News Notes

Mumbai Arrest

The spade is still lingering on the private employees of Jammu and Kashmir who are working in Mumbai. This time a youth, Farooq Ahmad Naikoo alias Farooq Tendulkar was arrested in Mumbai, on January 16, associated with the LoC trade.

Farooq was working as a commission agent for dry fruit with a local Mumbaikar namely Mehboob Alam for the past one year. Alam said that he didn’t know why Farooq was arrested.

According to Farooq’s family members, he started LoC trade a year back and headed for Mumbai for better business opportunity in dry fruit business. Meanwhile, the family fears that their son might be implicated in some false case ahead of R-Day.

On other side, 2500 private security guards of Poonch have fled Mumbai following a massive crackdown against them and arrest of their 21 members by Mumbai Crime Branch.

A special team of Crime Branch, Mumbai is arriving in Poonch on Monday to investigate cases of the 21 private security guards, who were released on bail last week. They were arrested early this month when they came under scanner following their involvement in some criminal activity including murder of 25-year-old lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha in Wadala’s Himalayan Heights, Mumbai by a watchman from Uri in North Kashmir last year.

In the backdrop of this crime, around 21 security guards of Poonch district were arrested by Mumbai Crime Branch for possessing guns, unregistered with the local police. Twenty-one rifles and 193 live cartridges were seized from the men during raids by the agency’s property cell at three places in Rajeev Nagar slums, Bandra in Mumbai.

As per reports 2500 private security guards, mostly belonging to Poonch and Rajouri districts, have fled Mumbai following a massive crackdown against them by Mumbai Crime Branch.

Pertinently the MLA Poonch, Aijaz Jan, intervened into the matter and took up the matter with the Maharashtra government and Mumbai Police on the recommendations of chief minister, Omar Abdullah.

The MLA informed that these security guards have obtained gun licenses from Poonch district and had been working for a Mumbai based security firm, Modern VR Security Force, for the past six months. They were posted at banks, corporate offices, malls, ATMs and multiplexes; some also guarded cash transfer vans. But as per law, the gun control laws require licence-holders moving to a different city to register their arms with that place’s police, district Collector and Weapons and Ammunition Department.

There are 30, 000 private security guards and watchmen of Jammu and Kashmir working in Mumbai and some of them have been there for around 3 decades. Majority of them are from Poonch district, followed by Rajouri, Kupwara and Baramulla districts of the State.

Udaan now Flexible

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the modification in the centrally sponsored scheme ‘Special Industry Initiative for Jammu & Kashmir (Udaan)’ to make it more flexible and relevant.

It is said that the step is taken in view of generating more employment in the state.

Sources reveal that in the scheme worth Rs. 750 crore the budget will be distributed among different expense heads. Under new provision, Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) will be allowed to participate in the scheme and will meet the expenses under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) head.

It allows inclusion of three year engineering diploma holders in the scheme, reimbursement of fixed training cost after minimum three months employment, instead of one year employment, provision of medical/accident insurance, etc.

Under this scheme, 40,000 youth will be trained in five years. Companies interested in the scheme will have to enter into the agreement with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to screen and select students from the state.

After assessing the skill gap of the trainees, a training module, its duration and nature of training will be designed by the companies. Trainees will be relocated to the training facility. After completion of the training, they will be interviewed for a job with the company and will be placed as far as possible.

The scheme targets youth who are educated, but do not have marketable skills. It includes graduates, postgraduates, three year engineering diploma holders and youth with professional degrees. This talent pool in the absence of job opportunities becomes highly alienated and their potential in turning around the state economy is wasted. The scheme will facilitate gainful employment to the youth of Jammu & Kashmir. By providing them jobs, the scheme proposes to channelize their energies into creative pursuits.

A service closed

The Union Ministry of External Affairs of India has stopped the much hyped Tatkaal passport services in Kashmir citing security reasons.

The move came at a time when state government is trying its best to raise the standard of centrally monitored services in conflict torn Kashmir.

Talking to a local daily, Srinagar Regional Passport Officer, Firdous Iqbal said “I can’t comment exactly whether the services have been rendered or not. But in a place like Kashmir, police verification is must.”

The move is said to negate the very purpose of the centre’s e-governance initiative aimed at speeding up the process of issuing passports in a time-bound manner. It will once again put applicants through a long and hectic process of procuring a passport in Kashmir.

In Kashmir where acquiring passport is already a daunting task for locals the new move by central government to stop Tatkaal passport service will further corner people who wish to travel outside on short notice.

Besides Tatkaal servies, the normal procedure for acquiring a passport in Kashmir is time consuming despite an online appointment service in place. “It is almost impossible to get an online appointment as their (passport services) website is down or over loaded most of the time,” said an irritated user who has been struggling to get his passport.

In fact the much-hyped online process of passport filling has made things difficult for applicants rather than speeding up the process.

According to a regional passport officer, all the online services of passports are being centrally-monitored, hence time consuming. “We are not looking after the online services. It is being controlled at the central government level and we have nothing to do with that.”

Kashmir’s Peer CURSE

Kashmir, which is also known as ‘The Valley of Saints’, has been put to shame by some faith healers (Pir’s) recently. Two outrageous incidents in less than ten days in two different regions of Kashmir have raised some serious eyebrows towards faith healing, an age-old practice of Kashmir.

First such incident surfaced on Jan 16 at Mattan in south Kashmir district when Police arrested a 52-year old self- styled faith healer for allegedly raping a minor girl who, according to doctors, is 8 months pregnant.

Self-styled faith healer, Muhammad Yousuf Bhat, of Utteresoo, Shangus has married thrice and has eight children with some grand-children too. He used to frequently visit victim’s house on pretext of providing the household benefits of his spiritual powers. Some 9 months back the accused visited the victim’s house and allegedly raped her after finding her alone in her house.

The girl, aged 13 complained to her mother about the incident; however her parents were not ready to accept the fact given their faith in the Pir and his spiritual powers. After the girl complained of some abnormalities her family took her to the same Pir again. The Pir assured the parents that everything is alright and threatened the girl of dire consequences if she disclosed the incident to anyone. Things, however, got clearer when the girl complained about the abnormal size of her belly and was taken to a doctor, where an Ultrasound revealed that she was 8 months pregnant.

Following the confirmation by the doctors the victim’s family lodged a complaint in Mattan police station against the accused.

In another shameful display of faith-healing, a woman ‘faith healer’ burnt the abdomen of a two-year-old boy with cigarette butts for ‘curing’ him of pneumonia and ulcer.

The victim identified as Arif, son of Muhammad Yusuf of Margund near central Kashmir’s Kangan area, was Tuesday admitted at the Children’s Hospital here. Doctors say the child’s condition is critical.

The boy had shown symptoms of ailment after his family, apparently a very ignorant one, had taken him to the woman ‘pir’, but family says she burnt his abdomen with cigarette butts in order to cure him.

Kulgam CASE

In a brazen display of power and high-headedness police allegedly beat four members of a family, including two teenage girls, in an overnight raid at their residence at Larnoo village in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. According to Abdul Hameed Sheikh, police raided his house at around 11:30 pm on Saturday and beat the family members ruthlessly.

He said police raided his house again at around 1 am on Sunday and alleged that policemen started molesting his daughters. “The clothes of my daughters aged 17 and 18 were torn off by policemen, following which they gagged their mouths with cloth and took them away,” Sheikh said.

The incident shocked the area as next day villagers, along with the victim family, staged a sit in protest blocking Islamabad-Kulgam road.

In a bid to control the situation and pacify angry protestors, Deputy Commissioner Kulgam, Jahangir Mir, directed Superintendent of Police to place 3 police officials under suspension besides attaching SHO police station Kulgam. An SPO has also been disengaged in this connection.

However, while rebutting the claims made by the family of Abdul Hameed Sheikh S/o Ghulam Muhammad Sheikh, a resident of Laroo village, police said that they have not raided the said house during night as alleged by the family.

Family alleged that the lawlessness can be gauged from the fact that the police lodged an FIR in the morning and went to allegedly arrest the girls in the mid of night.

Denying accusations of torture and molestation, Police called the family “a bunch of rogues”.

According to locals, the girls, their father and brother were released only after villagers came to the road and blocked it. “Police officials denied that the girls were in their custody. However, later they sent them to the village in a police vehicle,” said a local.

In a statement, MLA Kulgam Muhammad Yusuf Tarigmi, condemned the act saying some vested interests in the police were misusing power. “The raid conducted by a police party comprising of only policemen, in a sub-judice civil suit matter is reflective of how power is being misused by some elements in the police force without bothering for rules and regulations,” he said.

Demanding a magisterial inquiry into the incident, Tarigami said: “The girls detained for the entire night have alleged harassment and torture by police personnel, which is not only condemnable but an unacceptable blot on the entire society.”

Dr A N Safaya: 1932-2013 (Obituary)

Dr A N Safaya, a reputed medical administrator and the former Chief Medical Officer of J&K health services, breathed his last on January 10 in New Delhi. He was 82. Born on Oct 2 1932 in Srinagar he had worked in heath sector in different parts of India.He is survived by a son, daughter and wife.

His admirers remembered himas a leader by nature, spirit and wisdom. He was awell-known multi-faceted personality of the state who served as amedical superintendent of AIIMS and was former director of multi-million dollar hospital at Puttaparthi, Sri SathyaSai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences (SSSIHMS).

At the beginning of his career, DrSafaya, joined the J&K Health Services and later joined SMHS as a professor and started teaching anatomy.

DrSafayais the only medical superintendent to have served AIIMS for more than 15 years.

His helpful attitude and popularity in J&K brought him closer to ShiekhMohammad Abdullah.He resigned from AIIMS to join as the founder director of SSSIHMS atPuttaparthy in Andhra Pradesh.“He was involved in making that hospital in a record period of less than 1 year, a real miracle in a remote place,” says renowned heart specialist, DrUpendreKoul.

Safayadid his post-graduation in Anatomy from Srinagar in 1980’s.Soon he left anatomy and became a hospital administrator.

However, DrSafaya’sadministrative role in Sai Baba Hospital came under heavy criticism on June 25, 2011 when apparently he was made to give statements “inconsistent with his medical and personal ethics” by Trust members. He had once candidly stated that he was unaware of just how many sleeping pills were administered to Sai Baba daily, a statement that the SathyaSai Central Trust didn’t take too kindly to. Soon after this expose, Safaya resigned along with other medical and nursing staff.

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