Newsmakers

DISSOCIATED: Thupstan Chhewang, who heads Leh based Ladakh Union Territory Front (LUTF) – the new avatar of Ladakh Buddhist Association – has dissociated himself from Congress led UPA and instead announced his support to BJP led NDA. Though he voted for Congress in last vote of confidence, Chhewang said that Congress did not keep its promises. Ladakh is going to polls this week and LUTF has its own nominee pitted against Congress, PDP and a NC politician who is contesting these elections as an independent candidate.

APPROVED: Baglihar reservoir was declared a water body by authorities who permitted boating for promoting tourism and offering it as the shortest mode of transport between Ramban and Doda. Since the highway connecting Bhaderwah, Kishtwar and Doda with Batote is ailing, the water transport will automatically become a comparatively safer, faster, cheaper and shorter alternative.

ARRESTED: A health worker, projected by media and police as ‘militant doctor’ of Hizb ul Mujahideen, was arrested by police in Doda’s Dessa belt. Identified as Khurshid, who runs a chemist shop at Laloor, neither has a licence nor any paramedical training. Police said that he has been trained by some Kashmiri surgeons in removing bullets and offering first aid to injured. His village is on one of the passes that form the part of the summer migration track between Doda and Islamabad. He is currently being interrogated by the police.

FLED: Dr Farooq Abdullah, the NC patriarch, left the sets of a TV talk show hosted by a local channel. Abdullah entered verbal duels with his nephew Muzaffar Shah over some election issue minutes before leaving the sets. Farooq is pitted against his sister Khalida for Srinagar seat that polled Thursday last. Shah had accused NC of using the official machinery for campaigning. But Farooq left when the audience and most of other guests asked him when his son’s government would revoke the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

OPENED: The civil secretariat resumed its six months stint in Srinagar last week. The offices had closed at Jammu on April 24 as part of the tradition that was started by Gulab Singh in 1872. Durbar arrival helped city to see some of its main roads white washed.

MURDERED: Rakhmina Akhter (22), a resident of Lah hamlet in Thanamandi was allegedly murdered by her husband Mohammad Khalil for failing to conceive a male child. The woman had given birth to two daughters.

SHOCKED: State run Higher Secondary School at Palmar in Kishtwar was shocked after losing 10 of its teachers in a road accident. A bus skidded off the road and fell into a deep gorge killing over thirty people, half of them teachers. Of the 15 teachers who died, 10 were from this junior college for girls.

CUT: Loans in J&K have gone a bit cheaper as J&K Bank that controls over two-third of banking in the state has reduced prime lending rates by 175 basis point (1.75%) to around 3.75 percent. Small business and trade that forms a sizable portion of the overall lending has undergone a cut of 275 points. Agricultural loans will now be cheaper by 375 basis points and interests on credit off take to SME will go down by 325 basis points. Rate cut was triggered by the fall in cost of deposits that are now being negotiated at 6-8 percent as compared to 10-12 percent earlier.

VOTED: Bhattis of Budgam’s Raiara Yach village hogged headlines as all the four generations came together to vote on Thursday. One hundred year old Fata Bhatti was accompanied by his 70-year-old son Qadir, grandson Rashid (50) and great grandson Gula Bhatti (25). Srinagar parliamentary segment polled 24 percent which was an improvement over 2004 participation of 18.57 percent but much lower than the 2008 assembly tally of 40.35 percent.

ASSENTED: Governor N N Vohra has given his assent to the Right to Information Act (RTI) that will pave way for setting up State Information Commission (SIC). Now the residents in J&K can seek information on issues almost at par with the central law.

ADJOURNED: High court again adjourned proceedings in Kashmir’s sleaze racket involving politicians, cops, bureaucrats and the businessmen. Full bench comprising Justices Nissar Ahmad Kakru, J P Singh and Virender Singh were supposed to decide over the points of difference in the split judgments delivered by Justices Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain and Bashir Ahmad Kirmani. The case is listed again for argument later this month.

DIED: Prominent Gojri Poet Choudhary Hussan Din Hussan passed away at Jammu after prolong illness. He was 98. A founder member of Gujjar–Jat Conference of 1931, Hussan has written many volumes to the Gujjar literature. He was a resident of Hari in Surankote. State cultural academy had awarded him for his contributions in 1987.

HONOURED: Well known scholar Dr M Z Chishti is now Professor Emeritus. A recognized scholar in the field of Parasitology, Chishti has contributed over 250 research papers in national and international journals besides being guide to about 30 PhDs and 25 MPhil candidates.

DEFFERED: Villagers of Khaigam in Budgam have set May 20 as the next deadline for removing the CRPF camp from their village. The movement for demanding relocation of CRPF started after the paramilitary killed an innocent carpenter on March 18.

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