Newsmakers

RELEASED: Teacher and columnist Syeda Afshana’s book ‘Freeze Frame: Glimpses from Kashmir’ – an anthology of essays – was released by VC KU Prof Riyaz Punjabi. Prof Neerja Mattoo reviewed the book for the audience that also was attended by journalist Syed Malik and Agha Ashraf Ali.

STOPPED: Police prevented separatist Syed Ali Geelani from addressing the Friday gathering in Islamabad. He, however, was permitted to go to Sopore. His son had a providential escape when a tree fell on their ancestral house in Dooru Sopore.

RAISED: NHPC has initiated the process of getting its power projects registered with the state government under Jammu and Kashmir Water Resources (Regulation and Management Act).  It, however, has raised a question over why it should pay usage charges for the same water that it uses from the same river at Salal and Dul Hasti on Chenab or at Uri-I and Uri-II on Jhelum. This issue may eventually lead the NHPC to approach the court if it fails to get convincing responses in Srinagar.

PLANNED: Raging controversy over selections have forced J&K Public Service Commission to start video-recording the interviews it conducts for various government jobs and civil services. It has already filed an FIR against two candidates and a reporter in connection with accusations of irregularities in selections.
QUASHED: High Court has quashed the detention under PSA of Dukhteran-e-Milat chief Asiya Andrabi. Mian Abdul Qayoom, who was freed last month after prolonged arrest under the same law is pleading her case.

VISITING: Centre’s Kashmir Interlocutors are on a six-day visit, their eighth since their appointment in October 2010. After making a number of recommendations, the interlocutors are still not ready to submit their report. Their last visit led to the suspension of Molvi Abas Ansari from the moderate Hurriyat.

FOUND: A newborn male baby was found dead, wrapped in a polythene bag, at Indira Chowk near the general bus stand in Jammu. Sweepers who detected the dead infant informed the police who registered a case.

RESUMING: The railway between Qazigund and Hamray is expected to resume its Baramulla service in early June. The track was damaged in 2010 unrest. Under the new arrangement, Sopore will be reduced to a halt station rather than a full permanent station.

SUSPENDED: The trans-LoC trade through Chakan-Da-Bagh shall remain suspended for another week. The suspension is in protest of levying VAT and sales tax by the government on all the imported goods that are ‘exported’ out of the state. The trade is suspended for past 11 weeks.
ACQUIRING: Police are purchasing Vibration Detection System (VDS) to maintain the security setup of VVIP and important installations in the state. It has floated tenders for the purchase of the 7000-meters VDS that should be able to detect intrusion attempts that try to “break-through” the wall or cut and climb through the fence on site.

DIED: Former assembly speaker Ghulam Muhammad Mir Rajpori passed away at the age of 92. A law graduate from AMU, Rajpori was a member of the State’s Constituent Assembly in 1951. He was a minister from 1957 to 1962 before being elected as the Speaker for a four year term 1964-68. He started his career as NC activist in 1946 and later switched over to Congress after Shiekh Muhammad Abdullah’s arrest. He deserted Congress in 1969 and returned to the old flock.

LAUNCHED: Six years after it was conceived, a cruise along river Jhelum was launched last week. The cruise operates from Peerzoo Island near Lal Chowk to Khankahi Maula shrine in the old city and a ride costs Rs 300.

DROWNED: Two boys chasing a cricket ball in Uri and fell into the Bemyar rivulet. While Akash Ahmad Najar was saved Nasir Ahmad Mir drowned. The hunt to fish out the body is on.

PLANNED: Government is contemplating health insurance for its 3.40 lakh employees and pensioners. It has already invited sealed offers of premium rates from companies with requisite experience. The scheme was introduced earlier but the bidder booked losses.

HYDERP0ORA: They were waiting for the meeting with the guest – the EU diplomats and then came the news that the meeting stands cancelled. It was a unilateral decision of the visiting EU team not to interact with the members of the Kashmir Bar Association and the hardline separatists like Syed Ali Geelani. Whatever the reasons for the cancellation of the meetings, it only suggests that the government in Srinagar has started using its good offices. However, police that was coordinating the visit said the decision was solely that of the visiting diplomats. But within a few days after, Geelani got a new photo-op, this time with social activist Swami Agnivesh. They exchanged ideas and discussed Kashmir situation. Interestingly, Agnivesh was in town to attend a ‘peace conference’ that was arranged by somebody who is yet to have an introduction in Kashmir. The conference ended in a bit of controversy when the statement of ambassador of Arab League’on Kashmir was contested by Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq.

MENDHAR: In February 2002, the family of Farid Ahmed Qureshi of Naka Majari village lodged an FIR in the local police station that his 6-years-old son, Waheed, was kidnapped. The report said that a militant trio barged into their residence, had food – obviously on gun point, and then fled taking the boy with them. Searches started and ended and the case was closed without any success. On May 18, 2011 the boy, now 15, walked into his home triggering massive celebrations in the village. He said the militants had taken him around the forests and finally took him to a seminary in Sambal near Moradabad where he was for seven years. Homesick, he fled and reached Delhi where he was in another seminary for some time. He finally boarded a bus home and asked villagers his home address

DELHI: Saatchi & Saatchi, a multi-national advertising firm has appointed Kashmir born Jaibeer Ahmed to head its Delhi operations. He will be the vice president. During his decade long career in advertising, Jaibeer worked with some of the top advertising firms like Ogilvy & Mather, Lowe, FCB and Rediffusion. He started his career with RK Swamy BBDO where he handled brands like Dabur and Educare. Since then, he has worked on some of the most exciting brands including Airtel, Nestle, SABMiller, Allout, Whirlpool and LG. During his stint at Rediffussion, he handled Airtel before being made Business Head on LG. He was working with the Samsung Electronics looking after the white good giant’s air-conditioner business wherefrom he moved to Saatchi & Saatchi. Jaibeer, a blogger and short story writer hails from a south Kashmir village, said the new assignment is challenging and exciting. In recent past, Jaibeer was keen to design the state tourism campaigns but the officials were not impressed by his soft, plain speaking in Kashmiri.

RESIDENCY ROAD: For hundreds moving around, it was a huge surprise seeing former chief minister Dr Farooq Abdullah strolling on the road. Accompanied by some relatives, he actually tried to become a free advisor to people who were in the footwear shop. “Do not buy shoes in hurry. Ensure first that those are very comfortable. Wear the foot wear at the shop only and then move around to ensure the comfortness,” a local newspaper quoted Dr Abdullah saying. This was second visit to the city centre by the NC patriarch. Last year he visited a shop in Regal Chowk.

PAHALGAM: The amusement park that J&K Bank built and converted into a major attraction for kids may be lost in coming days. Developed in 2003, the park was created amid ecological concerns for the fragile zone but the government put its foot down and the park was laid. The park is part of the corporate social responsibility of the state owned J&K Bank. The entire attractions in the park were set up by the bank and it is being maintained by the bank. Right now, it was mobilizing around 60 lakh rupees a year that would not only maintain the park but would create surplus for investment in upkeep of other parks. Though nothing has been written to the bank for closing it down but sources informed that verbally the management has been sounded with a suggestion that the same park could operate somewhere on the Pahalgam-Sallar-Bejbehara Road. Officially the park is accused of creating traffic jams and unofficially it is being rumoured that a hotelier is pulling the strings.

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