Briefing May 15-21, 2022

SRINAGAR

Lt Gen Devendra Pratap Pandey handed over the command of the strategic Kashmir based 15 Corps to Lt Gen Amardeep Singh Aujla at HQ 15 Corps in Srinagar on Monday May 9,2022

Lt Gen Amardeep Singh Aujla has taken over as the new leader of the Srinagar based 15 Corps, succeeding Lt Gen DP Pandey, who moved as Commandant, Army War College, to Mhow (MP). Aujla, however, is not new to Kashmir. He was Brigadier General (Operations) from 2016 to 2018 in Kashmir. Prior to that, he was Company Commander from 1994 to 2004 in Kashmir. Besides, he commanded the Infantry Brigade from 2013 to 2015 and Infantry Division from 2019 to 2020 along the Line of Control. In the last 28 years, he has been posted in Kashmir for almost 18 years.

JK Bank netted a profit of Rs 504 Crores in fiscal 2021-22

MUMBAI

Bollywood actress , Sara Ali Khan with brother, Ibrahim Ali Khan, in Kashmir in their January 2022 visit.

With the mercury soaring up in the plains, tinsel town is making news in Kashmir. While Sara Ali Khan unleashed her trekking snaps on social media, Bollywood singer Udit Narayan accompanied son Aditya Narayan to shoot an upcoming musical number. “I have come here for the first time and have been hearing about it since childhood; we used to be told that Kashmir is heaven, indeed it is,” Udit was quoted as saying. “I have travelled the world, but I liked Kashmir the most.” The video featuring Sonali Sachdeva is about two people falling in love at a strange location.

A Srinagar court sent a person to jail for a year for issuing a bank cheque that bounced.

JAMMU

Santoor Maestro Shivkumar Sharma

Internationally acclaimed santoor maestro, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, 84, died at Mumbai, after battling kidney problem for almost half a year. The Jammu-born musician, a Padma Vibhushan recipient, recorded his first solo album in 1960. A resident of Panjtirthi, he was son of a singer Uma Dutt Sharma. Sharma was living in Mumbai and is survived by two sons. He was an All India Radio staffer where he would play tabla. In Mumbai, he teamed up with flutist Hariprasad Chaurasiya and composed music for many films from Silsila to Darr. He contributed to Dekha Ek Khwab, Jadoo Teri Nazar, Rang Barse and Mere Haatho Main. He followed Sathya Sai Baba in teachings and hairstyle. He is credited for “taking santoor out of Kashmir and making it a global phenomenon”. His son Rahul is following his footsteps.

Officials anticipate Rs 4575 crore investment in a Medicity at Sempora and Bemina that will fetch 12553 jobs, 5865 beds and about 1000 MBBS seats, is in the pipeline.

RAMBAN

Rep Picture

It shocked passers-by when in Ramban they saw a groom crying bitterly. Eventually he landed in the police station and complained that he lost his bride, whom he had married barely hours back. It triggered panic. The details revealed that the groom had come with his baraat from Marh in Jammu to Sangaldan area. There, they had their feast and the couple took marriage vows around the fire. Later, they were seen off with prayers. As the baraat reached Ramban, the bride requested for a halt with the plea that she wishes to have a quick make-up. She was permitted. After the baraat waited for hours, she did not return and finally the case was taken to the police. The Jammu and Kashmir Police acted quickly and somehow traced her in Verinag. Police said they have formally arrested the young man who had taken her along. The bride was finally restored to the groom.

With around six per cent girls being married while being under age, Jammu and Kashmir has the second lowest percentage in India, NHFS found out.

DELHI

Police arrests Yasin Malik on November 19, 2018

Separatist leader Yasin Malik has pleaded guilty to all the charges, including those under the section 16 (terrorist act), 17 (raising funds for the terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy to commit terrorist act), and 20 (being member of terrorist gang or organisation) of the UAPA and sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 124-A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code before a Delhi court. Now Special Judge Praveen Singh will hear on May 19 the arguments regarding the quantum of sentence for the offences levelled against Malik in which the maximum punishment is life imprisonment.

The Central Government has approved Rs 12,000 crore under Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS) for Jammu and Kashmir to overhaul power infrastructure in both urban and rural areas.

SRINAGAR

An outer view of District Court Complex , Srinagar - KL Image by Bilal Bahadur
An outer view of District Court Complex , Srinagar – KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

A Special Court framed charges against eight persons, including a separatist, Zafar Akbar Bhat, for selling Pakistani MBBS seats in Jammu and Kashmir to fund terror activities. The case was registered by the State Investigation Agency (SIA) on July 27, 2020. Besides Bhat, others accused in the case are Fatima Shah, Altaf Ahmad Bhat (at present in Pakistan), Qazi Yasir (absconding), Mohammad Abdullah Shah, Sabzar Ahmad Sheikh, Manzoor Ahmad Shah (at present in Pakistan) and Mohammad Iqbal Mir, who was released on bail because he was suffering from a terminal disease. The court decided the case in five months involving 11 hearings. Meanwhile, various central government run academic organisations have issued notifications that professional degrees such as, MBBS and other technical courses obtained from Pakistan will not be recognized in India.

As many as 28295 students have migrated from private schools to government run schools in Kashmir.

UDHAMPUR

Women contingents of the Jammu and Kashmir Police during march past an Independence Day celebration at Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium Srinagar on Wednesday 15 August 2018.
PHOTO BY BILAL BAHADUR

Jammu and Kashmir Police will be equipping its counter-insurgent cops with sophisticated Zen Shoot Edge corner-shot pistol weapon system and, in the first go, 100 pieces are being delivered. The weapon facilitates shooting around corners and over the top of walls, without exposing the user. This will help the user from being shot. Besides, the system helps shooters to fire accurately in darkness and low-light conditions while standing, kneeling, or in lying positions. It has a high-resolution low-light infrared camera, an infrared illumination, a red-dot laser and tactical torch for all environments during the close combat.

MARTAND

As Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha drove to Mattan for special prayers on the Jayanti of Adi Shankaracharya’s Kashmir visit at the ASI-protected Sun Temple; it triggered scathing criticism from a section of political class and the organisation that protected the eighth century monument. Certain Hindu groups comprising about 100 people had arranged special prayers unauthorised at the venue even before Sinha’s visit on May 6. There was another function in Srinagar’s Shankaracharya temple as well. The puja, the first in the monument’s modern history, included recitation of the Hanuman Chalisa and verses from the Gita. After attending the Navgrah Ashtamangalam Pooja at Martand, the home to the oldest Sun temple in the subcontinent, Sinha termed Jammu and Kashmir is the seat of knowledge in India. “We are making dedicated efforts to transform the historical spiritual places of J&K into vibrant centers that will guide us on the path of righteousness and bless this beautiful land with peace, happiness and prosperity,” he said. Unlike gods, the people were not pleased with the visit. ASI officials fumed over the prayers at the ruins saying it is against the norms. Rules permit prayers at only those places which were functional at the time of ASI takeover. Former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti said the governance in Jammu and Kashmir has been reduced to “acts of puja & oppressing”.

BARAMULLA

Jammu and Kashmir Police have arrested the persons who are allegedly responsible for the domestic violence that led to the death of Zahida Bano, a mother of two, in SKIMS after battling for life for almost a week. Bano’s parents accused her husband, Tariq Ahmad Mir of Kreeri of having beaten her to the pulp as a result of which she died. Police have constituted SIT for investigating the case. Meanwhile a Srinagar court has sentenced a Police Sub Inspector, Tariq Ahmad Ganie, a resident of Sherabad Khuroo Pattan, to three years rigorous imprisonment for committing cruelty to his wife. He will also have to pay a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to his spouse.

SHIMLA

Tourists throng the Mughal garden at Nishat. The Bagh is located on the banks of Dal Lake. The graden remained crowded for the entire day on April 14, 2022. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

With Kashmir recording impressive tourist arrivals, Himachal is facing music. Reports appearing in media said the Kangra region is suffering seriously as the visitors are preferring Kashmir over Shimla. “Kashmir is better placed than Himachal in terms of infrastructure and connectivity,” Ashwani Bamba, president of the Upper Dharamsala Hotel and Restaurant Association was quoted saying. “Bigger planes can land at the Srinagar airport due to which more tourists can travel by air. The airfares are also moderate as compared to Himachal.” He said the losses are serious as 18 percent of the income to the region comes from tourism. Trade professionals have said that many travel agents have stopped bringing tourists to the state as the entry and other taxes on buses and other vehicles are very high as a result of which Gujarat has literally boycotted  Shimla.

KASHMIR

State Investigation Agency

The State Investigation Agency (SIA) carried out raids at 19 locations in Kashmir in connection with “increasing misuse of SIM cards” by militants and their supporters. Spots raided included Point of Sale (PoS) vendors who sold these cards in violation of DoT regulations resorting to forgery and cheating. In three cases, it said, preliminary evidence indicated that the SIMs were procured to help the militants in maintaining their communication with their handlers across the border. Some arrests were also made.

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