Newsmakers

SKIPPED: Peacenik Lone brothers Sajad and Bilal besides Abdul Gani Bhat skipped Pakistan National Day function in Islamabad’s Delhi High Commission. Those attending the function included PDP’s Maulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Syed Ali Geelani, Maulvi Abbas Ansari and Aga Syed Hassan.

REAPPOINTED: Due to shortage of technical manpower, the government has hired 82 retired officials during last two years for limited tenures. While 54 of them are serving the government departments, the remaining are with PSUs.

SUBMITTED: Former Himachal governor V S Kokje submitted a report ‘’Justice on Trial’’ to J&K governor N N Vohra that highlights the role played by the Village Defence Committees (VDCs) and administration’s failure to grant relief to the migrants of Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Reasi, Poonch, Rajouri and Udhampur districts at par with Kashimir migrants.

VISITED: Army Chief General V K Singh visited Kashmir twice in 35 days. The visit was aimed to interact with the field commanders in wake of possible infiltration and to review the security situation.

REVEALED: Police have detained 13 Kashmiri youth for instigating violence through electronic means during summer unrest of 2010. They were using Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. They are part of the 4064 arrests that police made of whom 3900 are out on bail.

REFUSED: NC lawmaker Mir Saifullah embarrassed government by not withdrawing his resolution seeking an autonomous hill development council for Kupwara. PDP supported the move. Though the party appealed him to withdraw he insisted for voting and lost. The move left NC red-faced.

ACCUSED: Trans-LoC traders accused Special Operation Group (SOG) of harassing them. They said 40 of them were questioned by cops, and maltreated. Later top police officers interacted with them and assured of any help in case of a problem.

PASSED: Ruling coalition passed the law that sets up Property Tax Board (PTB) for levying tax on built up properties in urban areas. Opposition parties termed the bill draconian and exploitative that would be used against the urban poor. The government, however, says it is better and pro-poor.

SUMMONED: Assembly speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone has summoned a newspaper reporter for reporting state health minister’s OSD Dr Shafaqat Ahmad had kept Rs 40 crores of NHRM in his personal account without any authority.

PLANNED: Government has identified 39 bunkers in Srinagar city for removal. While 27 have already been removed, 12 are planned to be dismantled in coming days, the government revealed. Since 2009, the government says, 10 CRPF battalions were withdrawn.

EMBERASSED: Government failed to offer any plausible explanation to the opposition that revealed MP Mohammad Shafi Urvi was staying in Delhi’s Kashmir House for more than a year. The maximum stay in the House is not more than a week barring in medical emergencies.

DIED: Two artisans working at the site of upcoming railway bridge at village Kauri (Reasi) were killed after a cage lift carrying them fell from a height of 100 meters. Northern Railways has announced an enquiry. Residents of MP, they were identified as Abdul Rehman and Juma Bhat.

PERMITED: Srinagar High Court has permitted the parties involved in Zahid Farooq murder case to file transfer application for shifting the case to Jammu. A BSF commandant and his guards are facing trial for the broad day light February 5, 2010 murder in Brein, Nishat. The family and the government is contesting the transfer of case to General Security Force court. The judge Justice J P Singh hearing the case would hear it in Jammu as an administrative measure.

KREERI
Haneefa Begum, 35 a divorcee who was rendered paraplegic after being beaten up and shot five times by cops at the peak of summer 2010 unrest died last month. Her death took unrest’s death toll to 118. The government in Jammu put the death tool at 104 saying only two of them were involved in the unrest. Rest were innocents and paid half a million each by the central government. A few days before her death, Haneefa told journalist Waseem Khalid that she was rescued by two young boys from the cops who “dragged and beat me up….and shot me five times.” She was part of the July 31 demonstrations. After being discharged from SKIMS, she remained bed-ridden with the support coming from her brother, her daughter and neighbours. “I am dead long ago,” she told Waseem before he left her room. “It’s only my eyes which give me a feeling of being alive.”

LONDON
Amnesty International is seeking release of Faizan Rafiq Hakim, a ‘minor’ from Islamabad currently languishing in Kathua jail under Public Safety Act. Police on chief minister’s directions conducted a test to determine Hakim’s age and said he is above 16 but below 18. Earlier, police had seized all records from his school. A boy of 16 is an adult in J&K unlike plains where an adult has to be above 18.

PUNE
20 boys and 13 girls who were part of a group of University of Kashmir students being trained by IT skills training company, Global Talent Track (GTT), were offered jobs by local IT companies. GTT is a partner of J&K government in improving employability skills of IT students, a Rs 2.70 crore project. GTT Pune is enhancing the job skills of 300 computer science students of the University of Kashmir since October 2010. IT minister Agha Syed Ruhullah who presided over a function in Pune revealed that the policy will be extended to the Islamic University, the Jammu University and the Mata Vaishno Devi University as well. “We produce 5,000 IT professionals every year but our state did not have an IT policy, neither did we have IT companies to employ young graduates,” he was quoted saying.

REASI
Pedestrians altered police after detecting corpse of a newborn baby, partially eaten up by stray dogs in ward No 4. This is second such case. Earlier on March 22 a badly mutilated and half-eaten body of a newborn baby was recovered from the general bus stand area.

BANIHAL
Northern Railway Chief Engineer Achal Jain told visiting governor N N Vohra that 11-kms Pir Panjal Railway Tunnel connecting Banihal with Qazigund will be ready by December 2011. Right now, the work on 10.40 kilometres – 6.10 kms from Banihal and 4.30 kms from Qazigund side – stands completed leaving only 600 meters to be completed using New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM).

VERINAG
More than 250 youths, mostly school students from 11 Indian states stayed with different families for a week under the National Integration camp organised by Nehru Yuva Kendra. Boys and girls, they got the first hand experience of the life and culture in Kashmir and some of them were quoted saying they would love to become ambassadors for Kashmir tourism in their respective states. Apart from a local Congress lawmaker, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Ajay Maken flew from Delhi to preside over the function, the first such event after a very long time.

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