Briefing May 1-7, 2022

SRINAGAR

Dr Shah Faesal (IAS)

Ending almost a year-long wait, the Government of India has finally not accepted the resignation of IAS’s 2009 topper, Dr Shah Faesal. He is being sent on central deputation after he resumes his duties. Feasal had resigned in early 2019 and floated his political party, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples’ Movement. However, he was arrested in wake of the August 5, 2019 decision-making and when he moved out he developed cold feet and wanted to return to the government.

“I am putting across a small act of defiance to remind the central government of its responsibilities towards the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Feasl had famously written. Post-reinstatement, he commented: “While chasing a chimera, I lost almost everything that I had built over the years. Job. Friends. Reputation. Public goodwill. But I never lost hope. My idealism had let me down.” He added: “I had faith in myself. That I would undo the mistakes I had made. That life would give me another chance. A part of me is exhausted with the memory of those 8 months and wants to erase that legacy. Much of it is already gone. Time will mop off the rest, I believe … I am really excited to start all over again.”

Faesal belongs to north Kashmir’s Sogam belt and his father was killed by militants making his widow mother raise and make him a medical doctor. In 2009, he topped the IAS. A decade later, he launched his political party but his subsequent 10-month detention changed him completely.

Reinstated, reports suggest that he is being sent on deputation to the central government.

64,827 Pandit families left Kashmir Valley in 1990. As many as 14091 civilians and 5356 security personnel were killed up to 2020.

NOWHATTA

After remaining shut for 30 weeks – in the last major closure, authorities permitted Friday congregation in the Jamia Majid in March. Three Friday prayers were permitted in the Ramzan, the Muslim month of fasting, and the last one along with the Shab-e-Qadr was banned. No plausible explanation was offered by the security set up barring that they had reports of some trouble. Tragically, the grand mosque which has been one of the key faith infrastructures that the neo-converts created more than 600 years ago, has emerged as the main barometer of Kashmir’s situation. It has had a huge tradition of being closed by rulers to prevent unrest. The system of its closure was done by all including the erstwhile Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir. Faithful, however, have been pleading that the spiritual space should be delinked from the political situation, an argument that is yet to find a response in Srinagar.

The Central Government has provided Rs 9120.69 crore to Jammu and Kashmir under Security Related Expenditure.

KISHTWAR

The mighty Chenab River KL Image

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved an investment of Rs 4526.12 crore for the construction of a 540-MW Kwar hydroelectric project over river Chenab in Kishtwar. The project will come up at Padyarni village and will be able to generate 1975.54 million units of energy in a year. The project is owned by Chenab Valley Power Projects Private Limited (CVPPL), a JV company between NHPC and JKSPDC in which the former is holding 51 per cent shares. “Government of India is extending a grant of Rs 69.80 crore towards the cost of enabling infrastructure and also supporting Jammu and Kashmir by providing a grant of Rs 655.08 crore for an equity contribution of JKSPDC (49%) in CVPPPL,” an official statement said. NHPC, however, will invest its equity (51%) of Rs.681.82 crore from its internal resources. In order to help the project become viable, Jammu and Kashmir has exempted the project from the levy of water usage charges for 10 years after commissioning of the project, reimbursement of SGST and waiver of free power at the rate of 2% per year in a decremental manner, i.e. the free power to Jammu and Kashmir would be 2% in the first year after commissioning of the project and thereafter shall increase at the rate of 2% per year and shall be 12% from the sixth year onwards.

Jammu and Kashmir has recorded an impressive improvement in sex ratio at birth from 923 to 976. Neonatal mortality rate and infant mortality rate are also on the decline.

SRINAGAR

Jammu and Kashmir administration has appointed Sehar Nazir, an acid attack victim as a standing counsel for the Srinagar district. “In a significant move towards ensuring empowerment of victims of crime against women and providing equal opportunities of growth, rehabilitation and development to an acid attack victim and carving out a respectable place in a society, the government has appointed Ms Sehar Nazir, advocate, an acid attack victim as Standing Counsel for defending government cases before subordinate courts at Srinagar,” the government order reads.

Sehar, then a student of Kashmir Law College, was attacked with acid by two youth on December 11, 2014. She lost an eye, part of her face and an ear to the attack. She underwent more than 20 surgeries to have some kind of normality to her identity. Though the government paid the family Rs 10 lakh, they disposed off some of the immovable properties to manage Sehar’s fat medical bill. The attack on her remained a blind case till, the then Kashmir Police Chief, Abdul Gani Mir arrested two youths – Irshad Ahmad Wani aka Sunny and Muhammad Omar Noor, for the crime. It was during her treatment that she completed her law degree. Though she had been seeking a government job, the government finally appointed her a standing counsel. The status of the case against her perpetrators was not immediately known.

Against merely 4500 between 2013 and 2020, as many as 6500 Pashmina Shawls were GI labelled in fiscal 2021-22.

ODISHA

Narayana Behera, a BSF soldier was posted at LoC in Machil. He is supposed to get married on May 2 but the area is inaccessible because of snow. After his parents contacted his officer enquiring about his travel, the BSF finally its Cheetah chopper to fly him out of Machil. From Srinagar, now Behera is on his way to Adipur village in the Dhenkanal district of Odisha.

JSW Steel Limited has taken over 70 kanals of land in Lassipora Pulwama for setting up a Rs 150-crore steel plant.

SRINAGAR

Jamu and Kashmir High Court, Srinagar

In a judgment delivered on April 22, 2022, Justice Sanjay Dhar ruled that expressions like “occupation of military or the people being slaves” don’t enjoy the freedoms guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution. The court was hearing lawyer Muzamil Bhat’s petition challenging an FIR registered under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act registered against him by police in Kulgam. On November 21, 2018, six civilians were killed and 60 wounded in a blast during a gunfight at Laroo village, triggering outrage across Kashmir. A resident of the same village, Bhat had taken to Facebook. “For the first time in my life, I felt broken and weak and I could acknowledge that we are slaves and slaves have no life of their own”, and “occupation is like cancer which will consume every one of us”, Bhat had written on Facebook. He also wrote that such action “reflects the culmination of systemic failure” and “reflects on those heartless structures that celebrate the occupation of military bonhomie in cosy champagne”. Police booked him under UAPA. The court said that one can “criticize the Government for its negligence and express outrage on the violation of human rights”, but “it is quite another to advocate that the people of a particular part of the Country are slaves of the Government of India or that they are under the occupation of armed forces of the Country”. The court ruled: “The petitioner by uploading these posts has cross (sic) the Lakshman Rekha which demarcates the freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 19.”

Jammu and Kashmir’s 14 jails can accommodate 3600 prisoners. With no more space available, the government plans to move some people out, a Delhi based news site has revealed.

BARAMULLA

Hijab in Muslim culture has its own diversity: A BBC illustration

Dagger Parivaar School, a school for specially-abled that the army is turning in collaboration with a Pune based NGO, landed in controversy after the school management issued a circular asking teachers to “avoid hijab during school hours”. It triggered a controversy. In its defence, the army said the word hijab (which covers the head) was mistakenly written in the circular instead of niqab (which covers the face, except for eyes). The niqab, they said can be a hindrance in teaching. “This is a school for specially-abled children, who have a hearing disabilities. They have to teach phonetics using facial gestures. If a teacher is wearing niqab, how would she teach, and what would the children see. That is why this order was passed. The circular is only for the teachers,” Srinagar based defence spokesman said.

62 militants – 39 from Lashkar, 15 from Jaish, six from HM and two from al-Badr – were killed in 2022. 15 of them were foreigners.

SOPORE

Anticipating a dry spell and a fall in water discharge in most Kashmir rivers, Irrigation and Flood Control Department has asked farmers in various areas to avoid paddy cultivation this year. Most of the little snow deposits have melted away in spring leaving nothing much for the summer when the rice fields require a lot of water on 24 x 7 basis. The advisories have been served to the farmers in almost 66 villages of Baramulla. The advisory has triggered tensions in the agriculture department with its director saying that the engineers are harassing his farmers. “The irrigation department’s domain is to get water. Their domain is not to guide which crop one should cultivate. That work is for the department of agriculture and SKUAST University,” Chowdhary Iqbal, Director of Agriculture was quoted as saying.

In 202-21, Jammu and Kashmir bagged 72 Gold, 90 Silver And 145 Bronze Medals In 14 Sports Disciplines

LOLAB

The entire Lolipora village went into mourning as Rita Kumari, 70, breathed her last. The Pandit family had not migrated in the 1990s. The Muslim village remained busy in Kumari’s last rites and managed the people coming to offer their condolences at their home. Theirs was the only Pandit family that had stayed put.

PATTAN

After listening to the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi at Samba, thousands of people who were driven in SRTC buses were on their way home. One of these buses met an accident at Renzi village in Pattan. It led to the killing of the bus driver and two of the Sarpanchs. They were from Kupwara. Their bus had a head-on collision with a tipper. Fayaz Ahmad Bhat died on the spot along with driver Abdul Qayoom Shah. Abdul Rahim Lone of Lachipora died in the hospital a day later.

I agree to the Terms and Conditions of Kashmir Life
Advertisements

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here