Briefing (March 15-21, 2020)

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OKHLA

Delhi Police arrested a Shivpora (Srinagar) couple for their alleged ISIS links. Identified as Jahanzaib Sami and Hina Bashir Beig, both are techies and were working for different organisations. They were accused of having links with Khorasan module of the IS and were allegedly fuelling anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests. Police said the couple had created several anonymous accounts on social media platforms such as Telegram, Facebook, Threema, Surespot, Instagram and Twitter to propagate the IS ideology. They were formally booked for “sedition and promoting enmity between different communities under Sections 124A and 153A of the Indian Penal Code, and under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)”. Hpwever, his family in Srinagar said they moved to Delhi because of internet shutdown and were planning an early return as the intrent stands restored. They said their members have no links with anything like IS. Jammu and Kashmir Police also has nothing against the two. Police have seized their cell phones and sent them for Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) assessment.

TIRUPATI

Indian Railways has launched a special train service for pilgrims who want to travel between to Kashmir under its Bharat Darshan programme. According to IRCTC, Indian Railways Catering and Tourist Corporation, this special train service will cover major destinations like Delhi, Srinagar, Sonmarg, Gulmarg, Vaishno Devi etc. The tour package that will cost Rs 19,215 for Sleeper Class and Rs 21,735 for 3 Tier AC, will include, train journey, non-AC road transfer on SIC basis, night stay and fresh up facility at Dharamshalas, security, and meals.

DELHI

Briefing issue 50 vol 11

An open mic event organized by Coffee and Qalaam, a Kashmir-based collective, brought together 12 valley based poets in New Delhi, with an aim to nurture and nourish the talent of amateur artists. The crowd was left mesmerised when Bandipora based poet Mohsin Kashmiri began reciting his poem. The subject of the poems ranged from relationships, love of God, solitude etc. Other young poets from the valley who kept audience hooked to their verses were Tashi Shah of Ganderbal and Arsalan Aatish of Bandipora.

The event took place at Ramsa’sKitchen, a restaurant owned by Kashmir girl Ramsa Jan who hails from frontier district of Kupwara.

NEW DELHI

Briefing issue 50 vol 11

Prime Minister Narendra Modi handed over his Twitter account to seven women on this International Women’s Day. One among them was Arifa Jan, 33, a Srinagar based entrepreneur who was given Nari Shakti Puraskar 2019 for her dedication to revive the dying art of Namda making. After handing PM’s official Twitter handle, Arifa got the opportunity to briefly interact with Modi and tell him how recent internet ban ruined her business. It was followed by silence and an uncomfortable smile.

JAMMU

Jeevan Lal, a Jammu and Kashmir police constable became an instant social media star after his rapping video had gone viral. In the video, the constable is seen rapping why he choose to serve in the police force to tackle responsibilities at home. His 30-second video was shared by his colleague and the story was picked by a Delhi based newspaper. Since then, the cops phone has not stopped ringing.

KANGAN

Briefing issue 50 vol 11

Umar Abdullah of Kangan and OmarAbdullah of Gupkar have never changed paths. In 2001 when Umar was born in Akhal village of Kangan, Omar had become the junior Home Minister of BJP in Delhi. That was perhaps the reasons why his uncle gave the just born Omar’s name. Now they are sharing the same fate—both are among the hundreds under detention since Kashmir was stripped of its special status last year. Umar Abdullah, a student, has been booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA), the same law under which Omar Abdullah is behind bars. Unlike Omar, Umar, is detained at the Lucknow Central Jail. Umar, unlike Omar, is a student.

BHOPAL

A number of paper setters were placed under suspension after they asked the tenth class students a question of locating “Azad Kashmir” in the Indian map. “Azad Kashmir” is a reference to the “Azad Jammu and Kashmir” that is art of Jammu and Kashmir under Pakistan’s control.

Well before the situation could get out of control, the Chief Minister Kamal Nath is reported to have ordered an inquiry. As the enquiry started, the paper setters revealed that they have not done anything wrong because it is already part of the syllabus being taught in Madhya Pardesh.

KHANYAR

In an incident that shocked Kashmir, a young couple was roasted alive with their minor child in their own home in Khanyar. However, what was surprising that the father had rescued his elder daughter, Soheda Javid, 7, who survived the conflagration. Javaid Hakak, 40, died along with his wife, Sofiya, 38, and their minor daughter Hafsa, 4, in their Sheeshgari Mohalla home. Hakak was a daily-wager and his wife, a resident of Pampore, was running a local Anganwadi centre. They are survived by Hakak’s sister. Authorities kept Rs 15 lakh in Soheda’s bank account.

JAMMU

Doctors at the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Super-speciality Hospital successfully conducting an orthopaedic surgery on a 119-year-old man. Dr Vikas Padha did his joint replacement. The patient, Gopal Singh, a resident of Darap near Satwari in Jammu, was born on June 5, 1900, according to his voter identity card and was exactly 119 years 262 days old at the time of the surgery. Singh had a fall at his home and sustained fracture in the leg bone. The hospital says that they have improved their record. Earlier, they had implanted a pace-maker on a 118- year-old woman.

SRINAGAR

Almost six and a half decades later political cycle seemingly completed when Omar Abdullah celebrated his birthday in jail, as had happened with his grandfather, Sheikh Abdullah. Omar turned 50 on March 10 2020 and unlike past, it was his sister and mother who drove with a ceremonial cake to the Hari Niwas Palace where he is detained since August 2019. The erstwhile poster boy of the MEA is now wearing along salt and pepper beard, reported in protest. He usually spends one and a half hour walking and mostly stays inside the palace where he is restricted to a suit. Only his close family visits him twice a week.

GULMARG

The Coronavirus scare did not impact the high decision of Jammu and Kashmir’s most powerful. They invited almost 1000 athletes to Gulramarg for the winter festival. Though there is no report of any untoward incident but the event was in violation of what the government was preaching from the civil secretariat. The festival, part of the Khelo India campaign, however, brought some activity to the forlorn peaks shrouded in snow. Some hotels did some business.

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