Briefing November 1 – 7, 2020


Film Actress Urmila Matondkar in Srinagar with her Husband Mohsin. (KL Image by: BY BILAL BAHADUR)

Actor Urmila Matondkar, 46, was nominated to the state legislative council by the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi along with 11 others. Matondkar, who is married to a Srinagar resident, earlier contested the Lok Sabha elections from Mumbai North on a Congress ticket but lost. She later quit the Congress. Though a Sena and Congress alliance is ruling Maharashtra, the Congress does not seem to be upset over its ally picking the actor. Matondkar was in the frontline in her criticism of Ranaut for her statements that Mumbai was “Pakistan-occupied Kashmir”. Ranaut hit back, accusing Matondkar of being a “soft porn star”.

Jammu and Kashmir administration has transferred 24000 kanals of land to the Industries and Commerce department across various districts including that of Kashmir for new investments


The new Saudi 20 Riyal banknote has a world map that shows Gilgit Baltistan separate from Pakistan

It was a controversy that the Middle East might have enjoyed. On October 25, Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority released a new 20 Riyal banknote. On the backside, the note featured a world map showing the G20 countries in a different colour. However, the world map did not show Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir as parts of Pakistan. Given the fact that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a strong Delhi ally, it was seen as a humiliation to Pakistan. Three days later Delhi felt that even Jammu and Kashmir has also met the same fate in Saudi banking cartography, the debate shifted. Delhi has strongly reacted to Riyadh over the map. “We have taken up this gross misrepresentation of India’s external territorial boundaries on an official and legal banknote of Saudi Arabia,” MEA spokesman Anurag Srivastava said in Delhi. “We have asked the Saudi side to take urgent corrective steps in this regard.” Will the kingdom withdraw the banknote for her ally, it remains to be seen.


Dr Rajat Post Graduate (PG) scholar in Department of Radiology at Govt Medical College(GMC) Jammu died of COVID-19

Jammu and Kashmir lost yet another doctor to the deadly Covid-19. A Jammu doctor, Dr Rajat was working as Post Graduate (PG) scholar in the Department of Radiology at Government Medical College (GMC), Jammu. A front-line warrior, Rajat had contracted Covid 19 while on duty and was admitted in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of GMC Jammu. He could not maintain oxygen saturation due to bilateral pneumonia and passed away. Kashmir has already lost two doctors to Covid-19.


Body of Umar Hajam who was killed by militants in Y.K.Pora late evening on October 29,2020. KL Image by Shah Hilal

Militants, believed to be from Lashkar-e-Toiba, killed three BJP’s workers Kulgam’s in Qazigund belt. The slain trio included Fida Hussain (Yuva Morcha), Umar Ramzan and Umar Rashid. With these killings, the death toll of BJP workers in the last four months reached nine. Tragically, the trio were the main bread-earners of the respective families. Fida is survived by a year old daughter and five sisters, parents, and wife. Umar is survived by a sister and parents; similar is the case of Umar Rashid. Police said the investigations have led to the seizure of a vehicle.


Tashi Gyalson

With a serious staff-off on the Line of Actual Control (LoAC) still in place, the administration completed the sixth Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) elections in Leh. Even the pandemic did not interrupt. Finally, the Bharatiya Janata Party registered major victory by winning 15 of the 26 segments. The Congress won nine, while the remaining two were bagged by two Independents. A total of 54,257 voters cast their votes to elect 94 candidates, using EVMs. The BJP and Congress contested for all constituencies, unlike Aam Aadmi Party that had fielded 19 candidates while 23 Independents were also in the fray.

Leh was initially cool to the polls and had boycotted seeking protection identity, jobs and land. They agreed to participate only after the government flew the top leaders for a personal audience with Home Minister Amit Shah that they agreed to contest. Tashi Gaylson, a lawyer who started his political career with PDP, is now the BJP CEC for five years.


Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) party president Mehbooba Mufti addressing her first press conference since being released from detention. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Mehbooba Mufti’s flag remarks were not used by the BJP in Bihar elections alone. While the NC leaders in Jammu criticised these remarks, at least three of her party leader TS Bajwa, Ved Mahajan and Hussain A Waffa resigned from the PDP in protest. They termed the remarks hurtful and unpatriotic. These included a former Rajya Sabha member. One of the three drove to the BJP office and joined the rightwing party.


PM Modi during an election rally at Bihar

Despite NIA filing a detailed charge-sheet, sections of the population in India were seeing the early 2019 Pulwama attack on CRPF as an election issue. This week, Prime Minister said the truth was finally revealed in the Pakistan parliament. “The country cannot forget the unwarranted statements made after the Pulwama attack. Dirty politics laced with selfishness and arrogance was at its peak when the country was suffering from immense pain,” Modi said in his Rashtriya Ekta Diwas address. “But the real face of such people has been exposed after the truth was accepted in the Parliament of our neighbouring country.” Modi was referring to the statement of Pakistan’s Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry has said in Pakistan’s National Assembly: “Humne Hindustan ko ghus ke maara (We hit India in their home). Our success in Pulwama, is a success of this nation under the leadership of Imran Khan. You and we are all part of that success.”


Moulana Mushtaq Veeri with his family members after being released from detention. Pic: Internet

Jammu and Kashmir administration has started setting the detainees free. Two religious clerics Sarjan Barkati and Moulana Mushtaq Ahmad Veeri were released. Barkati, dubbed as “pied piper of Kashmir” was put behind bars in the aftermath of 2016 unrest and charged with organizing and addressing anti-India rallies. A resident Reban in Shopian, his videos about peculiar sloganeering were viral on social media. Veeri, however, was arrested on February 24, 2019, and booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA).


Lt Governor Manoj Sinha administers Oath to KK Sharma as State Election Commissioner

With the darbar closing in Srinagar for a half year stint, Kewal Kumar Sharma, one of the advisors of Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor, resigned to join his new position, the head of the J&K Election Commissioner. A 1983-batch IAS of Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories (AGMUT) cadre, he was advising the Jammu and Kashmir governor for nearly two years. In a career of more than 30 years, Sharma has been Chief Secretary of Delhi and Goa and served the United Nations (UN) Mission in Kosovo from 1999 to 2005 as a Civil Affairs Officer.


Widows and orphaned daughters of the five West Bengal labourers who were killed in Kulgam on October 29, 2019. They spent the first anniversary in praying for the slain. Telegraph photo

On the anniversary of their killing in Kulgam, the widows and relatives of five seasonal Bahalnagar labourers spent October 29, reciting the Quran in their memory. Kamruddin Sheikh, Mursalim Sheikh, Rafikul Sheikh, Rafiq Sheikh and Naimuddin Sheikh were picking apples in Kashmir’s orchards when they were killed. Report said while the government has helped the daughters of one slain man, Rafiq to get jobs, and Mursalim’s widow has also been given a job, others are still waiting for the help. The two widows are being helped by the local MP who sends them Rs 3000 on monthly basis. Officials said the two women lack even the basic education to be considered for a job. Since the village was visited by all the VIPs in wake of the five killings, the village has got a better road.


The film explores the bond between Afzal Guru’s son and his mother in the Bollywood film named Ghaalib slatted to release in December

On October 28, the trailer of the movie reportedly based on the life of Ghalib, the son of the slain Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru, was released on YouTube. The film Gaalib is based on the ups and downs Gaalib’s life and the situation of Kashmir. Dhira Mishra who scripted the movie along with wife Yashomati Devi said that the movie is about gun versus the pen. The movie has been shot in picturesque locations in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bhaderwah, Mumbai, and Allahabad. Dipika Chikhalia whose character name is Shabana is playing the role of Ghalib’s mother. Debutant Nikkhil Pitaley has played the role of Gaalib. Scripting the life and struggle Gaalib Guru, the writer said that he could not meet the real character of the movie even though he had contacted him on social media.


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