Briefing May 22-28, 2022

RAMBAN

As workers started working on an adit tunnel near Khooni Nalla in Ramban. a hillock collapsed killing 10 labourers, two of them from Ramban on May 20, 2022.

A minor tunnel near the Khooni Nulla on the Jammu Srinagar national highway collapsed as a result of which 10 workers were trapped and eventually killed. Authorities launched rescue and some of them were rescued injured. The spot has historically remained a slide prone and shooting stone area. Earlier, the BRO had laid a steel shield deflecting the sliding stones but after many years it became literally useless necessitating the creation of a small tunnel. Now, part of it was devastated by a collapse.

Jammu and Kashmir Police’s cyber station managed to recover and refund about Rs 58 lakh to three persons by outsmarting their online scammers. Overall, Rs 1.5 crore was saved from the online frauds this year.

DELHI

Police arrests Yasin Malik on November 19, 2018

Days after pleading guilty, National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Delhi convicted separatist leader Yasin Malik on May 19. Additional Sessions Judge Praveen Singh, who will hear arguments on the quantum of the sentence on May 25, asked Malik to furnish details of his financial assets and ordered the NIA to assess his financial condition. When the judge asked Malik if he wants to “rethink over his plea”, Malik stated that he had taken a “well thought out decision” and had even met the amicus curiae in this case twice. “I find that accused Yasin Malik has voluntarily and after due legal consultation, meaning thereby after fully, knowing the consequences of his plea, has pleaded guilty to the charges framed against him. His plea is accordingly accepted,” the court said in its order. NIA has booked Malik under Sections 16 (terrorist act), 17 (raising funds for the terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy to commit terrorist act) and 20 (being a member of a terrorist gang or organisation) of the UAPA and sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 124-A (sedition) of the IPC.

The conviction came hours after Pakistan summoned a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official in Islamabad and handed over the demarche conveying “Pakistan’s strong condemnation of the framing of fabricated charges” against Malik. Earlier, on May 17, the UK Foreign Office minister, in-charge of South Asia and the Commonwealth, Tariq Ahmad had told the House of Lords that the UK is monitoring Malik’s trial. “We do note he has been charged under Indian law. Therefore, I am sure the noble Lord appreciates it, we cannot intervene in the independent judicial process of India directly. However, in all our engagements we urge all countries to always respect and uphold their own international commitments regarding the treatment of any detainees,” he had said.

In reaction to conviction reports, PDP asked how this will help in solving Kashmir.

As many as 44 Jammu and Kashmir residents facing “preventive detention” were flown from Jammu prison to Naini Central Jail in UP.

SRINAGAR

Prof Nilofar Khan

The University of Kashmir got its first female Vice-Chancellor. Prof Nilofer Khan, who headed the Home Sciences department, was appointed VC for three years replacing earth-scientist Professor Talat Ahmad whose three-year term ended in August 2021. She is taking over in a tense situation as the authorities last week dismissed from service senior Chemistry professor Dr Altaf Hussain Pandit for being a “threat to the security of the state”, which triggered symbolic protests by students asking LG Manoj Sinha to reconsider the decision. The police claimed Dr Pandit was sacked for crossing over the LoC for arms training in the early 1990s though he shunned militancy on his return. The award-winning scientist has served as a member of the sub-committee on New Education Policy (NEP), 2020.

Jammu and Kashmir has recorded 77 per cent deficient rainfall from March 1 to May 11 as only 64.8 mm rainfall was recorded against an average of 288 mm.

BARAMULLA

An aerial view of Baramulla. Pic: Baramulla News FB page

In the newly set up liquor shop in Dewan Bagh Baramulla, a burqa-clad person lobbed a grenade in which four persons were injured, of whom, Rajit Singh later succumbed to his injuries. Within 24 hours police said they cracked the case and arrested five people including four militants and an associate. From them, police said five pistols and 23 grenades were recovered. Singh, 51, a resident of Bakhar village of Sunderbani (Rajouri) was working for the vendor. Sole breadwinner f his family, Singh is survived by his wife, two married daughters, two unmarried daughters, a minor son, and an elderly father. Injured in the attack include Govardhan Singh, Ravi Kumar, (residents of Billawar in Kathua) and Govind Singh, a resident of Kangri village near Sunderbani.

The government accorded sanctions for the creation of 1612 posts in various categories for two new Medical Colleges coming up in Handwara Kupwara and Udhampur.

JAMMU

Amid continued protests by the migrant Pandit employees across Kashmir, the government has paid a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family of slain revenue clerk, Rahul Bhat and a job letter to his widow, Meenakshi Raina. The employees are seeking their transfer outside Kashmir and undoing the bond that makes their jobs mandatory in Kashmir. Authorities have agreed to deploy these employees in better-secured urban spaces and couples in the same place. In Srinagar, when Divisional Commissioner was asked if the government would offer compensation to the families of the two civilians who were killed in south Kashmir, PK Pole said it will happen only after when an enquiry will prove their innocence. On May 15, CRPF personnel allegedly shot dead a car accessory shopkeeper in Darazpora village. Authorities have announced a magisterial enquiry. Earlier on May 10, Shahid Gani Dar was injured during a search operation in Shopian’s Pandoshan village.

LADAKH

Tourists enjoy Pangong Lake in Ladakh Kashmir, Pangong Lake is a saltwater lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 m (14,270 ft). The lake was made famous by the 2009 Bollywood film ‘3 Idiots’ and has become a popular tourist attraction. Pangong Lake is 134 km long. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

China is reportedly constructing a second bridge in the strategic Pangong Tso lake area in eastern Ladakh that can help the Red Army in quick mobilisation. Officials in Delhi said they are monitoring the situation. Earlier reports said that China has completed the construction of the first bridge, located barely 20 km from the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The new bridge is likely to cut the distance significantly from the depth area of Rudok to the Pangong Tso. The two neighbours have had 15 rounds of military talks but the standoff continues with each side having more than 50,000 troops deployed in the most inhospitable mountains. A report in the media said that the defence ministry has shifted six divisions from counter-terrorism roles on the Pakistan front to the Sino-Indian borders between Ladakh and the northeast. These include a division from Rashtriya Rifles that joined three other divisions already deployed in Ladakh.

SRINAGAR

Kashmir’s animal rights activist, Aaliya Mir came into sharp public focus last week for rescuing snakes. One had hidden itself in the interior of a two-wheeler. It took her 15-minutes to get the six-foot rat snake from the scooty. Owing to the soaring temperature, a lot of snakes are moving around near the Kashmir foothills. Snakes being cold-blooded animals are unable to manage the rise in temperature. Doctors at SKIMS said they treat 10 to 15 snakebite patients in a month and sometimes even more. A sub district hospital in Uri, which also treats the snakebites, had managed 26 cases, last year. Most of the cases were porters taking supplies to the soldiers up the hills on the LoC.

KASHMIR

Shocking incidents involving minors were reported last week across Kashmir. In one case, three people, including a juvenile, were arrested for allegedly kidnapping and sexually assaulting a minor girl in the Malbagh (Soura) area. The trio (residents of Rafiabad and Sopore) had kidnapped the minor girl from the Hazratbal park and sexually assaulted her in a rented accommodation in Mallbagh. A day later another shocker was reported by the Jammu and Kashmir Railway Police in Anantnag who traced a teenage girl in a railway hut near a bridge along with two boys. The teenager told the cops two boys kidnapped her last evening when she was on her way to home. She identified her kidnappers as Danish Rather son of Bashir Ahmad Rather and Mukhtar Ahmad Gani son of Mohammad Shafi Ganai, both residents of Hassanpora Taweela village. Danish, she said raped her overnight. In yet another case, three persons including two minors, who indulge in drug peddling, attempted molestation of a school going girl on Shivpora bund. A report from Reasi said a teenager of around 14 years of age was allegedly raped and impregnated by an adult, Vishal Kumar.

JAMMU

Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) has started making history. Last week, its General House passed a resolution to ban “illegal” loudspeakers at religious places in the city of temples. The resolution was moved by BJP Councillor, Narotam Sharma and adopted by the BJP dominated house amid protests by Congress. The resolution would make the civil administration responsible for preventing the use of loudspeakers between 10 pm and 6 am. In the next meeting, the BJP is tabling again a resolution for imposing property tax in Jammu. The resolution was rejected by the JMC House last time.

KATRA

Four Killed, Several Injured As Bus Catches Fire near Katra on May 13, 2022

Security grid is probing all angles of the mysterious blaze that killed four Vaishno Devi pilgrims and left 24 others with serious burn injuries when a bus went up in flames. The bus (JK14-1831) was on its way to Jammu when it caught fire after an explosion near Nomai and Kharmal, around 3 km from Katra. A little known outfit is reported to have staked the claim pushing police to investigate if the insurgents used a sticky bomb. Though the final report is yet to come, the fire seemingly has started near the oil tank.

DELHI

Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court cautioned a counsel who in the course of his arguments said that Kashmir became a part of the country after the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution in August 2019. “No, no, it has remained a part of the country for a long time. These are certain special provisions. Careful in what language you use,” Justice S K Kaul, presiding a two-judge bench, told Ravi Shankar Jandhyala, while hearing a plea that challenged the delimitation exercise, which recommended increasing the number of seats in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly from 83 to 90. Jandhyala said that on the issue of abrogation, the stand is that “because it is abrogated, therefore on August 5, 2019, Kashmir has become a part of this country…”. Before he could complete it, Justice Kaul intervened and reminded him that it was not so. The counsel quickly corrected himself and said, “370 abrogated, thereafter all provisions of Constitution have been applied to J&K”.

 

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