Briefing November 15-21, 2020



A house damaged in shelling at Uri sector in north Kashmir’s Baramulla on Friday, November 13, 2020. the rival armies facing each other on the Line of Control (LoC) resorted to a massive shelling on each other’s positions. KL Image

In a sudden flare-up on the Line of Control (LoC), the rival armies started shelling each other’s positions. So far the Friday cross shelling has led to seven deaths in Jammu and Kashmir including three security personnel as around 12 civilians are injured. A lot of population is either migrating or has taken refuge in the dungeons that the government has been constructing on a larger scale. Both sides are accusing each other of, what they call, violation of the ceasefire. Pakistan army claims they have lost three civilians as more than 14 are injured.


A foreign buyer looking at a silken carpet specimen in Srinagar. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

With India and China fighting diplomatically over and around Kashmir, the 3rd China International Import Expo saw the Kashmiri silk carpets winning the show, China Economic Net (CEN), reported. The sale of Kashmiri silk carpets has increased up to 40 per cent in the last three years. This year, CEN reported scarves and furniture were also kept in the exhibition. Now, the CIIE has started two shops in Beijing to cater to the emerging market for Kashmir’s handicrafts.

“Kashmir carpets are artworks,” Xu Chunhua, a buyer was quoted saying. “As the mechanization in Kashmir improves, handmade products definitely will be rarer. They have a chance to gain in value. Increasingly more Chinese people are becoming interested in it because of its cultural and artistic value,”.

Of around 101000 residents who tested positive for Covid-19, 1566 have died as nearly 94000 have recovered.


JK Bank CEO and Chairman Parvez Ahmad bidding farewell to RBI Regional director in Srinagar on September 29, 2017. Pic JKBank

After unceremonious exit from the erstwhile State’s premier financial institution, the former Chairman and MD of J&K Bank Parvez Ahmad’s plea against his removal was dismissed by the High Court. Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey held that his nomination was “contractual in nature and not governed by any statute or the service conditions ordinarily applicable to the employees of the Bank”. The court, however, has left the petitioner free to approach the civil court for seeking redressal of his contractual dispute(s) with the Bank.


Rehmat Kaur Rattan

Over the years many Kashmiri youngsters have tried their luck in various film industries and brought laurels to their hometown with their talent. This time it is a Sikh girl Rehmat Kaur Rattan, 25, a dentist turned actor, from Srinagar’s Mehjoor Nagar, who is doing her debut in the Punjabi film industry. She will cast along actor Yuvraj Hans and the shooting will begin from February 2021 in Punjab and Poland.

The budding actor has already done four Punjabi songs. Rehmat has done her bachelors in dental surgery from Bhojia Dental College and Hospital in Himachal Pradesh. She won Miss PTC Punjabi 2019 out of the nine finalists in the last round of the contest. She has reportedly also signed another Punjabi film which features actors Tabu and Jimmy Shergill in lead roles.


Motherly Touch: However, the famous Kashmiri poet and scholar Mohammed Yusuf Teng, differed from this history of saffron and stated that the plant had been cultivated in Kashmir for more than two millennia.

As the saffron growers are busy plucking purple flowers on the alluvial soils of Pampore, these costliest spice on earth has raised hopes in Sikkim’s Yangyang area, where the first-ever Saffron flowers have bloomed. The North East Centre For Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR), an autonomous body under the central government’s Department of Science and Technology, undertook a pilot project to explore the feasibility of growing saffron in Northeast India. Tests were carried out to understand the soil and actual pH conditions of Yangyang by the botany and horticulture department of the Sikkim Central University. The department had found the land comparable to saffron growing places in Kashmir. Pampore says Saffron grows at many places but Pampore shall remain the Saffron capital for eternity.


Outside view of SKIMS Srinagar.
Outside view of SKIMS Srinagar.

Last week four researchers brought laurels to the Jammu and Kashmir after their names appeared in the list of World’s 2 per cent scientists in a compilation by University of Stanford, USA. The list included Kashmir’s top medicos Dr MS Khuroo, gastroenterologist and ex-director SKIMS and Dr Parvaiz A Koul, the current head of Internal and Pulmonary Medicine SKIMS. Dr Shakeel Ahmed, the third researcher from the J&K is the youngest researcher from India. He is a young assistant professor from district Rajouri and presently teaching at the GDC Mendhar. The fourth is Dr Ahsanulhaq Qurashi, young Kashmiri scientist from Karnah, whose name figures in energy discipline. He is presently teaching Chemistry at Khalifa University of Dubai.

The researchers have figured in the “Updated science-wide author databases of standardized citation indicators”. It lists the top 2 per cent scientists from all over the world from a list of over 159000. Around 1500 Indian researchers have made it to this list but so far only four names from Jammu and Kashmir could be known.


The celebrities mostly prefer offshore destinations for their weddings. Last week when Singham actor Kajal Aggarwal and Mumbai based entrepreneur Gautam Kitchlu tied their knot and limited their function due to Coronavirus, their themed wedding Kashmir to Kanyakurai looked amazingly different on their wedding day, which the event manager Ambika Gupta of A-Cube Project said was inspired by Gautam’s Kashmiri heritage. On this day the event titled Shikara-The Voyage of Love suggested a new beginning for the couple. The AD (Architectural Digest) website reported the manager saying, “We used the windows of houseboats to create a very unique pattern and also framed exquisite Pashmina embroidery prints within. Apart from that, a pyramid-shaped mandap suggested the connection between the self and the spirit and conjured up the shape of the mountains. We used acrylic mirrors to mimic Dal Lake and decorated flowers on either side to remind everyone of the floating flower markets of Kashmir. It was almost as if Kajal was taking a voyage on a Shikara towards her new life with Gautam.”


Athar Zia

The author Ather Zia was awarded the National Women’s Studies Association’s (NWSA) 2020 Gloria E Anzaldua Book prize. She was given this award for her book, Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation and Women’s Activism in Kashmir.

Ather Zia, PhD, is a political anthropologist, poet, short fiction writer, and a columnist. She is presently working as an associate professor at the University of Northern Colorado Greeley.

The NWSA 2020 award was given to three authors. The NWSA is an organization founded in 1977, made up of scholars and practitioners in the field of women’s studies. The prize in Gloria Anzaldúa’s memory carries a symbolic $1,000 prize in recognition of groundbreaking monographs in women’s studies.


Artists singing during Kargil Ladakh tourism festival 2018. KL Image by Shuaib Wani

Ladakh was a part of Jammu and Kashmir for more than 180 years but after the bifurcation of erstwhile State into two union territories, it was separated from Jammu and Kashmir. This week a notice was issued to social media site Twitter by the Ministry of Electronics and IT for showing Leh as part of Jammu and Kashmir. The ministry, in its notice, has directed Twitter to explain within five working days why legal action should not be initiated against the micro-blogging platform and its representatives for disrespecting the territorial integrity of India by showing an incorrect map.

Twitter had earlier shown Leh as part of China, following which the IT secretary had also written a letter to the company’s CEO, Jack Dorsey. In response, Twitter had replaced China with Jammu and Kashmir. Last month also Twitter came under heavy criticism from social media users after its geotagging feature displayed “Jammu & Kashmir, People’s Republic of China” in a live broadcast from Leh.


A marriage turned into mourning with the killing of a woman as 21 others survived injured when a bus carrying baraat collided with a minibus in Bishnah. The bus was on way from Jakh to Nandpur but collided with a minibus in between. In the mishap, a woman passenger identified as Tripta Devi (40) wife of Mohan Lal of Jinder Khurd, Bishnah died on the spot while 21 others got injured suffered injuries.


Cricketer Abdul Samad with his award during IPL 2020

The new cricket sensation from Kala Kot, Abdul Samad, 19, flew home with indelible IPL memories after his team Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) lost the tournament to Delhi. He started his IPL debut on September and so far he played in 12 IPL in this season in which he scored 111 runs with a strike rate of 170. His performance was praised by many former Indian players like Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Irfan Pathan who expressed hope in his talent and hard-hitting ability.

 Samad was the fourth cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to break into the IPL after Parvez Rasool, Mansoor Dar and Rasikh Salam. 


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