Briefing May 19-25, 2024



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In a significant move, Ghulam Qadir Wani, a leader of the banned Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir announced its readiness to contest upcoming assembly elections if the central government revokes its ban. “If the Centre removes the ban imposed on us, we are ready to participate in the elections and work towards the betterment of Kashmir through legitimate political means,” Wani told a select group of reporters in Srinagar. He claimed that a crucial session of JeI’s Majlis-e Shoora had decided on this course, reflecting their long-standing belief in democratic processes. Banned in 2019 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for allegedly supporting militant activities, JI’s operations and political activities were significantly curtailed, with widespread arrests and asset seizures. Despite this, Wani stressed that the party never abandoned its democratic stance but had boycotted past elections due to external pressures and threats. The party plans to focus on socio-religious reforms, addressing issues like drug abuse and growing immorality if allowed to contest. Historically, Jamaat participated in elections until 1987, after which it distanced itself due to allegations of electoral rigging and the rise of militancy. Wani personally cast his vote in Pulwama and made it public.  “We have not thought about collaborating with Jamaat-e-Islami Hind as of now, as we don’t align geographically or historically, but if the need arises, we will be open to collaborating with them,” he told a reporter. Omar Abdullah welcomed Wani’s announcement and urged the Home Minister to enable the outfit to participate in the upcoming assembly elections by revoking the ban. The party has been banned thrice in its history, in 1975, then from 1990 to 1995 and now since 2019.

The Jammu police have reunited 358, 193 of them women, and missing persons with their families till April 30 this year.


Journalist Asif Sultan, in detention since August 1, had his judicial remand extended by a week up to October 1, 2018. This photograph shows the reporter embracing his daughter as his father and uncle are around. Pic: Internet

Journalist Asif Sultan has been granted conditional bail by a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Srinagar. Sultan, previously detained for over five years, faces stringent bail conditions, including a prohibition on using encrypted messaging apps or virtual private networks (VPNs). He must also inform the police of any new mobile phones or SIM cards. The court justified the bail, noting Sultan’s 72-day custody and the near completion of the investigation. Sultan, an assistant editor at the now-defunct magazine, was initially arrested in 2018 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and later re-arrested in 2024 after being released from a five-year detention. His re-arrest pertains to allegations of inciting a jail riot in 2019. The court has set 11 bail conditions, including restrictions on his movement and communication. Sultan’s previous detentions have been challenged and quashed by courts, citing a lack of substantial evidence linking him to militant activities.

Jammu and Kashmir excelled in the CBSE Class X exam results with an impressive pass percentage of 96.84.


General MM Naravane COAS posing for a team group photo with army officers and personnel at forward areas in Eastern Ladakh on Friday, October 1, 2021. Pic: Army Twitter

The Army has established two of the world’s highest tank repair facilities in Eastern Ladakh, near the China border, to support its operations at altitudes over 14,500 ft. These facilities, located in Nyoma and the DBO sector, maintain over 500 tanks and infantry combat vehicles deployed following the 2020 stand-off with China. The tanks, including T-90s, T-72s, BMPs, and K-9 Vajra self-propelled howitzers, operate in extremely harsh conditions, with winter temperatures dropping to minus 40 degrees. The new maintenance sites ensure the combat fleet remains operationally ready despite the challenging environment. This initiative enhances the serviceability and mission reliability of the armoured vehicles, crucial for maintaining high standards of operational efficiency and battle readiness. The Indian and Chinese armies have maintained a significant troop presence in the region since the stand-off began, each deploying around 50,000 troops. Following the 2020 standoff, the Army quickly mobilised heavy armoured elements using C-17 transport aircraft to counter the threat.


A Nepal newspaper reported that 35 Nepali workers were rescued from captivity in Kashmir after being held for three months. Lured by agents with promises of stable income, the workers had their citizenships, mobile phones, and cash confiscated upon arrival in Kashmir, where they were forced to work without pay and subjected to physical and mental abuse. The victims, who included six minors, were taken to Srinagar instead of Jammu as promised and endured inhumane conditions. The plight came to light when two workers escaped and contacted social worker Saroj Ray. The Nepali Embassy in India and the social organization Kin India coordinated with the Kashmir police to rescue the workers and bring them to Delhi. Efforts are ongoing to prosecute the suspects involved. Of the 35 persons, 23 were from Mahottari, nine from Sarlahi and the remaining were from Dhanusha.


An interior overview of Jammu’s Akhnoor Fort, a majestic complex now in ruins.

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has achieved a significant milestone by breaking through the 2.79-km Sungal Tunnel on the strategic Akhnoor-Poonch National Highway (NH144A). This highway, also known as the Golden Arc Road, is a crucial 200-km stretch that connects South Kashmir to the western part, linking the important border districts of Akhnoor, Rajouri, and Poonch. The tunnel breakthrough marks a major step in enhancing regional connectivity and facilitating smoother transportation along the highway. The Akhnoor-Poonch road includes four major tunnels: Kandi Tunnel, Sungal Tunnel, Naushera Tunnel, and Bhimber Gali Tunnel. Lt Gen Raghu Srinivasan, Director General of BRO, witnessed the breakthrough ceremony, emphasizing the project’s significance. Earlier this year, on January 28, the breakthrough of the Naushera Tunnel was also achieved, highlighting BRO’s ongoing efforts to improve connectivity in the region.


Muneeb Amin Bhat, 21, enters Apple ‘Hall of Fame’ for uncovering iCloud vulnerability.

Muneeb Amin Bhat, a 22-year-old cyber-security researcher from South Kashmir’s Kulgam, has been inducted into NASA’s Hall of Fame for his work in identifying and reporting system vulnerabilities through ethical hacking. After previously earning recognition from Apple for similar efforts, Bhat turned his attention to NASA, uncovering multiple vulnerabilities and reporting them under NASA’s Vulnerability Disclosure Programme (VDP). This programme encourages security researchers to report vulnerabilities in good faith, ensuring sensitive data is protected. Although Bhat did not disclose specifics due to VDP guidelines, his discoveries involved sensitive data breaches. Bhat’s cyber-security achievements extend beyond NASA and Apple; he has identified vulnerabilities in various other organisations, earning significant rewards and recognition. Currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Applications (BCA) from IGNOU, Bhat’s journey in technology and ethical hacking began in his childhood and continues to grow.


Jibran Dar, an independent candidate from Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency canvassing in Lal Chowk in May 2024. He started his political career on Facebook, joined AAP and eventually fielded himself as an independent.

An FIR has been registered against independent candidate Jibran Dar and his supporter Sujata Bashir for allegedly disrupting the voting process during the Lok Sabha elections in Srinagar. They are accused of obstructing polling staff, blocking the main road, and threatening officials, violating several sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Representation of People’s Act. The Srinagar constituency saw a voter turnout of nearly 38 per cent on May 13. In a separate incident, Peoples Democratic Party candidate Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra has been booked for violating the Model Code of Conduct by conducting an unauthorised road show in Pulwama on April 27. Despite repeated warnings from local authorities, Parra proceeded with the rally, leading to an FIR under Section 188 of the IPC. The delay in Parra’s response to the violation was deemed unsatisfactory by the authorities.


Imran Khan, a Kashmir model from Kokernag

Imran Khan, 24, from Larnoo Kokernag in south Kashmir, has made significant strides in the fashion industry, participating in fashion shows across New Delhi, Mumbai, and other major Indian cities. Pursuing his childhood dream of modelling, Imran has signed contracts with both national and international agencies and currently works as a freelancer. Despite initial family resistance due to limited local job opportunities, his family now supports his career. He has collaborated with prominent agencies like Ninjas Models and Purple Thoughts and has worked with top designers such as Amit Agarwal and Tarun Tehillani. His work includes TV commercials with Bollywood actor Siddhant Chaturvedi and print shoots for brands like Airtel.


In a crackdown on criminal gangs in Samba, Jammu, police detained and imprisoned Sumit Jandyal (alias Gataru), leader of the Gataru gang, and his brother Sourav Gupta under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA). The duo, from Vijaypur, was involved in organised crimes like attempted murder, robbery, extortion, and land grabbing, posing a significant threat to public peace. Besides,  another gang member, Rohit Baloria, was booked under the PSA and jailed for his involvement in multiple criminal cases. Jammu region is witnessing gang wars and in the recent past two major gangsters were killed in two separate incidents. In one case, they even killed a cop.


An NGO installing solar panels in Yogar village in the remote Zanskar region of Ladakh in 2019 summer. Ladakh has the highest number of sunny days in a year and has enormous potential for harvesting solar power.

Grew Energy Pvt Ltd, part of the Chiripal Group, is advancing India’s renewable energy sector by establishing a cutting-edge solar manufacturing facility in Jammu and Kashmir with a Rs 4500 crore investment. This project, the first of its kind in the region, will significantly impact socio-economic development and India’s renewable energy goals. Located in Kathua, the 80-acre facility will produce 3.2 GW of high-efficiency modules and 2.8 GW of ingots, wafers, and cells annually. CEO Vinay Thadani highlighted the plant’s role in job creation and skill development, contributing to India’s net-zero target and boosting local and national solar energy demand.


Moosa Raza, the former chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir and a distinguished educationist, passed away in Chennai at 87. A Padmabhushan awardee and polyglot, Raza was fluent in Persian, Urdu, Arabic, and English, and translated 19th-century poet Mirza Ghalib’s Persian couplets into Urdu and English, published as Smile on Sorrow’s Lips in 2015. A supporter of Sanskrit, he regarded it as the “mother of most European languages.” Born in Villupuram on February 27, 1937, Raza graduated in English literature from Madras Presidency College and later became an IAS officer, eventually serving as the principal secretary to the Gujarat chief minister and chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir during the militancy of the late 1980s. He was notably the chief negotiator during the Rubaiya Sayeed kidnapping in 1989. His book, Kashmir, Land of Regrets, reflects on his administrative experiences. Peers remembered Raza as a capable administrator and writer, and a man of principles with a great sense of humour.


In Reasi, two Muslim residents, Ghulam Rasool and Ghulam Mohammad, have donated four kanals of land worth over one crore rupees to facilitate road access to a 500-year-old Hindu temple, promoting religious harmony. The land donation will enable the construction of a 1220-meter-long, 10-feet-wide road to the Gupt Kashi – Gouri Shankar temple in Kansi Patta village. This initiative counters attempts to create societal rifts over the temple’s lack of access. The road construction, funded by the panchayat, will commence shortly. The temple is currently undergoing renovations.


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