PETITIONED: Doda contractors association has petitioned Congress president Mrs Sonia Gandhi seeking action against R&B Minister G M Saroori for his alleged “scandals”. Before jumping into politics, Saroori was one of their colleagues. They have accused the minister of flouting set rules and procedures in allotting work in the district to his blue-eyed boys. They have even accused him of being involved in a murder.

DETAINED: Kupwara police have arrested a former policeman for taking two youth to LoC in Keran and handing them over to army allegedly for a fake encounter. He has been identified as Irfan Ahmad, a resident of Mondia Keran. The two young men were identified as Shariq Ahmad Mir and Zahoor Ahmad. They were rescued after police informed top army officers.

REQUISITIONED: JK police have sought 70 additional CRPF companies for security of 55-days Amarnath yatra. They will be deployed for securing the route. The pilgrimage will require over 130 companies of police and CRPF besides army that will dominate the heights. Starting from July 1 and concluding on August 24, shrine board intends to permit 410 thousand pilgrims this year.

VINDICATED: Legislator Engineer Rashid of Handwara says an investigation by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of JK Police has proved that residents of 24 villages in Mawar belt were subjected to forced labour without compensation by army from 1990 to February 2003. Claiming to have himself worked as a forced labourer for 13 years, he moved SHRC last year that triggered a probe.
APPOINTED: Habitual of setting a thief to catch one, police have started recruiting stone pelters as SPOs to control the crisis in Srinagar. A report from Delhi said 85 were recruited and deployed in stone pelting prone belts. Police denied it. Police is also driving some of them to all India tours to help them change.

CRPF is seeking Rs 16.67 crores from Ministry of Home Affairs for community action programmes (CAP) for 2010-11. It spent Rs 34 lakh under CAP in 2007 and Rs 40 lakh in 2008. Almost on the pattern of army’s Operation Sadhbhavana, the CAP helps the force to do anything – providing free text books, computers, arranging ambulances, conducting computer education programmes; paying the school fees of needy children; picking tab for the three-year nursing programme fee for Kashmiri women; and providing blankets and woolen clothing. It funded a T-20 cricket match in Bandipore and has even funded a musical group.

FINALIZED: Planning Commission of India has, at last, finalized the annual plan meeting for J&K and it will take place on June 18 when the first quarter of the current fiscal will be nearing completion. State expects a 10 percent hike in last year plan allocations.

ENUMERATED: State Congress president has said the party has around half a million registered supporters in the state – 240100 in Kashmir and 245000 in Jammu and they have paid a membership fee of Rs 37 that is deposited in the bank. It has chosen 11256 delegates and expects 15000 more to join. Earlier, he said there were only 83000 members in Kashmir and 119 thousand in Jammu. Congress polled 704370 votes in 2008 and of them 177697 in Kashmir alone.

PREVENTED: Police in Poonch forced the trans-LoC traders to change truck drivers citing reports that some of them have been won over by the ISI (Pakistan’s main intelligence agency). No trade could take place last week but after the drivers were changed, the trade resumed this week. There were no specific instances and no arrests.

CAGED: Police caged a pigeon near a Katra hotel for carrying ‘codes’ of two persons (read militants) – Raja Muslim Shehzad and Haji Sarwar, and two phone numbers – 03456694817 and 03003371014 stamped on its tail. The white pigeon’s one wing was painted green and another pink. The bird has been sent for analysis and cyber-decoding even as alert was sounded in Reasi. Police confirmed this was the first such case in which a bird was caged for security reasons.

MET: Former chief minister Mufti Sayeed met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh talked about resuming talks with Pakistan. Mufti sought initiation of “concrete and visible steps” to revive the peace process for final resolution of the Kashmir issue. Dr Singh is visiting Kashmir on June 7.

GROUNDED: Srinagar-Dubai flight that was earlier diverted through Amritsar has finally been grounded. It was withdrawn in January in the wake of poor passenger response. The flight was getting barely one third of the 160 passengers that would make it commercially viable.

DIRECTED: In a PIL High Court has directed J&K government to take appropriate steps for declaring Poonch Fort as protected monument. The fort housed some government offices but after it developed cracks in the 2005 earthquake the offices, barring that of the Tehsildar, were shifted out.


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