Burj Khalifa developer who runs Emaar Group makes an entry in Kashmir and his Mall of Srinagar witnessed the bhumi pujan by LG Manoj Sinha last week. Spread over 10 lakh sq feet, the mall will have around 500 shops. The group is also constructing an IT tower in Sempora and Jammu. Emaar Properties CEO Amit Jain said that most of the shops in the mall are expected to be run by companies based out of the UAE. The group is pumping Rs 500 crore including Rs 250 crore in the mall. “This is the start, we should inspire people, and people should aspire to follow us. This is a one million square feet mall with 500 shops and will generate around 7,000 to 8,000 jobs,” Jain said. “As Emaar group, we bring along strong relationships with leading retail brands of UAE, most of which will be launching their presence in India through this initiative,” Jain said. Emaar and Magna Waves Buildtech, the mall is set to become operational by 2026. Lalu Group which is already working with Kashmir will also operate from this mall with a 100 thousand sq ft anchor store. Sinha termed the day historic as it was the first FDI in Kashmir ever since the industrial policy was announced.
For the first time in history, the Jammu and Kashmir Cable Car Corporation Ltd, which runs the Gondola Gulmarg, recorded a turnover of Rs 100 crore.
Courted a controversy, Jammu Kashmri LG, Manoj Sinha said that Mahatma was only a matriculate and a diploma. “There is a misconception among educated people that Mahatma Gandhi had a law degree. Gandhi had no degree,” Sinha said while delivering Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Memorial Lecture at ITM Gwalior. “Who will say Gandhi was not educated? I don’t think anyone can dare to say so. But do you know that he did not have a single University degree or qualification? There are many of us who think that Gandhi had a law degree. No, he didn’t. His only qualification was a high school diploma. He qualified to practice law but did not have a law degree. He had no degree. Just look how educated he was. He became the father of the nation.”
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir VK Bidhuri said the day-long job fair is aimed at providing employment opportunities to 2500 youth in 141 companies.
The employees of the government in Jammu and Kashmir can neither criticise the government nor can comment upon any policy, according to the new social media rules made public by the government. The Deputy Commissioner’s and heads of department have been directed to “immediately proceed against the employees indulging in unwarranted debates, discussions and sharing/commenting/posting inappropriate posts/content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Instant Messaging applications like WhatsApp and Telegram etc.” The directions have been issued after invoking the Jammu and Kashmir Employees Conduct Rules, 1971. “No Government employee shall, in any radio broadcast or in any document published in his own name or anonymously, pseudonymously or in the name of any other person or in any communication to the press or in any public utterance make any statement of fact or opinion which has the effect of an adverse criticism of any current or recent policy or action of the Government of India, Government of Jammu and Kashmir or any other State Government,” the direction said. Besides, the employees have been prevented from “unauthorized communication of official information” or “dissemination of patently wrong or misleading information, airing of political or communal views etc under their real or assumed identities.” Employees have been asked not to publish a post or release “any information on social media that is considered confidential or that is not meant for public dissemination”.
2022 witnessed around 648 road accidents in which 93 persons were killed on Jammu-Srinagar national highway.
A number of Kashmiris are making news while being offshore apparently engaged in diplomacy. A news report said six separatist loyalists were forcibly removed from the National Press club in Washington when they repeatedly disrupted a panel discussion Kashmir: From Turmoil to Transformation. Moderated by columnist Se Hoon Kim, it was addressed by Mir Junaid, and Touseef Raina. Reports appearing in the media said the separatist-loyalists disrupted the discussion when Junaid was responding to a question on the reasons why the Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders were in jail. They had gone to the US at the invitation of the International Centre for Peace Studies.
In Geneva, two Kashmiri women – Tasleema Akhter and Bushra Mahajabeen spoke at the UNHRC. Akhter has praised the development that is happening in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of article 370. She has said developmental projects worth US $700 million are under implementation right now. Reports said Tasleema works for women’s empowerment and rehabilitation of terror victims, whereas Bushra Majajabeen is a terror attack survivor. The latter has lost her sister in a 2003 militant attack and lost her hand in an attempt to snatch the killer’s gun. Former lawmaker Shuaib Lone also spoke to the UN Body.
In their last of the five-year term, the Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) including Municipal Corporations, Councils and Committees are expected to get Rs 1550 crore in 2023-24.
In 2023 Navreh, the idol of goddess Sharda was installed in the new Shrada Devi Temple that was constructed on the Line of Control. The spot had a temple that was devastated in 1947. The idol was installed amid chanting of Vedic hymns by more than 100 Pandits from Shingeri Math in Karnataka where the murti was brought. The temple existed till 1947 and it was the base camp for undertaking a journey to Sharda path, located on the other side of the LoC. A gurdwara also existed there on the banks of the Neelum river. Save Sharda Committee’s Ravinder Pandita was the main person who led the reconstruction of the temple. Pandita said Swami Nand Lal Ji was the last Kashmiri Pandit Saint who used to worship at this temple prior to partition. The foundation stone for the temple and Gurdwara was laid at Teetwal on December 2, 2021. Home Minister, speaking on the occasion said his government will make efforts to open a corridor in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) for Sharda Peeth pilgrimage on the lines of the Kartarpur corridor in Punjab. He addressed the occasion virtually. PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti Wednesday welcomed the opening of the Sharda Devi Temple near the Line of Control (LoC). “This is very good. We have always been saying that we need to engage, reconcile and resolve things. The opening of Sharda temple is a very good thing. It is something that the Kashmiri Pandits were looking forward to, they really wanted it to be opened,” Mehbooba told reporters. “I also hope that the business which was conducted on Muzaffarabad Road and Rawalakot road, also is resumed.”
National Commission for Women (NCW) has received 412 complaints of atrocities against women in last three years – 79 in 2020, 157 in 2021, 144 in 2022 and 32 till March 2023.
Finally, the arrest of Conman, Kiran Patel in Srinagar has started impacting the ground. Gujarat police have booked the Ghodasar (Ahmedabad) resident for posing as a top official of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), on cheating and criminal conspiracy charges for trying to usurp a senior citizen’s bungalow here using the same tactic. In the Gujarat case, Malini Patel, his wife, is a co-accused. Patel has four cases against him registered in Gujarat and all of them are of the same nature. The latest case accuses him of attempting to grab a bungalow in a posh Shilaj locality in Ahmadabad by winning the trust of its owner, Jagdish Chavda, 63, through false claims of being a “Class 1 officer in the PMO” and having close relations with politicians. Under intense pressure from Delhi, the two other Gujarat residents – Amit Pandya and Jai Sitapara, who were with Patel the day he was arrested but were freed by police, were summoned to Srinagar for interrogation. Pandya is the son of an additional public relation officer of the Gujarat Chief Minister’s office. The PR man in Gujarat CMO has finally given up his position after serving the institution for a very long time.
Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh said 56 foreign militants were killed in counter-insurgency operations in 2022.
Residents of Malanu village in Thathri (Doda) have accused the village sarpanch of allowing the construction of a volleyball ground on the sole helipad meant for medical emergencies. Evacuations of critically ill patients were done from this spot thrice since 2007 when it was constructed. Now, the district administration has asked the Jammu, and Kashmir Sports Council and the PWD to provide information about it. Sarpanch Zafarullah Magray is holding Sports officials responsible. “I showed them two places but they said machines wouldn’t be able to reach those sites. They asked me to allow construction on the helipad. I asked them to get a no-objection certificate before starting the work,” he said. “The helipad has been used twice or thrice since its construction in 2007. The construction of the volleyball ground started in December last year. No one spoke at that time, but they are now accusing me of scam.”
Federal investigator, the National Investigation Agency arrested Srinagar-based freelance journalist Irfab Mehraj in connection with an ongoing probe into Kashmir-based non-profits that are facing accusations of sponsoring activities “prejudicial to the unity, integrity, sovereignty and security of India.” A resident of Mehjoor Nagar, Irfan was summoned to the local NIA office and later flown to Delhi where a court has given the investigator a 10-day remand. The arrest was condemned by the Press Club of India, the Editors Guild of India, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Amnesty International. NIA said he was arrested under UAPA. Irfan has contributed to a number of media organisations during his journalism career. NIA has also taken custody of JKCCS coordinator Khuram Parvez and he is also on 10-day remand. Irfan has worked with him at the JKCCS.
Mehbooba Mufti has said she won’t contest the Assembly election till Article 370 is restored. “I am never going to fight Assembly elections as long as Article 370 is restored. It’s more of an emotional issue for me,” she said. ““Whenever I took an oath, it was under two Constitutions- the Constitution of India and the Constitution of J&K – with two flags at the same time. It’s more of an emotional issue for me.” Her counterpart, Omar Abdullah feels the elections are being deferred because BJP was “not brave enough to face voters’’. He said: “They are not ready to face people but are escaping from (Assembly) elections on one pretext or the other. They used the pretext of delimitation of constituencies and revision of electoral rolls which stands completed long back. They talked about the weather not being conducive but have no justification to further delay the polls.”
A team of doctors at Sub District Hospital (SDH) Bijbehara is being praised by all for their unwavering commitment to their patients as they performed an emergency LSCS (Lower Segment Caesarean Section) during the intense tremors. It was incidentally recorded on phone and went viral. The team was led by Dr Shabeena Shah, the gynaecologist. “Alhamdulillah, it was a team effort. At the moment, my whole team was there for the patient. Patients are our first priority, we stood despite the earthquake and thankfully we successfully performed the LSCS,” later said. “While the memory of the recent earthquake in Turkey lingered in the back of our minds, the team pushed forward, ultimately delivering a healthy baby and ensuring the patient’s well-being.”