Briefing June 5 – 11, 2022

KUPWARA

Parvaiz A Hajam, a student from Handwara village hops to his school as the worst road links prevent him to use a wheelchair. KL Image: Hilal Shah

Parvez Ahmad Hajam hops for 3 km every day to go to school. He has only one leg. The 14-year-old student studies in the ninth class at Government High School Nowgam. He had lost his left leg to severe burn injuries when he was barely a year old. A resident of Mawar, Hajam aspires to be a doctor. He spends almost two hours daily going and returning from school. He said he had access to crutches and a wheelchair but the worse road conditions prevent him from using either of the two. He hopes somebody provides him with an artificial limb.

Revenue authorities in Anantnag claimed to have recovered 13 kanals of land worth Rs 25 crores in Qasba Bagahat Bangidar near Wazir Bagh Anantnag. The land was taken over by the people under Roshni scheme.

JAMMU

The oldest and the newest habitation on the two banks of Tawi river: Gujjarnagar(L) and Gorkhanagar(R) in Jammu.

The proposed Ujh Multipurpose Project will now cost Rs 11907.77 crore, up from Rs 9167 crore that was estimated earlier. Supposed to provide an irrigation facility to 76929 hectares and generate 196 MW of power, the project has seen an interesting change. While the cost was increased in the revised plan, the project will irrigate 91073 hectares of land but its power generation capacity was reduced to 89.50 MW. The project will be completed within six years after the implementation starts as it would store around 781 million cubic meters of water from river Ujh, a tributary of Tawi. The project is to be located at village Barbari about 1.6 kilometres downstream of Panjtirthi, the powerhouse site is 9.5 kilometres downstream of the dam at village Deoli.

After quenching their thirst by using the water from the local well, 105 residents of Sohal village in Hiranagar were hospitalised.

JAMMU

Wasim Sadiq Nargal, Judge High Court

Senior advocate Wasim Sadiq Nargal was appointed as an additional judge of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. He is the first Muslim from Jammu who became a High Court judge though it took almost four years for the government to accept the recommendation of the Supreme Court Collegium. He was initially recommended in 2018 and later again in 2019 and 2021. With more than three decades of experience, Nargal has served as Senior Additional Advocate General from February 2017 to June 2018, and Additional Advocate General from September 2015 to November 2016. A resident of Katra, Nargal was schooled at Dewan Badri Nath Vidya Mandir, Jammu. He graduated from Science College, Jammu and did a master’s in law from Jammu University in 1990.

Braving inclement weather, Army and police personnel rescued 10 civilians including a woman and a child, stuck on the Old Mughal road following a landslide in Poonch.

GUPKAR

Farooq Abdullah (file pic)

Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioned National Conference (NC) president and Jammu and Kashmir’s five-time Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah on May 31 in the money laundering case. The case relates to the financial irregularities in the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) funds. In 2020, ED had attached assets worth Rs 11.86 crore of Abdullah in this case. The case related to Rs 113 crore that JKCA received between 2006 and 2012 from the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) of which Rs 43.69 crore was siphoned off and misappropriated. “ED summons Farooq Abdullah nothing new, this is common for all opposition parties in India. He has continued to maintain his innocence in the matter and has cooperated with the investigative agencies and will do so in this case as well,” Omar Abdullah has said.  “I won’t say much (about the summons) … there are elections to be held and they will trouble us till then,” Dr Abdullah was quoted as saying.

DELHI

JK Bank Headquarters in Srinagar

The Special Judge of Patiala House Court in Delhi has granted bail to Sheela Gehlot, wife of Ambience Mall Group promoter Raj Singh Gehlot, in connection with the money laundering case pertaining to the alleged multi-crore Jammu and Kashmir Bank scam. Sheela is accused of routing a Rs 781 crore loan of the bank through her escrow account to 21 companies and 4 individuals and using it to settle loans of Ambience Group companies and meet other expenses. The accused had a Rs 1,272 crore luxury hotel project at Shahdara in Delhi that was funded by a consortium of banks led by JK Bank. The Rs 810 crore was purportedly used for other purposes.

SRINAGAR

Self-taught make-up artist, transgender Manu Bebo fought odds to emerge as one of the best bridals make-up artists in Kashmir. K Image: Bilal Bahadur

Fighting discrimination, transgender Manu Bebo, 20, has carved a career for himself and is quite famous. A self-taught make-up artist was born in Nawakadal, Srinagar, and faced taunts within and outside the school for looking like a girl. After an acrimonious encounter with their family and friends, Bebo chose to pursue a career in make-up. Within four years, Bebo specialised in bridal and special occasion make-up. As Bebo’s videos started appearing on social media, customers started seeking help through Instagram. Now earning, when Bebo started giving money to the family, there was instant recognition and support from an architect father.

KATHUA

A Drone was shot down in Kathua on May 29, 2022

The Jammu and Kashmir Police shot down a Pakistani drone in Kathua’s Talli Hariya Chak village in Hiranagar, just 3 km from the international border.

Working on the villagers’ input about some drone activity in the area for the last few days, a police party was deployed. “The police search party, too, noticed a drone coming from the Pakistan side and it lowered its height over a field. The police opened fire at the drone, bringing it down,” a senior police officer said. The drone had a payload attachment including seven sticky/magnetic-type bombs, besides an equal number of grenades. This was the third Pakistani drone that was shot down in Jammu in June 2020.

BANDIPORE

Billa, whose actual name is Bilal Ahmad Dar, has been earning his livelihood from Wullar lake, by collecting the plastic from the key water body.

Bilal Ahmad Dar, the young Kashmiri who came into the limelight for his efforts to clean the Wular Lake as a rag-picker, has said he has earned enough to marry his sister. An orphan, Bilal goes into the lake and collects the plastic waste and sells it. He started it soon after his father’s death leaving him as the only ‘adult’ to earn for his widowed mother and two sisters. He was barely eight then. Managing to earn Rs 200 a day, he would run the household and spare some money for his two sisters’ education. He later involved many of his friends and eventually became part of Prime Minister Modi’s Mann Ki Baat.

“Over time, I saved up my salary (he gets some funds from SMC) and this year, I had enough to get my older sister married,” Bilal was quoted as saying. “Now, I want to buy a big house for Ammi and put my younger sister in a reputed school. I want Abbu to be happy wherever he is.”

MARTAND

A fresh archaeological survey conducted in the Kehribal and Wantrag area of Martand (South Kashmir) by University of Kashmir archaeologist, Dr Abdul Rashid Lone suggests that these are much older spots than presumed so far. During a field visit, Lone said he came across vast amounts of archaeological material culture which predates the antiquity of the Kehribal area of Martand some 700 years early than previously thought. Historians believe Martand’s history starts with the construction of the Sun Temple by Lalitaditya Muktapida of the Karkota dynasty. His findings, however, suggest people lived in Kehribal and its vicinity even in the first century CE when the valley was under the occupation of Kushanas. The evidence collected to prove it includes potteries of various historical dynasties, huge terracotta storage jars, pieces of old stone bowls, burnt bricks of various historical dynasties including Kushanas, and rubble masonry bases of old structures, coins of some rulers of ancient Kashmir, cowries, grinding stones etc.

RAMBAN

If reports appearing in the media are to be believed, the government is contemplating going to a superior court against the Jammu and Kashmir High Court order that Amir Liyaqat, a Ramban resident, who was killed in a controversial ‘encounter’ at Hyderpora be exhumed for reburial in his village. He is currently buried in Wadder Payeen (Handwara). The government has buried hundreds of people, mostly militants, as part of a two-year-old policy not to hand over militants’ bodies to their families to pre-empt an outpouring of public emotions leading to protests. Amir was killed with three others — Srinagar businessmen Mohammad Altaf Bhat and Mudassir Gul, and alleged Pakistani militant Haider, in November 2021. The families of Amir, Bhat and Gul said they were innocents killed in a fake encounter. In order to prevent the escalation of protests, the government exhumed the bodies of two Srinagar residents and gave them to their families unlike Aamir, whose father went to the court. The court said the denial of Amir’s body to his family was arbitrary and fell foul of Article 14 (right to equality) of the Constitution. Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the order. “Unfortunately, our people have to approach the courts to get the bodies of their children. We get the bodies of our children back because of court directions. What can be more regretful than this? But, still, I am happy that the court has passed the directions for the sake of humanity, and I welcome it,” Mehbooba told reporters in Pulwama.

LADAKH

An army vehicle skidded off the road and fell into river Shyok, about 25 kilometres from Thoise. Seven soldiers were killed and 19 others were seriously injured. The vehicle was on way from a transit camp of the Army in Partapur to a forward location in Sub Sector Hanif of Turtuk sector of Ladakh when the driver lost control. Later the injured soldiers were airlifted from 403 Field Hospital Partapur to Leh and later to Chandimandir in Haryana’s Panchkula. The police have registered a case of negligence against Changmar driver, Ahmed Shah.

SRINAGAR

Death of infant: Family alleges hospital of negligence, GMC orders probe

By July, the new Children’s Hospital is expected to be operational in its new premises, Bemina. The 500 bedded hospital is said to be ready now for use even though it was “virtually inaugurated” by Home Minister Amit Shah in October 2021. The hospital was built with an investment of Rs 114.81 crore.

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