Briefing June 12-18, 2022

JAMMU

Sensational disclosures about the merit list of police sub-inspector examinations made public by JKSSB indicated that the meritocracy is taking a toss in naya Kashmir. Aspirants traced as many as 20 families having a minimum of two members falling in the high merit category. Interestingly, quite a few were Muslims in the first 100 “toppers”. It is now being said that some low-level cops and some paramilitary officials have had some access to question paper that was allegedly distributed among candidates. Was it done for political reasons, money or something other than is not known? Lt Governor Manoj Sinha finally announced an investigation into the list. This was for the first time that SSB was mandated to make the selection for SI positions. Even though the investigations were announced, the SSB has not withdrawn the “merit” list. 

So huge is the rush that the tourists pre-book cable car (Gandola) tickets almost five days in advance.

GANDERBAL

For the last many years, the Kheer Bhawani Mela has been quite an event for Kashmiri Pandits not living in Kashmir. The government would get them in huge numbers for the special prayers, house them in Kashmir, and encourage them to spend time with relatives and neighbours. This was happening so successfully that they would end up spending almost a fortnight, far away from the hot plains. The festival took place, the arrangements were also good and the host population was there at their beck and call. But the numbers were unimpressive. Apparently, it looked like they were in hundreds and not thousands. The reason: the spate f targeted killings had returned the fear. Most of them, however, celebrated the festival in Jammu where they have created a replica of the Kheer Bhawani temple at Janipur. 

Former Sadar-e-Riyasat, Dr Karan Singh who is the sole trustee of Dharmarth Trust managing the Ganderbal shrine visited Tulmulla and performed puja. However, some reports quoting official sources put the number of visitors at 18000.

Of the 20 cases of targeted attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir Police said it has solved 14 of them. The six unsolved cases include the recent spate of three killings in three attacks across two days, including a woman teacher from Jammu, a bank manager from Rajasthan and a worker from Bihar.

SRINAGAR

INTACH Kashmir and Roli Books released Architectural Ornamentation in Shrines & Mosques of Kashmir at an impressive function in Srinagar. This is the first major effort offering a well-documented collection of Muslim architecture, especially its ornamental part. The book is a compendium gathering photographs, writings and drawings, of the extraordinary architectural elements of Kashmir’s historical khanqahs, shrines and mosques. Its purpose is to give a sense of the evolving intellectual history of the craft practices and the ideas that inform them, its character, social and cultural properties, its complex relationship with other media, and the great variety of roles it performs. Edited by Qamoos Bukhari, the book draws together narratives from scholars and experts from various disciplines to explicate the meanings, semblance, and significance of an object, or representation, with a particular focus on the intersection of traditions with artistic, religious and cultural practices in the local and wider regions. Kashmir’s respected scholar on Muslim architecture, Hakim Sameer Hamadani introduced the book and mathematician, Prof Fozia Qazi had dwelt on the geometric of Kashmir architecture in the central Asian context.

The Government has announced an enquiry into alleged embezzlement in GPF withdrawal of Rs 29 lakh from an official account of Geology and Mining Department Jammu.

BANGALURU

Talib Hussain, a resident of Kishtwar, was arrested by police in Bengaluru on June 7, 2022, for being a Hizb militant

Police arrested a suspected militant of banned Hizbul Mujahideen from Bengaluru on June 5. Identified as Talib Hussain, he was arrested from a mosque in Srirampura, where he was delivering the sermons on Friday prayers. Reports said he had fled from Jammu and Kashmir with his wife and children. Hussain, reports said was working in Bengaluru as an auto driver for two years. During Covid19 lockdown, when he returned home he lost his occupation. He was living in the Okalipuram area. After he lost his job, Hussain was provided shelter by a local mosque where he lived with his wife and three children. A resident of the Rajwari Nagsemi area of Kishtwar, Hussain has two wives and five children. One was living back home in Kishtwar and another was accompanying him to Bengaluru. He was later brought to Jammu. No other detail is available.

SRINAGAR

Jammu and Kashmir government will be taking over the Centaur Lake View Hotel from the Air India subsidiary Hotel Corporation of India (HCI). Faz Lul Haseeb, a young IAS officer, currently Additional Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, has been appointed as the estate’s officer for taking over it. The issue, however, is subjudice. Fearing the takeover, the employees are seeking protection of their jobs and rights. 

The administration is busy re-designating part of 5,928 positions in government, which are managed by Kashmiri Pandits employed under the PM Package.

WANGAT

Thousands of devotees gather at Baba Nagri for the annual Urs from June 6 to 8 at Baba Nagri.Nagri

After a gap of two years, tens of thousands of devotees thronged Baba Nagri to attend Urs of Hazrat Baba Nizam-ud-Din Kiyanvi. The gathering has most of the participants from Chenab Valley and Pir Panchal valley. The gathering missed the custodian of the shrine and successor of their Peer, Mian Bashir who passed away last year. Mian Altaf is now presiding over the functions as he was appointed as successor by Mian Bashir.

JAMMU

Three Magnetic IEDs Brought Down From Drone in Kanachak area on June 7, 2022

Drones have become the news crisis on the International Border. Almost every second day, there is a sighting. Last week, the BSF shot down a drone near Akhnoor. It carried a payload of three IEDs looking like Tiffin boxes as its payload. It came within a week after JKP cops used an Under Barrel Grenade Launchers (UBGL) to shoot down a drone in Talli Hariya Chak of Kathua on May 29. It carried many things. The security grid is using a counter-drone system that was developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

GERMANY

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said that a constructive approach and confidence-building measures between Pakistan and India were key to the improvement of their ties and solution to the Kashmir issue. She said it during her maiden Pakistan visit. A day later, Delhi strongly reacted to Baerbock’s statement. India, in its response, ruled out third-party intervention in the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and maintained that the matter is a bilateral dispute between Delhi and Islamabad. The remarks came from External Affairs Minister spokesperson Arindam Bagchi. 

DELHI

Kashmir poetess and critic, Dr Taranum Riyaz, died in a Delhi hospital on May 20, 2021. She had contracted Covid19. She died within 41 days of her husband Dr Riyaz Punjabi’s death in Delhi.

On her first death anniversary, novelist poet Tarannum Riyaz’s Urdu novel was published in English by Niyogi Books. She had died of Covid19 on May 20, 2021, almost 41 days after Riyaz Punjabi, her husband. Depicting changing times in Kashmir from a rural to a more urban way of life, the novel Birds of the Snows revolves around a Kashmiri family and traces the life of Sheba, a young woman who chooses career over matrimony. The novel also explores the mother-daughter relationship, women’s freedom and the search for self-fulfilment. The novel was originally written in Urdu with the title Barf Aashna Parindey. Exploring women’s freedom, the mother-daughter relationship and social mores, the author skilfully interweaves several poignant narratives. While studying at university, Sheba takes on the compassionate task of looking after her professor, when he is afflicted by a stroke. She engages in this humanitarian role with her college batch-mates and continues alone after they move on in pursuit of their professional and personal goals.

BUDGAM

Owner of Brick kiln that lost a worker in militant attack arrested on June 6, 2022

Four days after militants killed one of his workers, brick-kiln owner Muhammed Yousuf Mir was arrested by Jammu and Kashmir Police for “ignoring administrative orders on safety”. On June 2, militants killed Dilkhush Kumar, a resident of Gaon Ladugarh, Purina (Bihar) inside a makeshift shelter at Magraypora village. Brick kiln owners say they are not aware of any protocol or administrative order about the safety of labourers. From now on, however, CCTV cameras are being installed around brick kilns across Kashmir.

BARAMULLA

A representation image

Mohammad Irfan Bhat, a resident from Kreeri belt of Baramulla was detained under the stringent Public Safety Act for allegedly uploading a video in which he justified the killing of Kashmiri YouTuber, Amreen Bhat. Amreen was shot dead by militants at Hashroo in Chadoora on May 25. Irfan has been lodged in Kot Bhalwal Jail in Jammu.

ANANATNG

As the peasants in certain areas ignored the advice of the experts and continued with the plantation of the paddy, they are facing the music now. After they did the plantation, they are not having enough water to keep it irrigated. This is a situation reported from various areas of north and south Kashmir. Authorities had suggested certain areas opt for maize instead of rice. This was not taken seriously by a vast section of the people as a result of which they are facing serious issues now. The water level in almost all the water bodies is the lowest and at certain points, one can see the river bed of Jhelum. Authorities have started a survey of the area to locate the village facing the draught-like situation.

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