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Shutdown takes toll on daily life in Kashmir Valley

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Srinagar: Markets being shut and no public transport due to a protest shutdown called on Sunday by separatists against the murder of a four-year-old child and his former militant father, took its toll on daily life in Kashmir Valley.

Photo credit: zeenews.india.com
Photo credit: zeenews.india.com

Although it is a public holiday here, the weekly Sunday pavement market remained closed because of the shutdown.

Public transport also remained off the roads in Srinagar city and all other major towns and cities in the Kashmir valley.

Unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants had shot dead former militant Bashir Ahmad Bhat in Sagipora area of Kashmir’s Sopore town on Friday.

While Bhat died on the spot, his son was critically injured in the firing incident and succumbed to injuries on Saturday.

The shutdown has been called by separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani.

Six mysterious killings have happened in Kashmir’s Baramulla district in the past seven days.

On Monday, bodies of three youth riddled with bullets were recovered from an apple orchard in Dangerpora (Pattan).

On Friday, former militant Bhat and his son were killed by unidentified gunmen in Sopore and on Saturday, the bullet riddled body of Fayaz Ahmad, a militant commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, was found in Devbugh village near the Tangmarg town in Baramulla district.

Police said the three youth and the Hizbul commander were killed in internecine rivalry between the Hizbul and its breakaway faction, the Lashkar-e-Islam.

The Hizbul has blamed the security forces for all these killings.

With inputs from IANS

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Quitting Militancy by Kashmiri Footballer Regarded as ‘Brave’ by the Army

Majid Khan, a young Kashmiri footballer has given up militancy to pursue academics and passion for football, leaving the Kashmirs stunned over his decision

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Kashmiri Footballer
Kashmiri Footballer quits militancy.Pixabay.

Jammu and Kashmir, November, 17: Majid Khan, a young Kashmiri footballer whose decision to join the LeT stunned Kashmirs, has given up militancy, the Army announced on Friday, with the 20-year-old making a brief appearance at a press conference here.

Amid conflicting reports whether Majid Khan had surrendered or was caught, Major General B.S. Raju said: “The brave young man, Majid Khan, the Kashmiri footballer decided on his own to shun violence and returned to lead a normal life, pursuing his academics and passion for football.”

The Army, he said, merely facilitated his decision.

“He was neither apprehended nor did he surrender. We only facilitated his return,” Gen Raju said, providing no details about how Majid made contact with the family or the security agencies.

Majid, wearing a black Kashmiri phiran, made a brief presence before journalists. But the kashmiri footballer did not speak and was quickly escorted out of the venue by a police officer.

Gen Raju complimented his parents, especially the mother, whose persuasion he said helped the young man to change his mind.

Majid’s mother’s passionate and wailing appeal to her only son to return home went viral on social media — just like Majid’s earlier photographs showing him with an AK-47.

Gen Raju, who commands the Army’s Victor Force, which oversees all anti-military operations in southern Kashmir, urged other Kashmiri youths to also give up militancy.

“Those youths who have strayed and have committed no crime are welcome to come back and no action will be taken against them. I appeal also to those who might have committed some crime to return within the parameters of law.”

The Kashmir Valley’s police chief, Muneer Khan, said no charges would be pressed against Majid and he would be allowed to join his family.

Army sources had earlier said that Majid, a second year college student, surrendered after walking into a Rashtriya Rifles camp at Kulgam on Thursday evening. He came with his arms and ammunition.

The sources added that he was handed over to Army’s 15 Corps in Awantipora town.

There was a sense of relief among Majid’s friends and relatives when they learnt that he had crossed back — into safer hands.

Kashimiri footballer
Army appreciates Kashimiri footballer, Majid Khan’s decision to quit militancy. IANS.

“It is great to hear that he will be now serving his parents and pursuing his passion about football,” a relative who did not wish to be named told IANS.

The relative said Majid was the only son of his parents, who were shocked when they came to know that he had joined the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which is active in the Kashmir Valley.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “A mother’s love prevailed. Her impassioned appeal helped in getting Majid, an aspiring kashmiri footballer, back home. Every time a youngster resorts to violence, it is his family which suffers the most.”

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said: “It is a very good development. Hope he can go back to leading a normal life and not be harassed. (IANS)

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Pakistani-origin Bollywood Singer Adnan Sami to Perform in Sri Nagar

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Adnan Sami
Adnan Sami. IANS

Srinagar, Oct 7, 2017: Pakistani-origin Bollywood singer Adnan Sami, who is half Kashmiri, is set to perform a musical gala on the banks of the Dal Lake here on Sunday

The ‘Rhythm in Paradise’ concert will take place at the sprawling lawns of the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) with a select audience of around 3,000 VVIPs.

The SKICC complex has been given a facelift to provide the right ambience. A deweeding and preservation operation in the Dal Lake has been speeded up so that the dazzling lights of the concert fall on clean glistening waters.

“He will perform without charging anything for the over two-hour long concert organised jointly by the union Home Ministry and the Jammu and Kashmir government,” Mehmood Shah, Director of the state Tourism Department, told IANS on Saturday.

Doordarshan will stream the concert live. The government has deployed over 100 liaison officers to ensure that the concert takes place smoothly.

A security drill was held on Saturday around the venue to ensure foolproof security.

Sami interacted with some local artists at the Taj Vivanta Hotel here on Friday evening.

Discussing his music journey and sharing experiences with the local artists, Adnan said: “Language of art is a form of communication that transcends all differences created by humans as it reaches above hate to spread a message of peace and harmony.”

On his experiences of visiting the state, Sami said the region hosted a rich culture which had art woven in its roots.

Also Read: Interview with Bhumi Pednekar: Heroines No More a Mere Tool of Glamour 

“The mysticism and Sufism found in Kashmir will continue to inspire me and influence my music so that I can produce rich melodies,” he said.

Sami tweeted on Saturday: “I really enjoyed meeting the amazing local artists. It was delightful talking with them. Felt as if we knew each other from ages. The love.”

Although he has visited the Kashmir Valley previously including for the shooting a Qawali sequence for Bollywood blockbuster “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, Adnan said about his present visit: “I am in heaven on Earth. Kashmir, Srinagar, love, peace, brotherhood and music.”

Many locals have expressed disappointment about the concert being a closed affair and not open to the general public.

“We looked forward to the concert and were ready to pay for the tickets, but we are now told it is not an open concert,” said Suhail Ahmad, 23, a university student.

According to the organisers, the initial plan was for an open concert but security concerns forced it otherwise. (IANS)

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Kashmiri Pandits not Willing to Return to their Jobs in Kashmir Valley

The ongoing protests by Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu, are threatening mass resignations.

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Kashmiri Hindu Pandits
Kashmiri Pandits are not returning to their jobs. Wikimedia
  • The situation since last year is a clear indicator of rising threat in Kashmir as people are coming on the roads and pelting stones
  • After the government asked them to rejoin their duties in Kashmir valley, they are threatening mass resignations
  • Most of the Kashmiri Pandit employees left the valley last year only and now, 500 of them are refusing to return

Jammu, August 10, 2017: There were many Kashmiri Pandit employees who left the Kashmir valley last year after witnessing continual unrest following the encounter of terrorist Burhan Wani.

One of the residents, Sonia Bhat, who is a government teacher by profession, left the Kashmir valley last year (days after Burhan Wani got killed) and came to Jammu. She is a Kashmiri Pandit who returned to the Kashmir valley around seven years back, before which she migrated from the valley in the early 90s. Her reason for return was the government job she got, said that the cause of worry is the security concerns, apart from many problems they have to face on a day to day basis.

She said that the situation since last year is a clear indicator of rising threat in Kashmir as people are coming on the roads and pelting stones.  She feels that there is not a safe atmosphere to live in Kashmir.

ALSO READ:  Kashmiri Pandits Demand The Status of “Internally Displaced People”

Kashmiri Pandits have gathered in large numbers and are protesting in Jammu. After the government asked them to rejoin their duties in Kashmir valley, they are threatening mass resignations. Under the provision of Prime Minister’s special package for settling Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir- the government had given around 3,000 jobs to them in the valley.  But, most of the Kashmiri Pandit employees had no option but to leave the valley last year due to unrest and now, 500 of them are not willing to come back.

According to the NDTV report, RK Bhat, President Youth All India Kashmiri Samaj said, “The ongoing proxy war in Kashmir is against India and nationalist forces, why are you forcing us to go back to Kashmir in such an atmosphere?”

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The government assures that the Pandit employees can be moved to safe locations within the valley and things will be done to ensure their safety. But, they can’t give in to the demands of transferring them out of the valley. Thus, the government has given a 15-day ultimatum to Pandit employees to return to their duties.

Altaf Bukhari, Jammu and Kashmir Education Minister said, “There is no way that their jobs can continue while they remain outside Kashmir, they will have to come back, I do sympathize with them if they have any concern we will address it. We will keep them in and around Srinagar.”

– prepared by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08


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