Saturday, December 15, 2018

Youngest Pellet victim of Kashmir Valley Hiba Jan Undergo Second Surgery



The youngest pellet victim of Kashmir valley Hiba Jan underwent her second surgery on 11th December at the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS). The 19 month old girl’s eye was perforated by a pellet fired by Indian forces during an encounter at Shopian. Talking to the reporters, the victim’s father Nisar Ahmad said that they have been praying and hoping that the surgery is a success for her.

A senior doctor at the hospital said the little Hiba has suffered “severe damage” in her eye. “It is a tough surgery and there is less hope that the child get her eyesight back”, he said. Hiba was admitted in the hospital on 25th November and her parents had come across a number of people injured by pellets in past, who are going through repeated surgeries.

During a previous check-up, doctors have found that Hiba’s eye was “not reacting much to light”. Doctors also said that the child had suffered vitreous haemorrhage, a condition where blood leaks into the clear fluid (vitreous humour) that fills the eyeball, making it murky and causing vision loss.

Hiba was injured during an encounter which broke out in her village, Batgund Shopian. In the encounter, six militants along with one soldier were killed in the gunfight. Though the family was given a compensation of one lakh rupees by the state government, justice still eludes them.

Great March Protests: 72 people injured by Israeli forces



The great March protests that were organized on 7th December 2018, to demand the return of exile Palestinians to their homes, has led to a huge backlash. As per reports, Israeli forces used lethal weapons against the demonstrators and injured 72 civilians including 11 children, 1 woman and 2 paramedics in the peaceful demonstrations in the eastern Gaza Strip.

Every Friday, since the rallies began in March, demonstrations demanding the right of Palestinians to return of Palestinians were made. However, every protest were dealt with force from the Israeli forces. The protesters, on the other hand, abstained themselves from burning tires, throwing stones or incendiary balloons and from attempting to cross the border fence. The demonstrators also stayed ten meters away from the border fence, chanting slogans and demanded the return of exile Palestinians. The Israeli forces on the other side used military jeeps and excessive forces against the peaceful demonstrators by opening fire at them.

Despite the prevailing calmness, the Israeli forces fired live and rubber bullets in addition to hundreds of teargas canisters, particularly in eastern Jabalia, Gaza and al-Bureij refugee camp. Since its beginning on 30th March 2018, the Israeli response to the march has resulted in the loss of several human lives. In total, 175 civilians including 33 children have been killed while a total of 9,733 people were injured.

Pakistan is not Facing Economic Crisis: Finance Minister



On Tuesday, the finance minister of Pakistan, Asad Umar, said that there wasn’t any economic crisis in the country since all the economic indicators has improved. He further stated that there were some elements which were creating misconceptions and chaos with regard to the economy of the country.

He further stated that during the PTI government lead by prime minister Imran Khan, the country’s export had started to increase along with remittances. Given the current status of the country, Asad had said that the deficit had decreased from $2 billion per month to $1 billion. Earlier, the countries like China, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Malaysia provided aid to the country in order to meet financial crisis. Addressing the inaugural session of the 5-day 11th South Asia Economic Summit here, organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Asad said that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) was an autonomous institution and that the government fully believed in the neutrality of the bank.

He added that the PTI government had no plans in changing policy with respect to the independence of the State Bank of Pakistan and that if such requirement was needed in future, then they would do further institutionalization of the bank structure. He further stated that the exchange rate decision was taken by SBP and that there was freedom to the bank to take its decisions independently. However, the finance minister stressed the need to improve communication mechanism saying that he had also asked the SBP governor to develop a proper mechanism in this regard.

The minister also said that by the start of the current year the value of rupee against a dollar was Rs105 while by the time the interim government had handed over responsibility to the newly elected government in August this year, the value plunged to Rs128. Now, after the lapse of another 4 months, the value has decreased by Rs10.

PDP would launch agitation if Pir Panchal and Chenab Valley were not Granted Divisional Status: Mehbooba Mufti



The former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti demanded divisional status to Pir Panchal region and Chenab valley saying that if such a status was not granted, the party would launch an agitation against the governor. Mehbooba also said that the governor should not encroach upon the democratic space in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

As per reports, the governor’s administration is going to accord a divisional status to ladakh. “The demand of ladakh should be fulfilled and we are not opposing it. But we request the governor to approve the similar decision for the region of Pir Panchal and Chenab valley as well,” Mehbooba said. Meanwhile, Mehbooba also said that she hoped other mainstream parties including the National Conference and the Congress, as well as independent MLA’s were united on this issue. While justifying her demand, Mehbooba said both Pir Panjal and Chenab Valley were far-flung areas and taking such a decision “could help provide good governance and pave way for creation of hill development councils for both the regions”.

The PDP chief also said that there was a hidden agenda behind such decisions and that it was similar to the revoking of the Roshni scheme. “There is no emergency or hurry in issuing the orders that he is issuing. They can be taken when we have an elected government in place. It seems there is somebody’s hidden hand behind all this. But I hope the governor will not be a part of it,”says Mehbooba Mufti. The PDP president also said that since the state has come under governor’s rule, many decisions and orders were passed by the governor and his council which were not in the interest of Jammu and Kashmir.

From Economic Advisor to Finance Minister: The Complete Story of Haseeb Drabu’s Political Career

Decision to Drop me From Jammu and Kashmir State Cabinet Came as Surprise, Says Haseeb Drabu


On Thursday, former finance minister of Kashmir resigned from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) officially. The move is a major setback to Mehbooba Mufti who has been grappling with rebellion within the party ranks for months. Earlier, the former Jammu and Kashmir Finance minister was sacked by the former chief minister Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti from the cabinet for his remarks on Kashmir.

Drabu, who won his seat on the ticket of PDP in 2014 was the favourite of the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. He was subsequently made finance minister, because of his capabilities. Drabu then served as the economic advisor to the PDP/ Congress government from 2003-2008.

Drabu, the MLA from Pulwama district’s Rajpora constituency, started his career in 1990 with the Planning Commission of India and then served as the consultant to the Economic Advisory Council of the Prime Minister. Drabu was also associated with the Tenth Finance Commission and was a consultant to the Asian Development Bank. However, the 53-year-old economist’s political career kick-started after the 2002 J&K Assembly elections when the PDP-Congress coalition came to power and when he was made the chief economic adviser.

Later, he served as the CEO of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank from 2005 to 2010 but was sacked soon after the National Congress government came to power in 2008 due to his closeness with the PDP. However, in 2014, the PDP-BJP alliance came to power after which Drabu was appointed as the finance minister of the state.
It is also said that Drabu played an instrumental role while negotiating the terms and conditions of the agenda of the PDP-BJP alliance. Even the late Mufti Sayeed appreciated his efforts saying that “Drabu has shown us a lot of dreams, let’s see if those dreams are fulfilled”.

In 2015, the equation between Drabu and Mehbooba Mufti became uneasy, when the wife of Drabu criticised the chief minister for the killing children, blinding and maiming protesters and encountering Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. Besides that, the arrogant style of Drabu, insulting and abusive remarks from other members of the party spoiled their relationship.

The sacking of Drabu underlines sharp cracks within the PDP at a time when Mufti has publicly upped the demand for talks with Pakistan on Kashmir and her party has been at loggerheads with partner BJP over several issues. In his resignation letter addressing Party president Mehbooba Mufti, Drabu stated that it was time for him to say goodbye to the party. “It has been exactly four and a half years since I joined the J&K PDP. I may not have enjoyed every moment of it, but when I look back at it, it has been an enriching and enlightening association,” he wrote.
“You are aware that I had resigned from the cabinet, assembly and party nearly two years ago which you didn’t accept. I have disengaged myself from party affairs for quite some time now. I didn’t precipitate the matters because I believe it is ethically and morally wrong to leave the party under whose aegis one has contested and won the seat in the legislative assembly. Now that it is over, I am hereby resigning,” he added. Drabu also paid tribute to the party founder late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. He wrote that “working with party founder had made me to realise that politics is not the last refuge of scoundrels! Occasionally, people with intellectual integrity, personal honesty and moral courage can also be found here. I was exceptionally lucky to have worked with him. I just hope that when history judges Mufti sahib and his decision to ally with the BJP, it does so in the context and with the complexity that it deserves.”

The PDP was hit by a rebellion soon after its former ally BJP withdrew support to it on June 19 this year, bringing a sudden end to the Mehbooba-led government in the state. From 21 June, the state is under governor rule. Days later, seven former legislators of the party, led by former minister Imran Raza Ansari, rebelled against the party leadership. While two former legislators returned to the party fold later, Ansari joined Sajad Lone-led Peoples Conference which is the third front in J&K. Another senior PDP leader and the party’s co-founder Muzaffar Hussain Baig has also hinted at joining the “third front”.

Taxation in Pakistan: Hysteria of Sin Tax



The newly elected government of Pakistan, led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, is planning to implement bold reforms in taxation. These reforms are seen as a precondition for international assistance and necessary for the government to escape the balance of payment crisis. In order to meet his economic crisis, Khan visited several countries for financial aid. However, countries like China, UAE, and Saudi Arabia provided a large amount of aid to the Pakistani government to overcome the financial crisis.

However, there is evidence of widespread tax evasion across the country, where less than 1% of Pakistan’s 200 million people pay income tax. Apparently, the people cheat the taxation department in many ways. According to the officers of Federal Board of Revenue, “it is common for people who sell property to report the sale price to be a third or half what it actually was. Besides that in daily business transactions, it’s very common for the actual amount to be under-declared so that tax payments are massively evaded”.

As per Asad Umar, the finance minister of the new government of Pakistan, reforming tax collection would be the central part of our economic policies. More than 90% of tax revenue come from indirect taxes, which hit everyone uniformly; while only 10% comes from income tax. Meanwhile, Pakistan is going to impose a sin tax on the following of national health services. In Urdu translation, sin tax is called as “Gunnah tax” which would be imposed on cigarettes and sugary beverages which would in turn be diverted to the health budget.

Earlier, it was suggested several times in the past that sin tax should be imposed all the products which are harmful for the health. Because of health related issues, the state has to pay heavy penalties in the shape of healthcare spending and lowered human productivity.

According to the director general of the national health services, Dr Asad Hafeez, the tax on tobacco and sugar beverages is already implemented in 45 countries and Pakistan is going to implement it. The United States of America charges 1.5 USD per pack of cigarette. While the United Kingdom charges around 40 pence per litre of sugar beverages as sin tax, Thailand as well as other countries are having similar taxes imposed for health care services. He further said that Pakistan have not yet decided the exact amount for a sin tax, but it will be certainly a good amount. The general secretary of the Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH), Sanaullah Ghumman, said that his association had for many years been demanding the imposition of a sin tax.

On Twitter, the PTI minister Faisal Vawda tweeted that “I’m a chain cigarette smoker myself and I appreciate all the measures taken by the government to discourage smoking and I understand it’s injurious to health but this term ‘Gunnah Tax’ is inappropriate”. Meanwhile, the sin tax have sparked an outcry on social media. Some came in support, while as others have termed it as injustice.

Last year in October, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also started imposing taxing on soft drinks and cigarettes, in order to curb the consumption of harmful products and attempts to introduce new source of state income. India imposes a sin tax on gutka and paan masala, and the sums thus collected are spent on the healthcare sector since these products cause illnesses that become a burden on the public exchequer. As per the reports of Health professionals American Heart Association, World Health Organisation, and the Mayo Clinic, these taxes are critical in helping to change behaviour and improve health.

USA approaches Pakistan for help in Taliban Peace Talks



On Monday, the prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan disclosed that he had received a letter from the US President Donald Trump seeking Pakistan’s help in organising peace talks with the Taliban. Talking to media persons, Khan said that the USA president who had always used tough language against the nation has now requested for help. He further said that Pakistan had been repentant for its ties with the US but his government has dealt with the country on equal terms. However, Khan assured that the country would play any role to bring peace in Afghanistan.

It is noteworthy that after the 9/11 attacks, the USA invaded Afghanistan apparently to dismantle al-Qaeda. However, till date, the USA have not claimed their final victory in the global war on terror. Earlier, the former president of the USA, Barack Obama, had said that Afghan war was costly to the nation and that the time had come to remove American forces from Afghanistan.

In an interview on November 18, the US leader defended the suspension of Coalition Support Fund (CSF) on the basis of supporting terrorism. In September, Trump decided to cut off $300 million in US aid to Pakistan, accusing the country of providing a safe haven for terrorists. Prior to his election as prime minister in July, Khan had condemned Trump’s decision to cut off aid stating that it was an attempt to humiliate and insult Pakistan. He also argued that the nation should never be used again as a gun for hire.

In a letter, Khan said that Pakistan became a US proxy for a war against the Soviet Union when it entered Afghanistan and allowed the CIA to create, train, and arm jihadi groups on our soil. He also said that it was time to stand firm and give a strong response to the US.

Pakistani Police Women Foiled the Terror Attack near Chinese Consulate



Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Suhai Aziz Talpur of Pakistan, foiled a major attack near Chinese consulate in which three terrorists were eliminated and two policemen were killed. On Friday, Talpur led the operation against the terrorists near the Chinese consulate in Karachi’s Clifton. Talpur has a distinguished past as she was the first woman from lower Sindh to reach the ASP rank in the police department after passing the CSS exams.

Earlier, three terrorists of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) carried out an attack, attempting to barge into the consulate. However, the security forces could respond to the situation effectively. A joint operation, comprising Rangers and police officials, was conducted to neutralise the assailants. From the police side, SSP Suhai Aziz Talpur was at the forefront to foil the terror bid.

During the attack, all three terrorists were killed, while four people, including two police officials, were also killed in the operation. After the consulate was cleared, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah reached the consulate to meet the consul general where IGP Sindh Kaleem Imam was also present. Both the chief minister and the IGP appreciated the heroic performance of Talpur in the operation.

Six Militants killed in a Joint Operation in Anantnag Gunfight



In a joint operation launched by the Jammu and Kashmir police along with security forces in the hamlet of Saktipora village, six militants were gunned down. The slained militants were associated with both the Hizbul and the Lashkar-i-Toiba.

On Friday, as soon as the news spread, people came out of their houses in protest. There were spontaneous shutdowns and massive protests in several areas across southern Kashmir. There were also clashes between the youth and security forces at different places, in which three persons were injured after the forces fired at the protesters. “The operation, which began at 3 am, was carried out jointly by the special operations group of Jammu and Kashmir police, army and Central Reserve Police Force. It lasted for six hours and ended with the killing of four LeT and two Hizb militants,” police said.

The slain militants were later identified as Azad Ahmad Malik alias Dada of Arwani; Basit Ahmad Mir of Pushwara, Khanabal; Unais/Anees Shafi Bhat of Takyibal, Bijbehara; Atif Hassan Najar of Waghama, Bijbehara; Shahid from Kawni-Dogripora Awantipora and Firdous Ahmad Mir from Machpona, Pulwama. The security forces termed the operation as one of their successful ops, in which a top LeT commander Azad Malik known as Dada, was killed. Malik, who had joined militancy in 2016 was a close aide of another top commander of the outfit, Naveed Jatt.

As of now, the police claim that Malik was involved in the killing of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari who was shot dead with his two personal security officers by unidentified gunmen in Srinagar’s press enclave in June this year.

Imran Khan Unveils Four Point Plan to Uplift Country in Malaysia



Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled four point formula to boost the country in Malaysia. During his two day official visit to Malaysia, the prime minister that the incumbent government wanted to uplift the living standards of the poor and the downtrodden segments of the society by revamping governance and weeding out corruption. He highlighted that the government were focusing on four areas on a priority basis.

Khan spoke about the importance of trade balance as his first agenda. Citing examples of Malaysia, Khan said that unlike Malaysia which has 220 billion dollars worth of export with 30 million population, Pakistan stands at 25 billion export with the population of 221 million. Secondly, he said that the Pakistani government wishes to urge all Pakistanis residing in other countries, to use legal channels for sending money to their relatives. He said that this move could easily result in 10-15 billion dollars. The third point which Khan stated in his address was that the nation should attract foreign investment since it can become a major source of job creation and boost the economic activity in the country.

He also said eliminating the money laundering is a key concern for the government since every year, billions of dollars, flies abroad. He said that the government will not spare such elements involved in corruption and money laundering.

Dissolved Assembly for the interest of People: Governor Satya Pal Malik



The Governor of Jammu and Kashmir said that he took the decision of dissolving the Assembly keeping in mind the interest of the people and the State.

On Wednesday evening, both PDP in alliance with NC and INC and Sajad Lone’s people’s Conference with the support of BJP wrote separate letters to the governor for the formation of government in the state. The state was under the governor rule from April 21, when BJP broke the alliance with the People’s Democratic Party in the state.

The governor had dissolved the assembly within few minutes citing that there were possibilities of a derailment of the ongoing panchayat elections. He also said that if political parties who didn’t want these elections to happen, had formed the government, they would have lost stability. The governor also said that during municipal polls, nobody was harmed or killed during the exercise and the two phases of panchayat polls were conducted without any incident of violence.

Rejecting the claims of the National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party that he did not respond to their e-mails, tweets or any other mode they adopted to approach him to stake a claim for government formation, Malik said that nobody had approached him.

Political Drama Ends in Jammu and Kashmir with Dissolving of Assembly



Amidst high political drama, Governor Satya Pal Malik, dissolved the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, on Wednesday evening. The governor whose term would end in March 2021, dissolved the assembly after the political parties staked claim to form the government.

The move comes after both PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and PC chief Sajjad Gani Lone, through separate letters, had staked a claim for forming a government in the State.

The PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti wrote on Twitter that she could not reach the Governor through fax or phone and tagged the letter sent by her to the Governor on the official twitter account of Raj Bhavan. In her letter to Raj Bhavan, Mehbooba claimed that she had the support of 56 MLAs, including 15 from the National Conference and 12 from the Congress. After eight minutes, the people’s Conference chief also tweeted that he had also staked the claim for forming the government. “We have sent a letter to his Excellency the Governor, staking our claim to form the government. Fax is not working. We have whatsapped it to the PA to his Excellency,” he wrote.

The dissolution of Assembly has paved way for fresh Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, which will come under president’s rule on December 19. Political parties along with the Hurriyat questioned the move of dissolving the assembly. The Congress have blamed that governor for acting on the advice of the BJP. On the other side, the BJP chief of Jammu and Kashmir, Ram Madhav, has claimed that three parties (the Congress, the National Conference and the PDP) were acting on the orders of Pakistan.

PM Imran Khan Likely to Visit UAE for Economic Package



Prime Minister Imran Khan is Likely to Visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday for the economic package. Earlier, Saudi Arabia had come forward to aid Pakistan with an amount of $3 billion, in order to meet the financial crisis. Presently, Pakistan is facing a current account deficit of $18billion.

Meanwhile, the government of Pakistan, Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), is also making efforts to help the country from the financial crisis, by getting assistance from friendly countries.

The announcement of the unexpected visit of the prime minister came when the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was already in UAE to attend the 9th Sir Bani Yas Forum. On Twitter, the foreign minister tweeted that he would meet his counter partner of UAE, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, to discuss bilateral cooperation and regional issues of mutual interest between the two countries.

Earlier, the Prime minister visited China for the financial grant and said that the trip was successful. However, he also added that he hoped Pakistan’s balance-of-payments would be stable with Chinese assistance.

Supreme Court Dismisses the Plea Alleging Custodial Torture of Talib Hussain



The Supreme Court of India dismissed a plea filed by a close relative of Talib Hussain where it said that the key witness of Kathua gang rape and murder case, Talib Hussain, was tortured in custody. A bench comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and Deepak Gupta rejected the petition on the grounds that the petitioner failed to appear before the court despite the court’s order.

Earlier, a writ petition (Habeas Corpus) was filed by Hussain’s cousin, alleging that Hussain was kept in illegal detention and subjected to custodial torture. Family members of Hussain had also said that he was being tortured in police custody in a fake rape case.

Meanwhile, Senior advocate Indira Jaising, counsel for the petitioner had tweeted that Talib Hussain was tortured in custody. Advocate Shoaib Alam, representing the Jammu and Kashmir Police, had denied the allegations in the top court and had said since Hussain has been granted bail, the plea had become infructuous.

However, on October 22, the court had asked the petitioner to appear and respond to the application filed by his advocate seeking his discharge from the case. Since he did not appear before the court, the bench dismissed the plea stating that the key witness of Kathua case was tortured in police custody.

Hussain is a key witness in the Kathua gang rape case, in which an eight-year-old girl called Aasifa from a minority nomadic community, was brutally raped and murdered over a land dispute.

Nine Phased Panchayat Polls Begin in Jammu and Kashmir




Nine phased panchayat polls began in Jammu and Kashmir from today under amid tight security. In the first phase, around 47 blocks would go for the polls, out of which 16 blocks are from Kashmir, 21 from Jammu and 10 from Ladakh region.

Meanwhile, Mainstream parties like the National Conference (NC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the Communist Party of India (CPIM) and other small parties have decided to stay away from the electoral process. Besides that, the separatists, as well as the militant organizations, have also asked people to refrain from participating in the polls. The boycott call from mainstream parties comes after New Delhi’s “ambiguous” stand on the Article 35A, which has been challenged by the right-wing groups in the Supreme Court.

The areas going to polls in Kashmir on saturday are: Keran, Ramhal, Tarathpora, Teetwal and Tangdar in Kupwara; Gurez, Baktoor and Tulail in Bandipora; Kunzer, Uri, Parenpillan, Noorkah and Kandi-Belt Rafiabad in Baramulla; Gund in Ganderbal; Khanmoh in Srinagar and Khansahib in Budgam district. In Jammu province, the election will be held in Dachhan, Bunjwah, Marwah, Padder and Warwan in Kishtwar district; Bhalllessa, Changa, Jakyas and Chilli Pingal in Doda; Ramsoo and Khari in Ramban; Dudu Basantgarh, Latti Marothi, Panchari and Moungri in Udhampur; Bani and Duggan in Kathua; Manjakote and Panjgrain in Rajouri and Buffiaz and Surankote in Poonch. The blocks going to polls in Ladakh region are Drass, Langnak, Barsoo, Tai Suru, Durbuk, Singay Lalok, Khanu, Nyoma, Rong and Rupsho.

Pakistan Would Receive $3 Billion first Aid from Saudi Kingdom in a few Days



In order to meet the financial crisis, Saudi Arabia has come forward to aid Pakistan with an amount of $3 billion. Saudi Ambassador Nawaf Saeed Al-Malki said on Wednesday that Pakistan will receive the first instalment of Saudi aid in the next few days. In an interview to a news channel, the Saudi envoy said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would release the amount of $3 billion in terms of the balance of payment. In addition to this, the Saudi government would provide deferred payment facility for the import of oil, worth up to another $3 billion.

Saudi companies’ keen interest in investing an amount of $6-8 billion for establishing an oil refinery in Pakistan is quite significant. The envoy had stated that the kingdom would like to invest in the power sector of Pakistan and in this regard, a petrochemical industry would be established in Karachi. Moreover, he hinted that an investment would also be made in the Reko Diq project. Last month, after speculations, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia stepped forward with a $6 billion bailout package for Pakistan’s ailing economy that suffers from a balance-of-payments crisis. In this regard, arrangements were made in the second edition of the annual Future Investment Initiative (FII) Conference in Riyadh.

Meanwhile, Pakistan imports 110,000 barrels of crude per day from Saudi Arabia. Taken at the current price, the oil imports from the kingdom amount to around $3bn in a year. Pakistan, which is facing the current account deficit of $18billion, has also sought assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to deal with the aggravating balance of payments problem.

Alienation among Kashmiri Youth is more now: Omar Abdullah



The former chief minister, as well as the vice president of National Conference (NC) Omar Abdullah, said that Kashmir youth are more alienated today than they were in the early 1990s. Speaking in an event organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) London, Omar Abdullah said that instead of finding jobs in the government or private sector, the youth were joining the militancy.

“The gap between the youth and the government of India (GOI) needs to be narrowed urgently, otherwise its impact would be bad”, he said. “While we are going through our election process, I think Pakistan needs to do a bit of soul searching in terms of addressing legitimate concerns that India has,” he added.

The former chief minister said that releasing the chief of Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit Hafiz Saeed is a set back to the confidence building measures (CBMs). He further said that the releasing of stamp tax in the name of Burhan Wani did not help. The glorifying of Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani and others, by Pakistan, was one of the reasons why India called off the proposed meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi in New York in September. “Pakistan is our neighbour; whatever concerns we have with Pakistan, we have accepted that war is not an option. So, the only option available to us is talks. We need to resolve our differences through dialogue. But for that, at some stage, Pakistan will also have to take India’s concerns on board,” Omar said.

Basant Rath Transferred from IGP Traffic Jammu and Kashmir after an online tiff with Srinagar Mayor



Inspector General of Police (Traffic) Basant Kumar Rath was reportedly transferred after his tiff with the newly appointed Srinagar Mayor Junaid Mattu. Alok Kumar was appointed as the new IGP traffic of Jammu and Kashmir, in his place. Rath, which is known as “Singham” in Kashmir, had a verbal tiff with Mattu on Twitter. In a tweet, Rath called had Mattu “cabbage” on the issue of Srinagar’s wetlands. He also countered Mattu on traffic de-congestion of Srinagar by asking him not to breach his mandate.

From yesterday, social media was rife with the news of the transfer of Rath. Several young men and women had come out in support of Rath stating that he was people-friendly, pro-valley and an honest police officer. They also said that he not only closed the doors of corruption but also managed the traffic de-congestion across the state.

Meanwhile, Rath also came to the attention of India media when he replied to a tweet by Virat Kohli. In the tweet, Kohil had told a fan to leave the country if he wasn’t supporting any batsman. In his reply, Rath wrote, “Dear Virat Kohli, I love Javed Miandad. You please keep your cricket patriotism to yourself, and to your advertisement contracts.”

Rath, the 2000-batch Indian Police Service officer from Orissa, has been one of the most known faces of the Jammu and Kashmir police on social media platforms.

Palestinians Observe 14th Death Anniversary of Yasser Arafat



On Sunday, Palestinians observed the 14th death anniversary of the leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah.

The late president was born in Jerusalem on August 4, 1929, as Muhammad Yasser Abdul Ra’ouf Daoud Suleiman Arafat al-Kidwa al-Husseini. He was educated in Cairo and had participated as a reservist officer in the Egyptian army, to fight the tripartite aggression against Egypt, in 1956.

In 1969, Arafat led the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and later on, became the first president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) since its establishment in 1994, following the signing of the interim Oslo Accords between the PLO and Israel in 1993. Arafat had miraculously escaped death in 1985 when Israeli forces had raided Hammam al-Shat suburb of Tunis, which led to the death and wounding of dozens of Palestinians and Tunisians. After the break out of Intifada I in December 1987, which is known for stone pelting, Arafat lived outside the country. However, he continued to fight political battles at an international level for the recognition of the Palestinian people.

The Israeli government had attempted to assassinate Arafat many a time. Though all of them were unsuccessful, it has been alleged that Arafat was killed using poison. Investigations on Arafat’s death, however, have stated otherwise.

Pakistan Celebrates 141st Birthday of National Poet Iqbal



Pakistan celebrated the 141st birth anniversary of national poet and philosopher Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal with traditional zeal and fervour today. The day was celebrated with special prayers in the mosques, where the preachers threw light on the life history of Iqbal and prayed for the peace, national integrity, prosperity and development of the country.

Dr Iqbal was born on 9 November 1877 in Sialkot, within the Punjab Province of British India (now in Pakistan). He was not only a poet and philosopher but he was also a freedom fighter. A close correspondent of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, he gave the idea of a separate nation of Pakistan to Jinnah. Iqbal is also admired by Indians for writing the patriotic song Tarani-Hindi, popularly known as ‘Sare Jahan se Aacha’. The song acquired the status of a national anthem in India, during the British rule. After partition, Iqbal moved to Pakistan, where the government officially declared him as the national poet.

A large number of people including the students of different schools and colleges and their teachers visited the Iqbal Manzil in Sialkot as a part of the celebrations. Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar visited Allama Iqbal’s Mausoleum in Lahore and laid a floral wreath at the grave of the celebrated poet. On the occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Pakistanis could achieve high distinction in the comity of the nations by understanding the concept of ‘Shaheen’ and philosophy of ‘Khudi’ of Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal and adopting it in practical life.

Kathua Rape and Murder Case: Crime Branch Presses Perjury Charges against the Witness



The crime branch of Jammu and Kashmir has commenced the process of pressing perjury charges against a witness in the case of rape and murder of eight-year-old Aasifa after he withdrew a confessional statement recorded in front of the magistrate.

The session judge of Pathankot, Tejwinder Singh issued a show cause notice to Ajay Kumar to explain why an action shouldn’t be initiated against him. Earlier, the district and session court has framed charges under various sections of the Penal Code including 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder) and 376-D (gang rape). The accused against whom charges were framed were Sanji Ram, his son Vishal, special police officers Deepak Khajuria alias Deepu and Surinder Verma, Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, head Constable Tilak Raj, and sub inspector Arvind Datta.

On February 27, Ajay Kumar had recorded his statement before the magistrate that one of the accused Parvesh Kumar alias “Mannu” had given a graphical description about the rape and subsequent murder of Aasifa. The show cause notice served to Kumar stated that they were initiating action against him for voluntarily retracting from a statement under section 164-A CrPC during the deposition as a prosecution witness before the court.

PC Junaid Mattu Elected as Srinagar Mayor



Junaid Mattu
PC Junaid Mattu Elected as Srinagar Mayor

On Tuesday, Junaid Mattu was elected as Mayor of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) with the support of right-wing Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and its ally, Peoples Conference (PC).

Mattu was the former spokesperson of the National Conference (NC), who had resigned from the NC in September to contest for the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) polls. Out of 74 votes, Mattu managed to clinch 40 while his rival Ghulam Rasool Hajam of Congress secured 26 votes. Four votes were declared invalid. Meanwhile, Sheikh Imran, an independent candidate, backed by the Congress was elected as the deputy mayor. He got 35 votes while his rival Saleem Lone, an independent candidate backed by the PC, got 34 votes. One vote was rejected.

The governor of Jammu and Kashmir Satya Pal Malik, without naming Mattu, had earlier hinted that Srinagar would get a foreign educated mayor. The governor’s remark was strongly opposed by other political parties who stated that the elections were rigged. Speaking to press conference, Mattu said that his focus would be on the development of Srinagar. “I am committed to providing the better facilities to the people. I will make Srinagar a model city,” he said.

Kewal Kumar Sharma is the New Advisor to Jammu and Kashmir Governor



K K Sharma
Kewal Kumar Sharma is the New Advisor to Jammu and Kashmir Governor

The Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Satya Pal Malik appointed Kewal Kumar Sharma, a former bureaucrat, as his fourth advisor.

K K Sharma is a 1983-batch IAS officer of AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories) cadre. He had worked earlier as the secretary of higher education in the Union ministry of human resources development in February this year.

The appointment of 4th Advisor to Governor from outside the State is aimed at giving representation to Jammu province in the Governor’s team. Besides that, it also indicates that the state is in for a long spell of Governor’s rule. Interestingly, the Governor is constitutionally bound to dissolve state assembly by or before December 17 this year, if a new government is not put in place before that time.

Kashmir Valley Receives First Snowfall in November after 9 Years



Kashmir Valley Receives First Snowfall in November after 9 Years

On Saturday afternoon, after a period of nine years, Kashmir received its first snowfall.

Last time, the valley had witnessed snowfall in 2009. This is the fourth time since 2000 that the valley has recorded snowfall in November. Most parts of Kashmir received the snowfall from Saturday morning. However, in Srinagar, it began to snow in the afternoon.

According to MeT officials, Srinagar recorded 4 cm of snow, while the city recorded a maximum of 6.3 degrees Celsius temperature and a minimum of 8.6 degrees Celsius. Gulmarg recorded 31 cm snowfall and recorded a maximum of minus 1.3 degree Celsius temperature and a minimum of 3.0 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, Pahalgam received 18 cm of snowfall. The temperature at the place was a maximum of 6.2 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 0.4 degrees Celsius. Kupwara recorded 2 cm of snow while a minimum of 6.3 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 2.9 degrees Celsius temperature.

Within hours of the snowfall, the trees were uprooted and electricity was suspended in most parts of the valley. The rural areas also reeled under darkness due to power failure. The Director of MET department, Sonam Lotus informed reporters that the weather would start improving fully from Monday. He also said that the sky would remain cloudy. “In next 24 hours there can be scattered rains and snow, but the weather will overall improve from Monday,” he said.

Scores of heavy and light vehicles which were moving from Srinagar to Jammu were stranded at the road. The Famous Mughal road and Srinagar-Leh continued to remain closed while roads leading to hilly areas that included Tangdhar, Machil and Keran in northern Kashmir have been closed for traffic. Along with traffic, the airport officials also cancelled ten flights from Srinagar International Airport because of bad weather. “There was poor visibility and runway was under snow,” officials said adding that they were hopeful that operations will start tomorrow. “Snow is being cleared from the runway,” they added.

State Secretary of BJP and brother killed by unknown gunmen in Kishtwar



parihar brothers
Two Bothers Affiliated with BJP were Killed by Unknown Gunmen in Kishtwar

On Thursday evening, unknown gunmen killed two brothers, who were affiliated with BJP in Kishtwar. According to police sources, Anil Parihar, state secretary of BJP and his elder brother Ajit Parihar were returning home after closing their shop at Tappal Mohalla in Old Town, when unidentified attackers opened fire on them near the Veterinary hospital.

An official said that both of them were fired from point blank range, when they were returning to their residence in Parihar Mohalla. As soon as the news broke out in the area, the situation worsened. BJP supporters came out from their homes and started protesting against the killings.

Reportedly, some persons attacked and manhandled senior superintendent of police Kishtwar Rajinder Gupta and a local station house officer Sameer Jeelani at a hospital. Both the police officers were said to be injured and were admitted in a hospital for treatment.

However, police sources confirmed that an FIR has been logged and investigation was started to find out whether the attack was carried out by militants or if it was a criminal incident. Meanwhile, deputy commissioner Kishtwar Angrez Singh Rana imposed curfew in Kishtwar town and issued shoot at sight orders, in lieu of the tense situation. The extremist Hindu organizations like the Sanatan Dharm Sabha and Vishwa Hindu Parishad organisations called for shutdown on Friday across Chenab Valley region. Various leaders from different political parties condemned the act and demanded that justice be delivered to the Parihar family. After breaking the news, Home minister Rajnath Singh said he was shocked and pained by the killing of Parihar and his brother. “My heart goes out to the bereaved family.”

Vijay Kumar, advisor of Jammu and Kashmir Governor also condemned the murder of Parihar brothers and said that the police will leave no stone unturned to bring the perpetrators to justice. On twitter, Former chief minister and National Conference gave his condolences to the deceased while the National Conference’s provincial president Devender Singh Rana, strongly condemned the killing of Parihar and his brother, describing the incident as “barbaric, inhuman and most unfortunate.”

JRL to frame Joint Strategy to help Kashmiris amidst suppression from Indian forces



JRL image
JRL to frame Joint Strategy to help Kashmiris amidst suppression from Indian forces

The Joint Resistance leadership (JRL) comprising of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, on Tuesday stated that the suppression from Indian forces had become unbearable for the people of Kashmir Valley and said that they have decided to frame a comprehensive joint strategy in consultation with political and religious organizations, lawyers, traders, transporters, employees, academicians and civil society to counter it. According to the JRL statement,“ to defeat these cruel designs of New-Delhi we will have wide-ranging consultations with all factions of the society including political organizations, religious organizations, lawyers, traders, transporters, employees, academicians, civil society and others to frame a comprehensive joint strategy and present it before the people.”

After being set free from house detention, both leaders Yasin Malik and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq visited the Hyderpora residence of Syed Ali Geelani where the trio had a thorough discussion over the prevailing situation in Kashmir. The JRL also strongly condemned the bloodshed, night raids, arrest spree of youth, thrashing of residents during CASO and damaging property at large scale across the Kashmir by the Indian forces present in the Valley. “The forces in the valley have crossed all barriers against the people of Kashmir and the youth are being selectively killed and property damaged under a sinister design to consolidate the grip of control over Jammu & Kashmir by New-Delhi,” the statement read. The JRL also criticised the army for resorting to human rights violation in the valley and the electronic media of India who projected Kashmir and Kashmiris in a such a colour that brutality was justified.

They also said that, despite ultimate repression being unleashed across Kashmir, every single citizen of Kashmir would commit to their birthright (the right to self-determination), and the ongoing struggle would continue at all levels.
Meanwhile, the Indian army Chief Bipin Rawat’s recent statement has given further encouragement to the men in uniform to increase brutality and killing against Kashmiris. Earlier, a soldier who was injured in stone pelting had succumbed to his injuries and the death had created a huge outcry in different states of India. Various political parties of India demanded a stern action against the stone pelters.

Militants Attack BSF Vehicle at Srinagar: Three Troops Injured



Militants Attack BSF Vehicle at Srinagar: Three Troops Injured

Three Border Security Force (BSF) men were injured after militants attacked their vehicle at Pantha Chowk, Srinagar on Monday evening. This is the third major attack in a week. Earlier, militants had attacked the army camp at Tral, in which two troops were killed and the CISF camp in Nowgam Srinagar, in which one officer was killed.

As per police statement, three BSF men were injured after their vehicle bearing number WB-739998 was attacked near Zewan crossing at Pantha Chowk (Srinagar) in the evening. The condition of all the injured officers is stable as of now. After the attack, the police, CRPF and other counter-insurgency forces launched a search operation in the area to track down the militants. However, no arrests were reported.

Meanwhile, Pakistan sponsored terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba has taken the responsibility of the attack. According to the spokesman of the outfit, Dr Abdullah Ghaznavi, “After the attack, militants escaped from the site and reached their safe destination,” he said.

Governor Exposed the Fraud Recruitment in Jammu and Kashmir Bank Creates Outcry



Governor Exposed the Fraud Recruitment in Jammu and Kashmir Bank Creates Outcry


Governor Satya Pal Malik exposed the fraud recruitment in the Jammu and Kashmir Bank recently, in an interview with Times Now, which evoked a strong reaction from the political parties demanding an impartial investigation into the matter. Talking to the reporter on Times Now, the governor said that the politicians in the previous BJP-PDP government had changed the entire selection list of candidates to accommodate their relatives and workers in the J&K Bank.

The Governor said that despite eligible candidates clearing all examinations and figuring in the selection list of the J&K Bank recruitment, their appointments were replaced by those who were connected to the political parties. The governor also revealed that the J&K Bank Chairman told him that nearly 582 youth recruited by the Bank were replaced with political appointees.

This is the second great disclosure that governor had made in a week. Earlier, Malik had cancelled the health insurance policy awarded to Reliance General insurance Company Ltd saying that it was “full of fraud” and its implementation was “erroneous”.

Meanwhile, the National Conference (NC) and the Congress have demanded a high-level probe into the matter. The NC Vice President and the former chief minister, Omar Abdullah accused the previous PDP-BJP government for scamming
On micro-blogging site, he tweeted,“More skeletons fall out of the cupboard PDP-BJP changed the entire select list of J&K Bank to appoint favourites: Guv”.

The NC General Secretary, Ali Muhammad Sagar, on the other hand, said that the party had raised the issue earlier in the last assembly session but the PDP-BJP government denied any “fraud”. Sagar also said that at that time, the Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu, in his reply to the assembly, categorically denied any political interference in the recruitment process.

The State Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir have also come out strongly against the PDP-BJP government for resorting to favouritism in J&K Bank’s recruitment policy. Mir said the Congress had raised the matter with the Governor and had held a protest rally when the issue had come to the fore, sometime back. Mir also said that the government without wasting any time, should order a high-level probe under a sitting High Court judge to expose all politicians involved in this scam.

Meanwhile, the PDP and the BJP also supported the demand for a high-level probe into the matter and said that they were ready to face any investigation. PDP spokesman Rafi Ahmad Mir said that the party fully approved a high-level probe into the matter. Besides that, the BJP General Secretary, Ashok Koul, said that the Governor should reveal the names of those politicians involved in helping their own people to secure jobs. “The BJP never resorted to bias and our party represents the voice of the marginalised people. Let there be a probe into the matter,” he said.

J&K Bank Chairman and CEO, Parvez Ahmed, rejected the scam that the governor revealed and said that the recruitment drive was carried out with transparency and fairness. “The bank is open to public scrutiny on this. There is no scope of any tinkering in the merit list prepared by the reputed national-level professional recruitment agency, the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS).”

Autonomy is the Best Way to Solve Kashmir Dispute: Omar Abdullah



omar abdullah
Autonomy is the Best Way to Solve Kashmir Dispute: Omar Abdullah

Addressing a provincial meet of party functionaries at the party’s Nawa-e-Subah headquarters, the National Conference vice-president, Omar Abdullah said granting autonomy was the only practical solution to the problem of Jammu Kashmir. “Every day we hear news about killings, gunfights, crackdowns, CASO’s across the State. South was already boiling but now even Srinagar is witnessing massive gunfights and crackdowns. It seems that the government has lost its writ over the situation in Kashmir,” he said.

Omar said autonomy affords a practical way out. “It is high time for the Government of India to implement the resolution of autonomy. It is the only realistic solution to the age-old problem. J&K is a unique State and needs a special dispensation in terms of regional autonomy to satisfy the needs of the State,” he said.

Meanwhile, Omar also said that the lack of infrastructure and unemployment is one the biggest problem in Kashmir and the people in the State were also suffering due to non-governance and lack of accountability. He also said that the situation on the ground is a mess and that the security scenario worsened it.

Recently, in laroo Kulgam, seven civilians including a 10 year old boy were killed in a blast near the gunfight site. However, Omar said that the NC would continue to hold the torch of amity and brotherhood in the State. “Our State is an example of different cultures and ethnicity, with a unique socio-political baggage. Our party has and will resist any attempt aimed to fiddle with State’s special status or dividing the State on communal lines,” he said.

The NC Vice President also expressed concern on the ambiguity of Government of India on Article 35 A. He said that the mission of our party is to work for the socio-political emancipation of downtrodden in an unbiased manner without much ordeal and slogan mongering. “Our development agenda is inclusive encompassing all corners of our State,” he added.

Ready to talk with Hurriyat only when they stop taking advice from Pakistan: Governor



Ready to talk with Hurriyat only when they stop taking advice from Pakistan: Governor

Governor Satya Pal Malik showed the willingness to talk with Hurriyat leaders only when they stop to take advice from Pakistan. It has been a long time since there was any dialogue between the Government of India and top Hurriyat leaders. However, during the PDP/BJP rule, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had taken initiative to have talks with separatist leaders. However, all the top leaders boycotted the dialogue.

Speaking in an event at Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC), the Governor said that his job was to create a peaceful atmosphere in the Valley and facilitate talks between the Government of India and all stakeholders. Malik said that after his appointment as J&K Governor, he had been able to meet only a few politicians till date. “I haven’t held talks with all stakeholders and so far I have only met Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Muhammad Yusuf Tarigami,” he said.

The Governor said, “As far as Hurriyat is concerned, they don’t even go to the toilet without asking Pakistan, and if they don’t keep Pakistan aside, no talks will be held with them.” He also said that in the past few months, the violence in the Valley had seen a decline with less recruitment of militants. “It is not because of me but this was possible due to the willingness of the people to see peace,” Malik said. Meanwhile, last week, ten civilians, 11 militants and four soldiers were killed in different gunfights that occurred at different parts across the valley.

The governor also accepted that the valley witnessed low voter turnout in municipal polls due to the threat of militants. Earlier, militants had warned that all those who were going to contest or either polling their vote would face dire consequences. Without naming the National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the Governor appealed to all political parties that they should participate in the upcoming panchayat polls to utilise funds for the welfare of people at the grassroots level.

Earlier, addressing a gathering, Malik said that the Kashmir problem started in Delhi many years ago and that the Kashmiris could not be blamed for the ongoing unrest in the Valley. However, he added that the incumbent government at New Delhi wanted the welfare of the people in Kashmir and were taking every step to bring peace and prosperity in the State.

Kashmir Valley Observes Shutdown to Mourn the Kulgam Killings



Image of Kulgam
Kashmir Valley Observes Shutdown to Mourn the Kulgam Killings

On the second consecutive day, Kashmir valley observed shutdown to mourn the Kulgam Killings. The shutdown call was given by the joint resistance leadership over the killings of civilians in a blast near encounter site in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.

On Sunday, a gunfight started between militants and security forces in Laroo village of Kulgam in which three militants were killed and three security forces were also injured. Soon after the gunfight, people from the nearby villages visited the site, where a blast occurred in which 7 people were killed and more than two dozen people were injured, who were admitted in different hospitals of Kulgam, Anantnag and Srinagar.

Meanwhile, the authorities imposed restrictions in parts of Kulgam town and other districts to prevent youth from taking to roads and staging protests against the killing of civilians. As per police sources, section 144 were imposed in Kulgam as a precautionary measure. Heavy contingents of police and CRPF were also deployed on streets while barricades and were placed on roads to restrict movement of the public in the town. Mobile internet service in the town also remained suspended in order to maintain law and order.

However, despite all restrictions, people visited the district in large numbers to mourn the killing. According to reports, people took to streets at several villages like Khudwani, Qaimoh, Hawoora, Poniwaha, Laroo and DH Pora and staged protests against the killing of seven civilians in a blast at gunfight site at Laroo village. They also offered funeral prayers in absentia for slain civilians and militants at several villages of Kulgam.

Meanwhile, shops, business establishments, schools, colleges and private offices remained closed in Valley while top separatist leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik were placed under house arrest while others were detained.

AMU Revokes Suspension of Kashmiri Students



AMU Revokes Suspension of Kashmiri Students

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Administration revoked the suspension of Kashmiri students who were also charged with sedition in relation to the protest march organised at AMU following the encounter of Manan Wani. The students were accused of raising anti-India slogans and holding namaz-e-janaza (prayer meeting) for Manan Wani. Manan Bashir Wani was a Hizbul Mujahideen commander who was encountered by the Indian army at Handwara district. He was pursuing his PhD in geology from the University before he joined Hizbul.

In a response given to the press, AMU PRO Omar Peerzada said, “A three-member committee had been constituted to look into the matter, which concluded that the ‘suspension will be harsh for their act and conduct’. Based on the evidence found by the committee it was decided that the suspension order be revoked.” Sharjeel Usmani, a student of AMU, talked to TWJ correspondent that on the 11th, when the news came out that Manan had been encountered, around 200 Kashmiri students assembled near the Kennedy Hall of the campus. “Some people came to oppose them. The proctor came with around 60-70 security personnel. Proctor office was told that they have gathered there to offer Namaaz-e-Janaza. This is not true. They were sitting there and discussing the situation in Kashmir. The students who opposed this started manhandling the Kashmiri students in the presence of the proctor and they dispersed,” he said.

The AMU proctorial office later send show cause notices to 9 students and 9 of them were suspended. “When we received the list, we got to know that out of 9, 7 have already passed from the campus and only two were present at the situation which clearly means that the suspension happened without an enquiry process,” Sharjeel said.

Following this, Mehbooba Mufti, former J&K Chief Minister, called for the intervention of central government to the issue and also demanded that sedition charges be dropped. Students of AMU also called for a protest to condemn the university decision, where around 1200 Kashmiri students threatened to leave the campus en masse.

“When we asked the proctor about the suspension, he responded that he was given a list of 9 students from the intelligence. Later we came to know that 3 of them were charged with sedition as well by the district police. This is when Kashmiri students in the campus declared that if it is not revoked, they would leave the campus as they don’t feel safe here,” says Sharjeel. Following the submission of the enquiry committee report and repeated deliberations came the decision to revoke the suspension.

“The lack of proper enquiry suggests that they consider all Kashmiri students as potential terrorists. We then decided to launch a protest and all students who were in solidarity joined. At the end of this, the suspension was revoked. However, we haven’t heard from the police yet regarding the sedition charges,” Sharjeel adds. ABVP has also marked its protest against reinstating the suspended students. They called the decision a clear case of blackmailing by the Kashmiri students and condemned the same.

Journalists Were Thrashed By Forces at Fateh Kadal Gunfight Site



Beating of Journalists(Image)
Journalists Were Thrashed By Forces at Fateh Kadal Gunfight Site

The police along with other security forces thrashed and abused around a dozen journalists and photographers at the gunfight site in Fateh Kadal area of Srinagar while performing their duties. A gunfight had broken out on Wednesday morning at the Fateh Kadal area of Srinagar where two local militants, a civilian and a policeman were killed.

As per the journalists who were abused by the police, they had followed the orders of police and was well within the line that the police had drawn for them. “Men from the fire and emergency services were dousing the fire. However, the masked policemen started beating and abused us for doing our professional duty.” the reporters said.

According to Arshid Hussain, who works for ABP news channel, “We were performing our duties when forces started hurling abuses on us. An officer of SP rank along with other forces manhandled us and even fired pellets to scare us.” “It was shocking to see a senior officer trying to choke neck of a photojournalist,” he added. Meanwhile, The Kashmir Press Club (KPC) have condemned the thrashing of journalists by government forces in Fateh Kadal.

According to the statement issued by KPC, they expressed shock over this behaviour by the forces and hoped the state administration would take a note of this and act. Besides that, the Jammu and Kashmir Editors Forum (JKEF) also condemned forces’ action on reporters, video journalists and photographers. According to the spokesman of JKEF, shooting journalists in order to scare them was against the professionalism as well as an act of cowardice. Meanwhile, the JKEF spokesperson urged the government to ensure safety and protection of media persons working in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Kashmir Press Photographers Association (KPPA) and Kashmir Journalist Association (KJA), also condemned the police brutality on journalist and photographers. In a statement both the organizations blamed the police and other government forces for harassing and assaulting journalists.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir National conference has condemned the thrashing of journalists by security forces at the gun-fight site in the Fateh Kadal locality of Srinagar. In a statement issued from the party headquarters here at Nawa -e -Subhu Srinagar, Party Provincial Spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar condemned the forces and said that the Kashmir press fraternity had suffered immensely.

AMU Sedition Row: Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Discussed the Matter with the MHRD and the VC



AMU Sedition Row: Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Discussed the Matter with the MHRD and the VC

The Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Satya Pal Malik intervened in the AMU sedition row. On Tuesday, he discussed the matter with the union minister for human resource development Prakash Javadekar and sought his intervention to “ensure smooth studies” of Kashmiri students studying at the Aligarh Muslim University or even in other universities.

Earlier, the university varsity had issued sedition notice to three Kashmiri scholars for organizing the funeral for Dr Manan Wani in Absentia. Wani, a PhD scholar from the AMU had died in a gunfight earlier in Shatgund village of Kupwara of northern Kashmir on Thursday. He survived nine months after quitting the varsity to join the militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen.

As per officials, the governor urged Javadekar and Prof Tariq to ensure that the issue is resolved at the earliest and that there is no disruption of studies of the Kashmiri students. Meanwhile, the J&K students at AMU have held a protest demonstration against the sedition charges. The protesting students also submitted a memorandum to the varsity authorities, saying if the sedition charges were not withdrawn, more than 1,200 J&K students would leave the campus on October 17.

The students of Kashmir University also marched in solidarity with the AMU students and appealed the VC to revoke the suspension of three Kashmiri scholars. Along with that, the Kashmiri students of JNU, Jamia Milia, Central University of Gujarat and other universities also extended their support and solidarity with the AMU students. Earlier, the Kashmiri students at AMU had clarified that they had no organised any funeral prayer for Manan Wani near the Kennedy Hall.

Meanwhile, the additional director general of UP police (law and order) Anand Kumar, said that the suspension of two Kashmiri students studying at the Aligarh Muslim University has been revoked. He said that no student will be hounded or arrested. “We will take the account of students into consideration and if they have not done any wrong, we will definitely drop the charges against them,” he said.

Boycott over Ballot is a clear Message to New Delhi: Joint Resistance Leadership



JRL image
Boycott over Ballot is a clear Message to New Delhi: Joint Resistance Leadership

With the end of fourth and last phase of urban local body polls, it seems as if the valley prefer boycott over ballot. The JRL have claimed that the shutdown suggested how alienated people felt with respect to New Delhi.

The Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik said that the rejection of the elections by 95 percent people is a clear indication that people of Kashmir wanted permanent solution on the Kashmir dispute.

The leadership also commended people of J&K for showing political maturity and commitment to the cause of self-determination through boycott of this ULB polls.

By rejecting the elections, the JRL said that the people of Kashmir have conveyed that they are under forcible control since 1947. “In reality, India used military power by which they are ruling in Kashmir and whose consequence is severe repression and coercion. In such situations, democratic processes lose all credibility. J&K is a dispute and its people are asking for its resolution,” stated the JRL.

Meanwhile, the JRL also expressed serious concern over sedition charges against two Kashmiri students studying at the Aligarh Muslim University for allegedly planning funeral prayers in absentia for scholar-turned-militant Dr Manan Wani.

Fourth and Last Phase of Urban Local Body Poll Ends in Jammu and Kashmir



Fourth and Last Phase of Urban Local Body Poll Ends in Jammu and Kashmir

The fourth and last phase of Urban Local Body (ULB) polls ended today under tight security. The last phase was contested only in 36 wards out of 132, while as the candidates from other wards were elected uncontested. Polls began from morning 6 am up to 4 pm, which remained normal as per sources. However, boycott of polls was also prevalent in the last phase.

Meanwhile, the authorities had heavy security near the polling stations and forces had set up checkpoints in different places across Srinagar and Ganderbal, where the vehicles and commuters were thoroughly searched. The police along with the paramilitary forces also carried out area-domination exercises over the last couple of days. During the last phase, eight municipal bodies spanning across six districts in Kashmir valley were scheduled to go for polls. However, out of the eight, only two bodies contested for polls.

The Ganderbal Municipal Committee saw voting in 12 wards out of the 17 in total. The rest of the bodies like Pattan in Baramulla district of north Kashmir, Pampore, Pulwama and Khrew in Pulwama district in south, Shopian Municipal Committee in Shopian district in south and Dooru Verinag in Anantnag district also in south Kashmir saw no voting. In the Pampore municipal body, which has 17 wards, five candidates were elected unopposed, while 12 wards received no nomination papers. Out of the 13 wards in Pulwama municipal body, no candidate was in the fray in 11 wards while two candidates were elected unopposed.

In Shopian, out of 17 wards, 12 were elected unopposed, while five others did not receive nominations. In Dooru Anantnag, 16 candidates were elected uncontested, while one ward received no nomination. In total, out of the 132 wards across the eight bodies, 44 wards received no nominations while 52 wards saw candidates getting elected uncontested.

Overall, the voter turnout in the first three phases of the civic polls in the valley has been low. In the first phase, which was held on October 08, the valley witnessed only 8.3 percent votes in the 83 wards. The poll percentage fell to an abysmal 3.4 per cent in the second phase held on October 10. The third phase of polling for civic bodies in Kashmir on October 13 witnessed a low turnout of just 3.5 per cent, in line with the trend set in the first two phases.

Students of Kashmir University Marched in Solidarity with Aligarh Muslim University Students



Kashmir University
Students of Kashmir University Marched in Solidarity with Aligarh Muslim University Students

A march was carried out by the students of Kashmir University, Hazratbal on Monday in support of the students who were suspended for organizing the funeral of Mannan Wani at Aligarh Muslim University.

The students from all departments staged a protest march in solidarity with Kashmiri students in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) for facing “harassment” over funeral prayers for scholar-turned-militant Mannan Wani. As per reports, the students from various departments took out a march and assembled outside the humanities Block where they raised pro-freedom slogans. They demanded that the suspension of Kashmiri Scholars at AMU be revoked.

According to the students who took part in the protest, the peaceful march was organised to protest the killing of Mannan Wani and to express solidarity with AMU students who were facing harassment in the AMU campus for trying to offer funeral prayer in absentia for Wani.

Manan Wani was enrolled in the department of applied geology at AMU before he joined the militants. Wani survived 09 months in militancy and was killed at Shatgund village of Kupwara, some days ago. The valley had witnessed complete shutdown to mourn Wani and his associate, and clashes had broken out at different parts among the youth and the security forces. Roads that were heading to his village were sealed and people offered funeral prayer in absentia at different places.

The protesting students also carried banners with pictures of former KU faculty member-turned-militant Dr Rafi Bhat, who was killed during a gun-fight in March earlier this year. Rafi Bhat was an assistant professor in the department of Sociology and had survived only 36 hour in militancy when he was killed along with district commander of Shopian in an encounter staged in a village of Shopian.

Meanwhile, the Kashmiri students studying at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) have threatened to leave for their homes on October 17, if the sedition charges against three of them were not dropped. In a letter to AMU vice-chancellor, AMU student’s union former vice-president Sajjad Rathar said, “If this vilification does not stop, more than 1,200 Kashmiri students will leave for their homes in the Kashmir Valley on October 17 as the last option.”

AMU Scholar turned militant Manan Wani killed along with associate in Handwara Gunfight



AMU Scholar turned militant Manan Wani killed along with associate in Handwara Gunfight

Manan Wani, a PhD scholar of Aligarh Muslim University was killed along with his associate in a gunfight with security forces at Shatgund village of Handwara in north Kashmir’s Kupwara District on Thursday.

According to police sources, the Army, CRPF and SOG men had launched a joint cordon and search operation around 2:30 am at Shatgund village after receiving inputs about the presence of militants in the area. During the searches, the militants fired on the forces which triggered an encounter in which two Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed. After the gunfight had started, clashes broke out between the youth and the forces near the encounter site. The clashes spread to the areas of Handwara, Kupwara, Pulwama and Shopian and also broke out in parts of downtown Srinagar.

The deceased militants were identified as Manan Bashir Wani, son of Bashir Ahmed Wani and Ashiq Hussain Zargar, son of Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Zargar.  The bodies of militants were handed over to their family for last rites. Manan’s body was kept at a local playground where people in large numbers paid homage to him.

As soon as his body reached his native village, a large number of people gathered to raise pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. The funeral of Wani was held at 7 pm and thousands of people from various areas of Lolab participated with amidst tears. However, media persons were not allowed to cover the funeral.

Before joining militancy, Manan was pursuing PhD in applied Geology at Aligarh Muslim University. After joining Hizb, Manan wrote two letters where he explained why he and other highly educated youth of Kashmir valley took to gun. However, the whole valley mourns the death of the scholar. Politicians, separatists, students, activists, press bodies and the bar council have paid homage to the scholar. Former Chief Minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said that the “PhD scholar-turned militant commander Manan Wani preferring death in an encounter over life should make political parties realise the gravity of the situation and facilitate dialogue with all stakeholders to end the bloodshed in Jammu and Kashmir”. JRL comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik expressed grief over the killing of Wani. In a statement, they said that “It is an immense tragedy of Kashmir that our budding youth, professors and engineers, intellectuals and writers like Manan, the future of our nation, are paying the price of the greed and follies of those, who since 1947 misled the people through deceit and in violation of international principles of humanity and justice, pushed them under the yoke of occupation for the past 71 years now”.

Meanwhile, authorities have suspended mobile internet service in Kupwara district and closed the educational institutions in the area as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order. Besides that, educational institutions around Bandipora, Pattan and Baramulla were also closed.

Kashmir records 3.5 percent turnout for third phase of ULB polls



JRL image
Kashmir records 3.5 percent turnout for third phase of ULB polls

In the third phase of urban local body polls, Kashmir valley recorded 3.5 percent turnout while Jammu witnessed 81.4 percent voter turnout.

According to the State’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Shaleen Kabra, the state witnessed an overall polling of 16.4 percent in phase-III of civic polls today. The Jammu division witnessed 81.4 percent polling in 4 ULBs of district Samba.

The valley observed complete shutdown because of the killing of Dr Manan Wani, which impacted the third phase completely. The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) had given a strike call to mourn the death of Wani as well as to boycott the third phase of municipal polls. Kabra also said that the lowest poll percentage of 1.8 percent was recorded in Srinagar, where 20 wards including 10 each in uptown and downtown went to the polls today. As per witnesses, the polling booths in Srinagar were deserted. However, Anantnag district recorded 3.2 percent turnout.

In Jammu division, highest polling percentage of 85.73 percent was recorded in Bari Brahmana. Although 207 wards in the state were scheduled to go to polls in the third phase, polling was only held in 96 wards — 56 in Samba district in Jammu division and 40 in the Valley. While 49 candidates for third phase were declared uncontested, there were no candidates for 62 wards falling in Pulwama and Anantnag district of south Kashmir, which is otherwise known as the hub of militancy in the valley.

The 4th and final phase of the municipal polls would be held on October 16.

Mainstream parties question the impartiality of Governor’s office in J&K




Mainstream parties question the impartiality of Governor’s office in J&K

The National Conference (NC) and the Congress questioned the impartiality of the Governor Satyapal Malik when he favoured the appointment of Junaid Azim Mattu as the Mayor of Srinagar. Mattu was the spokesperson of NC earlier and after boycotting Municipal and Panchayat polls, he had resigned from the party.

In a statement, the National Conference spokesperson said that the decision to appoint Mattu was “appalling” and puts a big question mark on the impartiality of the Governor’s office.

In a joint statement released from the party headquarters Nawa-e-Subah, senior NC leader and MLA Eidgah Mubarak Gul, Women’s Wing President Shameema Firdous, Central Secretary Irfan Shah, Provincial Vice President Muhammad Syed Akhoon and District President Srinagar Peer Afaq Ahmad said that the ongoing election process was a camouflage to hide the machinations of the Governor’s office to control the democratic institutions in the State. The statement also mentioned that the NC was not against any person becoming the Mayor. However, they said that they had concerns when the Governor had unambiguously expressed his intentions to appointing someone beforehand. “There is already a big question mark on the fairness of ongoing ULB polls in the Valley. Adding to the confusion, Governor’s remarks reveal that he has no reverence for the due process of elections,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, reacting to the Governor’s statement, Congress said the declarations of the Governor were unfavourable to the electoral exercise. The J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) Vice President and MLC Gulam Nabi Monga expressed surprise over the Governor’s statement and also said that the ongoing ULB polls had lost reliability as the BJP and the RSS had already decided as to who would be the Mayor of Srinagar. In a statement, the congress leader said that the governor failed to uphold the constitutional authority of the Raj Bhavan.

Municipal Polls 2018 Second Phase: Kashmir Records the Lowest Turnout

Municipal Polls 2018 Second Phase: Kashmir Records the Lowest Turnout



Municpal polls
Municipal Polls 2018 Second Phase: Kashmir Records the Lowest Turnout

Kashmir recorded the lowest turnout in the second phase of the urban local body polls on Wednesday. While the capital Srinagar and South Kashmir’s Anantnag town witnessed a total boycott of the electoral exercise, the provinces of Jammu observed brisk polling throughout the day. According to J&K’s chief electoral officer Shaleen Kabra, the overall voter turnout in the second phase was 31.3 percent. 78.6% polling was witnessed in 214 wards of Jammu while Kashmir division witnessed average 3.4% polling in its 49 wards, during the second phase of ULB elections.

In Kashmir, the Shia Muslims in Sumbal town of Bandipora participated in the polls and the town recorded the highest (35.6 %) voting among Kashmir areas. In the second phase, the voting percentage in Kashmir fell by five percent in comparison to the first phase figures. In the first phase, it was recorded 8.2 percent, while in the second phase, it was at 3.4 percent at the culmination of the voting time.

The Srinagar Municipal Corporation areas of Batamaloo and Habba Kadal assembly segments recorded barely 2.3 percent voter turnout, according to official figures released by the CEO this evening. Compared to earlier polls that occurred in 2014, these two areas have recorded more than 20 percent turnout. In Anantnag town, the polling percentage stood at 1.1 percent, lower than Srinagar, at the end of the voting time. The election was held for 16 wards in the town as candidates in nine others were declared elected unopposed. Only 368 votes were casted out of 32,000 votes.

According to officials, in Northern Kupwara district, the polling percentage stood at 5.1 percent across 13 wards. 7 percent voter turnout in Watergam municipal committee where all 19 voters were male.

However, in the northern Sumbal town, nearly 25 kilometres from Srinagar, long queues of voters were seen at some polling booths since 6 am. Till 7am, 0.73 percent of the turnout was recorded here, while the overall polling in the town stood at 35.6 percent. According to CEO Kabra, 78.6 percent polling was recorded in 214 wards of Jammu province spread over 18 urban local bodies. He said that the highest polling percentage in Jammu was recorded in Reasi which saw a turnout of 84.4%.In Jammu province, 72.8 percent turnout was recorded in Kishtwar, 72.8 percent in Doda, 79.5 percent in Ramban, 79.2 percent in Udhampur and 79.4 in Kathua.

The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik had earlier asked people to stay away from elections as “these are no substitute for right to self-determination and the resolution of Kashmir issue.” In addition to the JRL, two major mainstream political parties, the National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party have boycotted the civic polls, citing “assault” on Article 35-A which has been challenged in the Supreme Court.

Urban Local Bodies Polls: Shutdown, Clashes Marks polling Day in Kashmir

Urban Local Bodies Polls: Over 200 Candidates Elected Unopposed


Urban Local Bodies Polls: Shutdown, Clashes Marks polling Day in Kashmir

On Monday, Kashmir observed complete shutdown on the call given by separatist’s leaders to boycott the municipal polls 2018. While there were reports of stone pelting in some areas of northern Kashmir, a Bharatiya Janata Party candidate, Adil Ali Buhroo and a pregnant woman were injured in clashes during the first phase of urban local body elections.

The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik had earlier called for a state-wide shutdown on October 8 and had asked the people to refrain from participating in the civic elections stating that the entire exercise was “futile and a military operation aimed at diluting the core issue of Kashmir.”

In response, security agencies were on high alert, two days before the polls. At least 15,000 policemen and 40,000 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were deployed to guard polling booths across Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagars and other poll-bound areas to thwart any anti-election protests.

Reports from various district headquarters suggested that a complete shutdown was observed on the JRL call. These include southern districts of Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag and northern districts of Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora.

In order to carry out the polls, security forces along with Jammu and Kashmir police launched crackdown on separatists. The Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani remained confined to his Hyderpora residence while the Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was placed under house arrest on Sunday morning. The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik who was arrested last week continued to remain lodged in the police station at Kothibagh.

Senior separatist leader Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai was placed under house arrest while other leaders including Javaid Ahmed Mir, ErHilal Ahmed War, Muhammad Ashraf Laya, and Mukhtar Ahmed Waza have also been detained. Police have also kept many middle-rung separatists in “preventive custody” to ensure law and order.

High Alert in Valley Ahead of Urban Local Bodies Polls

High Alert in Valley Ahead of Urban Local Bodies Polls


High Alert in Valley Ahead of Urban Local Bodies Polls

The valley has been put on high alert ahead of the first phase of Urban Local Bodies (ULB) polls in the State on Monday. As per police sources, Jammu and Kashmir police along with the paramilitary forces have been told to take all possibilities and precautions in view of militant movement in Srinagar and other parts of the valley.

High alert was issued in the aftermath of killing of two NC workers in Habba Kadal area of downtown Srinagar and in view of the first phase of the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) polls on Monday. On Friday morning, around 11:30 am, an attack was carried out by unknown gunmen on three National Conference workers in which Nazir Ahmad Wani of Kani Kadal and Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat of Pamposh Colony Noorbagh were killed while party block president Shakeel Ahmad Zangoo was injured at Karfali Mohalla, Habbakadal in Srinagar.

Meanwhile, after the attack, many contestants have withdrawn their nomination papers. The first phase of ULB polls would be held on October8.

Unknown Gunmen Kill Two Workers of National Conference in Srinagar

Unknown Gunmen Kill Two Workers of National Conference in Srinagar


Unknown Gunmen Kill Two Workers of National Conference in Srinagar

Unknown gunmen killed two workers of the National Conference (NC) and injured another at Habbakadal area in downtown Srinagar on Friday. According to the locals, some gun-shots were heard at Karfali Mohalla of Habbakadal area. The police have said that militants opened fire on three workers of the National Conference from close range subsequent to which two workers were killed and the other one was injured.

The deceased were identified as Nazir Ahmad Wani,son of Ghulam Mohammad Wani of Kani Kadal and Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat, son of Ghulam Mohammad Bhat of Pamposh Colony Noorbagh. The injured NC worker was identified as Shakeel Ahmad Zangoo of Karfali Mohalla and his condition is stable as per reports.

As per sources, the trio were having a conversation near a shop at Karfali Mohalla, when unknown gunmen opened fire on them. Both Wani and Bhat were close aides of MLA Habbakadal, Shameema Firdous while Zangoo was working as block president of NC in Habbakadal area.

Locals allege that both Wani and Bhat were ex-militants and had previously served as commanders of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Both of them were arrested in this regard and had spent many years in jail. After their release, they joined the National Conference.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Central Kashmir, Vidhi Kumar Birdi also confirmed that Wani and Bhat were active in militancy from 1999-2005. He said that it was premature to say which militant outfit was behind their killing.

Meanwhile, National Conference condemned the killing and demanded a high level probe.

Frisking and Security Beefed up in the Kashmir Valley Ahead of Urban Local Bodies Elections

Frisking and Security Beefed up in the Kashmir Valley Ahead of Urban Local Bodies Elections


Frisking and Security Beefed up in the Kashmir Valley Ahead of Urban Local Bodies Elections

Ahead of Urban Local Bodies (ULB) polls in the State, government forces intensified frisking in the city to check movement of militants and prevent them from carrying out any attacks. Witnesses said the government forces started frisking at various locations in Srinagar as ULB polls are drawing near. They said police and paramilitary CRPF personnel were seen checking vehicles at many locations in the city.

The forces have also established mobile checkpoints and laid Nakkahs wherever required based on information received, sources said. “The security checking has been intensified. The additional forces have been deployed. Area domination, surveillance and checking have been strengthened,” said an officer in the security establishment.

Sources said over 600 companies of paramilitary forces will be deployed for the poll security in Kashmir.  Of the 213 companies brought for Amarnath yatra duty was retained by the government while 400 more additional companies were called by the government recently. Most of the additional paramilitary companies have already arrived in the Valley and some will be arriving in a day or two. They said security was also heightened around the residences or premises of ULB contestants especially those belonging to BJP and also those elected unopposed particularly in Srinagar and south Kashmir districts.

According to sources, the poll contests have been put in various accommodations like hotels, government quarters, and residential colonies. These accommodations have been put under tight security in view of militant threats even as reports said some 215 poll contestants would have no opposition. “Wherever security is required, it has been given,” an officer said. He said the hotels in Srinagar where political activists are stationed have also been given adequate security.

Earlier, the government said 300 hotel rooms in Srinagar were kept for candidates and similar arrangements were made in south Kashmir and north Kashmir district headquarters. Sources said several security review meetings had been held so far police in all districts to ensure full-proof security to polling booths. They said the contingent of forces will be deployed at polling booths as per the sensitivity of the area keeping in view different dimensions including law and order and militant presence.

The ULB polls will be held in four phases on 8, 10, 13, and 16 October while Panchayat polls would be held in eight phases on 17, 20, 24, 27 and 29 November and 1, 4, 8 and 11 December. According to official figures, 16,97,291 electors are eligible to vote in 1145 municipal wards across the State.

Meanwhile, south Kashmir is seen as volatile region given the presence of local militants and sentiments attached to them while north Kashmir is seen as moderately calm area given the pattern of low-level law and order problems and militant activities.

According to sources, in view of sensitivity, more focus was being given to south Kashmir districts where militancy and clashes between youths and government forces remain a major concern. “Adequate security arrangements are also being taken in the north and central Kashmir area,” they said.

National Conference Boycotts Upcoming Municipal and Panchayat Elections in Kashmir



National Conference Boycotts Upcoming Municipal and Panchayat Elections in Kashmir

The National Conference on Wednesday said that the party would not contest upcoming Panchayat and Municipal elections in Jammu and Kashmir “until the government of India and the state government clear their position on Article 35 A and take effective steps for its protection in and outside the court”.

Farooq Abdulla also said that the decision of the state administration to hold urban local body polls and panchayat elections were taken in a hurried manner. “The stance of the central government and the present dispensation in Jammu and Kashmir before the Supreme Court goes clearly against the wishes and aspirations of the people of the state. They conveniently ignore that this provision was incorporated in the Constitution after thorough discussion between the then state government and the Government of India and was made part of the Delhi Agreement 1952,” he said. “It was also approved by the state’s constituent assembly as envisaged under article 370 of the Constitution,” he added.

It was only last week that the state government had announced the schedule for holding elections to local bodies and panchayats in the state. While the urban local body polls are slated for the first week of October, the Panchayat elections are scheduled to be held in November-December this year.





Boycotting Civic polls is aiding BJP in Kashmir: Congress

Boycotting Civic polls by mainstream parties is aiding BJP in Kashmir: Congress

After mainstream parties like the National Conference, the Peoples Democratic Party and the CPIM boycotted the upcoming urban local bodies as well as panchayat polls in defence of Article 35 A, the Congress has come out stating that it would contest the polls.

The Congress blamed the NC and the PDP for assisting the rise of right-wing ideology in the state by not participating in the upcoming urban local bodies (ULB) polls. “The regional parties have aided the BJP by boycotting the polls”, Ghulam Ahmed Mir, the state Congress chief said in a statement. “Our aim is to ask people to stop the communal forces in the valley by voting for us. We are in the field to fight the right-wing ideology,” Mir added.

Earlier, while addressing party candidates, Congress Working Committee (CWC) member and senior leader Tariq Hameed Karra had said that the NC and the PDP have not only helped but shouldered the BJP on their shoulders into the Valley.

The Congress leader also said that both the NC and the PDP would realise that their decision to boycott the elections had hurt the State badly. “When BJP’s candidates win uncontested, the NC and PDP will realise that their indirect help has brought BJP into the Valley,” he said.

He also said that the Srinagar Municipal Corporation was the most vital municipal body in the State. “Every security agency, political party and all social organisations along with government offices are in Srinagar. The city is the hub of all developmental activities and it is utmost for us to win it,” Karra said.

Urban Local Bodies Polls: Over 200 Candidates Elected Unopposed

Frisking and Security Beefed up in the Kashmir Valley Ahead of Urban Local Bodies Elections



At least 215 candidates were elected uncontested at the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) polls after three phases.The filing of nomination papers for the 4th phase of ULB polls ended today. The 4-phase polls for 79 ULBs in the State will be held on October 8, 10, 13 and 16.

“There are 624 wards in Kashmir and at least 150 wards saw no participation. Besides that, 215 candidates from different parties or independents won the elections uncontested due to lack of opponents,” sources said. Meanwhile, none came forward to file nominations in most of the wards in south Kashmir districts including Anantnag, Shopian, Pulwama and Kulgam.

The State’s two main political parties including the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had boycotted the elections earlier since they were dissatisfied with the position of the Government of India on Article 35A, which grants special privileges to residents of J&K.

Additionally, smaller parties from Kashmir have also boycotted the polls while the separatists have called for a poll boycott. Militants have also warned contesting candidates of dire consequences if they participate in the elections. Earlier, a video went viral in which Pakistan based Lashkar Toiba threatened candidates who filed their nomination papers for contesting ULB polls.


Do Not Harass the Families of Militants: High Court Directs to Security Forces and J&K Police



Do Not Harass the Families of Militants: High Court Directs to Security Forces and Jammu and Kashmir Police

On Friday, the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir directed police and security authorities to not trouble families of militants in Kashmir and protect their properties while it sought a response from the defence ministry and the J&K government to a bunch of petitions.“In the meantime, the respondents shall not harass petitioners without following the procedure of law and shall ensure the protection of their life and property,” the court ordered.

On behalf of the aggrieved families, advocate Mir Shafaqat Hussain along with Mir Wajid submitted before the court that “a militant holds a gun, his family cannot be victimised; their right to life and liberty is an individual right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.”

The court issued directions while hearing the petitions filed by the families of militants through advocate Shafaqat Hussin seeking directions for stopping “harassment” of families of militants in south Kashmir areas. Justice Tashi Rabstan also issued notice to deputy commissioner Pulwama, deputy inspector general of police (South Kashmir range), senior superintendent of police Pulwama, superintendent of police Awantipora, in-charge special operations group of J&K police in Tral, Pulwama, in-charge special operations group of police in Aribal Pulwama, in-charge police station Tral, in-charge of army’s 56 post office and commanding officer of army’s 42 Rashtriya Rifles camp in Tral.

Earlier, the Jammu and Kashmir police along with the security forces, detained the father of top most wanted militant Riyaz Naikoo, after which the militants in retaliation, detained 11 family members of the policemen in south Kashmir in 24 hours. Though the petitioners approached the concerned police stations but no action was taken/ “The petitioners are peace-loving and law-abiding citizens of the state and have not committed any offence and are entitled to the protection of their life and liberty which is being jeopardised by the aggression of the state actors. The petitioners have become victims of state aggression,” Hussain had argued in the court

Hussain also pleaded that directions be issued so that Rs 50 lakh compensation is given in case of “unconstitutional and illegal use of force against the petitioners.” He also sought directions for lodging of FIRs against the army and SOG for harassing them.

Talib Hussain Faces Death Threats in Police Custody

Kathua Rape and Murder Case: Talib Hussain Faces Death Threats in Police Custody


In a shocking revelation, Talib Hussain, a tribal activist as well as the key witness in the Kathua gang rape and murder case, has allegedly been threatened to be killed in police custody before he reaches the court. Currently, Hussain has been kept in the Hiranagar jail of Kathua district, over alleged charges of rape leveled by his relative.

Hussain’s friend and state secretary of Gujjar Bakarwal Youth Conference, Sadiq told reporters that during his previous hearing on September 13, Talib had informed him that he was being threatened. “They are threatening to brutally kill him because he is the prime witness in the Kathua rape case”, a jail inmate who was with him was released last week had said. He confirmed that the assistant superintendent of the police (SP) and others are hatching a plot to kill him before his next hearing on September 25. He said further, that the assistant superintendent has even threatened him verbally.

Friends of Talib Hussain while speaking to TWJ said, “Few politicians belonging to the Centre are involved in this conspiracy. They want to muzzle Talib’s voice as he is the witness in the Kathua rape and murder case. We, his friends, fear that they will try to harm him in any way possible.”

Meanwhile, Hussain’s lawyer had appealed the judge in the Sessions Court in Samba to provide him with security as they fear that his life is in danger. “Advocate Anwar Choudhary and Akram Choudhary had appealed to the judge in the Sessions Court in Samba to provide Hussain with extra security inside the jail and shift him to a different locker where a CCTV will capture all the movements.”

On the order of the judge, he was shifted to another locker by the Superintendent. “Talib had also told the Superintendent of Police (SP) that the assistant SP and others have been threatening to kill him,” said Sadiq, a friend of Talib Hussain.

Meanwhile, extra security has been given and CCTV has been installed outside Hussain’s locker in the jail. This is not the first time, earlier the Jammu and Kashmir police were accused of torturing and assaulting him by repeatedly banging his head against the wall, so much so that, the eyewitness revealed that they saw him drenched in blood. However, the police had denied any such allegations saying that Hussain had attempted to commit suicide and was now shifting charges onto them.

In another development to the story, the woman who alleged that she was raped by Talib Hussain in Chadwa forest has not been showing up in the court.

As per Hussain’s lawyer, Mubeen Farooqi, no concrete evidence has been found against him until now. “This is a completely hypothetical case. There is no evidence, nothing. Even the woman has not been showing up for the statement. When she lodged a complaint, she should also come and give her statement. Why isn’t she showing up,”

Talib Hussain had risen to prominence after he led a campaign to demand justice in the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Rasana village Kathua. He is the prime witness in the case and has been demanding justice for the family. He was arrested on July 31 from Tral, Kashmir, following an allegation of rape against him and was brought to the police station in Samba.



40000 Additional Forces deployed for 2018 civic Polls

40000 Additional Forces for 2018 civic Polls


40000 Additional Forces for 2018 civic Polls

In order to make conducive civic polls, the government of India will now deploy 40000 additional paramilitary soldiers during the urban local bodies’ elections, which is a record in comparison to the 2011 polls

Of the 40,000 soldiers, 20,300 personnel have been camping in Kashmir since last week of May when they arrived as Amarnath yatra security. The rest are on their way to the state. They would now be accommodated in about 300 hotels in Srinagar, said chief secretary BVR Subramanyam. CRPF spokesman Sanjay Sharma also said that the additional 40,000 soldiers would be primarily deployed for “area domination”, night patrolling and security for contestants if needed”.

Already, as many as 50 battalions (each battalion is 1134 personnel) of CRPF personnel’s are stationed in Kashmir region alone (60 in the state) for counterinsurgency operations and law and order maintenance. The total number of CRPF battalions in India alone is 239.

A police officer said that the army would be requested in case of emergencies. Security experts claim that there is a need for such a huge number of additional forces since there are threats from militants and boycott calls from the resistance leadership. .

Meanwhile, Hizbul Mujahideen outfit has already warned those contesting upcoming polls to “get ready for acid attack”.“This is not for the first time additional troops have been sought for polls. Additional forces were called during the 1996 and the 2008 assembly polls that took place after the unrest,” said additional director general of police law and order Munir Khan. In contrast, former director general of police Kuldeep Khoda said that no additional troops were sought from the Centre during 2011 panchayat elections.

Munir Khan however reiterated that multiple factors were responsible for the call for additional forces. “We have decided to go for foolproof area dominations and for that, we need extra forces,” he said.

A source in the police said that the request for additional forces was sent to Union home ministry after the majority of district police chiefs cited law and order issues and militancy unrest as major challenges. He also said that the security cover for the upcoming civic polls is nearly similar to that of the 2014 assembly polls when 50000 additional forces were brought in.

The ULB polls, to be held in four phases, will start from October 8 while the panchayat polls would be conducted in nine phases from November 9.


Step-Mother and Step-Brother in Uri Rape and Murder case says Police



uri.jpg The Jammu and Kashmir police on Tuesday arrested five accused persons including the victim’s stepmother and stepbrother for the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl of Muskan Jan from Trikanjan Boniyar (Baramulla)

According to the police, the minor girl was first gang-raped and then murdered with an axe. The eyes of the girl were also gouged out and her body was sprinkled with acid. Talking to the media, SSP Baramulla Imtiyaz Hussain said that the minor girl was gang-raped by the four accused in the presence of her stepmother Fehmeeda Bano, aged 35.

As per the statement, Hussain said that on August 23, Fehmeeda Bano took her stepdaughter Muskan Jan to the nearby jungle with an aim to kill her. Sahil, the stepbrother of the victim, later on, joined her mother in the forest area along with two of his friends, Kaiser Ahmad (19), Aadil Ahmad (14) and Naseer Ahmad Khan (28). He said that all four accused took turns to rape her. Later, her stepmother strangulated the girl and her stepbrother hit her head with the axe, killing her on the spot. Aadil, one among the accused, then went back his home and brought acid in a Plastic bottle. Kaiser then gouged out her eyes with a sharp knife while acid was sprinkled on her body parts. Physical condition and preliminary forensic analysis of dead body substantiated all these facts. Later on, Kaiser and Naseer dumped the body in the bushes and covered it with twigs and branches of pine trees.

As per police sources, the police Station at Boniyar, Uri received a written missing complaint from Mushtaq Ahmad Ganai, a resident of Lari, Trikanjan, Uri on August 23, whom he feared might have been abducted. “On receipt of the complaint, a case FIR No. 43/2018 under section 363 RPC was registered in police station Boniyar and the investigation was then taken up. Thereafter, police made strenuous efforts to trace the missing girl by utilizing quadcopters, sniffing dogs and other resources,” police said.

A special investigation team (SIT) headed by SDPO Uri Mehrajud din Raina was constituted to investigate the murder. As per the investigation, it was found that the first wife of Mushtaq Ahmad was jealous of Kushboo (Non-local) and thought her husband was more inclined towards the second wife and daughter.  So, the wife hatched a conspiracy to kill her stepdaughter.


Threats and Abductions in South Kashmir: Three Cops Killed in Shopian



Threatening and Abductions in South Kashmir: Three Cops Killed in Shopian

A wave of chaos and confusion erupted in the south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Friday morning when three policemen were found dead in Wangam village, hours after their abduction by suspected militants.The killing of these policemen triggered a wave of panic in the area and strong reactions from New Delhi which cancelled the proposed foreign minister-level talks with Pakistan.

The slain police personnel were identified as constable Nisar Ahmed Dhobi, a resident of Kapran village in Shopian, and special police officers Kuldeep Singh and Firdous Ahmed Kuchay, both residents of Batagund village of the district.

As per the locals from Wangam village, they spotted the bodies of policemen early in the morning. They then informed the district police who reached to the spot and took the bodies to the district hospital for medical formalities. Later on, the bodies of  Nisar and Firdous were handed to their families while thousands of people from different villages attended their funeral.However, the body of Kuldeep Singh couldn’t be cremated as his family members were in Jammu. “The moment his family members would arrive, we will perform his last rites,” said a close relative of the slain policeman.

According to witnesses, the killing of three policemen triggered fear across southern Kashmir, with several policemen who had gone to their homes on leave seen packing their bags to resume their duties. The killing of policemen comes close on the heels of an audio message released by Hizbul Mujahideen’s operational commander Riyaz Niakoo on Thursday, asking special police officials to “quit their jobs or get ready to face consequences.”

Earlier, on August 29 and 30, militants had abducted at least 11 policemen and their relatives from four southern districtsPulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag following alleged vandalism of properties at militants’ homes by the government forces. Naikoo’s father Asadullah, 72, was also detained for questioning at a local police station and later released alongside the release of the relatives of policemen.

The Friday’s killings forced many SPOs in the southern districts to announce their resignations on Friday prayer, However, the the J&K police denied any such move. Viral videos surfaced on social networking sites immediately after the Wangam killings wherein policemen were seen announcing their resignations from service. But the police termed these videos as “rumours.” The Director-General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh, while calling the killing of three policemen as “very unfortunate” said that it was an act of desperation on the part of militant outfits. “In the recent past, the police carried out successful operations where militants sustained big jolts. The SPOs become soft targets when they go to their homes on leave,” he said.

“I strongly condemn this act,” he said. “As far as the rumours are concerned (about resignations of policemen), people shouldn’t pay heed to these things. They (SPOs) are the most important part of the police department and their role is laudable. We are looking into the rumours (about cop resignations). “They are doing a wonderful job. and their killing is a propaganda move by militants as they have been doing it in the past. These SPOs are doing their duties in the interest of people and their role is quite appreciable. We stand by them in this hour,” he added.


Muharram Procession restricted in Srinagar

"Decimation of Left" in India


Muharram Processions were Restricted and a Photojournalist was beaten by Police in Srinagar

Mourning procession commemorating the sacrifice of Imam Hussain (RA) and his companions in Karbala by Shia Muslims in various parts of Srinagar were restricted by the authorities on the 8th day of Muharram on Wednesday .

Section 144 of Ranbir Penal Code was imposed by the state authorities in the areas falling under police stations Shaheedgunj, Batamaloo, Shergeri, Kothibagh, Ram Munshi Bagh, Maisuma and Kralkhud to prevent large processions.In restricted areas, police contingents were also deployed at major locations. The cops placed barricades and concertina wires on roads to prevent Shia mourners from taking out Muharram processions.

Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar when Muslims commemorate the martyrdom of Imam-i-Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad.  The Shia sect of Muslims celebrates the Muharram as the martyrdom of Imam Hussain and his family in Karbala in 61AH/680CE.

The traditional 8th Muharram procession usually began from the Habbakadal area of Srinagar and concluded at Dalgate area. However, after the onset of militancy in 1989, Muharram processions were banned by the authorities.

Meanwhile, the groups of Shia mourners took out small Muharram processions amid pro-Islamic sloganeering in Lal Chowk. Scores of Shia mourners also took out a march from Dalgate to the city centre. However, as the processionists reached near Dalgate Chowk, the mourners were intercepted by the Jammu and Kashmir Police along with CRPF.  When the Shia mourners tried to move ahead, police fired tear gas shells to disperse them. Breaching restrictions, scores of mourners carrying religious banners and flags, proceeded towards Lal Chowk via M.A road. A photojournalist  was also beaten by the police personnel in the ensuing clash.

Meanwhile, Anjuman Shari Shai organized multiple Muharram processions across Valley. Hundreds of Shia mourners participated in Zuljina procession that was taken out from Madeen Sahab Zadibal area of downtown Srinagar. Anjuman Shari Shai President and senior separatist leader Aga Syed Hasan also condemned the use of force of mourners. “It is direct intervention into the religious affairs that is highly condemnable. The curbs on these processions are uncalled for and need to be lifted without any delay,” he added.

Governor, Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah Pay Tribute to Karbala Martyrs

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Governor, Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah Pay Tributes to Karbala Martyrs

Governor Satya Pal Malik paid tribute to the sacrifices made by Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and other martyrs of Karbala. On the tenth day of the month, Imam Hussain Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and the third Imam of the Shia community, was killed in the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD. This is mourned by the Shia Muslims who marks it ceremonically as ‘Ashoora’.

In his message, the Governor also said that Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his companions sacrificed their lives for upholding the high values of truth, justice and righteousness. Meanwhile, Peoples Democratic Party President and former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti also paid tribute on the occasion. She added that the events at Karbala teach us the lesson of upholding the principles of righteousness in all trying circumstances and denying forces of evil to make us bow or succumb before them. National Conference vice President Omar Abdullah said that the ultimate sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) was a beacon of light for Muslims. “Imam Hussain (RA) died for the glory of Islam,” he added.



Governor Promises Corruption Free Governance in the Jammu and Kashmir

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Governor Promised Corruption Free Governance in the Jammu and Kashmir

On Tuesday, the governor of the Jammu and Kashmir Satya Pal Malik said that ensuring a transparent and people-oriented governance system would be his topmost priority in the state and added that that he would listen to public grievances. Talking to reporters at Raj Bhavan, Malik who replaced N N Vohra this year, said that he wanted people to come to his office as he wanted to make his office accountable to them.

“I have kept the doors of Raj Bhavan open for the public. They can come and meet me any time,” he said, adding that he won’t hesitate to meet people even at midnight. He also said that he would “respectfully” listen to the complaints and grievances of the general public.

Malik said that the “anger” and “frustration” of the youth in Kashmir was his biggest challenge. “I am not worried about political parties, or even Hurriyat. I am worried about Kashmiri youth and their future. There is a need to address their anger and frustration,” he said. “They (youth) don’t trust anyone. They don’t have faith in anybody including Pakistan, us or them (political parties). These fragile minds are indoctrinated.”

The Governor said that those who are angry with the system should come and fight elections. “The boycotting of elections add more grievances to the people and they should suffer more with this”, Malik said. The Governor also said that he will make “special efforts” to reach out to the youth of the state.

“There is a craze for sports among youngsters of Kashmir. Why can’t we set-up our own world-class football clubs? Why can’t we host IPL matches?” he asked. “I sympathise with the youth of Kashmir. They don’t have any avenues for leisure and entertainment after 6 pm. Therefore, J&K will form its own IPL team and host matches in the state.”


Rajnath Singh Appeals to all Mainstream Parties of J&K to not Boycott Civic Polls

Rajnath Singh Appeals the Mainstream Parties of Jammu and Kashmir to Contest Panchayat and Urban Local Body Polls


Rajnath Singh Appeals the Mainstream Parties of Jammu and Kashmir to Contest Panchayat and Urban Local Body Polls

Days after the National Conference (NC), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPIM) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) announced their boycott of upcoming civic polls in Jammu and Kashmir over the issue of Article 35-A,  Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh appealed to all political parties to participate in the forthcoming panchayat and urban local body polls in Jammu and Kashmir, in the wake of the NC and the PDP announcing a boycott of the elections.

Singh’s appeal comes after three major regional parties, the National Conference, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Peoples Democratic Party announced that they would boycott the elections in the state, as the Centre had not cleared their stand on Article 35 A of the Constitution.

Earlier in the day, Singh inaugurated two smart-fence pilot projects along the Indo-Pak border. Speaking at the conference, the Home minister appealed to all political parties to contest the upcoming panchayat and urban local polls, instead of boycotting them. “This would then provide an opportunity for them to interact with the people and would work for the development of the state”, he added.

On the other hand, the boycotting parties have said that that they would stay away from the civic polls until the government of India assures “protection” of Article 35 A, which defines state’s permanent residents and confers special privileges on them.

Article 35A was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order and accords special rights and privileges to the Jammu and Kashmir citizens. It also bars outsiders from purchasing land and property in the State and bars them from seeking government jobs and scholarships. At present, the Article has been challenged in the Supreme Court and the matter is still under consideration.

Reviewing the security scenario in J&K in the run-up to panchayat and urban local body elections, Singh said that the government’s priority is to hold the polls peacefully. Besides that, there would be no ceasefire in the valley and operation all-out would continue against the militants.

Despite the boycott call from the NC, CPI (M) and PDP, J&K chief electoral officer has already announced the timetables for the civic polls.


Doctors inform Court that Aasifa was sexually assaulted




The doctors who conducted the post-mortem on the eight-year-old Kathua rape victim told a court here that the girl was sexually assaulted and had died of asphyxia.  Earlier, the crime branch had constituted a team of doctors, comprising medicos from various streams including the radiology department, and the accused was examined on June 22 and 23. Till now, 54 witnesses have deposed before the court in the ongoing trial of the brutal rape and murder of the Aasifa, an 8-year old girl who was repeatedly assaulted before being killed at a village in Jammu Kashmir’s Kathua district in January.

Meanwhile, the district and session court has framed charges under various sections of the Ranbir Penal Code including 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder) and 376-D (gang rape) against the accused against whom charges were framed were Sanji Ram, his son Vishal, special police officers Deepak Khajuria alias Deepu and Surinder Verma, Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, head Constable Tilak Raj, and sub-inspector Arvind Datta.

Pathankot District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh is hearing the case now after it was transferred on the orders of the Supreme Court as per a plea filed by the victim’s family.

Dilbag Singh Replaces S P Vaid as DGP in J&K



Dilbag Singh Replaces S P Vaid as Director General of Police in Jammu and Kashmir

In an admistrative move, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Thursday ordered the transfer of Director General of Police (DGP) Shesh Paul Vaid and assigned the charge to Dilbag Singh, a 1987 batch Indian Police Service officer.

According to a government order, Vaid’s services have been placed at the disposal of the General Administration Department for further posting as state transport commissioner. S P Vaid, an IPS officer of 1986 batch, was appointed as the DGP by the previous PDP-BJP government.

So far, Mr Singh has held important positions in Jammu and Kashmir Police including serving as the intelligence chief of the state. In 2000, Dilbagh Singh was suspended as the Deputy Inspector General of south Kashmir’s Anantnag after he was allegedly found involved in a major recruitment scam. However, he was made the head of the prison department in March this year after the daring escape of a Pakistani terrorist from a Srinagar hospital in February. Twenty-year-old Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist Naveed Jatt, who was brought to the hospital from the Srinagar Central Jail for treatment escaped after gunmen killed two policemen on duty during the hospital stay.

Earlier this week, Dr B Srinivas replaced Abdul Gani Mir as head of the criminal investigation department, the intelligence wing of the Jammu and Kashmir police. As per sources,the government of India, as well as the advisor to the government on security affairs, K Vijay Kumar, were keen on making changes at the top level.

The changes in the top brass come at the time when the government is set to hold the Municipal and Panchayat polls in the state, and days after militants abducted at least 11 close relatives of several police officials in southern Kashmir following the detention of father of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo by the police. The abducted relatives were later set free following the release of Naikoo’s father.

Chief Electoral Officer Announces Date for 9-Phased Panchayat Polls in J&K

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Chief Electoral Officer Announced Date for 9-Phased Panchayat Polls in Jammu and Kashmir from November 17

The chief electoral officer Shaleen Kabra on Sunday announced the timetable for panchayat polls in the state and  assured that the government would provide a “security environment” to the contestants. Addressing a news conference, Kabra said that voting for 4490 panchayat halqas and 35096 panch constituencies will take place in nine phases from November 17 to December 11.

The voting will take place on November 17, 20, 24, 27, 29 and December 01, 04, 08 and 11, he said, adding that notifications for these phases will be issued on October 23, 26, 29 and November 01, 03, 06, 09, 12 and 14, respectively. He also said that the counting of votes would also take place on the day of voting itself.

As many as 58, 12,429 voters are eligible to cast their vote in the panchayats spread over 316 blocks of the state, the chief electoral officer said. Meanwhile, keeping in the view the boycott call from the Hurriyat leaders, as well as life threat from militants, Kabra said: “One does not provide security per-se to every person, it is the security environment which is to be provided. We have looked into this aspect and feel that free and fair elections, in an atmosphere which is peaceful, would be possible.”

The last panchayat election in the state was held in 2011 through secret ballot. Migrant voters will cast their votes for the first time in the polls after migrating to Jammu and other Indian cities in 1989-90. In 2005 municipal polls,  migrants were registered as voters of the Jammu Municipal Corporation and other urban local bodies where they are living presently.



Bollywood Can Reconstruct Kashmir By Removing Trust-Deficit Among Tourists: Manoj Bajpayee

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Famous Bollywood actor Manoj Bajpayee on Tuesday said that the filmmakers, who are shooting their pictures in the Kashmir valley should not just focus on political problems, but they should highlight the natural beauty, hospitality, and tradition of Kashmir.

The actor said the film shootings in Kashmir can also help overcome the negative image of the Valley created by its wrong portrayal by some sections of media. He further said that the film shootings in the Valley can help remove the ‘trust-deficit’ among the tourists.

The actor is shooting for a spy thriller web series in summer capital Srinagar. Bajpayee who is known for his roles in films such as Satya and Tevar said, he will promote Kashmir as a shooting and tourism destination among film fraternity once back in Mumbai.

Talking to reporters, Bajpayee said that the perception can make or break a place. “Prospective tourists need to be ensured that this place is welcoming and nature here is a blessing. The more and more Bollywood film shootings taking place here is a good sign for the Valley and can encourage more tourists to visit here. I think the tourism department has a major role to play in the promotion of Valley,” the actor added.

Bajpayee who is known for his flawless Urdu dialogues in cross-border love story flick Veer Zara says cultural exchange and people-to-people contact between Kashmir and rest of the world can also help in promoting Kashmir and provides a platform for a larger political dialogue.

“I have visited Gulmarg for a shooting earlier but I am visiting Srinagar for the first time. In the 1960s and 70s, no film was complete without a shooting in Kashmir as this place has the natural beauty to give the tough fight to Switzerland but there is the need for infrastructure development,” says Bajpayee.

According to Bajpayee, religious and spiritual tourism in Kashmir offer a great scope for people from across the world to visit the Valley. Besides having a rich cultural history, Kashmir being home to “religious philosophers” which makes the Valley a unique destination.

“Apart from its beauty and bounty, Kashmir being home to Sufis and saints of all faiths should attract more people here. On one hand revered Jamia Masjid and Baba Rishi shrine have followers from all faiths visiting there, on the other the likes of Shankaracharya Temple and Kheer Bhavani are also centers of faith,” Bajpayee said.

The actor said he would be keen to visit Kashmir again and expressed his craving for Kashmiri wazwan. “I really don’t want to go back home. My next visit to Kashmir is going to be with my family for sure. My wife has a desire that during our visit to Kashmir we should relish food made by the local chef (wazas),” Bajpayee said.

The actor who has the strong background in theatre believes that Kashmiri youth hold a tremendous potential to excel in films and television. “The youth here are good looking and have the talent. They just need a platform which can channelise their potential. I urge the state authorities to come up with more and more cultural centres that can promote acting, singing, poetry and all sort of talents,” said Bajpayee.

Joint Resistance Leadership Launches Social Media Campaign Ahead Of Polls




Ahead of Panchayat and municipal polls in Kashmir, the Hurriyat decided to launch a social media campaign for the boycotting elections and demanding the right to self-determination, which was promised by the first prime of India Jawaharlal Nehru.

On Friday prayer, Chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that the people of Kashmir were not interested in any election and the Joint Resistance Leadership would soon start a sustained election boycott campaign on social media with only one key slogan ‘no election, only right to self-determination’.

Mirwaiz, who is the head Imam of the historic Jamia Masjid Srinagar said that time has come when New Delhi must understand that it cannot make the people fool through cheap slogans like sadak, bijli, pani (roads, electricity, and water) as Kashmiris were not interested in any polls either it is local bodies, panchayat, assembly or parliament.

“All elections announced for J&K are nothing but a farce, aimed at diluting the basic nature of Kashmir dispute. The people of Kashmir and the leadership have already rejected these polls,” said Mirwaiz.

The state government will be conducting urban local bodies elections from October 1 and panchayat polls in eight phases from November 8. Three major political parties National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, and Indian National Congress have announced the boycott of the elections citing central government’s ambiguity on Article 35 A.

Mirwaiz said rather than curtailing the number of forces, more and more soldiers were being sent to Kashmir to muzzle the voices of people with military might. The using of military power would annoy Kashmiris unless and until New Delhi announces measures to resolve Kashmir issue peace won’t prevail,” he said.

In order to attain peace, India should start negotiations with the neighbouring country and start demilitarization, repealing black laws like AFSPA, PSA, DAA, dismantling of watchtowers and removal of bunkers from civilian areas,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mirwaiz welcomed United Nations Human Rights Council chief Michelle Bachelet’s statement that there was no action by New Delhi on the UNHRC report depicting grave rights situation in Kashmir, Mirwaiz said it has been a long pending demand of the people of Kashmir that the world forums must wake up to take notice of serious human rights situation in Kashmir.

Mirwaiz expressed his gratitude over the remarks of the newly-elected UNHRC chief on J&K supporting the right of self-determination of the people of the state. “By outrightly rejecting the reports of UNHRC and that of Amnesty International and OIC on Kashmir, Delhi stands exposed and its claim of upholding human rights and values also stand punctured,” he said.

“It seems the Government of India is not learning any lessons from its mistakes committed since 1947 and continues to remain in a denial mode. This way it is wasting its time, energy and resources.”

Mirwaiz said the world has started to acknowledge the fact that it is the fourth generation of Kashmiris that is demanding their birthright on the streets. After Friday prayers, a peaceful rally was organized by Hurriyat (M) outside the Jamia Masjid to protest the killings of political workers, Hurriyat activists and the youth by unidentified gunmen.  The protesters carrying placards were demanding an end to these ‘targeted killings’.


Kashmir DGP directs officers to prepare for smooth panchayat elections





On Wednesday, September 12, Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh held a detained security meeting ahead of Urban Local Bodies (ULB) and Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir, wherein the top police brass directed his subordinates to provide full proof security for the upcoming elections.

Singh, who was recently appointed as State’s new police chief, held the security review meeting on ULB and Panchayat polls with the Senior Superintendents of Police and Deputy Inspectors General of Police IG’s of Kashmir Zone through video conference at Police Control Room here.

Singh directed the district SSPs and DIGs to work out and fine-tune the deployment plans in such a way that full security is provided for ULB and Panchayat polls. “We are fully geared up for upcoming elections at every level. I am sure elections will pass off peacefully,” Singh said in a video released by police.

“I’m very confident that this major event also would be conducted in a graceful and successful manner,” he said.

Additional Director General of Police Abdul Gani Mir, Inspector General of Police (Personnel) J P Singh, IGP Kashmir Zone, Swayam Prakash Pani were present in this meeting.

DGP told the Police officers that stern action should be taken against the elements, who foment trouble, while contingency plans should be ready to tackle any eventuality.
Singh directed the officers to take due care in all the situations so that things do not precipitate in any law and order situation.

He advised that we should be selective and specific for better results in the ground.
Already, over 213 additional companies (21,300 forces personnel) of CAPF  that were deployed by the Ministry of Home Affairs for the two-month Amarnath yatra and most of them have been deployed in districts for pre-election duty.

In central Kashmir of the 213 companies, the highest 71 companies have been stationed in Srinagar, Ganderbal and Budgam districts. While 61 companies have been deployed in north Kashmir’s Baramulla, Sopore, Kupwara, Bandipora and Handwara and 49 are deployed in south Kashmir’s Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian and Awantipora.  Some 22 companies have also been kept at the disposal of the Police in Srinagar.

Moreover, Inspector General of CRPF reserve companies three each in Pulwama and Shopian, two at Awantipora and one in Anantnag and these companies are stationed at their original places.

Earlier, sources said the additional CAPF companies that are already stationed in the Valley were adequate for ULB polls that are scheduled to take place in four-phases between October 1 and 5.

Meanwhile, the National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) boycotted the upcoming ULB and panchayat polls.

ULB polls would be held in two municipal corporations Srinagar and Jammu, six municipal councils in the State including Anantnag, Baramulla, and Sopore in Kashmir and 70 municipal committees across the State.

The State may require more additional forces (around 100 CAPF companies) for Panchayat polls, sources said. The elections to Panchayats would be conducted in eight phases with polling dates between November 8 and December 4 this year as decided by the State Administrative Council of Governor’s administration.

Journalist bodies of Kashmir Valley Protested against the Arrest of Asif Sultan




On Monday, Journalist bodies of the Kashmir valley gathered at the Press Enclave in mark to protest against the incarceration of their colleague, Asif Sultan, who has been sent by the court to 15 days’ judicial custody in Central Jail Srinagar over a militancy related case.

Meanwhile, Asif Sultan’s arrest has been challenged in J&K High Court, and the court Monday issued the notice to the state government and fixed September13 for the hearing of the matter.

The protest programme at Press Enclave was organised by the Kashmir Journalist Association (KJA) and was attended by members of Kashmir Journalist Corps, Kashmir Working Journalists Association, Kashmir Press Photographers Association, and Kashmir Video Journalist Association.

The protesting journalists demanded the immediate release of Asif Sultan, assistant editor at Kashmir Narrator magazine. The KJA said that Asif’s arrest was aimed at intimidating journalists in Kashmir, who are already working under tremendous pressure.

The journalists appealed to Governor Satya Pal Malik and Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh to intervene in the matter and order a high-level probe into the illegal detention of Asif at Batamloo police station for six days.

“Asif was detained illegally for six days without any charges against him. We demand that the officers concerned be held responsible and action is taken against them for arresting a journalist,” the KJA said.

According to family members of Asif and the editor of Kashmir Narrator, the police case was filed against Asif after an argument with the top police official. However, police refuted the charges and stated that “In his magazine, Kashmir Narrator, he would often give coverage to Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists, especially Burhan Wani, to attract youth towards terrorist organisations, especially Hizbul Mujahideen.”

Meanwhile, Asif’s last big report was on slain Hizb militant Burhan Wani and it was published on Burhan’s second death anniversary this year on July 08.

The journalist bodies appealed to the International Journalist associations and Human Rights forums to take up the issue strongly and protect the freedom of expression, which is granted by the Constitution of India. Besides that, they also appealed to the Press Council of India to push for the immediate release of Asif.

According to them, Asif was detained on a journalistic piece about the top Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani, which is totally uncalled for and against ethics. The protesting journalists said that the rights of journalists were being violated in Kashmir.

Asif was picked up two weeks ago from his residence in Batamaloo area of Srinagar. While he was detained for a week at Batamaloo police station, he was formally arrested on September 1, allegedly for “harbouring” militants.

Arif Alvi Elected as 13th Pakistan President



Arif Alvi Elected as 13th Pakistan President

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Arif-ur-Rehman Alvi was on Tuesday elected as the 13th President of Pakistan, the result data from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) confirmed.

Alvi secured the lion’s share of votes from the 1,100 that were cast on Tuesday, with the founding member of the PTI garnering nearly twice as many votes as Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and Jamiat Ulema-e Islam – F (JUI-F) chief, Fazal-ur-Rehman, who was supported by the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N), according to a press release from the ECP.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Aitzaz Ahsan was in the third spot.

The elections were held simultaneously at the Parliament House and the four provincial assemblies, with 27 of the total votes cast being annulled. The procedures laid down in paragraph 18 of the Second Schedule of the Constitution were followed for the treatment of the valid votes.

Following the counting, Alvi had emerged with 353 votes, Rehman with 185 and Ahsan with 124. All three, or their representatives, have been invited to the ECP secretariat on Wednesday to witness the counting process, following which the results will be announced.

A total of 430 votes were cast in the National Assembly and the Senate, with Alvi bagging 212 of them, while 131 and 81 went to Rehman and Ahsan respectively.

The PTI candidate secured 186 of the 351 votes cast in the Punjab assembly, with Rehman and Ahsan garnering 141 and six votes respectively. As many as 18 votes were rejected from the Punjab Assembly.

In the Balochistan Assembly, Alvi secured 45 of the 60 votes, and the rest going Rehman’s way. Not a single vote was registered for Ahsan.

Ahsan garnered 100 votes in the Sindh Assembly, while Alvi secured 56. One vote was registered in Rehman’s favour.

In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, Alvi bagged 78 votes of the total 109, while 26 and 5 went Rehman’s and Ahsan’s way respectively.

In his victory speech, Alvi said, “I am grateful to God that the PTI-nominated candidate has been successful in the presidential race today. I am also thankful to Imran Khan for nominating me for such a big responsibility.” He also stated he hoped that “fortunes of the poor” are turned around during his five-year term.

“From today I am not just a president that was nominated by the PTI but I am the president of the entire nation and all parties. Each party has an equal right on me,” said Alvi.

President-elect Alvi will succeed outgoing President Mamnoon Hussain and assume office on September 9.

Pakistan to Elect new President Today



Pakistan to Elect new President Today

The lawmakers in Pakistan are set to elect the 13th president of the country by a secret ballot on Tuesday.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has set up polling stations at the Parliament House and four provincial assemblies (Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) spread across the nation.

The polling is scheduled to begin at 10 am (local time) and end at 4 pm (local time), Geo News quoted a spokesperson for the National Assembly Secretariat, as saying.

The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has fielded Arif Alvi as its presidential candidate, while the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has nominated Aitzaz Ahsan for the post.

The Pakistani opposition parties have fielded Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who is the joint presidential candidate of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), Awami National Party (ANP), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and National Party.

The new president would be chosen by an electoral college comprising 706 members. This includes 104 senators, 260 members of the provincial assembly and 342 lawmakers from the National Assembly, the lower house of the Pakistan Parliament, the report said.

All the lawmakers are required to have assembly cards, in order to exercise their franchise.

The ECP has already dispatched ballot papers and other equipment in the voting stations. While Pakistan’s Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Raza is the returning officer for the presidential polls, the chief justices of high courts will serve as presiding officers during the election in national and provincial assemblies.

After the voting, the presiding officers would announce the details of total votes polled, following which the final result would be declared by the returning officer.

Meanwhile, incumbent Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain’s five-year term is due to end on September 9.

Cordon, clashes and killing of 26 year old youth in Pulwama by the Indian security forces




On Monday morning, a dozen villages were cordoned off by security forces in order to nab the militants. According to the additional director general of police (ADGP), militants and government forces had a face-off thrice on Monday during a daylong search operation in several villages of Pulwama. Each time, militants managed to escape.

However, there were clashes between the youth and the security forces at many places and in retaliation, a youth was shot dead at Chewa Kalan village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district during clashes that erupted after a massive Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) was launched in over a dozen villages.

The deceased was later identified as Fayaz Ahmad Wani, 26, son of Mohammad Ahsan Wani, of Chewa Kalan who was critically injured after the government forces fired at him during clashes which, as per locals, erupted in the village when some youth pelted stones at the government forces.

According to locals, in the neighbouring Gusoo village, a massive anti-militancy operation was launched jointly by Army, paramilitary CRPF and J&K Police Monday morning. As the youth pelted stones, the government forces fired bullets and one of which hit Fayaz in the head near the earlobe.

The injured youth was first shifted to the District Hospital Pulwama, but seeing his critical condition, the doctors referred the victim to Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) in Srinagar where doctors declared him as ‘brought dead’.

The victim’s body was taken to his native village in the afternoon where a large number of people participated in his funeral and the youth raised anti-Indian and pro-freedom slogans. Later on, he was buried at his village graveyard.

Fayaz, a  post-graduate in English subject, was working in a private pathology laboratory in Pulwama. He was the youngest among siblings, leaves behind his parents, two brothers and two sisters.

A senior police official said they had registered an FIR in this incident and were ascertaining facts.

Earlier, Monday morning the Army, paramilitary CRPF and Police launched a massive search operation in over a dozen villages including Bellov, Kuchepora, Dadoora, Shangharpora, Murran, Mitrigam, Putrigam, Rohmu, Fresipora and Gusoo. During searches, clashes were reported from Murran and Chewa Kalan, a neighbouring village of Gusoo.


Pakistanis Possess Assets worth $150 Billion in UAE



Pakistanis Possess Assets worth $150 Billion in UAE

The Pakistan Supreme Court was on Monday informed that Pakistan nationals hold assets and properties worth over $150 billion in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

A report by A.F. Ferguson, a chartered accountancy firm, was presented in the court in connection with a case on the offshore accounts and properties of Pakistan nationals, reported Dawn.

“Such a massive amount is still parked abroad despite the amnesty scheme?” Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar questioned during the court proceeding.

The governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Tariq Bajwa underlined the steps taken in order to recover the funds.

“Notices have been issued to the 125 people who have assets in the UAE. If they write on affidavits that they do have assets outside of Pakistan, we will interrogate and tax them. But if they deny that, then we can take the help of the UAE government and ask them to take action in accordance with benami properties law,” said Bajwa.

He further stated that they have sought support from other agencies including the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Chief Justice Nisar expressed his dismay over the headway the case has made, saying that individuals hiding assets in foreign countries are entitled to money laundering trials.

The chief of the chartered accountancy firm, Shabbar Zaidi, mentioned two prominent channels that are used for transferring wealth out of the country – Havala and banking routes, adding that, “funds are moved abroad by showing it as agricultural income.”

Upon being questioned by Justice Umar Ata Bandial if there was a ban on transferring funds outside the country, Bajwa said, “Only a sum of $10,000 is permitted to be taken outside of Pakistan,” adding that a list of 225 Pakistan nationals with properties in London has also been made.

Attorney General Mansoor Ali Khan told the court that the newly elected government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan is “serious about bringing back the money.”

“A task force has been formed under the Prime Minister’s stewardship. The government wants the apex court to provide guidance in this regard,” Khan was quoted as saying by Dawn.

Nine-year-old girl was found dead in a forest near Uri.




A nine-year-old girl who had gone missing ten days back, from her home in the Boniyar area of north Kashmir’s district Baramulla was found dead by villagers on Sunday morning, barely a kilometer away from her home, in a decomposed state.

The deceased was identified as Muskan Jan, the daughter of Mushtaq Ahmad Ganaie, of Trikanjan, was missing since August 23. The girl, according to her father, had gone to the market and never came back home.

On Sunday morning, a few villagers, who went to the forest barely 1 km from her house found some bangles, shoes and after searching further, they found the body of the girl nearby a tree. As per villages, the acid was thrown at the victim’s legs.

Earlier in a similar incident, a 10 years old boy Umar Farooq, a resident of Gulgam area of Kupwara district, had gone missing on July 16 this year. Later on, the mutilated body of the boy was found in a stream. However, police failed to nab the culprits involved in his murder and the case had been transferred to the crime branch of Jammu and Kashmir police some days ago.

The current incident has left the entire area in a state of shock. A team of doctors who conducted the autopsy of the body at Baramulla district hospital said that the body was severely decomposed. “Her vital parts which include eyeballs, visceral parts were missing and body was in a bad shape,” said a doctor who conducted the autopsy.

According to sources in police, since the body was spotted merely one kilometer from the home of the deceased, the police will also focus its investigation on the family of the deceased girl. “The father of the deceased girl has two wives, a local and another from Bihar. The chances of questioning the family members cannot be ruled out,” said a police official.

According to SSP Baramulla, Imtiyaz Hussain said in a statement that, “As of now, the body has been found in a decomposed state. It was very hard for the doctors to conduct the autopsy. We are working on different angles. Nothing can be ruled out. We are hopeful that the case will be solved soon.”

Meanwhile, locals have urged the authorities to solve the case on priority bases. “The incident has created panic in the area. We are afraid to send our kids out. The police should solve this case in a stipulated time so that confidence among the locals is restored back,” said Javed Ahmad who is a local resident.

Abductions In South Kashmir, Chaos And Confusion Among People




In Kashmir Valley, abductions occurred after the arrest of the fathers of most wanted militant of Kashmir namely Riyaz Ahmad Naikoo and Lateef Ahmad followed by the torching of houses of the two militants in Shopian area.

In retaliation, militants in south Kashmir abducted 11 persons, all of the family members or relatives of serving policemen in less than 24 hours. Three of these abductions happened in a matter of minutes in an area less than 1 square km in Arwani Bijbehara.

On Wednesday night, hours after militants shot dead four policemen on the outskirts of Shopian town, government forces allegedly set ablaze houses of two Hizbul Mujahideen militant commanders in Shopian district.

On August 27, government forces had allegedly ransacked the house and beaten up family members of Lashkar-e-Toiba militant Waris Malik in Rakh-e-Mamnoo village of Arwani. Earlier on the night of August 25, the house of another Laskar Toiba militant, Azad Malik, was also allegedly ransacked by government forces.

However, all abducted persons were released on Friday after making a video of each of them, who not only warn their parents, relatives but also requested to DGP S P Vaid that do not harass the families of the militants. in the video, militants also warn that this time we are releasing you and if harassment did not stop, our approach would be different.

The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on Friday directed the Commissioner Secretary Home Department, the Director General of Police, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, and the Inspector General of Police Kashmir to file a detailed report within four weeks to answer why houses of militants were ransacked and their families harassed by government forces.

The Commission headed by Justice Rtd Bilal Nazki passed the direction after a petition in this regard was moved by human rights activist Ahsan Untoo. The petition sought directions from the Commission to prevent the ransacking of militants’ houses and harassment of their families.

The petition stated that the families of militants had the right to be protected from all exploitative and vulnerable situations but the government forces had adopted cruel methods to harass them. The petition further stated that the security forces consistently vandalise the property and houses of militants and have even desecrated their graves, particularly in south Kashmir villages.

Meanwhile, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) Friday warned J&K Police that does not drag the families of militants in the conflict. LeT Jammu Kashmir chief, Mahmood Shah, in his message to J&K Police, said the honour and sanctity of the homes of “martyrs and freedom fighters” were the same as Police.

“The respect and honour of mothers, sisters, and daughters of freedom fighters and martyrs should be the same as you do to yours,” he said. “We have on numerous occasions warned the government forces and police personnel not to drag the families into the conflict but they continue to infiltrate our homes and compromise their honour.”

“Bearing the oppression continuously is like aiding the oppressor. The responsibility for the current situation lies on the shoulders of J&K Police and CID. Why is it that those who condemn the attacks on J&K Police do not speak up when the police personnel barge into the homes of martyrs and freedom fighters and mercilessly and indiscriminately beat the family members,” the LeT chief said in the statement.

Imran Khan Government Must Uphold Freedom of Expression, Says Independent Watchdog



Imran Khan Government Must Uphold Freedom of Expression, Says Independent Watchdog

Pakistan’s Imran Khan-led new government must uphold the freedom of expression as media is facing severe pressure from state institutions in the country, emphasised speakers at the launch of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s (HRCP) fact finding report regarding curbs on freedom of expression in Pakistan.

Notable speakers and human rights activists discussed the current situation of press which is facing pressure from different groups. However, they remained careful and reluctant in naming the responsible forces trying to curtail the freedom of press, said The Nation, a Lahore based daily newspaper.

Talking to media, activist IA Rehman said that no law prohibits distribution of newspapers or the shutdown of any news channel in any locality in the country, but the media in Pakistan is facing a challenge.

He regretted that the media is being controlled by passing ‘press advice’ at a senior level, and by dividing the journalists’ community. “Fear is everywhere and no one wants to speak,” he told The Nation.

Leader Awami National Party (ANP) and rights activist Afrasiab Khattak said that the press had been facing the situation of a ‘creeping coup’ in the last four years.

“HRCP report is an eye opener for everyone and it is the responsibility of all political parties and the civil society to talk about freedom of expression,” he said. He also said that the organised campaigns against journalists on social media are condemnable.

Chairperson HRCP Mehdi Hassan said that media is under pressure and new techniques are being invented to curb the freedom of electronic, print and social media. “We all know who is behind this, and such suffocation was not felt even during the dictatorial regimes of the country,” he told The Nation.

The HRCP chairperson also said that it is the responsibility of the media to inform the people about the pressure it faces from government or its institutions. “Democracy without media is an empty shell,” he said.

Pakistan People’s Party leader Farhatullah Babar said that the media has adopted self censorship and various serious incidents have not been reported by local media in the country because of pressure on them.

He emphasised that civil society and citizens must help to implement the ‘Right to Information’ act at its maximum level. “People who don’t want accountability are behind curbing the freedom of press,” he said.

Senior journalist M. Ziauddin said that journalism in Pakistan is currently facing a strange situation which was not even experienced during PPO (Protection of Pakistan Ordinance). The statement released said that the new government must uphold the freedom of expression across the print and broadcast media to establish its democratic credentials.

Pakistan is Facing External, Internal Challenges, Says Imran Khan



Pakistan is Facing External, Internal Challenges, Says Imran Khan

Pakistan’s newly-appointed Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the General Headquarter (GHQ), Rawalpindi for the security briefing on Thursday morning where he called for nation’s support as it is facing external and internal challenges.

Khan was received by Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ and was given a guard of honour who then laid a floral wreath at the Yadgar-i-Shuhada (Monument to Martyrs), reported the Dawn.

Pakistan army’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) tweeted, “PM being briefed on defence, internal security and other professional matters. Ministers of Defence, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Information and Minister of State for Interior are accompanying the PM.”

The meeting lasted for eight hours.

“A wonderful Visit of GHQ today. PM and members of the Cabinet are Proud to meet Command of World’s best Army. A detailed briefing in GHQ was of great value. With close coordination n cooperation amongst all institutions we shall overcome all challenges confronting Pakistan,” tweeted Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.

CoAS asserted that the army will function like any other government institution. He further said, “There is perception army interferes in the civilian affairs but please be rest assured, the army will function like any other government institution.”

Bajwa thanked Khan for his visit and his confidence in the country’s armed forces and assured him that the army shall, “God willing, continue to deliver on nation’s expectations of defending the motherland at all costs and sacrifices.”

Prime Minister Khan also assured General Bajwa to provide all resources required to maintain the capability and capacity of the armed forces.

Article 35A Row: Supreme Court Adjourns Hearing Till January 2019




The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned hearing on petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A and listed the case for next hearing in the second week of January next year.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud adjourned the hearing on a batch of pleas moved by different groups and individuals challenging Article-35A, reports said.

“The three-bench court adjourned the hearing of petitions. The case has been listed for next hearing in the second week of January 2019.”

On Wednesday, the Jammu and Kashmir government had moved an application in the Apex Court seeking the adjournment of the August 31 hearing on pleas in wake of upcoming local body elections in the state.

 In defence of the article 35A, the J&K government had cited two verdicts by the constitution benches of the Supreme Court in 1961 and 1969, which had upheld the powers of the president under Article 370 (1)(d) of the constitution of India to pass such orders.

Several interlocutory petitions have been filed in support of Article 35A by various individuals and civil society groups seeking the continuance of the special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The Article 35A is the provision in Indian constitution that grants exclusive state subject (full citizenship) rights and other privileges to permanent residents of the state. This provision was added to the constitution through the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, issued by the country’s first president, Rajendra Prasad, on May 14, 1954.

The J&K constitution, which was adopted on November 17, 1956, defined a permanent resident as a person who was born or settled in the state before May 14, 1954, or who has been a resident in the state for 10 years and had ‘lawfully acquired’ immovable property in the state before that.

Four petitions demanding to scrap of the provision have been moved before the Supreme Court. The main petition was filed by a Delhi-based NGO ‘We the Citizens’ in 2014.

Later, three petitions filed by West Pakistan Refugees Action Committee, Dr. Charu Wali Khanna, and Kali Dass were clubbed together Recently, Delhi BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay moved a fresh plea in the court seeking revocation of Article 35A of the Constitution. Meanwhile, Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) had called for the shutdown on August 30 and 31 to protest against the abrogation of the Article 35A.

Jammu and Kashmir Opened 215 Facebook Pages, 31 Twitter Accounts To Counter Pakistan Campaign




Director General of Police (DGP) S P Vaid said on Tuesday that there is information about a large of heavily armed militants, who are waiting to cross the line of control (LOC). However, the army and the Border Security Force personnel were keeping a tight vigil on the borders and have been largely successful to scuttle their attempts to infiltrate into the state.

Besides that, DGP said that a big campaign is underway on social media from Pakistan to trick youths into militancy on the basis of false propaganda, but the police have taken effective measures to counter it and have managed to block many such accounts.

Talking to media persons after attestation and passing out parade of 215 recruits at the Police Technical Training Institute here, Vaid said intelligence reports suggest a huge presence of heavily-armed militants on launching pads across the LoC and the IB, awaiting an opportunity to sneak into the state.

Addressing the recruits earlier after inspecting the parade and taking the salute at the march, Vaid said, “Our neighbouring country has launched a major campaign on social media to lure youths into terrorism and violence through wrong information.”

“We have taken measures to cover it and, accordingly, media cells have been created at the range, district and zonal levels. We have opened 215 Facebook pages at the district level, 189 at the police station and zonal levels and 31 twitter handles and have occupied the social media space to counter the malicious campaign,” the DGP said.

He said many accounts feeding wrong information to mislead the youths have been successfully blocked.

Besides, that DGP said that from few months most of the local boys are giving up the path of terrorism and returning to the mainstream on appeals of their families. They are saving not only themselves and their families but are also saving the people of Kashmir from terrorism.”

Meanwhile, some agencies and groups are misusing the social media to mislead the youths,” Vaid said, and added the police also countered rumours about Article 35A through social media on Monday which helped in stopping the agitation.

The protests and clashes rocked different parts of the Kashmir valley on Monday after rumours spread that the Supreme Court has scrapped Article 35A of the Constitution which guarantees special privileges and rights to the people of the state.


Shutdown and Clashes Occurred At Different PlacesAs the Rumours Circulated on Article 35A Hearing




A rumour was circulated on social media that the Supreme court of India will deliver its verdict on Article 35A on Monday. As soon as the news spread, clashes and protests were witnessed across Kashmir valley. Scores of civilians were injured, mostly in south Kashmir, when government forces started to take action after protests began to dangerously escalate.

The chaos and confusion began in the morning when the national media reported that the Supreme Court was going to hear a fresh petition on Article 35A today. The people of Valley were angry and gossips were made that the Indian government is secretly scrapping the Article 35 A.

As the news began making rounds on social networking sites, people in the south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian, and Kulgam began to protest and to enforce a shutdown. Srinagar joined in, as did some parts of north Kashmir. Shopkeepers dropped their shutters as groups of agitated protestors moved around city streets calling for a shutdown. Long queues began to form at petrol and diesel stations in anticipation of an imminent and prolonged shutdown.

All shops, offices and commercial establishments in Lal Chowk and adjoining areas closed soon after the rumours spread. Some private schools and government colleges shut their operations, too.

Minor clashes between locals and government forces took place at Soura and Amira Kadal areas of Srinagar. Twenty-two civilians, mostly college students, were injured by pellets during clashes in Shopian.

Early in the morning, students of Government Degree College (GDC) Shopian hit the streets and held protests against the fresh petition moved by a BJP spokesperson seeking abrogation of Article 35 A. The protesting students clashed with government forces deployed around Jamia Masjid Shopian in which 22 people received pellet injuries. Six among them were referred to SMHS Srinagar for advanced treatment.

Violent protests broke out in many areas of Anantnag district. Groups of youths hit the streets at Lal Chowk and held demonstrations. The protesters, witnesses said, clashed with government forces by hurling rocks at them.

Students of Government Degree College Kulgam, Anantnag, Bijbehara, Pulwama, Shopian Ganderbal, Bandipora, Sopore and Government Higher Secondary School Ganderbal took out a protest rally. The students raised pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.

The National Conference (NC) also organised a protest march of its workers against the fresh petition challenging Article 35A. Meanwhile, Senior Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq appealed people not to pay heed to rumours.

The Article 35A is the provision in Indian constitution that grants exclusive state subject (full citizenship) rights and other privileges to permanent residents of the state. This provision was added to the constitution through the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, issued by the country’s first president, Rajendra Prasad, on May 14, 1954.

The Supreme Court of India adjourns the hearing that was first scheduled on 6th August to 27th August. however, before two days of the hearing, the Supreme Court marked the 31st August as the hearing date on Article 35 A. Earlier, Joint resistance leadership (JRL) has given the shutdown call on 30 and 31 August.

IHRC Concerned Over Enforced Disappearances in Pakistan



IHRC Concerned Over Enforced Disappearances in Pakistan

The International Human Rights Council, Hong Kong (IHRC-HK) has expressed concern over enforced disappearance in Pakistan and called upon the state institutions to play an active role in the recovery of all the missing persons.

In a report titled, ‘PAKISTAN: The International Day of the victim of Enforced disappearances-Bring back the disappeared’, the IHRC-HK said that scores of protesters and activists are abducted and kept in “habeas corpus and incommunicado without any legal representation”.

It also believes that despite an uproar over the enforced disappearances during the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), the matter failed to make it to the list of serious human rights issue that has implications for the rule of law.

The report further underlined that the issue of enforced disappearances was not even touched upon by any political leader during the poll campaigns of recently held Pakistan general elections. “No political party dared cross the line and attract the ire of the intelligence agencies – the very institution that is responsible for disappearances,” the IHRC-HK pointed out.

It also claimed that as per the International Commission of Jurists, which is headquartered in Switzerland, more than 24,000 people residing in Pakistan have fallen prey to unlawful arrest by the authorities so far.

The IHRC-HK cited a report compiled by PTM, which suggested that since 2001 as many as 3,000 people residing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) were killed during their captivity by the military forces.

The report of the IHRC-HK also stated that as per the Voice of Baloch Missing Person (VBMP), 6428 people are missing from Balochistan after their arrest by the law enforcement agencies since 2002 to date, while 196 people were missing from Sindh province since January 2016 to date, suggested the Voice of Missing Person of Sindh.

Condemning the heinous crime, the IHRC-HK recommended that whenever a missing person is recovered he must be produced before a court of law. It also suggested that families who are fighting cases for their missing members should be given a monthly stipend by the government in order to aid them in proceedings and to meet their basic needs

Expressing disappointment over the ongoing human tragedies in Pakistan, the report noted that despite accepting recommendations from the UN Working Group, no suitable measures were taken in order to put an end to disappearances in the region.

Shopian Attack: Four Policemen Killed In Broad Daylight



Shopian Attack: Four Policemen Killed In Broad Daylight

In broad daylight, militants shot dead four policemen at Arhama village on the outskirts of Shopian town Wednesday afternoon. The incident took place at about 3:30 pm near the HDFC Bank branch at Arhama.

According to police sources, five cops had come to a mechanic’s shop for repairs of their Rakshak vehicle.

According to eyewitnesses, four masked militants, who were in a car came close to the shop and then immediately started shooting at the policemen, who were standing outside the vehicle. All the four cops died on the spot, while one cop survived the attack as he was inside the vehicle.

Police sources said that the policemen were part of the escort team of the Deputy Superintendent of Police, headquarters, Shopian.

Soon after the attack, government forces reached the spot and started to ransack property, beat up people, and smashed the windshields of parked cars. They also restored to aerial firing, people said.

The four slain policemen were identified by police as constable Javid Ahmad Bhat, son of Nazir Ahmad Bhat, resident of Panzrat HMT Srinagar: constable Muhammad Iqbal Mir, son of Abdul Rehman Mir, resident of Hudur Chaman Baramulla: constable Ishfaq Ahmad Mir, son of Muhammad Malik Mir, resident of Rafiabad Baramulla and SPO Adil Ahmad Bhat, son of Manzoor Ahmad Bhat, resident of Zawoora Shopian.

A wreath-laying ceremony for the slain policemen was held at District Police Lines Shopian where Director General of Police (DGP) SP Vaid, Additional Director General of Police Muneer Ahmad Khan, and Kashmir Range Inspector General of Police SP Pani attended.

Soon after the attack, shops and business establishments shut down while chaos spread in the town. The bodies of the cops were taken to Balpora army base of 12 RR, from where the bodies were airlifted to police control room Srinagar.

Meanwhile, Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed the responsibility of the attack, saying its cadres along with Hizbul Mujahideen militants carried the attack.

Setback to Hizbul Mujahideen: Top Commander Killed in Anantnag Encounter




In the Kashmir Valley, people are mourning the death of top Hizbul Commander Altaf Ahmad Dar Known also known as Kachroo, who was killed in an encounter along with his associate in a village of Anantnag District. He was one of the longest-surviving militants of the Kashmir valley.

As soon as the news circulated on social media, clashes and protests erupted in various districts of the valley particularly in Kulgam, the native place of the slain militants. At least fifty protestors were wounded in action by government forces to curb protests from spreading to other areas.

According to police sources, Altaf Ahmad Dar (a science graduate) alias Kachroo of Hawoora Mishpora (Kulgam), aged 34, was the deputy operational commander of Hizbul Mujahideen,  who had been an active militant in his first stint as a guerrilla before he was arrested. He was released in 2010. A year later he again took to arms.

According to his mother, a widow, Altaf was barely six when his father-Ghulam Muhammad Dar also a Hizb militant was killed at LOC while returning to Kashmir from Pakistan held Kashmir. He is now survived by two brothers and two sisters.

Altaf was listed as category A++ militant in police records and was involved in a number of attacks in the Kashmir valley, Police said.

According to the statement of police, “Dar along with YasinYatoo alias Ghaznavi a slain Hizb operational commander played a major role in instigating people during 2016 summer unrest”.  Altaf was a known cordon breaker and had escaped from numerous encounters in the last seven years. “He had escaped from an 18-hour long fierce gun battle in Frisal Kulgam in which four of his associates were killed,” police said.

His associate Umar Rashid Wani, 24, of Khudwani, had joined militant ranks early this year and according to police had carried a recent attack on CRPF in Srinagar city and also escaped from an encounter at Batmaloo. “He was also involved in the killing of a policeman in Anantnag,”  police said.

Meanwhile, the government forces had laid a siege around the Muniward village located barely 3 Kilometers from the Khanabal locality of Anantnag town at around 12:00 in the midnight.

According to villagers that around 5:45 am, gunshots were heard and the guns only fell silent around 10 in the morning. Later remains of the two militants were retrieved from the site. The newly constructed house where the militants had taken shelter was set ablaze by the forces. When the gunfight ended protests started in the area. The government forces used pellet and tear gas to curb protests.

As the word of the killing of Altaf and his associate spread, people took to streets in the Khudwani area of Qaimoh and clashed with forces. Youth resorted to heavy stone pelting on the forces who responded by lobbing tear gas shells and pellets.

Even barbed wires and barricades were put on the old national highway near Sangam and Bijbehara town and no vehicle was allowed to ply on the road. The internet service was shattered in both the districts. Besides that, the rail service was also suspended by the authorities.

People in droves thronged Hawoora-Mishpora, the native village of Altaf to participate in his funeral. Amid pro-freedom slogans at least five back to back funerals were offered. At least twenty militants in different groups appeared at the funeral of Altaf and offered the gun salute to their commander. People were seen jostling around and trying to hug the militants.

20,000 Troops To Be Deployed In Jammu And Kashmir Ahead Of Panchayat Polls




Over 20,000 personnel of central paramilitary forces such as CRPF and BSF would be deployed in Kashmir ahead of panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

According to officials that 202 companies that were given the task of conducting the recently-concluded Amarnath pilgrimage in the state will now be deployed in Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Sopore, Kupwara, Bandipora, Shopian and Awantipora for pre-election duties. A single company of these forces has about 100 personnel.

These forces were already deployed in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of two months annual Amarnath Yatra, which came to an end on 26th August  (Sunday) on the eve of Raksha Bandhan.

According to an order issued by the state police, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will contribute the largest number of companies at 132, followed by Border Security Force (BSF) at 32, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) at 25 and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) at 13.

“A total of 202 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) deployed for the Amarnath Yatra have been diverted and ordered to be deployed for pre-poll duties in view of the panchayat polls in the state, dates for which are yet to be announced,” a senior official said.

He added a number of other reserve units of these forces and the state police will also be deployed once the poll dates are announced.

Meanwhile, former Governor N N Vohra on the eve of Independence day function said in his speech that local body elections are likely to be held in the last week of September.

Satya Pal Malik is the New Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, arrives in Srinagar for Swearing-in Ceremony




The Rashtrapati Bhavan communiqué on Tuesday appointed Bihar Governor Satya Pal Malik as Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. Malik arrived in Srinagar from Patna in a special plane and would assume office as the 13th  Governor of Jammu and Kashmir after the formal swearing-in ceremony.

At the Srinagar International Airport, the Governor-designate was received by the Member Parliament and former Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah; Advisors to the Governor, B B Vyas, K Vijay Kumar & Khurshid Ahmad Ganai; Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam; Director General Police, Dr S P Vaid; Principal Secretary to Governor, Umang Narula; Financial Commissioners, Administrative Secretaries, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, IGP Kashmir, Deputy Commissioner Budgam and other senior officers of the civil, police administration and the Army.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir have been under Governor’s Rule since June 20, after the BJP ended its coalition government with Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP). After the end of the coalition, the state came under Governor rule under N N Vohra, who was appointed by the UPA government in 2008 and the BJP government continued with him. Even though his term had ended on June 28, the Government of India (GoI) decided to continue with him. The Amarnath Yatra was due to start at the time and the Governor was heading the board which was looking into elaborate security cover.

Meanwhile, Senior BJP leader Lal Ji Tandon was appointed as the Governor of Bihar replacing Malik.

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