Newsmakers

CDROPPED: Prof Saif ud Din Soz was dropped as a minister by UPA government led by Dr Manmohan Singh. He will be asked to strengthen the Congress party in the state till his appointment as a governor. Soz went against the NC leadership in 1999 and voted against Atal Behari Vajpayee. This created goodwill for him in the Congress and eventually he became the minister. Now Congress took Dr Farooq Abdullah as a minister in his place. Ghulam Nabi Azad got the coveted Health and Family Welfare ministry, this time.

SENTENCED: Recipient of master craftsperson award from the President of India in 2003 and 2005, 48-year-old Aijaz Hussain Khwaja was sentenced for seven years of rigorous imprisonment  by an additional sessions judge Dharmesh Sharma in a Delhi court and fined to the tune of Rs. 50,000 and for allegedly possessing explosives and Rs 49 lakh of Hawala money. He was charged under the Explosives Substances Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The court refused the defence argument that Khwaja was implicated. He was arrested by police in July 2006.

HOUSE ARRESTED: Most of the separatist leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mohamad Yasin Malik, Ashraf Sehraie, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Shabir Ahmad Shah were kept under house arrest by police after a young boy injured in police action died in the hospital. In the subsequent battles another young boy was seriously injured and in still critical.  

DIED:  Wife of Dr Karan Singh, Maharani Yashoraje Laxmi Singh passed away at the age of 72. Survived by her husband, two sons—Vikramditya Singh and Ajatshatru Singh and a daughter Jyotsna Singh, she was ill for last two months. Yashoraje belonged to royal family of Nepal and was married to Dr Singh in 1950. Along with her husband, she also undertook her studies and passed her B.A. and Prabhakar (Hindi) examinations. She studied in London also. As a minor (below 18), she was appointed Chairman of the Jammu & Kashmir State Social Welfare Board. She later set up a branch of the All India Women’s Conference in 1956 and also developed the Ladies Club in Srinagar and Jammu and remained active during wars of 1962 and 1965. After Singhs’ moved to Delhi, Yashoraje worked for mentally handicapped children and set up a small centre for them that was later taken over by the Delhi Society for the Welfare of Mentally Retarded Children. She became President of this Society in 1968.

VISITED: Commander-in-Chief of Russian Land Forces, General Vladimir Boldyrev visited Siachen Glacier – the world’s highest battlefield, during his week long visit to India. Prior to his visit, Boldyrev discussed joint cooperation in mountain-warfare training and Indian military facilities in Siachen.

DISRUPTED: Rail service between Jammu and the rest of India remain disturbed after sectarian rioting broke out in Punjab and Haryana. At least one Jammu bound train was set afire and for around three days thousands of passengers were stranded at Jammu. As many as 7600 passengers refunded tickets making it a Rs. 26.70 lakh loss to the railways.

AWARDED: Kashmiri Play Taqdear Saz written by late Ali Mohammad and directed by Mushtaq Ali Khan was adjudged the best among eight plays that were staged in the annual Kashmir Drama Festival. The second award was bagged by Achar Kaal written by Yaqoob Dilkash and directed by Reshi Rashid. Khan also bagged best designer award for the same play. Each Award carries cash prize, a shawl, certificate and a citation.

REASSURED: Separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and M Yasin Malik reassured visitors that Kashmir is safe and they would not be harmed. Geelani while calling for peaceful evening protests said that tourists should be treated as guests. “Tourists are our guests and they should be taken care of. They should be treated in such a way that they should ask others to visit Kashmir once they leave”, he was quoted as saying. Malik also appealed people to provide all possible assistance to tourists and yatris. They are our guests and need to be taken care off”.

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