Briefing July 25-31, 2021

TEETWAL

A sweets exchange between the two army officers from India and Pakistan on the bridge over Kishanganga in Teetwal. The sweets were exchanged on the occasion of Eid on July 21, 2021.

The quiet diplomacy between India and Pakistan lacked a photograph. This Eid, it was clicked at the rope bridge over Kishanganga (Neelum) river at Teetwal, in the middle of which the LoC is believed to be passing. The occasion was the exchange of sweets between the rival armies (BSF followed it as well), for the second time in 2021. Accompanied by a police sub-inspector, a 4-member army team took a packet of sweets and at the middle of the culvert, two young officers, wearing white gloves, shook hands, before the packets were exchanged. Similar flag meetings were reported in Uri, Chakan Da Bagh and Mendhar in Poonch. BSF followed the trend and exchanged sweets at many places including Jammu.

Against a target of one crore people to be brought under SEHAT, so far there are only 55 lakh registrations. The scheme funds medical expenses up to Rs 5 lakh, a family in a year. So far, 229 Government hospitals and 35 private hospitals of Jammu and Kashmir are accredited under the scheme.

SRINAGAR

Shoppers throng markets for purchases in Srinagar on Monday ahead of Eid-Ul-Azha being celebrated in Kashmir on July 21, 2021.
KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

It was yet another modest Eid. While the fright of Covid19 prevented any major function in Kashmir’s two key mosques in Srinagar, the liquidity issues remained as the main tension for the markets. There were no crowds and markets having better footfalls reported low sales. Even the live animal market at Eidgah suggested an all-time low sale. Part of the tension was created by the government when at some level it leaked a communication suggesting the bovines and camel swill be prevented from being sacrificed, a decision that was denied later. People preferred prayers in Mohalla mosques with Covid19 SOP. What was remarkable was it remained peaceful.

JAMMU

Hailed as “historic” by BJP, the government amended the Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules, 2020 and allowed the non-local spouse of native women to be domiciles. Once declared domiciles, they can apply for all the government jobs in Jammu and Kashmir like natives. Apart from natives, the government of India on August 4, 2020, provided for the issuance of a domicile certificate to those who have resided in Jammu and Kashmir for 15 years, or have studied for seven years and appeared in Class 10 or 12 examinations. The new clause into the Grant of Domicile (Procedure) Rules has removed these conditions. The decision has quickly divided the right-wing. BJP said it gave “justice to the daughters of the soil whose rights in J&K ceased to exist on grounds of Article 370 and Article 35A once they were married elsewhere in the country”. IkkJutt Jammu said: “Whatever good you do now in the name of removing gender inequality, the ultimate harm you people have done is by resurrecting Article 35A through the backdoor.” The government has issued more than 3.2 million domicile certificates, so far.

The government says that response to investment in Jammu and Kashmir is so impressive that they revised the target of Rs 30,000 crore to Rs 50,000 crore and five lakh jobs to seven lakh.

KUPWARA

Ishfaq Shafi Mir, a BJP activist, who is son of BJP district president Kupwara, before being discharged from District Hospital Kupwara on July 16, 2021. Police later arrested him for faking the attack to get attention.

Ishfaq Mir, son of BJP’s district president Mohammad Shafi Mir was travelling around Gulgam in Kupwara when he received a bullet. Within minutes the news was flashed that BJP leader’s son was attacked. By the time, the news was already on the TV, the second version, released by police said one personal security officer (PSO) had a misfire from his service weapon that hit Mir Jr’s arm and the other accompanying PSO opened fire out of fear. Two days later, police arrested two BJP workers including Mir and Basharat Ahmad and their two PSOs. Police found the “attack” was orchestrated by the two cops and the two protected persons to get “enhanced security and attract senior leaders’ attention”. All four are in police remand for a week. Embarrassed, the BJP has suspended Mir, his son and Basharat Ahmad from the party and claimed it initiated an internal enquiry.

JAMMU

Delimitation Commission speaking to the media after the conclusion of their 4-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir

If reports based on calculated leaks are to be taken seriously then the Delimitation Commission is working to reserve 18-20 Assembly berths in Jammu and Kashmir’s 90-seat assembly for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs). While the SCs can get 7-8 reservations, the ST can have 11-12 reserved seats. For the last four Assembly elections, seven Jammu berths were SC reserves but the ST never had this. Though they were not rotated after every two elections under the rules, now, the Commission will de-serve these seven berths. In the 2011 census, 7.38 per cent were SCs and 11.91 per cent were STs in the 12.5 million population.

 LEH

Snow cutter clearing snow from Srinagar-Leh highway on Sunday, February 28, 2021. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

The government of India has announced the plan of setting up a Central University at an investment of Rs 750 crore and an integrated multi-purpose infrastructure development corporation in Ladakh. The corporation will literally own Ladakh as it would work on industry, tourism, transport and marketing of local products and handicrafts in addition to being the main construction agency. The corporation will have an authorised share capital of Rs 25 crore and a yearly expenditure of around Rs 2.42 crore. The constitution of the corporation was recommended by the Committee that divided the assets of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state between two UTs.

July 18, 2021, recorded the hottest day after eight years with the temperature soaring to 39.5 degrees Celsius

SHOPIAN

Forces personnel near the site of an encounter in the Hanjin area of Rajpora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama gunfight on Friday July 2, 2021. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

In an encounter at Shopian’s Chak-e-Sidiq Khan, a joint posse of the army, CRPF and police killed two Lashkar militants – Ishfaq Ahmad Dar and Majid Iqbal Bhat. Dar, a resident of Heff Shirmal in Shopian, was a policeman for five years before he deserted and joined militants in October 2017. Before deserting, he was posted at the Police Training Centre in Kathua, Jammu. He was home on leave when he went missing. A few days later, his picture holding a rifle went viral on social media, announcing his joining the militant ranks.

Police, in the meanwhile, said, they carried out 36 counter-insurgent operations and killed 86 militants, 80 of them in Kashmir and six in Jammu. As many as 15 counter-insurgent personnel and 19 civilians were also killed in these operations. June and July witnessed 16 encounters in which 36 militants were killed. Besides, police said till July 15 this year, 69 individuals, mostly from Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama, joined the militant ranks compared with 85 in the corresponding period last year. Overall, in 2020, 174 individuals turned militants compared with 143 in 2019. Police data also suggest that militancy-related incidents fell from 120 in the first six months of 2020 to 84 this year. The ceasefire violations were nosedived from 937 in 2020 to 95, all from before the February 25 agreement. It says 200 militants are operating in Jammu and Kashmir.

AKHNOOR

The Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF) has busted the international drug cartel and arrested three persons including an ex-serviceman and recovered heroin worth Rs 14 crore. The recovery was made on July 19, when the consignment was being smuggled from Khour to Akhnoor on a scooty (JK02BA-0104) by Naresh Kumar alias Kurkaa, a resident of Mangiyal Avtara village in Khour. During investigations, Kumar revealed the names of his two associates, Kamal Singh alias Kali, and ex-serviceman Balbir Singh, both residents of Rishi Colony Khour. The duo led to the recovery of another packet concealed near the border. The modus operandi was simple – Pakistani drug dealers throw the consignment towards the Indian side and they pick it up.

KANACHAK

BSF shoots down drone in Kathua; M-4 rifle, grenades recovered

Barely 7-km from the international border, the Jammu and Kashmir Police have shot down a 6-wing, 2-antenna, 6.5-ft long drone (hexacopter), powered by 4 batteries carrying around 5-kg IED. It was marked CF PROP 30.2 * 9.9L. After a drone attack on IAF station Jammu, the security grid has remained on tenterhooks to spot drones. Since 2019, reports said, there have been 325 drone sightings in border areas of Jammu. At around 1 am during the intervening night of July 22 and 23, cops from Kanhachak Police Station found a drone and a packet lying at village Gurah Pattan, near the highway. The timer was quickly destroyed and the IED was taken for mandatory tests. IGP Jammu, Mukesh Singh said the drone with a flight controller and GPS is different from the one found in Kathua, last year. This drone was an assembled one with parts imported from China and Taiwan. He said these drones drop payloads using a string.

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