News Notes

Ocean of Tears

Bilal-jan‘Ocean of Tears’, a documentary on the Kunan- Poshpora rape victims in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, was screened at VIBGYOR International short and documentary film festival in Kerala on Friday afternoon.

 BJP activists protested and ransacked the venue resulting in the disturbances for some time but the screening was completed by the efforts of the organisers and the audience.

Considered to be the largest alternative film festival in South Asia, the VIBGYOR film festival is being held from February 11 to 16 at Thrissur City of Kerala.

“As the screening of the film started at 5:30m Pm, a handful of BJP activists started sloganeering outside the venue and later barked in and ransacked furniture and the screen,” Bilal A Jan, the film maker told Kashmir Life over phone from Kerala.

However, Bilal said that the film was fully screened later by the efforts of the organizers and the audience.

P Baburaj from Regional theatre Thrissur, Kerala while talking to Kashmir Life alleged that Kerala, police allowed the BJP activists led by their state President Adv. Gopalakrishnan, to come inside the venue. “The BJP activists managed their entry into the venue only after police allowed them,” said Baburaj.

He however, said that the film was later resumed and screened fully and it was applauded by the audience.

Viral THREAT

The Jammu and Kashmir government has revealed in a report this week that the state is highly vulnerable to AIDS primarily due to the high presence of the Indians troops. They have given several details explaining the reason for the threat of the deadly disease in the valley. One reason is the “high concentration of troops” and the others include tourism, commuting of truck drivers and migrant labourers from the other states.

The government in Jammu had responded to a query from Vijay Bakaya, an MLC in written and mentioned that on the basis of Sentinel Surveillance Round-2012 and other research studies conducted in the state the epidemic was well in control and static. However, the state is highly vulnerable due to the factors created by tourism, long distance truck drivers, migrant labourers, and high concentration of security forces. Kashmir is a conservative place but diseases such as AIDS have come to fore post 1990’s. Various other lifestyle diseases and psychological disorders have also become prevalent in the state in last two decades of conflict.

According to reports, there are 4,000 confirmed HIV positive cases in J&K and 1893 full-blown AIDS cases have been registered so far. Out of them, 434 AIDS deaths have taken place. The 4000 cases have surfaced till the end of October 2013, as per ICTC report.

“The HIV/AIDS graph in respect to Jammu and Kashmir shows declining trend of STI/RTI infection along with HIV transmission,” the government stated. In past four to five years, thousands of cases were suspected of this infection. Doctors say, the numbers pouring in the laboratories for HIV tests have increased by huge numbers.

In J&K currently there are two fully functional ART centres, with a total of 3018 patients in HIV care. Six sexually transmitted disease clinics functioning in different districts of J&K are being supported by NACO and are being provided free drugs and consumables by JKSACS, as per the guidelines of NACO, government of India.

The government has said that for the control of the disease among the high risk groups like female sex workers, men having sex with men, intravenous drug users, and migrant labourers, 13 targeted intervention projects have been launched throughout the state.

Crossed OVER

kashmiri-fruit-tradersAfter many deliberations between the External Affairs Ministries of India and Pakistan, both the sides decided to allow the stranded Trucks and Drivers to cross over to their respective sides on Wednesday.

The decision to this effect has been taken to ease the tension of the 75 families of Drivers stranded on either sides of the LoC.

“Yes, it has been decided that the stranded Trucks and Drivers will cross to their respective sides today,” said an official from Baramulla, adding “The decision to this effect has been taken on the highest level between India and Pakistan.”

48 Drivers from this side and 27 Drivers belonging to the Pakistani administered Kashmir (PaK) are stranded in Salamabad and Chakoti, since January 17, 2014 when a huge howl of Brown Sugar was seized from a Truck of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK).

Authorities had immediately decided to stop the cross LoC trade from Uri Salamabad route.

Not only trade, but the bus service also was affected for two weeks.

Since, mid January, 48 Truck drivers from this part of Kashmir and 27 Drivers from PaK, are stranded on either sides of the LoC. The families of these drivers were protesting almost every day.

Sources said that finally both the countries have decided that Drivers should leave for their respective sides.

They added that the Drivers will cross over today after noon.

“The authorities have decided to allow the stranded drivers from both the sides, and in the afternoon, they will cross over,” Hilal Turki, a senior cross LoC trader, told Kashmir Life.

Pertinently police had claimed seizing of Brown sugar worth over Rs 100 Crores from a truck coming from Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) to Uri.

Police had said that it found 114 packets of brown sugar weighing almost a kilogram each, from one of the trucks that came from PaK bearing number RIS-2137 of Al- Fajar Company.

The truck on reaching Salamabad Uri check-point, was routinely checked and the police found large number of mysterious packets in one of the almond bags. The truck stand was cordoned and no one was allowed to move outside the premises till senior officials of police, crime branch and people from Intelligence Agencies reached the spot.

Political TALK

Exhumation of bodies of Pathribal fake encounter victims in this March 2000  file pic.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said he has advised the law ministry to go for a writ against the court martial verdict on Pathribal. He said challenging the court martial decision is not possible.

Omar said the five innocents of Pathribal need justice. He said if the army says the people indicted by CBI are innocent, it needs to be investigated who the killers were? This, he said, while referring to the decision of Army to look into the incident of killings in Machail.

Omar said the decision of the Army regarding closing of Pathribal case needs revisiting. He said some innocents have been killed in the incident and justice demand that the culprits are identified and punished.

Besides, Omar said that only 2396 prisoners held under different charges are in the prisons. He said 30 people mostly timber smugglers have been apprehended under PSA. He said the rate of militancy has come to lowest ebb and loss of civilian in these incidents has decreased conspicuously. However, he added that security forces have lost more precious lives in the militancy related incidents during the last five years.

The Chief Minister appreciated security forces for not losing their calm even under challenging circumstances and not resorting to any retaliatory firing. He referred to incident of Srinagar bypass where eight army persons were killed in a militancy attack, the incident of Bemina, Samba and Hiranagar in which Army jawans and Police personal were killed but the forces did not retaliate and saved the innocent lives. “I salute the security forces for this kind of restraint”, he said and expected similar kind of high quality attitude by them during the times of challenge to save the innocent lives.

Chief Minister said that under the Amnesty announced by him for the detainees apprehended in 2010 for stone pelting, some 228 cases against 1811 persons have been withdrawn. He said under the new Passport clearance policy his Government gave No Objection in 360150 pending cases during the period 2010 to 2013.

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