The Central Forces left bitter taste again in local mouths when they allegedly went berserk and injured six Taxi drivers at Chandanwari, Pahalgam.

Yatra Travails [Photo by: Bilal Bahadur]
Eyewitness accounts reveal that the CRPF personnel of 92 battalion deployed at Chandanwari for Yatra duty ruthlessly beat the Sumo drivers and allegedly damaged at least 65 vehicles parked at the spot. The incident triggered massive protests and shut down at the world famous tourist.

According to Sumo drivers, after failing to clear the traffic jam, security personnel asked the drivers to move the vehicles back and also asked for the permission of the shrine board for plying on the road and ferrying pilgrims. When drivers objected to this, they received merciless beating by CRPF men allegedly.

Eyewitnesses allege abuses were hurled at drivers and many were dragged. “Many drivers started bleeding due to the severe beating but the CRPF men did not stop even then,” they said.

President Sumo stand, Pahalgam, Mohammad Afzal said drivers do not need any permission from the Shrine Board to ferry the pilgrims. After the incident, hundreds of drivers, ponywallas, and other people associated with the Yatra staged massive protests and raised slogans against CRPF men. The shopkeepers also downed their shutters in protest against the CRPF action.

Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, Farooq Ahmad Shah termed this incident ‘scuffle’ and said, “Someone threw a stone, which apparently irked the CRPF men which resulted damage of more than 20 windowpanes and dozens of injury.”

However, Public Relations Officer CRPF,Sudhir Kumar stated that the group of drivers was protesting over introduction of new checking methods and said that the agitated drivers manhandled CRPF men and later pelted stones injuring eight of their men. “The contingent has not been shifted from Pahalgam,” Kumar said.

Meanwhile Police has registered an FIR against CRPF men.Besides the CRPF man allegedly responsible for creating the trouble has been placed under suspension and investigations set into motion by the top officials of the CRPF.



Shazia Khan 1984-2012

On 28th of June, ShaziaKhan , a Thai Citizen of Kashmiri origin, met with a fatal road accident , while leaving for her office on Pa???sk? Street in Prague in the morning. She was 29. Shazia, was a television producer, who worked with various television channels in Asia-Pacific before settling in Prague some months ago.

Shazia was born in Bang Kruai province of Thailand where she did her primary education and later went on to do her Masters in Communication and Journalism at Ateneo de Manila University. It was in 2002 that she got her first job in a television channel as a producer in Bangkok. She also worked in Singapore and other South East Asian countries.

Khan’s originally belong to North Kashmirs Baramulla town. In early seventies her father Azad Khanwent on to work with an automobile company in Delhi. It was in Delhi that Azad Khan came into contact with a Thai businessman who helped him in migrating to Thailand where he ultimately set up his own business of selling second hand cars. Buying old cars from different countries of pacific and even from Japan used to be once a flourishing business in South East Asia. Shazia, however, always wanted to be journalist. Her job as a producer took her to different battle fields across the world. She worked in Iraq and Afghanistan and also produced a documentary film on the Philippine government’s decades long confrontation with Muslim separatists over the southern Island of Mindanao. She also made a film on the conflict with communist insurgents across Philippines, a conflict that has left some 1,60,000 dead and displaced more than 2 million people.

As the news of her the death spread, perhaps one of the touching descriptions of her life was written by a programmes manager of a company based in Bangkok who happens to be a Kashmiri. “She paid my fee, bought me food, and paid for my books during my student days when i had no one to support me.


Mughal RALLY concluded on a sad note

The Mughal Rally that took place in Jammu and Kashmir for third consecutive summer had a tragic ending when a motor-sportsman was killed on spot in an accident and his navigator died after a day in the hospital.

According to officials, Team 61’s driver failed to negotiate a hairclip cut while ascending the Sinthan Top between Kishtwar and Daksum sunday afternoon and fell into a deep gorge. While driver Jitender Shukla was dead before the rescue team could reach there, his navigator Ashish Mahajan was pulled out injured. Mahajan was driven to Srinagar and admitted to SKIMS where he died the next day.

Shukla-Mahajan duo was one of the 79 teams racing against each other in different categories. They were in Enduro category in which distance is a parameter and not the speed as is in Xtreme 4×4 segment. “The threat perception associated with the Enduro category is low, because this category follows a specified TSD (Time-Speed-Distance) format,” one of the organizers said. “We are trying to look at what could have happened to them while they were ascending the slope towards the Sinthan Top.”

The results of the Enduro category were released late in the evening. The organizers said team TATA members Aditya Anthony of Bangalore and his navigator Mohammed Mustafa of Erode bagged the top position followed by Team Mahindra KP Karthick Maruthi and his navigator S Sankaranand. The third position was taken by Satish Gopalkrishnan and his wife Savera D’Souza, who was navigating for him.

In Xtreme 4×4 category in which 35 teams were participating, Amit Rajit Ghosh and his navigator Soham Hazra (Mitsubishi Cedia) bagged the first position. While Gaurav Prabhakar and navigator Ravi Prabhakar (Forrestor) finished second, Lohitt Urs and Chupong Chaiwan (Mahindra XUV 500) bagged the third spot.

After the news of the accident broke out the felicitation ceremony was cancelled. Unlike last year, the winners will get their prizes and citations in their rooms. “We cannot celebrate the event,” said a senior executive of the J&K Bank, the single major sponsor of the rally with J&K tourism ministry bearing expenses marginally. “We have lost two young sportsman,” he said.


Geelani smelt ‘Isreal in Kashmir’ in the habilitation policy of Kashmiri Pandits by the Central government and termed it ambition of New Delhi to change demography and the nature of Kashmir dispute.

Accusing the Central government of trying to create a ‘state within a state’ by coming up with settlements for Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir Valley, the Chairman of hardline faction of the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) threatened to agitate against the move to rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits.

Geelani went a step further by stating that New Delhi is planning to create Israeli-type settlements in Kashmir. He said Central government is in constant touch with Israel in this context and services of Mossad are also being availed for this purpose.

He said the proposed settlements will be used to make policies against the Muslims of the state and to provide arms training to the Hindu extremists to start a civil war here.

Calling Kashmiri Pandits part of Kashmiri society, he said Kashmiri Pandits should come and settle at their original places and live along with Kashmiri Muslim and strongly desist creation of separate zones in the name of Kashmiri Pandits.

Geelani further said this plan has been hatched to settle non-state subjects in Kashmir more so those who owe allegiance to RSS and SanghParivar. Reacting sharply to Gilani’s statement,J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that the former’s ability to create fiction has not dulled with age.

Last month, Abdullah had asked the Centre to hike the assistance package from Rs. 7.5 lakh to Rs. 20-25 lakh and promised a government job to 6,000 unemployed Kashmiri Pandit youths as part of the Prime Minister’s rehabilitation package. The Hurriyat (G) is planning to hold seminars and programmes at district levels on the issue.

Meanwhile Panun Kashmir- a radical Kashmiri pandit organisation- called Geelani as an outsider and expressed its resentment and anguish over his statement.



Presidential ELECTION

Presidential Election campaigning is in full swing in every state of the country. The two main contenders for the post are Pranab Mukherjee of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and P ASangma of National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The Electoral College comprises the members of the parliament and state assemblies. The vote value of an MP is 708 while that of MLAs varies from State to State. This is the first time when both MPs as well as MLAs are allowed to cast their votes in any State of the country subject to prioir permission from the Election Commission.

As far as J&K is concerned, Ten Members of Parliament (MPs)—six inLokSabha and four in RajyaSabha and 87 MLAs in the State assembly comprise theElectoral College for election of the President having a total vote value of 13,344.

In J&K, all 10 MPs belong to National Conference and Congress and all their votes- 7080 to be precise – will go to Pranab Mukherjee. About 50 MLAs of the coalition account for 3672 votes as the vote value of an MLA of J&K is 72. The major opposition party People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with 21 MLAs (512), though yet to make its stand clear is believed to vote for Pranab Mukherjee as well. Four MLAs belonging to BJP with a vote value of 288 would vote for Mr Sangma.


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