Briefing May 8-14, 2022

DENMARK

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Kashmir made its presence felt during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Sweden when he gifted the host Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson Kashmir products. The two leaders met in Copenhagen to discuss bilateral cooperation on various issues. As a goodwill gesture, Modi gifted the Sweden leader a Pashmina stole. It was packed in a Papier Machie box. The box that carried the shawl is itself was an exclusive Kashmir item. The finely coloured box is hand-painted in a floral design depicting the flora and fauna of the Kashmir. The design used in this piece is an intricate pattern drawn with a fine thin brush. Water-based colours and natural pigments had been used in this piece. Pure gold foil and paint have been used in the design which imparts a royal look to the piece. Finally, the piece is coated with lacquer which protects it from water and gives extra durability.

The life expectancy In Jammu and Kashmir is 74 years, which is the highest in India after Kerala and Delhi. The national average is 69.4 years.

SRINAGAR

Former speaker Akbar Lone at his official residence in Srinagar.

North Kashmir MP and senior NC leader, Mohammad Akbar Lone survived a virtual death that his leader and VP, Omar Abdullah announced on Twitter. Taking a cue from his tweet, a news-gathering agency ran an alert.  After he was told that Lone is doing fine in the SKIMS, he apologised. Lone, for a very long time, has had issues with his chest. Earlier, he was treated in Delhi and for the last more than a week, he is in SKIMS. “I owe a great apology to Lone Sb. He is recovering well. My father misunderstood the news & in turn I made a mistake with my tweet. My sincere apologies to Lone Sb & his family,” Omar clarified. Even though Lone’s news was fake and misunderstanding, there was mourning in the party as two of their leaders lost a parent each. Nasir Sogami’s mother passed away and Qaisar Jamsheed Lone’s father died.

Entertainment company Jadooz in partnership with Jammu based Manomay will set up 50 cinema halls in Jammu and Kashmir in the next 24 months by investing Rs 15 crore.

SRINAGAR

GoC of Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt General Davendra Pratap Pandey

In a presser last week, the outgoing leader of the Srinagar based 15-Corps, t General DP Pandey said “Kashmir problem” does not exist. “Kashmir problem is the wrong terminology. There was a problem in Kashmir, which we along with the people and a cross-section of society have largely been able to overcome,” the General said. The officer said the security grid has succeeded in “breaking the cycle of violence in Kashmir”. In last year, he said, 230 youth, who had either joined militancy or were about to join, were brought back to live a peaceful life. General said peace has started to become a permanent feature in Kashmir. “Though some, rather very few people won’t be happy with the peaceful atmosphere and they will keep on trying new methods to disrupt it, but there will be always joint counter measures to defeat such elements,” he said. The GOC said hybrid militants were a challenge some nine months ago, but not now. “It was difficult early to identify a Government servant, a shopkeeper or a student aged 15 or 16 indulging in militant activities. But as of now, society is so vibrant and such people are being identified in a jiffy. Parents too are keeping a close watch on the children so that they don’t tread a wrong path,” he said. Lt Gen DS Aujla will be succeeding Pandey on May 9.

The law enforcement agencies have arrested 170 overground workers in Kashmir, this year.

SAMBA

This tunnel was discovered by BSF on the India Pakistan border in May 2022.

IGP BSF Jammu, D K Boora said that they detected a freshly dug 150 meters long tunnel, the fifth one so far, on May 4 at Chak Faquira in Samba district and also recovered 265 feet long oxygen pipe during searches along International Border. The force launched a fortnight-long anti-tunnelling exercise in the area. The freshly dug tunnel had 21 sandbags strengthening its exit. Boora, however, said the tunnel seemingly is not linked to the Sunjwan attack. “It is yet not clear. It’s a part of the investigation. If anything becomes clear, we will share it with you. However, I will say it is only a guess which is being made,” he was quoted saying.

The unemployment rate in Jammu and Kashmir dipped to 15.6 per cent in April from 25 per cent in March, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) says.

UNITED STATES

Kashmiri Journalist, Raqib Hameed Naik receives Aminah Assilmi Media Excellence Award In the US in December 2021.

It will take a long time to manage the impact that The Kashmir Files has had on society. It has started hitting people overseas. The media recently detailed the virtual feud between Dr Rajiv Pandit and journalist Raqib Hameed Naik, both Kashmir origin Americans. After watching the film, Pandit wrote on his Twitter account: “What was the most powerful emotion you felt immediately after watching @vivekagnihotri‘s #TheKashmirFiles? One word, any language.” In response, some Right-Wing Alpha wrote: “To pay them back 100 fold, in their own coin”, and Pandit responded with the word “retribution”. This irked Raqib Hameed who replied in a series of tweets suggesting that Pandit’s tweet was a call for genocide against Indian and Kashmiri Muslims. “There is no evidence of “Hindu Genocide” in Kashmir and it is primarily a Hindu nationalist construct,” he wrote and uploaded a series of articles, RTI (Right to Information) NHRC report (National Human Rights Commission) to prove his point. In the subsequent days, both said they are suffering. “I started getting death threats. I have been harassed by The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and its supporters in the United States since I expressed my views over a film that portrayed Kashmiri Muslims as murderers and thugs,” Naik alleged, insisting that his parents, living in Doda, received calls from the CID (Crime Investigation Department) for “questioning”. On the other hand, Dr Pandit claimed his reputation is under attack. “I received dozens of phone calls from angry people [from among the diaspora who support Naik], demanding that my practice and the hospitals where I see patients, revoke my privileges or ‘fire’ me from the staff,” he claimed. “They were also going to various online, and very important rating sites, and giving me 1-star ratings (for his medical skills) without ever having met me, let alone ever being treated by me. There is an ongoing campaign to damage my reputation and end my livelihood.”

5629 dog bite cases were registered in SMHS hospital in the year ending March 31, 2022.

KASHMIR

NC leader Omar Abdullah and PDP leader Ms Mehbooba Mufti in a joint meeting

Despite two former Chief Ministers’ Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba requesting the government to permit the Sarpanchs to go home and celebrate Eid with their families, it could not happen at all. Omar had actually shared a number of messages from these protected people who were seeking permission to go home for Eid. “I’m not sure why @JmuKmrPolice feels that the best way to protect people is to hold them prisoner against their will but it’s a gross violation of their fundamental rights. On the one hand, the @PMOIndia addresses them in Jammu & on the other the police holds them captive,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

The security authorities, however, did not take any chance and most of them had to celebrate the festival in their secured accommodations. Authorities, it may be recalled here, have been keeping a good section of the elected PRI members in safe accommodations to prevent them from becoming targets of the militants. At least four panchayat members were killed by unidentified gunmen last month. Meanwhile, the central government has asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe the killing of panchs and sarpanchs in Jammu and Kashmir.

By the end of April Kashmir saw 585653 thousand tourist arrivals in 2022.

JAMMU

State Investigation Agency

Jammu and Kashmir State Investigation Agency (SIA) has suggested the trial court will invoke letters rogatory to seek information about a set of accused, some of whom are in Pakistan. The tool is an established diplomatic way-out envisaging a formal request from a court to a foreign court for judicial assistance. Once the court passes the order, investigating agency follows it up.

The case involves three alleged Hizb ul Mujahideen militants, two of whom are in Pakistan and one in police custody in Jammu and Kashmir. The trio belongs to Doda. The accused in the case are Asif Shabir Naik, his father Shabir Hussain Naik, alias Khalid Shabir, and Safdar Hussain. Shabir Hussain and Safdar are in Pakistan unlike Asif, who is in judicial custody since his arrest on October 24, 2021. He was arrested when he was going to Pakistan. Asif is from Kashtigarh in Doda, and Safdar is a resident of village Marmat of Doda. Shabir, Asif’s father, is the media advisor in the proscribed Hizb ul Mujahideen, SIA has told the court.

The government of Jammu and Kashmir ordered the apportionment of 1083 more employees to the Union Territory of Ladakh. In November 2021, 11189 employees serving on a substantive basis were apportioned to Ladakh.

NOWHATTA

Authorities did not permit Jumat-ul-Vida prayers and Shab-e-Qadr in Jamia Masjid and later the differences between the government and the management resulted in no Eid prayers as well. For preventing gathering in the first two events, the security establishment said they had reports of some trouble. For Eid prayers, they told the Jamia management that the prayers should be offered before 7 am. The managers said they have already decided to offer prayers at 9 am. As the two sides could not reconcile with the timing, no prayers were offered.

PANTHA CHOWK

LG Manoj Sinha during the Bhoomi Pujan of Yatri Niwas of SASB at Srinagar on May 3, 2022. The facility to be built on 25 kanals of land will accommodate 3000 pilgrims. Photo: DIPR

Spread over 25 kanals of land, Srinagar will have a Yatri Niwas for Amarnath pilgrims. Last week, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha participated in its Bhoomi Pujan at Pantha Chowk. The facility will cater to more than 3000 pilgrims. Sinha said one each Yatri Niwas is being built in Jammu, Ramban and Srinagar and will be vibrant centres of spirituality and knowledge.

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