Briefing October 17 -23, 2021

DUBAI

The last time when the Jammu and Kashmir government managed flying a weekly special flight to Dubai from Srinagar “international” airport, it last for a few weeks as there were no passengers. Now the BJP government revived the plan, but the flight will go to Sharjah. Go First will be flying this plane from October 23. With the taxes on fuel reduced to one per cent, it is expected to drastically reduce the fare – against the prevailing Rs 24905 to Rs 15021 and the return will be as cheap as Rs 5000. It will be leaving at 8:30 pm and arriving early morning. Almost 15000 Kashmir families live in UAE and this will enable to frequently shuttle between Srinagar and Sharjah.

Jammu and Kashmir has presented an investment plan of Rs 12000 Cr by 2025 in energy transmission and distribution sectors to the power ministry. This is in addition to a comprehensive Rs 4971 cr investment plan prepared by the JKPDD in the transmission sector.

JAMMU

Omar Abdullah with Devender Singh Rana and Surjit Slathia, the two senior leaders who deserted NC for BJP. This photograph was taken in Jammu at the funeral of Trilochan Singh Wazir, an NC heavyweight who was murdered.

It is too normal for political beings to change parties but for Omar Abdullah, Devender Singh Rana’s exit was heavy. Though he does admit that in politics, “permanent interest” is the only constant, Omar told Karan Thapar that he had invested 22 years in this relationship. “Honestly speaking, it is far less a blow to the National Conference than it is to me personally,” Omar said. “Because I had invested a lot in my relationship particularly with Devender but also with Surjit Salthia also. For years now I have been shielding Devender and to an extent Salathia from the sort of conspiracies in the party, particularly against Devender.” He continued: “I staked my own personal credibility to give him a degree of comfort in the party. Today those people were right and I was wrong.” However, he did insist that the Jammu Declaration that his erstwhile bosom friend is championing, has “communal overtones”.

As many as 70 sarpanches and panches have reportedly resigned in three blocks of Ramban district for being sidelined by the administration.

ANANTNAG

Baseer Khan

The Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) raided 41 places in the arms license racket, last week. It is investigating the case for the last many years and the focus is to crack the syndicate that helps manage licences in Jammu and Kashmir, usually by the District Magistrates. What was interesting in this case was the CBI raid on the residence of just-removed adviser to Lt Governor, Baseer Khan, who has been a DM for most of his career before being pitch-forked to adviser’s role after retiring as Divisional Commissioner. Insiders said there was nothing much during the raid but the only outcome was the press coverage. The raids were carried out at the official and residential premises of around 14 former public servants, including then IAS, JKAS, and lower rank government officials, around five private persons (middlemen/agents) and 10 gun houses and dealers. These raids were carried out in Srinagar, Anantnag, Banihal, Baramulla, Jammu, Doda, Rajouri, Kishtwar, Leh, Delhi and Bhind in Madhya Pradesh.

Jammu Kashmir have detains over 900 people to ‘break chain of attacks’ on minorities. All parties have criticised the operation with Omar Abdullah going to the extent of saying that this huge number was not even detained in the 2019 car bomb attack.

HARARE

Mufti Menk

Islamic scholar, Mufti Ismail Menk after presiding over an elite real-world Nikkah in Srinagar, created a lot of bad taste when he used virtual reactions to pass a judgment on Kashmir. The scholar with virtual popularity lacked tolerance to a few adverse comments and permitted his office to be on a spree and issued virtual fatwa’s. Supported by millions on the internet, the gentleman could not simply understand the basic reality of social media that commentators may not necessarily be from Kashmir. His office even said the gentleman lacked knowledge about Kashmir and its politics and culture. At the same time, however, his office’s unpleasant remarks smacked of a larger reality that a guest flew home unhappy from a place, which is notorious for its hospitality. Social media users should understand the basic fact that people like Menk are social influencers and he deserved the benefit of the doubt. Later, however, he showered praises on Kashmir, its beauty, people and hospitality – this time, using his Instagram.

BEJBEHARA

Yet another fascinating cricket playground at Trajibalan Mahoo. Photo: Social media

In the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup that Dubai will host, Oman cricket team members will be using a Kashmir manufactured bat. Though this may not be for the first time that a Kashmiri bat will be used in an international pitch, in the given situation, it could help the marketing of Kashmiri willow. A Kashmir based company Gr8 said its team has been working to somehow push the Kashmir bat to a bigger stage so that it improve the status of the sports material that Kashmir has been manufacturing for ages. The ICC’s tournament has 16 participating teams including Pakistan.

More than 400 government accommodations owned by the Estates department are yet to be vacated by the employees in Jammu. The government had cancelled 2198 government flats and quarters allotments – 1737 in Jammu and 461 in Srinagar to the move employees on June 29, 2021.

DRASS

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha receives President Ram Nath Kovind at Srinagar airport on July 25,2021

President, Ram Nath Kovind flew to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh for the second time in three months. In July 2021 and even before in July 2019, he could not keep his date to Drass and now decided to meet the soldiers on the occasion of Dussehra festival. After landing at the Northern Command Headquarters in Udhampur, he performed Sindhu darshan in Leh on first day of his two-day visit. He spent almost 90 minutes at Sindhu Ghat. He later witnessed a cultural function at Udhampur and interacted with Army Commanders and the troops. Northern Command chief Lt Gen YK Joshi briefed the President. After his Drass visit, the President flew to Srinagar and Delhi. The President was scheduled to fly to Drass from Srinagar for paying respects at the Kargil War Memorial on July 26 in 2019 and 2021 but on both the occasions he had to cancel the visit because of the bad weather conditions at Drass.

With a 21.6 per cent unemployment rate in Jammu and Kashmir, UT is now on top of the list. Since August 2019, the UT recorded a 20%+ rating six times.

MUZAFFARABAD

Kashmiri leader Sardar Sikandar Hayat, who ruled the Pakistan administered Kashmir twice as Prime Minister and once as its President, died at his Kotli home last week. He was 87. A diabetic and a chronic cardiac patient, he developed chest pain and died in the hospital. Sikandar was born in Domaal Rajput tribe in Karela Majhan (Mendhar Poonch) in June 1934. After the area became part of PaK, it was named Nakyal. His father Sardar Fateh Mohammad Karelvi was a police officer in Maharaja rule. And was elected as a member of the Praja Sabha in 1935. Hayat was a law graduate from Punjab University and had joined Muslim Conference of which he later emerged a key leader. He was elected to Muzaffarabad assembly in 1970.

AWANTIPORA

IUST (File Pic)
IUST (File Pic)

Two Kashmir teachers, Prof Naseer Iqbal, who teaches Physics at IUST and Dr Mohammad Asgher, who teaches Botany at the Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, Rajouri,  has won this year’s Indian National Science Academy (INSA) teacher award. The award carries a scroll, citation, cash prize of Rs. 50,000 and a book grant of Rs. 20,000.

Two people died and 265 are fighting Dengue Fever in Jammu, mostly in the city

BANDIPORE

Police have rejected the claim but the family of Imtiaz Ahmad has insisted that their ward was not a militant. Imtiaz, a resident of Shagund was killed last week and police said he was a Lashkar-e Taiba militant. Police had said he was involved in the killing of Mohammad Shafi alias Sonu, the Sumo Drivers Association President. The family said when Dar was killed, Shafi was busy in paddy harvesting at home. They pointed out that when he received the telephone call of police and army, he was busy in his fields. Police does not give any credence to this version.

 

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