Briefing January 8-14, 2023

DELHI

Dr Asif Maqbool Dar

Last week, the MHA declared two Kashmir-born militants and a “social media influencer” as individual terrorists. Arbaz Ahmad Mir, son of Manzoor Ahmad Mir, from Gufbal (Kulgam), as per, MHA is involved in coordinating “terrorism” in Kashmir and supporting militancy by transporting illegal arms or ammunition or explosives from across the border. Accused of being involved in the killings of female teacher Rajni Bala, Mir is presently based in Pakistan. Mir’s designated terrorist status came a few days after the MHA declared Aijaz Ahmad Ahanger as an individual “terrorist” for being the chief recruiter of the Islamic State in Jammu and Kashmir. Ahanger, alias Abu Usman Al-Kashmiri, is currently based in Afghanistan. He has been a wanted militant in Jammu and Kashmir for more than two decades. Born in Srinagar’s Nawakadal area in 1974, MHA has stated that Ahanger joined al-Jihad in 1990. In 1991, he went to Pakistan for arms training and returned in the same year. He was arrested in Nowshera area of Srinagar in 1993. He was lodged in Central Jail Srinagar for almost two years and was released in 1995.

Ahanger’s as per police found a mentor in Abdul Gani Dar, the cleric who founded the Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen. He married Dar’s daughter, Rukhsana in 1995 with whom he fled across the LoC soon after. In Islamabad, he started editing the Shahadat magazine of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. In 2010, Ahanger moved to Miranshah, to join Muhammad Illyas Kashmiri’s network. However, in 2014 following a crackdown on the group by the Pakistan government, Ahanger and his family fled across the border into Afghanistan’s Paktia province. In 2017, MHA states, Ahanger assumed the charge of a new Islamic State unit set up to stage attacks against India-linked targets. In April 2020, Ahanger moved again, this time to a safe house in Kandahar. He was discovered there by Afghan intelligence which held him till the Taliban freed him. Since then he disappeared.

Meanwhile, Dr Asif Maqbool Dar of Wagoora, Baramulla, currently in Daman, Saudi Arabia has also been declared a “terrorist” associated with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. As per the MHA, Dr Asif is one of the leading “radical” voices on social media involved in influencing Kashmiri youth to pick up arms against the Indian state.

Srinagar administration has disbursed Rs 1398.43 crore among 37590 sanctioned cases generating self-employment for 87000 youth.

 DELHI

Invoking UAPA, the MHA has banned The Resistance Front (TRF) along with declaring the People’s Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF) as a terrorist organisation which it says is an offshoot of the militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed. The notification said, “PAFF is a proxy outfit of Maulana Masood Azhar-led Jaish-e-Mohammed and was involved in terror acts and issuing threats to Indian security forces, political leaders, civilians in J&K, and other states.” The MHA said that the outfit had emerged in the year 2019 as a proxy outfit of Jaish-e-Mohammed, a proscribed militant organisation listed at serial number 6 of the First Schedule under the UAPA.

The government is spending Rs 42 crore in the next three years to increase the production of Mushrooms by 3.5 times.

SRINAGAR

State Investigation Agency

Continuing with its exercise of attaching properties, the State Investigation Agency (SIA) attached properties in Sirhama, Viddy Srigufwara, Arwani in Anantnag district and in the main town Kulgam belonging to banned Jamaat-e-Islami. The officials said the properties include a double-storied house, along with 7 Marla of land, 56 Kanal agricultural land, 2 Kanal 7 Marla land, 3 Kanal 4 Marla land and 1.5 Kanal land.

Jammu and Kashmir has registered an increase of 28 per cent in its GST collection for the month of December which is 13 per cent more than the national average.

SRINAGAR

A photograph lifted from the official facebook page of the Kashmir Tourism Department shows the historic Jamia Masjid.

Altaf Hussain Shah has been accorded the responsibility of Deputy Imam (Naib Imam-i-Jummah) on Fridays at the historic Jamia Masjid in absence of Imam Hai Moulana Ahmed Saeed Naqshbandi. The announcement was made by Imam Hai during his Friday sermon after the Anjuman Auqaf Jama Masjid Srinagar had taken the decision.

DELHI

The Democratic Progressive Azad Party witnessed an implosion similar to what the Jammu and Kashmir Congress party had witnessed some months back when a big chunk of leaders had shifted from the latter to form Azad’s new party. Tara Chand along with 17 leaders re-joined the Congress party in Delhi. Among the 17 leaders, the prominent included Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed and Advocate Muzaffar Paray. Chand and Balwan Singh had been expelled from DPAP for “anti-party” activities. The 17 leaders re-joined the party in presence of ICC General Secretary (Organisation) K C Venugopal and AICC in-charge J&K affairs Rajni Patil. The re-joining comes weeks ahead of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra scheduled to enter Jammu and Kashmir.

JAMMU

The Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education has directed all recognised private schools to teach only board-prescribed textbooks for Classes 6th to 8th from the upcoming academic session. The JKBOSE said that there should be an implementation of textbooks published by the board by all the Private Schools affiliated with them. “It is once again reiterated for the information of all the stakeholders especially all the private schools affiliated with JKBOSE that only the textbooks published by the board are implemented and prescribed for classes 6th to 8th from the ensuing academic session failing which necessary action as warranted under rules shall be initiated against the defaulters.”

ALIGARH

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU, Aligarh

The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) managers have withdrawn the idea of profiling students of Jammu and Kashmir. The UP government had asked the University to furnish their details about students enrolled in the varsity. Assistant controller admission of AMU, Faisal Waris in a communiqué stated that “I am directed to inform the concerned that letter issued to various officials regarding furnishing of information with regard to a total number of students studying in the faculty, centre etcetera male and the female wise total number of Jammu and Kashmiri students admitted with complete details during the session 2022-23 stands withdrawn.” There are more than 1300 students enrolled in the university. The students from Kashmir, who consider AMU as their second home, have been alleging systemic and systematic harassment by others including officials within and outside the university.

SRINAGAR

A probe ordered into the appointment of a teacher revealed that he (the teacher) managed his entry into the department after producing a fake appointment On December 6, 2022, the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) ordered an inquiry to probe the appointment of a teacher posted in Boys High School Barthana, Srinagar. It was reported that on verification of the list, it was found that neither his name exists in the selection list nor in the appointment order issued on June 12 of 2009. The communication further reads that the original appointment order issued by the Directorate and the selection list issued by the JK Service Selection Board have been verified. “It has been found that the name does not exist anywhere neither in the appointment order nor in the selection list and the dispatch mentioned in your posting order has not any relevance with the original records,” it reads.

LADAKH

Captain Shiva Chouhan

Capitan Shiva Chauhan, a women army officer has become the first woman to be posted on operational duty at the highest battleground on the Siachen glacier, with the peaks ranging above 15000 feet. The posting of the first woman officers came after the government’s policy to increase the number of women in a combat role. She has been deployed at Kumar Post. The team of Sappers led by Capt Shiva Chouhan will be responsible for numerous combat engineering tasks and will be deployed at the post for three months.

DELHI

Meeting of the Leh Apex Body and the Kargil Democratic Alliance

Following joint protests by Leh and Kargil-based socio-religious and political organisations, the MHA has constituted a high-powered committee to discuss safeguards for protecting the region’s unique culture and language taking into consideration its geographical location and its strategic importance. Junior Home Minister, Nityanad Rai will head the panel. The committee will also discuss measures to ensure the protection of land and employment for the people of Ladakh. In response, the Leh Apex body and the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) announced that they won’t participate in the proposed meeting as their four-point agenda which included full-fledged statehood for Ladakh, constitutional safeguard under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India, recruitment and job Reservation for the youth of Ladakh and creation of two separate Parliamentary Constituencies haven’t been made part of the meeting.

BANDIPORE

Geeze rearing is common and popular among people living on the Wullar lake shores. These birds spend their days in the lake for most of the day and are guided home in the evening. The area could be selling a few lakh geeze to the market in a year. KL Image: Bilal Bahadurur

A south Indian film crew has started shooting for their film around the picturesque Wular lake, Asia’s second-largest freshwater lake, located in the Bandipore district of Kashmir. This will be the first movie to be shot in the lake after the new film policy was implemented in Kashmir. The film which is being directed by Aditya Suhas is based in Kashmir principal photography will be done in Baramulla and some of the scenes will be shot here in Zurimanz, a village on the brim of Wular lake.

SRINAGAR

Umar Farooq of Tailwani Achabal, a constable rank policeman was arrested in Anantnag, for allegedly cheating a civilian on the pretext of providing him with a job as a follower in the Jammu and Kashmir Police. He had taken Rs 20,000 from Tasaduq Ahmad Sheikh of Shehlipora Achabal for providing him with a follower’s job in the police.

DELHI

A Delhi Court has granted bail to a 25-year-old Kashmir-based photojournalist Mohammad Manan Dar in a case registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, observing that the accusation made by National Investigation Agency (NIA) against him does not appear to be cogent and true. Additional Sessions Judge Shailender Malik observed that the allegation of “assisting a proscribed militant organization discreetly whereas ostensibly carrying on legitimate activities like an advocate, journalist etc” must be supported by direct evidence of any such activities. “Mere assumptions or incomplete evidence to establish such facts may not be sufficient. This court would not discuss elaborately statements of the witnesses naming the accused/applicant, except to note that such statements may not be conclusive,” the report quoted the court as having said. On the allegation that Dar shared images of security forces and deployment under the cover of being a photojournalist, the special judge said that a perusal of extracted data from his mobile phone would show that while there are Telegram messages and images, they do not indicate that the same were sent by Dar.

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