Newsmakers

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SHORTLISTED: Basharat Peer’s Curfewed Night has been short-listed for the Vodafone-Crossword Book Award 2008 in the non-fiction category. Published by Random House, the book is the first indigenous narrative of Kashmir and being marketed in US and British market later this year by an American publisher.  

WON: National Conference bagged both the seats of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Kargil. While Syed Baqir Razvi won from Parkachik constituency, Mohammad Mussa was declared the winner from Silmo constituency. The seats fell vacant after councillors Feroz Ahmad Khan and Aga Syed Ahmed were elected to state legislature.

VISITED: Vice President Muhammad Hamid Ansari visited Kashmir and presided over the 17th convocation of Kashmir University. He made an academic speech that in coming days is expected to trigger a debate. He went for a day long visit to Kargil as well. Ansari has had a long association with J&K. His wife was educated in Srinagar. In recent past, Ansari headed one of the Working Group that made many recommendations. Interestingly, however, none of them have been implemented so far.

DIED: Communist leader, member Constituent Assembly, and founder of Internationalist Democratic Party (IDP), Ram Piara Saraf, passed away at the age of 85. He lived in Samba. He had joined politics at the age of 22 soon after completing his masters in History from Punjab University, Lahore. In 1952, he was elected to the first Constituent Assembly for 10 years. In NC, he represented a sub-group that comprised Marxists. In 1958, they formed Democratic National Conference (DNC), an extension of CPI. Saraf was taken as a member of CPI national council and became one of the 32 founding members of CPI (M). He wrote for Jammu weekly Sandesh till it was banned in 1969. In 1964 he was detained under Defence of India rules for his pro-China views. In 1967, CPI (M) removed him from the party for DNC’s support to Mao Tse-tung’s thought and Naxalbari. J&K government detained him in 1971 for two years in wake of the employees agitation in 1967. Author of three books, Saraf discarded his pro Mao thoughts in 1983. He is survived by two sons – Jagdish and Om – besides two daughters – Dr Krishna Bajaj and Sharada Saraf.

KILLED: As many as 26 persons were killed when an overloaded bus plunged into a gorge at Panthal. The bus was on its way from Katra to Udhampur. The Jammu-Srinagar highway, especially the portion in Doda and Ramban districts, are off late emerging as the main crisis belts. Over the last six months, around 161 persons were killed and 187 injured in 17 major road accidents in these districts.

INTERACTED: An Australian diplomatic delegation comprising first secretary Tim Huggins, second secretary, Michael Cheyne, and Australia’s consultant on south Asia, Mike Hillman visited Kashmir to “asses the ground situation”. They interacted with JKLF leader Yasin Malik, Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and various other unionist political parties.

RELEASED: Mirwaiz Umer Farooq was set free after two months of house arrest. Soon after the restrictions were removed, he visited Shopian. Yasin Malik of JKLF is still under house arrest.

FILED: A case has been registered against former MLC and Congress leader Farida Mir’s family for forcing their daughter-in-law Ruchi Chouhan to get dowry. Ruche has alleged physical abuse. Women’s Police Cell registered an FIR on June 25. Ruchi married Farida’s elder son, Tufail, in June 1990. In her complaint, Ruchi – daughter of former joint director Agriculture Onkar Singh Chouhan – has alleged that an inebriated Tufail would beat her for money so that he could start a business. They couple have two children.

About Author

A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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