News Notes

For A Decade, A Decade AFTER

The decade old case involving ‘criminal conspiracy’ assumed rest early this week after a court in Srinagar was successful in establishing a police case against five people including a doctor involved in an induced abortion of a young female with advanced pregnancy. The woman had died during the course of the procedure. After her death, the five had hatched a criminal conspiracy to dump her body.

The doctor and the boyfriend of the deceased have been sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of 10 years while the other accused have been convicted under provisions of penal code containing lesser punishments. Two out of seven have been acquitted for lack of evidence against them.

On February 21, 2003 SMHS hospital officials informed police station Karan Nagar, about an unclaimed body of a young woman kept on a trolley lying near the causality section of the Hospital.

Police rushed and took custody of the body, recovered a note mentioning ‘Jehlum Diagnostic Centre, Hari Singh High Street, which became a clue and police followed the case. In the mean time the body was also sent for postmortem.

Preliminary medical investigations on the body revealed the young lady had been six to seven months pregnant. The diagnostic centre was raided wherefrom a consent form dated February 19, 2003 and other relevant material was seized which revealed the name of the victim, a resident of Sonwar and the culprit, Mohammad Altaf Hajam, son of Mohammad Akbar Hajam, resident of Hajam Mohalla, Nowgam (deceased woman’s boyfriend).

The culprit not only followed the criminal conspiracy to of illegal abortion but also framed a plan to dump the body.

Police found that deceased had developed illicit relations with her colleague Altaf Hajam in police department where they were working as volunteers in Home Guard and once Hajam came to know about the pregnancy, he wanted to terminate the same. The postmortem report attributed the cause of death to the incomplete abortion.

The court judgement reads: “The prosecution has proved its case against Altaf Hajam, Dr Bhat, Reyaz Dar (driver), Mohammad Ashraf Bhat and Safia -a mid wife, under sections 304,316,120-B 34 RPC and they deserve to be convicted and sentenced accordingly.”

Mass LEADERS

It always becomes news in a state having 7.36 lakh families living below poverty line (BPL), when lawmakers submit their property details.

Recently 10 MLCs filed their nominations for polls; out of them eight were reported to be crorepatis irrespective of the parties, with which they belong.

As per affidavits submitted by all the contestants for seven seats of MLC polls, Abdul Majid of National Conference topped the list with moveable and immovable property of approximately Rs 16 Crores on the name of him and his family.

Devinder Singh Rana of NC, who is elected for second term, followed the list with moveable and immovable assets of around Rs 14 Crores on the name of him and his family.

Independent candidate, Shiban Krishen Dudha has immovable plus moveable assets of around Rs 8.10 Crores.

Another NC candidate Showkat Ganai has moveable and immovable property of Rs 6.39 Crores approximately.

Indian National Congress candidate, Mohammad Muzaffar Paray has movable and immoveable property worth Rs 3.81 Crores, while Gargi Billoria who is also from Congress party, has moveable and immovable assets of approximately Rs 3 Crores.

The moveable property and immoveable property of Gargi Billoria is around Rs 37.80 Lakhs and on her husband’s name is around 2.57 crores.

Naresh Gupta of Congress party has movable and immovable assets worth Rs 2.60 Crores approximately.

Syed Naeem Akhtar Andrabi of People’s Democratic Party has moveable and immovable property of around Rs 2 Crores. Yashpal Sharma has moveable and immovable property of only Rs 56 Lakhs while Mohammad Iqbal is below of all candidates with only assets of Rs 5 Lakhs.

For A Cartridge’s SAKE

Problems across the line of control are brewing, sometimes because of the killings and sometimes because of the indifferences between two neighbours which ultimately affect the trade and the travel!

This time the catalyser became some empty AK cartridge, which was put in a truck by some miscreants. But this time traders themselves, from Poonch Rawlkote, suspended trade for a week as a mark of protest against authorities for blacklisting Dewan trader.

The firm of Abdul Gani Dewan (Poonch based trader) was blacklisted by the authorities after security agencies recovered some empty AK cartridges from the consignment of almond sent to him (Dewan) by the traders of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) Abdul Gani Dewan.

“The empty AK cartridges were sent from PaK by the trader of their side and Dewan had nothing to do with it,” a trader said.

It was second such incidents in two days. One day before, AK-47 cartridge and a Compact Disc (CD) were seized from two Pakistani visitors who arrived at Chakan-Da-Bagh in weekly bus service in Poonch.

The Indian troops deployed there seized AK round and CD and grilled them to ascertain the reason for carrying these items with them. During investigation, 75-year-old Ghulam Hassan told Indian officers that he did not know how the bullet came in his pocket. He believed that his grandson dropped this bullet in his pocket. While Fateh Mohammad accepted that he brought CD with him and he did not know that carrying of any kind of CD is banned. He apologized from the officers.

After examining the whole issue, if Indian forces are to be believed said they are going to send Hassan back but presently he was handed over to Police Station Poonch and also handed over AK 47 round. The CD seized from another visitor was also handed over to police.

In another incident, 75 years old handicapped Pakistani national, who was over staying in Thannamandi tehsil and was abandoned by his relatives, was taken by the police to Amritsar from where he was deported to Pakistan, on humanitarian grounds.

At least 165 traders do business with their PaK counterparts on a barter system via Chakan da Bagh.

Kamal V/S RATTANPURI

One is firebrand NC leader and another appears ‘rebel’ within the same group. And when finally, Kamal and Rattanpuri locked horns over the claim: who is the tallest leader of Kashmir? The debate hit new dimensions and took new turns and twists.

It all started when NC parliamentary member from south Kashmir, GN Ratanpuri held two meetings with the aged separatist, Geelani at his Delhi’s residence earlier this week. Hurriyat (G) chairman told him during his second meeting that “former J&K CM-Sheikh Abdullah shouldn’t have agreed to accord in 1975.” The comparison between Sheikh and Geelani started soon after that.

The comparison between the two leaders miffed the Sheikh’s son and NC leader, Mustafa Kamal who warned Rattanpuri against comparing Sheikh with Geelani saying the separatist leader is no match to the stature of his father.

“Ratanpuri does not know about the history. How dare he compare Shiekh Mohammad Abdullah with Geelani. Sheikh was a great leader where as Geelani is an unscrupulous element who wants to put Kashmir on fire. Geelani has no principles and he loves death and destruction,” Kamal said.

Kamal didn’t stop there and claimed that Geelani is the product of Congress party which always stabbed in the back of National Conference. “How can we forget he was supported by Congress at one time and there was also a time when he used to wander around Mujahid Manzil to seek the blessings of Shiekh Mohammad Abdullah,” Kamal said.

But on Thursday evening the controversy again took a new twist, when Rattanpuri made public a letter which he has addressed to Dr Kamal. Soon after that, Ratanpuri claimed that his facebook account has been hacked.

The letter reads: “I am not surprised to learn that like the advisors to HCM, you have chosen the medium of newspapers to communicate to me a warning, warning for comparing SAS Geelani with SM Abdullah. I respect your concern for your father as much as I respect Naseem Geelani’s concern for his father.”

Rattanpuri, in his letter has left no stone unturned to blame ‘whole Sheikh family- from Sheikh Abdullah to Omar Abdullah, for the conflict of Kashmir’. But at the same time he has given Sheikh full credit for the famous Land reforms and right to education by saying them as “his miracles”.

Channel WARS

Last week the office of a local cable network in valley faced closure after being alleged of airing “pirated” content. It was a cable operator at Srinagar’s Jehangir Chowk, Site Entertainment Network (SEN) that faced an axe after a distributor of satellite pay channels alleged that SEN was involved in pirating a package of channels for which there was no agreement.

Soon after the closure of SEN office, its management dismissed the allegations saying it was full of malafide intentions. Rumail Shafi, the executive director of SEN said that the south Kashmir’s Tehsildar and SDPO of Shaheed Gunj have acted upon the order in an amazing manner. ”They immediately rushed to our office and closed it down, without bothering to go through our proper license and other necessary legal documents,” he said.

Official decree came from the office of district magistrate Srinagar that ordered SEN to close office. “This is utterly brazen as no notice was served to us before this order which was issued today in the afternoon,” Shafi said.

It is understood that the step has been taken after the Take One JK Media made a representation before the DC Srinagar claiming SEN as one of their customers and alleged that the channel has been violating the norms of the cable TV Act by pirating the satellite pay channels like Star Plus, Star Gold, Colors, Zee Classic, Life Ok, ABP News, NDTV 24&7.

“The government can verify this baseless allegation in our control room. This is why we say that the government decision is motivated and some elements in the government who their stakes in cable business want to hit our network for their vested interests,” Shafi added.

As per its executive director, SEN is directly transmitting channels over 40 channels plus over 50 free to air channels under the direct agreement with companies in the country.

The closure of cable channel network soon took an ugly turn when cable operators tried to self immolation, but timely intervention of police foiled the bid.

Earlier, the cable operators held strong protest demonstrations at Press Enclave Srinagar and raised slogans against National Conference (NC) leader and MLC Devinder Singh Rana accusing him of stopping the cable TV. “We refused to feed the Take One and JK Channel through our network and Rana used official machinery to get our operations closed. They have brought us on roads and they are bent upon creating more unemployment in Kashmir,” alleged protesting cable operators, according to them the 5,000 cable operators have been affected by the move.

Railways’ Kashmir CASE

Four new trains are coming to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, as per the union railway budget 2013. While announcing railway budget, union railways minister, Pawan Kumar Bansal announced four new trains for Jammu.

The union railways budget this time around has also proposed electrification of railway tracks in Jammu and the minister said that he would pursue for more routes in Jammu and Kashmir including Bilaspur-Manali-Leh and Jammu-Poonch via Akhnoor.

In another significant announcement in his maiden railway budget, Bansal said the railways ministry in coordination with Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) would explore the possibility of issuing ‘yatra slips’ to vaishno devi pilgrims, traveling by rail at the time of booking of their railway tickets.

The new trains included Bathinda-Jammu Tawi Express (weekly) via Patiala, Rajpura, Katra-Kalka Express (bi-weekly) via Morinda, Kota-Jammu Tawi Express (weekly) via Mathura, Palwal and New Delhi-Katra AC Express (6 days a week).

Jammu Tawi- Barauni Express was being extended up to Bhagalpur while frequency of Kanpur-Jammu Tawi Express was proposed to be extended from one day a week to two days.

The railways minister had another significant announcement for Jammu and Kashmir in the rail budget—launching a multi-modal travel package with cooperation of Jammu and Kashmir government enabling passengers to travel from Jammu through Udhampur, Qazigund to Srinagar and Baramulla on a common rail-bus ticket.

He announced that completion of national project of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla and other such projects of strategic importance would be taken up on top priority. Srinagar was among the 25 locations identified by the railways ministry.

The importance the railways minister gave to Jammu and Kashmir in his first ever rail budget could be well gauged from the fact that in the very second paragraph of his budget speech, he said his though goes to a particularly severe cold spell during the recent winter when it was snowing heavily in Kashmir Valley and suspension of road and air services had brought life to a grinding halt.

“Photographs in newspapers showing a train covered with snow emerging from a similar white background carrying passengers traveling over the recently commissioned Qazigund-Baramulla section instilled in me a sense of immense pride,’’ he said.

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