Not far away from the Batla House, the spot of the infamous gruesome encounter, will come up a major infrastructure of Jamia Millia Islamia – a hostel for 400 boys and girls. At an investment of Rs 16.22 crore, the hostel will come up within 24 months.

The accommodation will be for the students enrolled at Jamia and its affiliate institutions. Allotments would be made by Jamia in consultation with J&K’s education ministry. The tripartite MoU signed last week has Home Ministry as a partner because the costs of the project would be routed through J&K government.
It will be a relief to the students from J&K who were suffering for want of “secure” accommodation. But will the hostel be J&K government property? Did the policy makers ever think of creating this facility within the vast land that state government owns?


Faith healing is still in vogue and the outcome is part of Kashmir society’s shock therapy. The latest is the prescription for de-worming to a two-year-old baby: use of cigarette butts on his abdomen. Liyaqat Ali of Babnagri in Kangan was in excruciating abdomen pain. His father Shafi Kalas took him to his pir, Ishaq, who used cigarette butts to treat the baby. It doubled the pain that eventually landed him in the GB Pant Hospital. Police is in know of it but has not acted because there is no complaint. No suo moto case because security and integrity of any territory is not involved!


In a rare happening, Naureen, a seven year-old girl was burnt alive in a devastating fire that destroyed their home in Srinagar. Four other children and a woman of Showkat Ahmed Dhoobi’s family received serious burn injuries. The conflagration was the result of leak in a cooking gas cylinder and a lot of LPG had spread around. Caught unawares by the morning fire, the family failed to rescue the girl who was sleeping in the first floor. Elders in the family evacuated the kids from the window but forgot the ill-fated Naureen who was sleeping in another room. Four houses of the neighbourhood were also destroyed in the fire.


Last week Syed Ali Geelani had a discussion with right winger Ram Jethmalani, India’s former law minister, and many others under the much abused Kashmir Committee banner. The positions were restated. The only outcome of consequence was lawyer Jethmalani’s decision to study the (ab)use of Public Safety Act and take it to the apex court. The other decision was the Committee’s promise that they will facilitate his interaction with the Indian civil society in Mumbai. Back home, the strike that Geelani sponsored on the issue of detainees being shifted outside the state was not an astounding success. Besides, Muslim League, one of the minor organizations that is part of the Hurriyat which Geelani leads, reacted adversely. The party issued a statement that they do not approve of the activities that Geelani is carrying out in Delhi.

Newspapers reported capture of a “strange deer like animal” from Rajpora in Handwara belt. It is presumed to be a rare musk deer probably from an ancient sub species. In fact the animal was captured in Rajpora, Handawara and not in Pulwama as reported earlier. Musk deer is one of the endangered deer species. It has remained the top priority of hunters for precious musk.


Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan was in Srinagar. This development has the potential to help Kashmir’s tourism sector to get many more tourists this summer. Khan was in Srinagar in 1998 when he spent some time for shooting Mann. Media reports suggest that Khan had come to select the sets for his new film. Apart from Dal lake where he has gone for a Shikara drive and saw the floating vegetable gardens, Khan has visited Kangan and a private school during his overnight sojourn. After visiting the spots, Khan has favourably reacted and hoped the filmmakers should return to Kashmir. Wait for the 3-idiots effect!!


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