Briefing July 19 – July 25, 2020

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SRINAGAR

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh prays at the Amarnath Cave Shrine along with the top Generals.

After reviewing the situation on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, defence minister flew to Srinagar along with Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and Army Chief Gen MM Naravane. He first flew to the Amarnath cave shrine for his prayers. “Feeling extremely blessed after praying at Shri Amarnathji Holy Cave in Jammu and Kashmir,” Singh tweeted. He later flew to Kupwara where he interacted with the soldiers.

MUMBAI

Ranbir Kapoor Look-Alike Kashmiri model Junaid Shah. At 28, he died of cardiac arrest in July 2020

Junaid Shah, a promising Kashmiri model, who was enrolled in Anupam Kher’s acting centre in Mumbai, died of a heart attack at his Ellahi Bagh residence. He was 28. What was significant about Shah was that he was a complete copy of Bollywood heartthrob, Ranbir Kapoor. The similarity is so striking that the late Rishi Kapoor, Ranbir’s father, said he is unable to make a distinction. Shah had come from Mumbai along with his parents quite recently. His father, Nissar Ahmad, is on dialysis and is not well. Shah has studied at Delhi Public School and pursued further education at IIPM.

LAL CHOWK

During the shooting of his film in Kashmir in 2016, Salman Khan with a group of locals children in south Kashmir

The Kashmiri fans of Bollywood star Salmaan Khan have finally something to cherish about. Khan’s brand Being Human has opened its outlet in Srinagar, which he was going to inaugurate himself but pandemic spoiled his plans. This store located at ‘Citywalk Kashmir’ the newly built 35,000 square feet shopping centre on Maulana Azad Road, is owned by a Kashmiri businessman Adil Ahmad Zaz, who reportedly tried to get the store in Kashmir in 2017 which was then refused on the grounds of the situation by the Khan’s sister Arpita Khan. But when Khan came to know about it, he personally intervened and got the franchise store approved in 2018.

BARAMULLA

Mehrajuddin Malla, a BJP vice-president of Watergam-Sopore municipal committee was allegedly abducted by unidentified persons in Baramulla and later ‘rescued’ by the local police. Not many people know why and who kidnapped him. Police claim militants were behind his abduction. The kidnapped came days after the militants killed a BJP leader and his two relatives in Bandipore. After the killings, a number of BJP members in the north have reportedly resigned. These include Marouf Bhat, of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) in Baramulla and Asif Ahmad from Kupwara and Mubeena Bano from Handwara.

BHOPAL

Pyare Miyan, a Bhopal based editor of an Urdu newspaper was arrested in Srinagar.

Bhopal based newspaper owner Pyare Miyan, 68, who was on the run after four minor girls and a woman accused him of rape, was finally arrested from the Old City in Srinagar. Earlier that day, the police claimed to have seized porn CDs, high-end cars, liquor bottles and bones of wild animals among other things during raids on his properties in Bhopal. It was during this raid that police got to know about his presence in Kashmir and they got in touch with Jammu and Kashmir police and got him arrested.

JAMMU

An amount of Rs 40 lakhs illegal money was recovered from the residence of an IAS Officer in Tawi Jammu. Allegedly he has taken the money from an organisation and LG government has recommended a probe into his alleged “illegal” monetary benefits and asked him to remit the amount. Earlier in June, the administration had written to the DoPT to take action against an IAS officer who allegedly tried to prevent the Amarnath Shrine Board officials from undertaking pratham pooja (first prayer) for Amarnath yatra. This was for the first time in many years that the Jammu and Kashmir administration has made a complaint to the DoPT against a bureaucrat.

RAJ BHAWAN

Lieutenant Governor, G C Murmu chairs Administrative Council meeting

On the directions of Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu, the Raj Bhavan has written to commissioner secretary Industries and Commerce to prepare a roadmap for closure, privatization and merger of PSUs that includes SICOP ( born 1975), Jammu and Kashmir Minerals Limited (1960), privatization of J&K Cements Limited (1974), closure of J&K Industries Ltd (1963) and the merger of J&K Handicrafts (S&E) corporation with J&K state Handloom Development Corporation. Seeing nefarious designs in the decision, the regional political parties have reacted to the decision saying it will create unemployment. Kashmir Chamber says if it has to be done, the people who will take over these units must be locals.

UN

Scribes protest against new media policy in Srinagar on Monday, July 6, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Three UN Special Rapporteurs: David Kaye, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion; Leigh Toomey, Vice-Chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and Mark Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, all  associated with the United Nations High Commissioner (OHCHR) have voiced their concern at the criminal proceedings and investigations by police initiated against the four Kashmiri journalists: Naseer Ganai, Peerzada Ashiq, Masarat Zehra and Gowhar Geelani. The letter reportedly was made public as India has not replied to them, the letter was sent to the Ministry of External Affairs on May 12. These communications, under the UN protocol, are being made public in case they are not responded within 60 days.

BANDIPORA

The baby orphan is in the lap of Ram Madhav and state BJP president is too close to the two. Pic: Twitter

The condolence meeting at the residence of BJP worker Sheikh Wasim Bari turned out to be a headache for many after the BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir president Ravinder Raina tested positive for Coronavirus. He was accompanied by the MoS Dr Jitendra Singh, Ram Madhav, Avinash Rai Khanna and other senior BJP leaders, who have gone into self-isolation. But as per Raina’s social media post, he has been in Bandipora for five days and participated in the funeral of Bari as well. Nobody knows how many people he met in those five days and after that, he participated in the condolence meeting which was held at Tagore hall where at least 100 BJP workers were present with whom Raina was seen posing for selfies.

NOWHATTA

A Kashmiri woman walks near the Naqshband Sahab Shrine in Khwaja Bazar on Monday, July 13, 2020. The shrine premises is home to Martyrs Graveyard. Authorities prevented special prayers at the cemetery. Kl Image by Bilal Bahadur

For the first time since 1948, the roads leading to Naqshband sahib were silent as there was no celebration observed on the Martyrs Day, July 13. After the Parliament unilaterally scrapped the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, many gazetted holidays were dropped from the yearly calendar including that of the Martyr’s Day. On this day in 1931, 22 Kashmiri men and women were shot dead as they gathered outside the Srinagar central jail to protest against the arrest and subsequent trial of Abdul Qadeer, who was seen as a crusader against Singh’s Dogra regime. The people of Kashmir started observing Martyrs’ Day from 1932 onward. Since 1947, the day was incorporated in the official list of holidays.

Usually, July 13 would see important government functionaries, including the governor, chief ministers, cabinet ministers, heads of various political parties and even separatist groups, visit the Mazaar-e-Shuhada to pay homage but this year nobody from the government came to this place nor any other leader was allowed to come as the Srinagar district was put under lockdown 2.0 from the same day.

MUMBAI

Bollywood actor Soni Razdan, the wife of celebrated filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and mother of popular actor Alia Bhatt, is again in news for her Kashmir comments. She believes Kashmir is grossly misrepresented in Bollywood. Razdan played an important role in Ashvin Kumar’s No Father’s in Kashmir, which she claims tried to show the true picture of Kashmir. She appreciated the films like Hamid and Haider but said any films gloss over the details or the truth, and basically tell stories set in Kashmir, but not true to the people there. They are full of propaganda.

 

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