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Shujaat Bukhari

On June 14, 2018, three unidentified gunmen shot dead Rising Kashmir editor Syed Shujaat Bukhari in Srinagar’s Press Enclave, sending shockers across the media fraternity in Kashmir. The brutal murder was seen as a warning for Kashmir press corps. Like all high-profile killings in Kashmir, Bukhari’s case too was consigned to dusty files of the troubled history. Initially, police named four people including three militants. With Naveed Jatt and Azad Ahmad Malik aka Azad Dada of Lashkar-e-Toiba already killed, and out of the remaining two, one in Pakistan and other at large, the answers to these questions seem hard to come now. But questions like why Bukhari was killed, who ordered the hit, and why him, were not answered till now.

Tina, Athar

It will be remembered as IAS’s most known love story. Tina Dabi, 24, and Athar Amir Khan, 25, the 2015 IAS topper and first runner-up, got married on April 7, 2018. Their fairytale romance was in limelight from the time the couple went public with their relationship in 2016 as Delhi Dalit girl and Kashmiri Muslim boy broke stereotypes with their interfaith alliance. Their court marriage was done by collector Shri Siddharth Mahajan on March 20, in Jaipur. Later, they did a traditional Kashmiri wedding at Pahalgam Club. Their Delhi reception on April 14 was well attended by who is who in power. They serve Rajasthan.

Feroz Rather

A young Kashmiri fiction writer Feroz Rather published his debut novel The Night of Broken Glass in 2018. The Publisher Harper Collins India branded it as the lead literary fiction debut of the year. The book, which borrows its title from events marking the beginning of the Holocaust, has 13 interconnected chapters offering an insight into the decade-long conflict and its impact on ordinary lives in Kashmir. The widely reviewed book has made the Bumthan (Islamabad) boy, the new face on Kashmir’s literary scene. He is currently a doctoral student of creative writing at Florida State University where he teaches undergraduate students.

Kaneez Fatima

Kaneez Fatima, 24, took off as Ladakh’s second Muslim woman pilot with Air India. Brought up by a single parent, her mother Shakeela is a nurse. She studied in Srinagar and then joined Government Aviation Training Institute Bhubaneshwar where she spent six years training and subsequent flying experience. Her sister is an aeronautical engineer. Her mother took a bank loan to help her daughters reach the heights.

Qazi Yasir

Kashmir clergy’s exploits have been part of the folklore for a long time, but this year, Qazi Yasir offered the evidence. It was his obscene video that went viral on the internet creating a stir in Kashmir’s socio-religious circles. Yasir, a father of two kids, was seen indulging in an inappropriate act with an unknown girl during a video call. In the aftermath, Yasir was stripped off all his posts by the family. A few days later, he was arrested, booked under PSA and shifted to Jammu.

Basant Rath

The Odisha born Kashmir cadre IPS-2000 officer Basant Rath would pull crowds since February 2018 when he was given the charge of managing traffic in the state. He created his own benchmarks by travelling to far off places without security and having tea with people or even travelling on passenger buses. He seized a military vehicle and also that of a lawmaker. His social media outreach was phenomenal and people would stop him on the road for a selfie. But it was short lived. After 10 months, he was attached for dubbing Srinagar Mayor as cabbage. Now in black Pheran, he is back to his passion, writing poetry. But does Wislawa know it?

Adil, Qaiser

For the first time in history, 2018 witnessed two young protesters being crushed to death by the police vehicles in two different events during law and order situations: Adil Ahmad Yadoo and Qaiser Ahmad Bhat were residents of Chattabal and Fatehkadal respectively. Yadoo was mowed down on May 5 in Chattabal and Bhat was crushed to death by a CRPF vehicle near Jamia Masjid, a few weeks later. In both incidents, police registered cases but nobody knows the outcome.

T Chhewang

The 71-year-old BJP MP from Ladakh, Thupstan Chhewang surprised everyone when he announced his resignation from Lok Sabha and the BJP citing health reasons in November. But the political grapevine is that the state unit of the BJP had taken certain decisions that the ageing Ladakh leader felt slighted with. Chhewang, the first Ladakhi to win the desert seat for BJP, was not even accommodated in the cabinet. Eventually, he moved out of the party.

Hiba Nisar

In 2016, it was Insha. In 2018, it was Hiba Nisar. Insha was completely blinded and Hiba is fighting for the vision in her one eye. The net difference between the two cases is that Hiba, unlike Insha, is only 18-months old. Hiba was hit by a pellet in her right eye at her home in Shopian when post-encounter clashes were happening in the area on November 25, 2018. It had entered her right eye and perforated the cornea badly, doctors said. Her mother was also injured. The embarrassed state government announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the family.

Major Aditya Kumar

On August 15, 2018, Major Aditya Kumar of 10 Garhwal Rifles was awarded the third highest gallantry award, Shaurya Chakra, for valour and courage. The honour came within seven months of the Jammu and Kashmir Police naming him in an FIR for the firing in Ganovpora (Shopian) on January 27, 2018, involving the murder of two civilians. As police case became public, his father Lt Col Karamveer Singh moved to Supreme Court for quashing the FIR. The petition was accepted and police was directed against registering a case. Then came the award.

Firdausa

It was a case of a bullet for two lives. On October 19 evening when Firdousa was washing her utensils in her courtyard at Shadimarg in Pulwama, 44 RR personnel, engaged in an encounter, fired a few bullets. A bullet pierced though tin-sheet fence and hit the pregnant lady. She breathed her last in the District hospital Pulwama. Firdausa is survived by her husband and two kids, and the three watched her die right in front of their eyes.

Saqib Bilal

It is an anytime film plot. Saqib Bilal Sheikh, 17, was one of the slain LeT militants of Mujgund encounter of December 9, 2018. He had gone missing on August 31 and joined militants. He was a tenth grader and quite meritorious. He was a Taekwondo and Kabbadi player as well. But what makes him unique was that he was a theatre artiste and had bagged an award for his stage Chi Show, Weath Che Yeah (This is the way) and was featured in one important sequence of Bollywood film Haider. He was a lone survivor in the film, but in real life, he lost a retake.

Altaf Mir

Altaf Mir became the first Kashmiri singer to make it to Coke Studio Pakistan. Now a Muzzafarabad resident, Mir is basically a handicraft artisan from Anantnag, who crossed over to PaK in 1990s for arms training. In Muzzafarabad, he founded Qasamir, a band. When the Coke Studio started the hunt for regional music in Pakistan, Altaf was on the radar. His song Ha Gulo, basically lyrics of legendary Kashmiri poet Mehjoor, became an instant hit and stands watched by 1.5 million people on YouTube.

Mudasir Rashid Parray

His ‘innocent boy’ image disturbed Kashmir, a day after his death on December 9 at Mujgund. Mudasir Rashid Parray, a resident of Khankah Mohalla Hajin, was 14 and a LeT militant since August 31, the day he went missing from his home. Parray’s killing has triggered a high-decibel debate over the use and abuse of minors by forces working on either side of the conflict.

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