Briefing June 20 – June 26, 2021

JAMMU

Cricketer Suresh Raina Calls On Lt Governor Manoj Snha and presents his book .

As the old institutions are being revived, Kashmir is gradually losing its voice. In the 3-member sub-committee that will look after the crisis-ridden Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has appointed spokesman Anil Gupta as administrator and BJP chief spokesman Sunil Sethi as the legal expert of the sub-committee. Cricketer Mithun Manhas, another Jammu resident, is a member.

In Jammu and Kashmir’s useless Water Resources Regulatory Authority, a Congress creation to add to the woes of people, the government has given the oath of office to Kishore Chandra Naik, a is a former chairman of the Central Ground Water Board. Earlier, A Paramesham, Chairman Krishna River Management Board, was inducted as its member. Led by G S Jha, former Chairman of Central Water Commission and Ganga Flood Control Committee, none of the three members is from Kashmir.

Indicating a turnaround, JK Bank has posted a profit of Rs 432.12 Cr in 2020-21 of which Rs 315.75 Cr came in Q4 ending March 2021.

BANIHAL

First blasting for construction of 14.5 Km Zojila Tunnel at Zojila of Ganderbal district. KL Image

The 120-minute trial run of vehicular traffic through the double-tube four-lane Banihal-Qazigund road tunnel was successfully done last week so that it is formally inaugurated. The 8.5-km tunnel cost Rs 2,100 cr and took 10 years in making. The new tunnel built by Navayuga Engineering Company on a BOT basis will bypass the accident-prone Jawahar Tunnel and Shaitan Nalla and reduce the distance between Banihal and Qazigund by 16 km. A masterpiece of engineering, the tunnel was created using the Austrian tunnelling method. It has 126 jet fans, 234 CCTV modern cameras and a firefighting system. Between the two tubes, a 500-meter corridor was built for emergency use. The tunnel’s average elevation at 1,790 m (5,870 ft), which is 400 m lower than the elevation of the Jawahar tunnel – 2,194 m (7,198 ft).

Meanwhile, the 6.5-km long strategic Z-Morh tunnel on Srinagar Kargil road has been thrown open. Located near Gangangir, the Rs 2,379 Cr is a 10 x 7.5 meter parallel escape tunnel is expected to be opened for use by transport later this year. The tunnel is being laid by APCO Infratech for NHIDCL. The tunnel-located at an elevation of 8,652 ft above sea level is designed for the use of 1000 vehicles an hour at a speed of around 80 km per hour.

Almost 58 minor mineral blocks of river Jhelum e-auctioned to non-locals are expected to be cancelled and opened for traditional mining by locals.

GUREZ

Bollywood actor, Akshay Kumar flew to a Gurez village on June 17, 2021, to entertaining BSF personnel. He reportedly donated for a local school as well.

Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar flew in a BSF chopper to Gurez to spend a day with border guards. During the day, he put his masks off and danced with the BSF and played football. Photographs making rounds on social media said the locals also watching the actor dance and have a group photograph. Media reports said he also donated Rs 1 crore for a school at Neeru, near the Line of Control.

PAHALGAM

JIM&WS Pahalgam’s team of mountaineers that scaled Mount Everest in June 2021. On the extreme left is their leader.

The Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports (JIM&WS) in Aru, organised a major event to felicitate its three members who scaled Mount Everest. The trio included Mahfooz Ilahi Hajam, 26, a resident of Kujjar village in Kulgam, and two army soldiers Mohammad Iqbal Khan and Chander Singh Negi. JIMWS principal Col L S Thapa, who has scaled Mount Everest twice led the mission. Mahfooz is a civilian instructor at the JIM&WS. They scaled the world’s highest peak at 6.20 am on June 1, 2021.

Belonging to a middle-class family from the Kujjar area of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district, Mahfooz’s father is a barber.

Off late, Kashmiris are getting into record making. Rafiq Malik, scaled the peak as part of the National Cadet Corps Expedition (NCC) team led by Col. Satish Sharma, on May 20, 2013. A soldier since 1995, Malik is a resident of Kuchipra (Anantnag).

In May 2019, Nahida Manzoor, 23, a resident of Zewan in the outskirts of Srinagar, scaled the highest peak.

Kashmir produces more than 2000 metric tons of strawberries a year.

GANDERBAL

Sajad Rashid Sofi, a trader from Safapora who was arrested on June 10, 2021, for telling an adviser to Lt Governor that he has more expectations from local officers. He was set free after the political class condemned the action.

On June 10, when Baseer Khan went for the Janta durbar to Mansbal in Sumbal, a local trader Sajad Ahmad Sofi of Safapora, while making a point said he has more expectations from local officers. This irked the Deputy Commissioner, Ganderbal, who took a strong objection to the remarks. The police did a quick follow-up. Sofi was arrested and charged for an offence (135 IPC) suggestive of creating hate and animosity. Court bailed him out and the police retained him (this time under sections 107 and 151 – abetment and joining assembly likely to cause disturbance in peace) as a threat to peace. As the news broke on the fifth day, the politicians reacted and by the same night, Sofi walked out of the police station.

13 personnel from various counter-insurgent forces were killed in 2021 in nine separate incidents. These included 7 from JKP and three each from CRPF and Army.

BATKOOT

Almost a fortnight has passed and nobody is offering any clue to Akhnoor resident Abdul Rasheed Baji whose daughter, Shakira, 4, went mysteriously missing from their summer camp in Batkoot on June 4. The distraught family has search him wherever. “Shakira was asked by her mother to wait along with her brother and some other children while the mother was busy shifting the baggage,” Haji Gama, a close relative of the family, told a reporter. “When the mother returned, there was no trace of the girl and the rest of the children were not able to say anything about her absence.” The incident took place around noon when there is a remote possibility of wild animals around.

SKIMS had advertised 183 positions in December 2020. Now it has reduced its requirement to 117 this withdrawing 66 positions, advertised already.

JAMMU

Six years after committing rape on a seventh class student, police have arrested Aabid Gani, son of former Minister Abdul Gani Vakil and lodged him in Domana Police Station. Vakil, then in Congres, is now with Peoples’ Conference. Abid was wanted in FIR No 130/2015 registered on April 26, 2015, under sections 376/511/354/342/109 RPC and 4/25 Arms Act. Police arrested him from Sopore on June 5. The complaint alleges that on April 26, 2015, the minor resident of Karloop had gone to Bantalab along with her teacher and some other students for a sports event. She returned in the school bus up to Paloura where her father’s friend boarded her in a matador. However, when the matador stopped at Patta-Bohri, two unknown persons called her from the matador window and told that her father’s friend is in their relations and had advised them to drop her to her house at Karloop. The girl got down from the matador and boarded the car. The kidnappers took her to Government Quarter at Poonch House in Talab Tillo and raped here.

Kralgund Kupwara ASHA worker, Bilqees Ara has voluntarily donated her blood 24 times since 2012.

SOPORE

An elderly relative ofGurezGurezGucivilian mourning the killing in Sopore. Two civilians and two cops were killed in a militant attack on June 12, 2021, that left four others including a civilian injured. L Image: Bilal Bahadur

For all the wrong reasons, the north Kashmir town remained in news. Latif Mir, 36, a resident of Brath village, was in Kupwara jail for rape. He contracted Covid19 and died. On Weekend, a group of militants attacked a posse of cops in the main chowk leaving two of them dead along with two civilians. Three cops and a civilian are injured and admitted to hospitals. Now, the family of Manzoor Ahmad Shall is seeking investigations into the incident. His brother Firdous has alleged that his brother was picked up by JKP hours before the firing incident for violating the weekend Covid-19 curfew. “When my brother saw the police enforcing restrictions, he closed his shop. But the cops ran after him and detained him,” Firdous told reporters. “My brother pleaded with them not to arrest him and was ready to pay the fine. But the cops whisked him into their vehicle and sped away.” He added: “I don’t know how he was killed but there should be a fair and transparent probe.” Police have rebutted the allegation.

Meanwhile, police have summoned Javid Ahmad Dar for questioning in a case registered against him about recording the video of his brother;’s funeral and putting it on social media. Dar’s brother Irfan was killed in police custody in September 2020 and authorities have announced investigations, the outcome of which is not known.

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