Briefing May 17 – May 23, 2020


Ghulam Nabi Patel

Lives of politicians have twists and turns but usually, death is always expected to be dignified. In Kashmir, however, there are always exceptions. A south Kashmir politician, Ghulam Nabi Mir alias Patel gave his four decades to unionist politics. Braving the death threats, he migrated to Jammu to save his life. When things were comparatively better, Mir’s time was over. While on the way, unidentified gunmen ambushed his vehicle. He died on the spot as his security guards survived injured. At the time of his death, his affiliations played against him. Condoled to the fullest, his death led to his identity crisis as parties did not own him.

Now, two years later, the family had another shock. An executive engineer shot a notice to the Mir’s widow to clear the outstanding rent of the flat they live in – Rs 7,42, 080. Officials want the family pay or they will recover by selling their land. Their flat has been allotted to another officer.


A JKP policeman Vikram Kumar entertaining people by playing his guitar.

A police officer is always identified with a weapon. But unusual was the sight in Jammu when a guitar replaced the gun. Stranded and struggling, when the people were in distress, a deputy superintendent of police, Vikram Kumar, hit the strings to play the guitar and enthral the people stuck with the latest Bollywood songs. Posted as SDPO Jammu East, Verma became a centre of attraction for visitors outside Jammu Railway station. A mood lifter, his efforts were appreciated. The video has gone viral on social media and on the official page of Jammu Now on Instagram where this video was shared, it had 3538 visitors in 13 hours.


Volunteers feeding the street dogs in Srinagar as the lockdown has deprived them from getting proper diet, mostly the leftover food. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Amid the virus scare and the subsequent lockdown, when the doors of homes and hotels were closed everywhere, it created a different crisis. Surviving on the leftover food, the animals on the streets have nowhere to go. As humans manage to alleviate their hunger, the animals have no platform to seek help. Sensing the crisis, a group of volunteers has taken it upon themselves to feed stray dogs in the city. The process is going on for the last two weeks. This group from Chattabal area of Srinagar comprising of students and businessmen, which has been running a medical camp in the old city, started feeding the strays after seeing their deplorable condition. There are over 50,000 stray dogs in the city.


To Delhi’s embarrassment, an Indian national is going to stand a trial in Germany for spying on Sikh and Kashmiri communities for RAW. Federal prosecutors have alleged the suspect, 54-year-old Balvir, has been working with the Indian foreign intelligence agency RAW since 2015. And he was providing information about figures in the Sikh opposition scene and the Kashmiri movement and their relatives in Germany and passed this on to his handlers who were working at the Indian consulate general in Frankfurt. His trial will open on August 25. Earlier the same Frankfurt court convicted an Indian couple for spying on the same communities last December.


Sabeha Mir, daughter of a business tycoon, Rashid Mir, who died in a road accident in Dubai

Tragedies continue to chase Mirs’, this time it was a road accident in Dubai. Rashid Mir, Kashmir’s business tycoon lost his daughter after a four-vehicle smash on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. Identified as Sabeha Mir, reportedly the accident happened when the victims’ vehicle halted due to another road accident as another vehicle crashed into their car from behind which caused the fire. Three people, two females and one man died. As per the sources, besides Mir’s daughter, the dead included her driver and an aid. Earlier, Mir’s only son, Mujeeb Mir, was killed in a tragic incident in Mauritius. His other daughter is a medical doctor and lives in Srinagar.


Dr Zahid Majeed Nadaf, a Senior Resident Doctor At AIIMS, Delhi, who risked his life to save a Covid-19 patient

Zahid Majeed Nadaf, a doctor from south Kashmir put himself at the stake to save a patient’s life. This brought him in the newspaper headlines. Presently working as a senior resident at the critical care medicine in India’s premier institute AIIMS, Zahid removed his protective gear to save a critical Covid-19 patient in Delhi. The doctor has now been sent to a14-day quarantine. All of his colleagues joined to pay salutations. Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal too appreciated the doctor from Anantnag.


Slain Mehraj ud Din Shah

Jumping a traffic signal invites fine elsewhere, but Kashmir has a different yardstick. Here not stopping at a barricade may cost you a life. At Narbal, a young man was shot dead by CRPF personnel when allegedly he did not stop on the signal. However, witnesses say it is absurd. Identified as Mehraj-ud-din Shah, the 22-year-old Khidmat Centre owner, he had bullet injuries on his shoulder and chest. His uncle, an Assistant Sub Inspector, whom the victim was driving to his duty at the Police Control Room (PCR), said after a policeman stopped the car, he gestured using his finger to the CRPF man at next naka. The next moment the paramilitary man opened fire on Mehraj. He was driven to SMHS dead.



Quick to break the news, Tanveer-ul-Ahad was emerging as a credible source of information. A graduate, he started his journey with news agency PIB, Al-Safa News, and also with Kashmir Reader. Later, he started his own news agency, Global News Agency and newspaper Kashmir Glory. Last week, the 31-year-old was declared dead in SMHS. A resident of Muqam Shahwali in Drugmulla belt, he complained of vomiting after which he was shifted to district hospital Handwara. When his condition did not improve, he was shifted to SMHS hospital in Srinagar where he died for unknown reasons.  He is survived by a wife and three minor kids.


The Super Speciality Hospital at Shirinbagh In Srinagar.

Contained to a huge extent, off late the Shireen Bagh’s Super Specialty Hospital in Srinagar is emerging as a new super spreader of the deadly virus. With many infections, the last two Covid deaths also came from the same hospital. First, it was a 32-year-old resident of Srinagar. Attending his father who was being treated for cancer, the man developed flu-like symptoms and later was confirmed as Covid positive. He died an abrupt death due to cytokine storm. A few days later, his father too turned positive and died. A resident of Kralpora Hawal in Srinagar, there is no male member in the family now. Initially, the father-son duo were amongst a dozen others who caught the virus in the hospital where a lady from Anantnag district was admitted, who turned out to be a super spreader. Reportedly she was initially admitted to the Bone and Joint hospital where at least six patients got the virus and turned positive. The doctors and staff nurses who attended her in the hospital have also been shifted to mandatory quarantine. From this hospital, she was referred to Super Speciality Hospital where many turned positive including the senior medical officer and then two more nurses. If reports are to be believed then the secretariat employee who turned positive also got the virus from the same hospital where his brother was admitted for carcinoma treatment.


Dr Shakil Ramshoo

A multidisciplinary academician and researcher Prof Shakil Ahmad Romshoo is the new Dean Research, University of Kashmir. He has obtained his PhD in Water Resources Engineering from the University of Tokyo, Japan and MS in Space Science from the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok Thailand. Besides, he has more than 32 years’ research and academic experience having worked, in the past, as Scientist at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Tokyo and Fellow at the Energy and Research Institute (TERI), New Delhi, India. He has headed the department of Earth Sciences, Kashmir University for more than 11 years since 2004.

Besides academics, administration and consultancy, Prof Romshoo is engaged in collaborative and sponsored research on Hydrology, Glaciology and climate change in the Himalayan region. Member of various policy and decision-making committees, he is also the Fellow of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing (ISRS) and has won more than a dozen national and international awards for his academic achievements and the prestigious among them are the Satish Dhawan Award from ISRO in 2019, the National Geoscience Award from the government of India conferred by the President of India in 2013, Kasumigaura International Prize from Government of Japan in 2009, the President’s Appreciation Medal for the promotion of Space Technology in India in 2015, Best Researcher/Teacher award at KU in 2007 conferred by the Chancellor of the University.


The body of Gurdaspur carpenter, Ranveer Singh, being taken for the last rites. Singh was working in Wakura village of Ganderbal for last 10 years. He died on May 6, and after the family permitted on phone, his last rites were done locally by the residents and some of his relatives, who also work with him. KL Image: Special Arrangement

As Kashmir was struggling to come to terms with renewed communication blackout in wake of the South Kashmir killings and the Covid-19 lockdown, Ganderbal locals were struggling to get in touch with a family in Punjab. Aa Punjabi carpenter, Ranveer Singh, 32, presently working in  Wakura village for the last decade, died on May 6. Residents called his family and when transporting his body became impossible, they were permitted to perform his last rites. Along with Singh’s relatives, locals did his last rites and recorded everything for history and his family.


Kifayat Hussain, a school teacher, who is holding on-line classes while being in the hospital. He was admitted after he tested positive for Covid-19

If dedication has a face, it cannot be less beautiful than Kifayat Hussain, a resident of Leh, who teaches mathematics in school. Hussain recently tested positive for Covid-19 and was immediately admitted to Mahakaruna Charitable Hospital. How he is making his quarantine different is that he regularly teaches his students on-line. From his hospital bed, he uses the Zoom app to connect with his students. On a daily basis, he uploads two videos to his YouTube channel in addition to the on-line class. His senior helped him in seeking mandatory permission for his teaching activities. That has made him a celebrity.


Dr Shah Faesal

Many countries and states are setting free prisoner in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Most probably this was the reason to shift the former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti of the erstwhile State to her residence which has been declared as a sub-jail but this change of thought excluded in case of IAS officer turned politician Dr Shah Faesal whose PSA has been extended for three more months. Presently Dr Faesal is lodged in MLA hostel, which was turned into jail last fall. He was arrested after Parliament’s unilateral decision of August 5 from New Delhi’s International airport when he was flying to Harvard University to complete his last two semesters.

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