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Kashmir attack: Why JKEDI was an easy target for the terrorists?

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Photo: dailykashmirimages.com

An account by an ex-employee of JKEDI, Sarwar Kashani

Its location makes it vulnerable, more prone to being occupied by suicide attackers for a possible long-drawn gunfight, a senior police officer had once said with some foreboding about Kashmir’s entrepreneurship institute at the center of a battle between security forces and terrorists on Saturday.

The police officer’s apprehension during a casual talk with me was the first thing I immediately remembered when I heard about a group of militants had stormed into the multi-floor complex of the Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI), where I used to work until recently as a communication officer.

Had I not returned to journalism, I would probably have been one of the employees of the institute who were trapped inside the complex hours after the shootout began.

The institute, situated on the strategic national highway connecting Jammu and Srinagar, has three buildings – a guest house, a hostel complex and the main office building – on a large swath of 3.5-acre land on the eastern bank of Jhelum. The institute trains young boys and girls of the job-starved state to be entrepreneurs and has nearly 300 employees spread across 22 districts of the Jammu and Kashmir. Nearly 100 employees are posted in the main office near Pampore, some 12 km from Srinagar.

The road on which the institute is located connects capital Srinagar with south Kashmir. It is the lifeline not only for the local supplies, but is the only all-weather road link used by the army to reach the Srinagar-based 15 Corps headquarters that is the nerve center of the fight against militancy in the state.

The area around the building is not residential. It houses a government-owned joinery factory where wooden objects like doors, window frames, beds, chairs are made. On the other side of the road is a highly secured complex of medium and shortwave radio transmitters of Radio Kashmir, Srinagar.

There is a large slice of marshy land that separates the JKEDI complex from the Jhelum. Police previously had on many occasions proposed that the building be secured with security forces.

But the proposal was rejected as the administration of the institute was of the view that it (police presence) may scare young boys and girls from visiting it.

The police officer during the talk last summer was pointing to the location of the institute on the highway and the bushy wetland at the back of the complex – making it an easy target of militants who would also want to exploit the rush of youth into the institute.

And that is exactly what might have happened on Saturday evening as I was informed by my colleagues.

They said that three to four militants – apparently teenagers – walked inside posing as aspiring entrepreneurs before launching the attack on a security force convoy. Many of the employees had no idea what was brewing outside.

The militants, carrying heavy weaponry, then stormed inside. The attackers quickly scaled the stairs and occupied the fourth floor of the building from where they began shooting at security forces, the employees said.

In the melee, many of the employees sneaked out and ran towards the hostel complex. But many were still trapped inside before they reached the ground floor.

I could hear the gunshots over the phone as I spoke with my former colleagues. I heard them screaming over the phone. They were running for their lives before being evacuated by security forces to safer places.

I was told that a gardener was injured being hit by a bullet on one of his legs. Rest of them are safe and alive.(IANS)

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UN General Assembly: Pakistan Representative Maleeha Lodhi goofs up, labels Gaza photo as Kashmir’s

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Maleeha Lodhi at UN General Assembly
Maleeha Lodhi at UN General Assembly

United Nations, Sep 24: In a failed attempt to counter India at the UN General Assembly, Pakistan’s Representative Maleeha Lodhi tried to pass off a distorted fact. She displayed a disturbing picture of Gaza and labelled it as the “face of Indian democracy”.

Lodhi was responding to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s description of Pakistan as a “pre-eminent export factory for terror” at UN General Assembly 2017.

The photo, Lodhi displayed at the UN General Assembly to show Indian “atrocities” in Jammu and Kashmir was of 17-year-old Rawya Abu Jom. In reality, the picture is of 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, where two Israeli airstrikes hit Rawya Abu Jom, family’s apartment in Gaza.

Exercising the Right of Reply, Maleeha Lodhi accused India of “crimes against humanity” and of carrying out a “campaign of brutality” in the Kashmir Valley. To prove her point, she held the photo of the girl whose face was riddled with wounds.

The photo has been featured in many photo galleries online, including by the New York Times and the Guardian.(IANS)

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Bollywood Megastars Hema Malini and Amitabh Bachchan Promote New Short-film ‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir’

Kashmir's mountains, greenery and the beautiful shikaras; Vaadi-e-Kashmir aims to touch the heart of the Kashmiri brothers and sisters

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Vaadi-e-kashmir
Vaadi-e-Kashmir aims to make our brothers and sisters in Kashmir feel that the rest of the country stands with them. YouTube

Kashmir, September 7, 2017 : Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and veteran actress-politician Hema Malini have featured in “Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, a short film aimed at spreading the message of oneness.

“As an Indian, this film is my attempt to reach out to Kashmir and touch the hearts of our brothers and sisters in the valley,” Hema, who has also curated the film, said in a statement.

Vaadi-e-Kashmir
Veteran actress-politician Hema Malini has featured in “Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, a short film aimed at spreading the message of oneness. IANS

‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir’ will make you fall in love with the people of Kashmir 

“Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, which captures the valley’s beauty and people, is supported by KENT RO Systems Ltd, and has music and lyrics by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Gulzar. It is directed by filmmaker Pradeep Sarkar and conceptualised by Praveen Kenneth, Chairman – Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi.

Talking about his experience of shooting the film over two weeks in Kashmir, Sarkar said in statement: “Falling in love at the age of 62 years is possible… It happened to me when I went and met Kashmir. Though it was my first trip to Kashmir, it seemed like I knew the place.”

“The warm and friendly people just make you feel at home instantly. In this film, I tried to capture her beauty… but I want to go back to capture her beauty unawares — and also to know her a little better. Believe it, we all need to know her a little better.”

#DilSeKashmir : Watch ‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir Trailer 

Amitabh gives a key message at the start of the movie, which showcases Kashmir’s mountains, greenery and shikaras.

The vision of the six minutes long film is to make our brothers and sisters in Kashmir feel that the rest of the country stands with them and also open many more doors to bring us closer to one another, said Mahesh Gupta, Chairman – KENT RO.

“Vaadi-e-Kashmir” also calls viewers to log on to www.dilsekashmir.com, a platform for the people across the nation to send a message of love to the people of Kashmir. (IANS)

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Khalsa Aid: This Sikh Relief Organisation is Restoring Faith in Humanity Since 1999

‘Khalsa Aid’ has also been assisting Yazidi women, escaped from the clutches of terrorist organization ISIS recently, by providing monthly food rations to 250 women

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Khalsa Aid
‘Khalsa Aid’, an international humanitarian aid organization being run by Sikhs, Source: Khalsaaid.org

New Delhi, August 10, 2017: Prevailing scenario across the globe suggests that the cruelty has almost wiped out the humanity and the disheartening greed of human beings has made everyone egocentric. Increasing crime rate, conflicts, corruption, and negligence, are all symbol of this transition.

Despite the widespread selfishness, a Sikh relief organization is fighting hard to preserve the soul of humanity and keeping the hope alive. ‘Khalsa Aid’ is an international humanitarian aid organization run by people of Sikh community and it is setting a perfect example of peace and compassion among people.

This organization works for providing humanitarian aid to the people affected by disasters or are in conflict areas. Started in 1999 in the United Kingdom with UK Charities Commission, ‘Khalsa Aid’ has volunteers all over America and Asia. They have provided relief aid to most part of the Middle East where the conflicts are much serious. They have led their activities in countries like Lebanon, Haiti, Bosnia, Nepal, and Serbia.

In Lebanon and Serbia, the ‘Khalsa Aid’ has been providing food, medical and educational assistance to the refugees there. It also had supplied food aid to famine and drought struck areas of northern Kenya.

Back in 2015, the organization also rushed to Nepal after severe earthquakes hit the country and arranged food and temporary shelters for the affected citizens. It also helped in conducting missions in rubble clearance and building temporary shelters for 250 families there.

Meanwhile, at the time of Kashmir floods (2014) in India, ‘Khalsa Aid’ had actively taken part in relief measures in flood-devastated parts.

 Similar was its role during Uttarakhand floods and the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013.

Khalsa Aid helping women in need

‘Khalsa Aid’ has also been assisting Yazidi women, escaped from the clutches of terrorist organization ISIS recently, by providing monthly food rations to 250 women.

Ravinder Singh, founder of ‘Khalsa Aid’ was awarded ‘The Sikh of the Year 2014’ for doing humanitarian works all over the world. His first mission was in Albania border where Khalsa Aid provided assistance to the victims of civil war and genocide.

Though there are only a few people working for the welfare of humanity, yet there is a hope and these people are the flag bearer for the same.

– by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter @sumit_balodi