Briefing September 20 – 26, 2020


Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha addressing a press conference in Srinagar over economic package on Saturday, September 19, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said that the Government of India has approved Rs 1350 crore package to help the ailing businesses revive. Under the new scheme of things, the government will fund 5 per cent interest subvention of loans for the first six months of 2020. This, he said, is in addition to the benefits of Atma Nirbhar Bharat and other measures taken by the government to comfort the business community. Sinha said the low-cost loan to handicrafts and handlooms have been doubled to increase growth. The LG said his administration is mulling a separate “structured mechanism and package” for the taxi-drivers, transporters, auto-drivers, houseboat owners, Shikara wallas, and other affected people, who have suffered one or the other way in the past 20 years. The announcements came after a few days of a long series of raids by the Income Tax department in Srinagar businesses.


NIA team examining the blast site at Lethpora.

National Investigation Agency will be attaching the property belonging to Nazir Ahmad Reshi, whose son Irshad Ahmad Reshi was arrested for involvement in the Lethpura suicide attack on CRPF. The agency has got the order for attaching the house along with 17 Marlas land of Nazir Ahmad Reshi situated in Ratnipora village of Kakapora. The order of attachment says that the property represents proceeds of “(militancy) and has been used for the furtherance of (militant) activities of Jash-e-Mohammad outfit.”


A still from Jalaldin Baba’s film Saving The Saviour

Perhaps for the first time, the National Geographic telecast a documentary on Kashmir that was produced and directed by a Kashmiri. Saving The Saviour is a documentary film on Wular lake featuring 13-year old boy Bilal Ahmed Dar aka Billa from Bandipora (Kashmir). It was produced and directed by Kashmiri filmmaker Jalaluddin Baba, who was hugely appreciated and awarded for this documentary. Billa is an orphan who would collect the plastic and waste from the Wular lake and sell to feed his family. He was later appointed by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation. The film captures the Wular environs, existential threat to its life from plastic and polythene trash, encroachments, loot and plunder. Previously the film was screened as an inaugural film at World Water Forum on March 23, 2018, at Brasilia, Brazil and in Europe in June 2018 at We Are Water, Madrid Spain.


Divisional Commissioner Jammu distributing the domicile certificates at a camp organised in Jammu. Photo: DIPR

Now a Naib Tehsildar has been empowered to issue the Domicile Certificates to the PRC holders and their family members in Jammu and Kashmir. In order to manage the backlog by the year-end, Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha told in a review meeting that even Naib Tehsildar’s can share the responsibility with the Tehsildars. The administration in Jammu and Kashmir has so far issued more than 17 lakh domicile certificates.


Shahid KamiliFederation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK), the apex body of industries in Kashmir, has elected industrialist Mir Shahid Kamli as its new president as Nisar Ahmad Sheikh will be the vice president. Ovais Qadir Jami as Secretary-General. Kamli runs the major and the only steel manufacturing facility in Srinagar. Meanwhile, a group of traders have gone to the court against the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) over delay in the elections. Finally, the court has asked the incumbent office bearers not to take a decision and has identified a 6-member group hold elections by October 2020. This means the KCCI is heading towards elections.


Health workers deployed at Srinagar airport to test the incoming travellers. KL Image: Special Arrangement

In an interesting twist, the police have arrested two drivers for managing fake Covid-19 test reports for passengers. The drivers identified as Omkar Singh (Nawabagh Jammu) and Nazir Ahmad Khanday (Bemina Srinagar) would, according to police, take the Aadhar card of the people and get a negative report within 15 minutes. This would enable travellers to move from Jammu to Srinagar and vice versa. Currently, they are in police custody. This is happening at a time when the death toll by Covid-19 is about to reach four figures – cross 1000 deaths. So far Jammu and Kashmir have 61000 Covid-19 cases of whom two-third have recovered.


Screengrab of the video in which cops were seen beaten Kamran Yousuf

As encounter raged in south Kashmir’s Pulwama, journalists as part of their profession reached the spot. Compelled to have a better click, photojournalists try to move closer. As bullets and clicks were going on, at least three photojournalists were allegedly beaten by the cops. According to the reports, Kamran Yousuf, a multimedia journalist working with a news portal, and Faisal Bashir, a freelancer, were beaten by policemen near the site. Kamran who alleged that he was pounced upon by many cops had to be hospitalized in Srinagar for treatment of injuries to his limbs, and the doctors told him he had suffered a mild fracture in his right leg. The fraternity protested. However, police did not deny but said the media persons were “duly stopped” as they were moving close to the cordoned area.


UNHRC session in progress in Geneva.

In her Global Human Rights Update on the situation across the world, from China to Sri Lanka, Venezuela to the US, UN high commissioner for human rights Michele Bachelet regretted the continued use of pellets in Kashmir and expressed concern over domicile policy. She spoke at the start of the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva wherein she mentioned that in the last one year in Jammu and Kashmir, “incidents of military and police violence against civilians continue, including use of pellet guns, as well as incidents related to militancy”. However, she has welcomed the release of some political leaders and the limited internet restoration in two Kashmir districts but has expressed concern that many remained behind bars and called for the full reversal of the communication blockade in J&K. Interestingly, Kashmir and other human rights issues in India had also been part of Bachelet’s updates in previous sessions of the UNHRC.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called upon India and Pakistan to move in a positive way to resolve their differences. “It is absolutely essential to move forward in a positive way according to what I expressed then and I maintain today,” he told a Pakistani reporter who asked the UN Chief about demographic changes in Kashmir. “I will make exactly the same statement I made in that moment” last year in August.


Kashmir literally celebrated the Government of India decision to amend the National Capital Territory of Delhi Amendment Act 1991 that will make Delhi Chief Minister a bonsai leader. It will give more powers to Lt Governor and make the Chief Minister almost decorative. The reason: in August when Jammu and Kashmir was undone, Arvind Kejriwal came in support of the centre and hailed the move. “We support the government on its decision on Jammu and Kashmir. We hope this will bring peace and development in the state,” Kejriwal had famously tweeted. It was his time to receive the response. “Ah. Mr Kejriwal to be disempowered. What u supported me Kejriwal was people-less J&K. Now u will hopefully be an ornamental piece of a decorative item in the Delhi government. The same way u supported people of J and K to b ornamental pieces,” Sajad Lone. Added Omar Abdullah: “When they came for us on 5th Aug 2019 AAP happily supported the BJP in the Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha. Let’s see AAP support this piece of legislation now!”


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