The mourning at Lones’ home in Souch shall remain unending as the family lost a father and son within 26 months. Their son Aaqib Mushtaq was killed in a counter-insurgency operation on April 27, 2020, near Guddar. Police termed him a “militant associate” but the family said the fresh B Tech from a Punjab college was a civilian and had gone to stroll out after breaking his fast that Ramzan. His body was not returned to the family. On July 11, 2022, Aaqib’s father, Mushtaq Ahmad Lone, an ASI in Jammu and Kashmir Police, was killed by militants in Lal Bazaar while he was heading a small detachment to regulate traffic. Mushtaq had started living in Bemina after the killing of his son. The family now comprises Aqib’s brother, Asif, two sisters and their mother. Now the family has only one demand – to seek the return of the body of Aaqib so that it is buried near his father’s grave.
Against 489 drug addiction cases in 2016, the GMC’s Oral Substitution Therapy (OST) Centre tackled 3000 cases in 2017, 7000 in 2019 and 10,000 in 2021.
BJP’s erstwhile Finance Minister, Yashwant Sinha, who also heads the Concerned Citizen’s Group on Kashmir, may not win the presidential election as the candidate of India’s opposition, has put his ideas on record on Kashmir. Visiting Kashmir – even though it is out of the race because it lacks assembly, Sinha had long interactions with the PAGD and other like-minded parties. “If elected, one of my priorities would be to urge the government to take all necessary steps to resolve the Kashmir issue permanently, and restore peace, justice, democracy, normalcy and holistic development to Jammu and Kashmir,” Sinha said in Srinagar. “I would like the people of the rest of India to know how their compatriots in Jammu and Kashmir have been robbed of their fundamental and democratic rights. They should know that Jammu and Kashmir cannot be won over by management.” Terming the delimitation exercise as “unnecessary” Sinha said it did justice to nobody and he also regretted that the Supreme Court has not heard the petitions regarding the binning of Article 370, for three years. “Long pendency of constitutional cases erodes the credibility of the apex court,” he said, “I am opposed to forcible and manipulative demographic change in Jammu and Kashmir.”
More than 1.10 lakh Apple, Chinar, Walnut, and Mullberry trees valuing Rs 13.76 crore were axed by the NHAI to lay down the 42.10 km, Rs 939.41 crore Srinagar Ring Road that connects 52 villages in five districts.
Last week, Kashmir lost two major poets – one in the USA and another in Srinagar. Prominent Kashmir poet and popular social reformer, Mushtaq Kashmiri passed away at his residence on July 8, 2022. He was 86 years old. He had quit the All India Radio and devoted his time to poetry in Urdu and Kashmir. His poetic collection, Shour-e-Mehshar has been one of the most popular books that had multiple editions. His other published poetic collections included Sour-e-Israfeel, and Salsabeel.
His death coincided with the demise of another famous poet and former officer, Muzaffar Aazim, who died in Virgina (USA) at 88. Aazim was Director Sericulture at the age of 50 when he opted for voluntary retirement and set up a soap unit. Soon, however, he left for the USA, where he lived with his two sons – Dr Purvez Akhtar and attorney, Suhail Mir, for the last three decades. Originally from Gotlipora (Tangmarg), Aazim was a great lover of the Kashmir language and had created Gulmarg software to enable computer users to type Kashmiri script. He was an impressive translator and rendered Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace into Kashmiri.
Jammu and Kashmir has 29.1 per cent of its young population (up to 29 years of age) unmarried.
The rains run riot across Jammu and Kashmir. A young Kashmir doctor, Muzaffar Ahmad Wani, a resident of Mandhole Kulgam was on his way home from Mahore, when his car slipped and landed in a gorge in Sangaldan. Two days later, a father and son were taking their cow home when they were buried in a landslide. Three persons were killed in Poonch and one of them was buried alive in his mud house.
For the restoration of Dal and Nigeen lakes, the government has drafted Rs 273 crore detailed project report (DPR).
For Congress, managing its not-so-healthy party in Jammu and Kashmir is becoming a crisis. The worker deficient party is a leader abundant one and almost everybody wishes to control it. It actually led to the resignation of Ghulam Ahmad Mir, who had succeeded Prof Saifuddin Soz, and continued leading the party for seven years. As the squabbling is at its peak, it seems that Ghulam Nabi Azad may finally be given the charge. Now the High Command wants the diverse factions to put up a united face for the elections. Right now Vikar Rasool and Raman Bhalla are in the race for PCC chief. Azad, who presided over a meeting of the party, assured the party cadre that he will cover every nook and corner of Jammu and Kashmir during his campaign as his health has improved.
With the addition of 50 new colleges, Jammu and Kashmir has added 25000 new berths at the undergraduate level.
Seemingly, it is the season of drowning. As the mercury goes up, the young boys moved out and jump into the rivers. Not everyone is able to come out. In 24 hours, Jammu and Kashmir lost four lives – two each in Kupwara and Poonch last week. It included Shahid Amin Beig, a young medical school student, who drowned in a major pond in his own village. This season, Jammu and Kashmir has lost more than 30 lives. This has led to rekindling the debate that the new generation of water-abundant Kashmir must restart re-skilling them with swimming. Interestingly, more than 30 per cent of youth in Delhi can swim while it is only five per cent in Jammu and Kashmir.
There will be 190 meetings across India including some in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh before the G-20 Summit in Delhi in late 2023.
In order to ensure that there is no influence over the investigation launched into the death in custody of city youth, the Jammu and Kashmir Police have placed under suspension the services of a cop who had arrested him. Muslim Muneer Lone, 21, an auto driver of Natipora was picked up by police in a theft case but was transported home almost dead. He was an orphan. Lone was arrested by Nowgam Police station on July 9. With Lone in custody, they drove to his home and took his mother along and later handed over Lone to her. They took her signatures and gave her Rs 400. They later helped her take his body into their house. Though the cops said he was unconscious, Lone’s mother said he was already dead. Still, they drove him to the hospital where he was declared brought dead. It took a lot of effort to get the family lay Lone to eternal rest after an autopsy on Eid. Police claim he was a drug addict but there is no evidence in the public domain to support the claim.
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has launched Jannate Kashmir, a special Kashmir package, starting at Rs 35,250 per person from Patna and Delhi. The 6-day trip includes air travel and a five-night stay across Kashmir.
A Mumbai teenager, 15, with a sizable following on social media posted “controversial comments on the killing of Udaipur tailor Kanhaiya Lal”, the Udaipur tailor on July 1, that was watched by 14 lakh people. Many reacted. One reaction threatened her of death and rape. She approached the police that offered her security after an FIR was registered. Investigations led to the arrest of Fayaz Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Budgam. Police said Bhat, a divorcee, had put in his profile at various matrimonial sites that helped them identify and arrest him. The 30-year-old man is cooling his heels in a Mumbai jail.
Jammu and Kashmir Police have accorded sanction for the attachment of four residential houses and seizure of three vehicles used for providing assistance in subversive activities.
Jammu and Kashmir has announced the constitution of a transgender welfare board for the protection of rights and interests of the minuscule population numbering 4137 according to the 2011 census. To be led by Chief Secretary, administrative secretaries of various departments including home, finance, health and medical education, school education department, social welfare department, department of law, justice and parliamentary affairs, Director general Social welfare Kashmir and director social welfare Jammu will be its members in addition to four prominent citizens “two each from Kashmir and Jammu divisions”.
For the third consecutive year, no function was held to commemorate the Martyrs’ Day to pay homage to the civilians martyred on July 13, 1931. The day as a public holiday was withdrawn by the BJP. The leaders of various PAGD parties alleged that they were not permitted to go and offer prayers at the graveyard. However, they had small gatherings within their offices in which they spoke about the events and the current situation. “The caravan of terrorism will not end. Their (BJP) ministers and other leaders issue statements that it has ended, but I want to tell them that this will not end till you do not try to win the hearts of the people of Kashmir and seek its solution,” Dr Abdullah told one commemorative function at his party office. “It is unfortunate that they not only cancelled its (Martyrs Day) holiday but also stopped people from paying their tributes. Such repressive tactics don’t behove democratic countries.” PAGD said July 13, is a historic milestone that can never be erased. Mehbooba said she has not witnessed the situation post-1947 as it prevails in Kashmir. “Since 2019, there has been a fresh wave of tyranny that shows no signs of abating. In one way or another, people are the victims of injustice,” she said, alleging the Amarnath yatra has been changed from a pilgrimage to a political weapon.
Within days after moving away from PAGD margins, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples’ Movement, the political party that IAS topper, Dr Shah Feasl launched for his abortive political career, has merged with Aam Admi Party in Delhi. Launched in 2019, the party was taken over by Javed Mustafa Mir but soon he moved out. It is now headed by Dr Mustafa Khan, apparently a greenhorn in politics. Arvind Kejriwal accepted Khan and his colleagues into his AAP, lock, stock and barrel. AAP was one of the few parties that supported the August 5, 2019, decision-making. “We formed the JKPM in 2019, taking inspiration from Arvind Kejriwal,” Khan said, at the time of merging his party into AAP. “After the AAP came in Jammu and Kashmir, we wondered why we should not join hands and work together when our thoughts and mission are the same.”