News Notes

 

AFSPA VACILLATION

The sword is still swinging on the AFSPA revocation. On one side thecentral government keeps on saying the militancy related incidents areon decrease but when it comes to AFSPA the situation automaticallybecomes intense in the valley. Recently the union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde confirmed AFSPA would not be withdrawn from J&K which provoked various leaders in Kashmir who accused Shinde of being ignorant of ‘facts and reality’.

Sushil Kumar Shinde and Mustafa Kamal

National Conference (NC) Additional General Secretary Dr. Mustafa Kamal accused central agencies for not giving complete information to centre. While reacting to Shinde’s remarks where he laid complete peace and normalcy as a precondition for revocation of AFSPA, Kamaalsaid, “Name the bird which state government should show to Shinde to make him believe that peace prevails in Valley”, said Kamal.

While as the main opposition party of the state, Peoples DemocraticParty (PDP) said Shinde’s statement raises questions about chief minister Omar Abdullah’s state’s case. While as Chairman Peoples Conference (PC) SajadGani Lone said that for peace to prevail in the state, removal of AFSPA was inevitable. And Hurriyat (G) Spokesperson Ayaz Akbar confirmed the statement is not issue for them but they are concerned about the illegal occupation of India in the state.

In a new twist Shinde informed his Parliamentary panel that HizbulMujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba continue to be the dominant militantgroups in some areas of J&K and the issue was also taken up with Pakistan. He said, “The two terror outfits were mostly operating from the districts of Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipore, Anantnag and Pulwamain Kashmir and Poonch, Ramban and Rajouri in Jammu region.

In the same meeting he also accepted that there is a decline in themilitancy related incidents as well as causalities of civilians and security forces from 2003 onwards. Now lets see when would government peace prevail in valley.

After 11 YEARS

Win against Kerala in Ranji match by state JK Cricket team gave a moment of rejoice for cricket lovers in Kashmir in the times when controversy in JKCA is reluctant to die down. It was after a gap of eleven years, JK registered two wins in a season after having overpowered Assam in the last game. The last time J&K did so was way back in 2000-01 season.

All-rounderParvezRasool and leg spinner Manik Gupta emerged as the stars with the ball against Kerala in the fifth Group C fixture played at Perintalmanna Cricket Stadium, Malappuram Kerala. Both claimed fifers to fashion J&K’s victory after the touring side had suffered an batting collapse in the second innings.

The hosts couldn’t handle the every effective spinning duo of Parvez and Manik getting all out for 129. Manik Gupta had excellent figures of 5 for 26 in his 9.4 overs and Parvez’s dream run this year continued having excellent returns of 5 for 43 in his 18 overs.

JK has set a target of 204 whichwas always going to be a difficult task for an inexperienced Kerala batting unit, and there was no leeway from the J&K bowling department who went about their business relying heavily on Parvez and Manik. Manik broke the opening stand getting Hedge got by Hardeep for 22 before Parvez repeated the dose to snare Prem to make it 49 for 2. It soon became 57 for 3 when Robert Fernandez was caught plumb infront for 3-ball duck, and Gupta didn’t want to be left behind copying the mode of dismissal to send opener Jagdeesh packing for 25. It went further downslide for the hosts with Parvez getting Sachin Baby to make it 5 for 65.

Having opted to bat first J&K had got 215 in the first innings thanks to their skipper ID Singh carrying his bat to hit a ton before bowlers gave them 52 runs lead bundling out the home side for 162 to earn 52 run lead that proved more than vital in the final analysis of the game.

A house COLLAPSE

State needs a new house for the Babus as the existing bicameral legislature housed in a heritage complex is partially collapsed. A decade old building has been declared unsafe after Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone shifted his base from there and now coming February budget session needs new space.

While Speaker has already announced setting up of a pre-fabricated structure in the lawns for housing his secretariat for holding February session, afive member penal of engineers will investigate the issues leading to the collapse of the heritage complex.

But past accounts are terming this collapse theory a ‘manufactured one’.During early 1980s when the legislative complex housed in a palace of the erstwhile Maharaja in Srinagar gutted in devastating conflagration, the government decided to have a new assembly.

While the routine business continued being transacted within the old premises, site was identified for a new complex. In 1982, the contract was given to the state run builder – the Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) and the work continued till 1989.

The work resumed only during the leadership of GhulamNabi Azad. It cost state Rs 63 crore and its first session led to the resignation of Azad as Chief Minister of J&K on July 10, 2008.

But a new legislative complex in Srinagar led to a movement for having a new complex in Jammu. Officials involved in the entire exercise admitted that there was no need as the heritage complex, that once house AjaibGhar of Maharaja, was spacious, huge and strong.

But the larger problem was created by the decision of having the new complex in the rare of the existing heritage complex barely five meters away. For creating two underground floors for parking in the upcoming complex, PCC dug up 60 ft down from the foundation of the existing complex barely five meters away. Since no support was created to retain the foundations of the old complex, it collapsed.

Part of the offices functioning in the backyard of the complex had been shifted within days after the rare wall showed huge cracks. But the collapse of the major wall damaged lot many offices forcing even Speaker to shift his office to his Secretary’s chamber. Initial response from the government was silence and then it was decided to have a probe supposed to be led by principal secretary to the chief minister.

Facebook ESPIONAGE

Facebook the social networking site ‘unknowingly’ trapped an armyofficial that resulted in an inquiry against him. While as some morecases involving army are either complete or are in the final stagesof completing courts of inquiry.

In this case, a Lt Col belonging to the 82 Armoured Regimentin Sri Ganganagar was caught for establishing contact on social networking site Facebook with a Bangladeshi woman working for Pakistan’s ISI. Army has confirmed that the woman had earlier “honey-trapped” another Indian officer in an ISI espionage operation in Bangladesh late last year as well.

However, army sources said the Court of inquiry (CoI) against LtColonel has also been completed.

While as in another case, 215 witnesses including five officers, 21JCOs and 189 men have been examined as witnesses in the Nyoma case in which officers and men in an Army unit in Ladakh were involved in a face-off on May 26 and the Commanding Officer was also injured.

The CoI, which is being held under a Brigadier, is expected to becompleted by December 15. The men and the officers had clashed during a firing practice session where women were also present.

The inquiry in Samba case in which men and officers of an Armycontingent in Jammu were involved in another face-off after the suicide by a trooper has been completed and the report is expected tobe submitted to the higher formation in the near future, confirms army sources.

Monument FOUND?

Historical monuments surfaced accidently on city outskirts,turned eye balls, created public interest and subsequently led to standoff between the Archaeological Survey Department and National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) that pushed ball in each other’s court sans digging deep to uncover the mystery about it.

According to eyewitnesses and officials, a network of tunnels, a mud room and fresh water compound were found on Monday afternoon at Peer Mohalla, OwnthaBhawan during digging for the 132-km comprehensive sewerage project from Noorbagh to Pandach which is funded by government of India with NBCC as its executing agency.

The Archaeology Department, which had initially refused to explore the structure, have now also expressed willingness to carry out the excavation work on the site once approval from the directorate is received.

“I’ve taken up the issue with my higher ups. Once I receive the approval, we’ll start excavation of the site. It’s a very difficult task but we will do it in accordance with our procedure. We have to work as goldsmiths,” Deputy Director, Archaeological Survey Department, Mohammad ShafiZahid told media.

Reportedly, tussle between the two departments started after the contractor, Muhammad Afaq Syed on the site informed the NBCC officials about the discovery. The NBCC people later contacted Archaeology Department and police.

On Tuesday morning, a team of Archaeology Department officials led by Deputy Director Mohammad ShafiZahid visited the site. However, they had refused to launch excavation and asked NBCC to continue with the construction of the drain.

However, NBCC official said this structure is totally different. “If I excavate, it will be an intentional damage to national heritage,” he added about this structure that is 20 feet down from the surface of the road.

“The structure is very well finished. And its art structure is made with a proper engineering technique. The way it has been constructed it seems certain engineering technologies have been used for the retention of earth pressure above. That means it has been constructed intentionally, maybe for security reason,” Bilal Zargar, Project Engineer, NBCC said.

As the standoff between the Archaeology Department and NBCC officials continued, the executing contractor, Muhammad Afaq Syed declined to resume the work.

Meanwhile, Archaeology Department have asked the contractor to refill the drain till they take up the issue with their higher ups.

 

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