Briefing March 14-20, 2021

PULWAMA

The department of Animal husbandry has come up with a milk ATM in Pulwama town.

As part of his mobility, a well-read young man, Shabir Malik set up the first Milk ATM in Pulwama and provide 250 kgs free on the day it was inaugurated. The 200-litre capacity machine has dispensed 100 kgs a day, post-inauguration. The machine has an inbuilt Automatic Milk Control Unit that dispenses exact quantity as its Solid Non- Fat calibrator checks the fat content in milk. Though customers can pay cash there is an option of the pre-paid card too. Animal Husbandry Department has provided him with a 2000-litre Big Milk Cooler that keeps the milk at 4 degrees Celsius and extends its shelf life to three days. Under the existing scheme, the government provides a fifty per cent subsidy.

JAMMU

DDC members protesting over their compromised status in protocol in Jammu in March 2021.

The District Development Council (DDC) set-up was on roads protesting the status of their district leaders after they were kept below the secretary, IGP and Divisional Commissioner in the new protocol. They alleged they lack office, mobility and staff. This came within days after their wages structures were made public. Now they have a 40-member DDC Forum that will negotiate with the Lt Governor. They see their wages low. They have threatened to resign en masse if their demands were rejected. DDC set-up is an extension of the Panchayat system on which Jammu and Kashmir’s democratic narrative rests as of now.

Jammu and Kashmir has 533 gazetted, 11846 non-gazetted and around 10000 group-D posts vacant.

SRINAGAR

The 10 inmates of Abhinanda Home, who passed the 12th class examination with flying colours. The results were announced on March 8, 2021.

With the entire media focus on the toppers, Kashmir forgot to acknowledge the rare success of 10 specially-abled children who passed their twelfth standard examination with flying colours. Four of them including two girls had their distinctions. All of these deaf and mute students are enrolled with the Abhedananda Home, a major and the only facility for educating specially-abled in Srinagar. Manzoor Ahmad, Principal said that presently, 100 students are enrolled in the oldest special school, established in 1941, and the only higher secondary institution for specially-abled children. “The institution has 90 hearing and speech impairment (Deaf and Mute) students enrolled and 10 visually impaired (Blind) Children at Solina, Rambagh,” Ahmad said.

GILGIT

Resolution moved in GB assembly for provincial status on March 9, 2021

The Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) assembly has unanimously adopted a joint resolution demanding the arid region be made an “interim constitutional province”. Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid Khan and opposition leader Amjad Hussain jointly tabled it. “This august house, keeping in view the longstanding demand of the GB, strongly recommends the federal government, the prime minister and the state institutions that G-B should get the status of an interim constitutional province and adequate representation in the National Assembly and other federal bodies,” the resolution said. “The Constitution of Pakistan should be amended to make Gilgit-Baltistan an interim constitutional province.” This is follow up to Imran Khan government announcing in September 2019 that it will elevate G-B to the status of a full-fledged province with all constitutional rights, including its representation in the Senate and the National Assembly.

Of 627 people arrested in wake of August 5, 2019, 173 are still in detention

JAMMU

In the first action of its kind, the Anti-Narcotics Task Force of Jammu and Kashmir (ANTF) freezes five bank accounts with links to a drug cartel. Under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators Act For Forfeiture of Property Act 1976, the ANTF has already arrested Salman Khan and Amit Saxena of Delhi, who were supplying psychotropic drugs from Delhi to Jammu and Kashmir, besides Jahangir Ahmed, the main supplier of drugs from J&K to other parts of the country. The bank account belongs to Masood Ahmed Dar of Bijbihara with Rs 54.27 lakh in it. This is the first such account freeze in Jammu and Kashmir. The freezing order came after investigating officer, Parvez Sajjad proved beyond a reasonable doubt that all such money was proceeds of narcotics.

ANANTNAG

The armed forces convert a burnt passenger shed in south Kashmir into Kashmir’s first street library.

Army (18-RR) has converted a dilapidated bus stand, burnt in 2016, at Devipora-Chittisingpora junction in Anantnag periphery into a ‘street library’.

The ‘street library’ showcases India-2020 of late President A P J Abdul Kalam and compilation of Khalil Gibran or the world’s greatest short stories. In another instance, while in the midst of a crackdown, a cordon and search operation (CASO), the army has suspended the operation in Kralkhud village to help an 11-year old who was unwell. Reports said the army was looking for some militants. “The child was lying on the floor with her jaws clenched and a high pulse rate, signs of seizures,” reports quoting said Captain Sanjana Sharma, a resident medical officer attached to 1-Rashtriya Rifles (1-RR), said. “I checked her vitals which were fine except for her pulse rate which was very high. She had a bout of seizures. The focus was to stabilise her condition. Once that goal was achieved, her parents were asked to take her to a district hospital where she could be shown to a neurologist.”

PUNE

A photograph of Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune, soon after it started.

Kashmir’s history and rare artefacts are scattered across the world. The latest newsbreak came from Pune where Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) has a treasure of old Kashmiri manuscripts dating back to the 16th to 18th centuries. These include Persian translations of the Bhagavata Purana and the Upanishads, which Dara Shukoh, the elder brother of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, had got done from the original Sanskrit. The BORI has preserved over 800 Kashmiri manuscripts, which are mostly Sanskrit. The collection comprises religious scriptures as well as secular literature. Assistant Curator, Amrutu Natu said the subjects of these Kashmiri scriptures are the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas, the Mahabharata and epics such as Rajatarangini,mostly written in the Devanagari and the Sharada scripts. A Rig Veda is written in the Sharada script on the birch bark. These precious scriptures were procured from Kashmir by German national and then education inspector Georg Buehler in 1875-76.

DELHI

Army Personnel near the site of an encounter in Kreeri area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla on Tuesday August 18,2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

An Uzbekistan Army contingent is in Delhi to participate in a joint exercise, Dustlik-2, with 13 –Kumaon. They will be recreating Kashmir-like counter-terror operations between March 9 and 21 in Chaubatia near Ranikhet in Uttarakhand.  Intelligence-based surgical operations, special forces tracking techniques, surveillance through a hi-tech command post, slithering operations from helicopters will be some of the key elements of the exercise. “The growing military relations with Uzbekistan are part of military diplomacy keeping in mind its connectivity to Afghanistan and Iraq important for India to counter Pakistan and in the wake of China’s Belt and Road Initiatives,” India Today reported. The first edition of exercise one took place in November 2019 near Tashkent in Uzbekistan.

DALHOUSIE

The Himachal Pradesh government has honoured Naik Ayub Sheikh for killing militants in Kulgam, The Deputy Speaker of the assembly, Dr Hans Raj gave a shawl, cap and memento at a function held at Kehla village in Chamba district and Rs 101111 to Sheikh on the behalf of the state government.

KUPWARA

The husband wife who succeeded in rebuilding their lives after they returned home from across the LoC. Samia Sadaf and Abdul Majeed Bhat

In a decision that can have long term implications, the State Election Commission (SEC) declared the polls of two District Development Council (DDC) seats as “null and void” after two women from Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK), married to Kashmiris, contested the elections in December 2020. “The SEC in the exercise of the powers conferred under Section 36 of Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 has declared the polling to the DDC constituency Drugmulla and Hajin (A) as void, cancelling the candidature of Soomia Sadaf and Shazia Aslam,” the SEC order reads. It has ordered a re-poll and redrawing of the list of contesting candidates, directing exclusion of the two women.

SRINAGAR

Lt Governor Manoj Sinha during the launch of MIS for Apple at Srinagar

The mass import of the Iranian apples through Afghanistan has triggered an interesting response envisaging a united front of all the apple producing areas of the hill states. The representatives from Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand visited Srinagar last week and interacted with the local producers. Kashmir produces more than two-thirds of India’s apple basket. Afghan apples are exempted from taxes under the SAAR free trade agreement, but Afghanistan is a smaller apple producer. Trade believes Kabul is sourcing its apples from Iran and making good money in India. Kashmir apple producers say they are losing hugely as the imported apples are cheap. So far, 20 thousand tonnes of Iranian apples were sold in India.

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