Briefing May 23-29, 2021


Covid19 Obits

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Kashmir poetess and critic, Dr Taranum Riyaz, died in a Delhi hospital on May 20, 2021. She had contracted Covid19. She died within 41 days of her husband’s Dr Riyaz Punjabi’s death in Delhi.

Covid19 has unleashed its devastation and has decimated families. Almost 41 days after Riyaz Punjabi’s death, his wife Dr Tarannum Riyaz succumbed to the Covid19 infection. A PhD in Urdu, Dr Fareeda Taranum – a former newscaster and a later fellow at Ministry of Culture, is a noted Urdu fiction writer and critic. She was born in Srinagar on August 9, 1963. Ms Taranum has authored eight Afsana collections, four poetry collections and two novels, Barf Asna Parinday and Murti.

 But she was not alone who lost her life to Covid19.

Lately, in Srinagar’s JLNM hospital, Javid Mir, Co-Founder CNS Infotel lost his battle against the invisible virus. Credited with bringing the internet to Kashmir at a time when phones were luxury, he started from an internet café and later became the founder of the Internet service provider.

The pandemic killed seven teachers in the past fortnight. The University of Kashmir lost two of its teachers – Prof Ghulam Mohiuddin Bhat, and Dr Mustahason Farooq Fazili. As the varsity is battling academic loss, the loss of its academicians has been widely condoled. Formerly head of the Department of Electronics Engineering and Institute of Technology, Prof Bhat was considered as a towering engineering teacher.  He was also credited with being the only Kashmiri innovator who had two patents. The later, Dr Fazili, 55, was an Associate Professor of Zoology. After Fazili had contracted the infection it has spread to other immediate relatives. However, they managed to fight the virus but sadly, he couldn’t.

Besides teachers, businessmen, frontline workers like doctors continue to be victims of Covid-19. Dr Inderjyot, 52, a senior physician working in the Hospitality and Protocol Department, was a Liaison Officer at Kashmir House at Chandigarh. In past, he has been taking care of the Chief Minister’s health in Srinagar. Omar Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad have been in his medical care as Chief Minister.

In Jammu, five doctors died in two days – three, in one day, all from Rajouri.

Khalid Bashir Gura


Gulzar Ahmad Bhat

Unwell and bedridden for the last three years, Kashmir’s media industry lost its senior journalist, Gulzar Ahmad Bhat, 70, who passed away at his Sholipora home in Budgam. In his three decades of a journalism career, Bhat was associated with Daily Uqaab (1993-2000) and Kashmir Observer (1996-98) but he was most known as an Editor of Srinagar News. He is being remembered as a nonchalant and jolly person. His demise was widely condoled across the media fraternity. Bhat was highly mobile for most of his career, especially in the 1990s. He would hardly miss an event, regardless of the consequences.


At North End Enterprises, the empty cylinders being refilled. KL Image: Masood Hussain

At a time when people are gasping for breath, oxygen is the most prized commodity. People, NGOs, governments can be seen scrambling and jostling for the oxygen cylinders to keep the Covid19 patients breathing. But in north Kashmir’s Sub-District Hospital Kupwara, 40 cylinders of medical oxygen went missing when the hospital administration upon tallying and dispatching a consignment of cylinders back to Srinagar, came to know about the missing cylinders. Following it, three staffers were suspended and the probe has been ordered. Right now, staffers are less important than cylinders. Have they been recovered?

The twin DRDO hospitals will be managed by 683 professionals each at Srinagar and Jammu. GMC Jammu has already appointed nearly 400 professionals. GMC Srinagar has also sought applications but the numbers of position are not known.


IUST Awantipora

Post-Covid19, Prof Talat Ahmad, the VC Kashmir University, has been given the additional charge of the leadership of Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) as the incumbent, Prof Mushtaq Sidique completed his five-year term. Prof Sidique was appointed as the VC IUST on May 12, 2016, for a period of three years. Later he was given an extension of two years. A resident of Srinagar, he had earlier served in Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Srinagar for 14 years. A four-member search committee has been constituted to draw a panel of candidates for the appointment of a new VC for the IUST Awantipora. Prof Ahmad survived Covid19 and remained admitted in SKIMS for many days.


Within an hour after receiving a complaint in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district, that a 14-year-old girl was raped, the police acted swiftly and arrested the accused.  The girl’s father had approached the Police Station Devsar on May 12, saying that she was on her way towards her orchard, when Mudasir Ahmad Lone son of Mushtaq Ahmad Lone, a resident of Dardgund waylaid her and raped her. According to police, the accused had threatened her not to disclose the incident to anyone. As the FIR has been lodged, investigations are going on.

As many as 92 prisoners have tested positive – 72 in Udhampur and 20 in Kupwara. Earlier, 21 Covid19 positive cases were detected in Kathua jail and one inmate each in Jammu and Kot Balwal jails. Ever since Covid19 came to Jammu and Kashmir, three prisoners were killed by the disease- one person each in district jail Rajouri, Sub-jail Bhaderwah and recently Ashraf Sehraie in Udhampur.


Rep Picture

“Marriages are made in Heavens and not in DC offices,” DC Srinagar, Aijaz Asad, tweeted, as the administration got overwhelmed with requests seeking marriage-related permissions. To facilitate permission of scheduled marriages in the district, and reduce the rush, the administration launched an online application wherein people can avail Shaadi Paas! Routinely it is the peak marriage season. But the contagion has reduced the fat Kashmir wedding to a few notches and a few guests. It has impacted a whole lot of business. Humankind’s oldest institution is taking care of tens of thousands of business institutions in the twenty-first century.


Army soldier busy refilling Oxygen Cylinders at an Oxygen Plant, Enn Dee gases at Rangreth outskirts of Srinagar on Thursday, May 20, 2021. This plant was rusting for seven years till the army flew spares from Pune and revived it. It has significantly added to the production of industrial oxygen in Kashmir. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

The impressive contribution from the army with support from the industrial body helped revive a defunct Oxygen plant at Rangreth in Srinagar that is now producing 700 bulk refill cylinder a day. This has pushed Kashmir’s daily production to beyond 3000 bulk cylinders a day. The army mobilized its resources to transport the required spare parts for the abandoned industrial unit within just two days using IAF. Then it arranged local expertise to fix the plant left rusting by its owner for almost seven years.


Mudasir Gul, A Painter’s self-portrait: Gul was arrested by police in May 2021 for a mural in solidarity with Palestine. He was set free 24 hours later.

In his career, it might have been spending 50-hours in jail, but it was a grand introduction of Mudasir Gull as an artist in Srinagar. He was reported by all the major world media outlets because he was detained by Jammu and Kashmir Police for painting a mural in support of Palestine. Not trained in a formal class, Gul is a gifted artist who drawn impressively and paints trucks for a living. The 50-hours jail might be the new fountainhead of his artwork. This is despite the fact that he was set free by the police after “counselling.”


Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

In a series of online interactions that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with people across India especially ground workers, Dr Tazyeen Younis, a leading Kashmir Gynaecologist posted at CHC Chanapora was jubilant as the PM appreciated the efforts of healthcare workers and medical fraternity. In her 4-minute interaction with Modi, Dr Tazyeen briefed him about the work being carried out at the hospital about pregnant women, besides informing him about other support from the administration, central government due to which the hospital was being made operational in August 2020 for Covid19 related activities.


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