Lt Governor Manoj Sinha has said that 80 per cent of the people in Jammu and Kashmir are happy with the current arrangement and don’t want a change. “A journalist asked me when the polls would be conducted. I said there is the Election Commission for it, they will decide. The Home Minister of the country has given assurance on the floor of the House,” Sinha is heard saying in the video that has gone viral. “But I told him…you are a seasoned journalist from a big media house. Please do an independent confidential survey. He asked me why? I said if I say you would not like it but 80 percent of people will vote for this arrangement to continue. There is no need for any other arrangement. I am telling you the opinion of the people.” This has irked the political class. “Well, this (L-G’s statement) speaks volumes about the ideology of BJP’s top brass, that they don’t believe in democracy. They want to take the country back to the dark ages when sultans and samraths ruled the country,” Mehbooba Mufti told reporters. “Jammu and Kashmir is, as I have always maintained, a laboratory where all types of experiments are done.” Omar Abdullah said the people of Jammu and Kashmir are the “orphan children” of India. “Meet the new king of J&K who is so desperate to remain the uncrowned ruler that he now invents surveys to justify his unwillingness to conduct Assembly elections,” Omar tweeted. “The best way to ascertain what people want in modern-day democracies is elections, not opinion polls. We have a government at the Centre, which was elected through elections, not opinion polls. Same is the case in all states,” Sajad Lone said in his reaction.
Against 1.88 crore tourists in 2022, LG Manoj Sinha said 2.25 crore are supposed to visit this year. In fact, he said the number has crossed 1.52 crore tourists in August.
For no direct reason, Kashmir was the first to get sucked into the diplomatic showdown between India and Canada. The two countries reduced their diplomatic staff and stopped issuing visas to its citizens as a rift widened between the once-close allies over Ottawa’s allegation that Delhi may have been involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen, a Sikh leader said to be a pro-Khalisatn activist. Though the two leaders discussed it in Delhi during the G20 meeting, it was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who told his parliament that there was “credible allegations” of India’s involvement in the assassination of plumber Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, in June in a Vancouver suburb. Canada’s assertion led to reciprocal expulsions of an Indian intelligence official from Canada and a senior Canadian diplomat from New Delhi. Canada issued a travel advisory to its citizens asking them not to visit Jammu and Kashmir and certain northeast areas. Delhi did the same thing justifying that its High Commission was facing sort of an insecurity. In the quick follow-up, visa services halted in both countries. India has been critical of the Canadian policy of giving free rein to Sikh immigrants. Canada has more than seven lakh Sikhs making up more than two per cent of the country’s population.
Due to recent bear and leopard attacks in Ramban and Udhampur, 19 schools in various villages were temporarily closed. Over 16 years, 234 people were killed and 2,918 injured by wild animals in Kashmir province alone.
Jhelum River is witnessing a historic low discharge, 0.09 ft measured at Sangam gauge on September 14, which is the lowest in 70 years. This is the outcome of a draught-like situation owing to massive rainfall deficiency- barely 20mm as compared to an average of 75mm. Coinciding with an average increase of 5 degrees in temperature – the highest after 1891, it created a huge crisis. Now in certain areas, the tapped water is being rationed. Almost 70 per cent of irrigation pumps on the Jhelum were rendered non-functional.
The world’s largest and oldest Cedar tree is in the Chanti-Bala village forests of Gandoh. It has a trunk measuring 54 feet in diameter and 35 feet in breast size. Its age is yet to be calculated.
Last week, the BJP leader, who heads the Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board, Darakhshan Andrabi visited the home of recently released Jamiat Ahle-Hadith leader Mushtaq Ahmad Veeri, congratulating him personally. Veeri was released after the High Court quashed his detention. She gifted him a Shawl and said that religious leaders are precious. Veeri was earlier dubbed to be a security threat by the security set-up. She also visited Mirwaiz Umer Farooq’s Nigheen mansion hours before he was permitted to return to the pulpits at the Jamia Masjid after 221 Fridays.
A study revealed Jammu and Kashmir’s 11 per cent dementia rate is highest across India, especially among rural, less educated groups. Women are also disproportionately affected. Doctors linked causes to stress and inactivity.
Kashmir retains its unpredictability. Last week was dominated by DySP Humanyun Muzamil Bhat, who was one of the six security men killed in the Gadole encounter. This week was dominated by another DySP, Sheikh Adil Mushtaq, who was arrested formally after the “disturbing and highly sensitive evidence” suggested that he was working for a banned outfit, Lashkar-e-Toiba operative. His association and corruption were proved by cyber experts CERT-In. Two days ahead of his arrest, Adil jumped from a window and formatted his phones after a police team raided his residence. Now, a 5-member SIT is investigating him. Police records show Adil probed a terror funding case earlier this year but allegedly didn’t arrest a separatist women duo – thus offering them time to play with the possible evidence, and took Rs 2.73 lakh from a terror operative. He is also accused of conspiracy in “manufacturing” a false complaint against investigating officers who were probing the case in which he was finally arrested.
LAL DED HOSPITAL
Yet another impersonator made big news. Mohammad Kifayat, a Ganderbal resident, was found by doctors in Kashmir’s lone maternity hospital’s most sensitive area – the labour room, “treating patients”. By the time, the quack was detected; he had already been there for three days. An embarrassed administration finally appointed an officer to investigate the serious security breach. Police have arrested the man and are being investigated. Details collected from the hospital suggest the young man was a depression patient who had been advising ECGs to patients.
The Ahmadabad city sessions court has acquitted two Kashmiri-based clerics, Bilal Ahmed alias Bilal Kashmiri and Saiyed Zabiuddin, of charges related to planning militant attacks in 2006. The court cited insufficient witness support for the prosecution’s case, which alleged that the clerics were involved in a conspiracy to commit jihadi attacks and sought revenge for the 2002 post-Godhra riots. The court also noted procedural lapses in the case, including missing information in the station diary. A total of 23 individuals were accused in the case, with several previously acquitted.
Authorities finally permitted Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to deliver his Friday congregation sermons at the Jamia Masjid, after 212 Fridays in four years, since August 5, 2019. The dramatic release came within days after his counsel sent a legal notice to the government seeking reasons for his continued house arrest. His movement from his Nigheen mansion to Jamia Masjid turned out to be a huge media event though he was escorted to the historic mosque from the rear of his home. The mosque after a long time was filled to its brims and he briefly talked about the “harsh unilateral decisions of disempowerment”. He talked about outreach, dialogue and accord, even at the cost of personal loss and suffering. Besides, he asked people to retain discipline. Mirwaiz’s release was welcomed by everybody across the political spectrum. Interestingly, Darakhshan Andrabi had visited Mirwaiz early morning and the release came within days after Apni Party leader Syed Altaf Bukhari met the Home Minister and dropped hints about Mirwaiz returning to the pulpit.
A fresh Geological Survey of India (GSI) survey has revealed the presence of valuable minerals such as Chromite and Platinum Group of Elements (PGE) in Ladakh. It includes platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium. These minerals have significant economic importance due to their unique properties and applications in various industries. PGE, in particular, is rare and essential for scientific and industrial purposes. The findings highlight the potential for mineral deposits in Ladakh, although the global reserves of PGE are primarily found in South Africa, Russia, and Zimbabwe.
The upcoming Municipal elections in Jammu and Kashmir are anticipated to be conducted in four phases in the Kashmir region and three phases in the Jammu division. Chief Electoral Officer is overseeing preparations for elections in the Union Territory’s 77 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) – 40 in Kashmir, 37 in Jammu, including two corporations (Jammu and Srinagar). The elections are likely to be held on a party basis and EVMs are being used. Additional security men are expected to be deployed for the elections supposed to conclude before the year’s end.
Apni Party president, Altaf Bukhari has expressed his willingness to engage with various political groups, including the Hurriyat Conference and banned Jamaat-e-Islami, if they embrace the Indian Constitution. He stated that his doors are open to those not involved in militancy, communal politics, or drug activities. He emphasised that Jammu and Kashmir’s destiny is intertwined with New Delhi and criticised traditional political parties for exploiting people for their gains. He urged acceptance of the reality of Jammu and Kashmir’s integration with India since 1947.
Be aware that if you intervene in the lives of your closest relatives, you can face music. A precedent was created last week when a court imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh on a man who was breaking into the family of his sister-in-law, which resulted in the literal separation of the couple. The court directed Aijaz Ahmad Khuroo, a tehsildar at Drugmulla, to set free the husband of the lady, Batoola Rafiq “from his captivity”. She had petitioned the court accusing Khuroo of “confining her husband in his house and preventing him from joining work as a teacher besides not allowing her and her son to meet Zameer, who is suffering from some mental ailment”. The court barred the revenue official from harassing Batoola or grabbing her and her husband’s property.