashmir again. Invoking the words of Abul Fazal, he delved into the world of Kashmiri Kesar (saffron). Encouraging Indians to buy saffron that is exclusively produced in Kashmir, Modi detailed the quality of the crop. He explained how Kashmir crop was able to claim its rightful space in the global market after it received a geographical indication (GI) tag in 2020. “If we talk about quality, then Kashmiri saffron is very unique, and entirely different from the saffron found in other countries,” he said. Modi in his address mentioned Abdul Majid Wani, a resident of Tral, who was able to sell his GI tagged saffron produce through the National Saffron Mission, the government’s flagship program to promote saffron farming, in an e-market of Pampore. Pertinently, Kashmir saffron received a GI tag in July 2020 which put the valley’s produce on the global map.
Even if the borders dividing Kashmir into two parts remain hot throughout the year but the local residents living across often miss the thin line dividing the two sides. This week a minor boy Ali Haider, 14, resident of Pakistan administered Kashmir was apprehended by the SOG party near Batar nallah near Ajote village in Poonch. The boy is presently in the custody of SOG Poonch and the investigation is on. So far there was no report from the other side of the border about missing Ali.
In a heart numbing incident an uncle of a minor 13 years old girl has been arrested in Jammu for sexually abusing her. The accused Ravi Sethi, is the husband of former Mahila Morcha President and Jammu and Kashmir BJP Spokesperson Rajni Sethi. The victim’s family has accused the police of delaying the filing of an FIR in the cases and later they approached the court for the same. It was on the directions of the court that the file filed the case and started investigating the case. Police said that they have arrested two, Sethi and his maternal uncle Raj Kumar and the court has sent both on 7-days police remand. As per the details, FIR vide 197/20 under sections 354 of IPC and 7/8 of POCSO Act has been registered against Sethi and Raj. Police has taken the victim to the hospital for medical examination, the report of which was awaited.
Arif Saleem Bohru alias Badshah Khan will be the first Kashmiri professional wrestler to participate in World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) India tryouts early 2021. Arif, 23, is currently enrolled at Great Khali run academy in whose Jalandhar. He is among the top-five pro-level wrestlers in India. A resident of Neel (Banihal), Arif, 6.2’ has already won many competitions.
He has been in the academy for almost three years now where he goes for wrestling for 4-hours, does a 90-minute cardio exercise and works out at the gym for 2 hours. After dropping out at twelfth level, Arif was a labourer till he joined the academy.
Following the successful NHPC model, the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) has inked an MoU with Jammu and Kashmir for high-density plantation of apple, walnut, cherry, and flowers. Under the agreement, NAFED will cover 5500 hectares at a cost of Rs1700 crore in the next five years. It will set up 20 farmer-producer organizations, one in each district, in the next three months. NAFED will invest Rs 500 crore in three cold storage clusters.