Srinagar: Two ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs thrashed independent MLA Engineer Rashid in the state assembly on Thursday for hosting a beef party here the previous day.
Even before the speaker, Kavinder Gupta, could take his seat, BJP MLAs Gagan Bhagat and Rajeev Sharma pounced on Engineer Rashid and started thrashing him.
Opposition MLAs from the National Conference (NC) had to intervene to save Engineer Rashid.
Opposition leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah said what was witnessed in the house today was unprecedented.
“I am still unable to fully understand what happened in the assembly today (Thursday).”
“The speaker is the custodian of the house, but we want to know what the chief minister has to say on this most unfortunate incident,” Omar Abdullah said.
Omar said whatever Engineer Rashid had done did not provide BJP the right to carry out a murderous attack on him.
“We respect and understand the sentiments of other communities, but that does not mean we can resort to violence to settle scores.”
“Alcohol is prohibited in my religion. Consumption of pork is prohibited in my religion, but that does not mean I should attack everyone who consumes alcohol or pork,” he said.
Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed said the incident to attack the MLA was condemnable.
“This house has high values of parliamentary conduct. Whatever has happened here is condemnable and I condemn it.”
“I request deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh (BJP) to stand up and apologise for the misconduct of the BJP MLAs,” Sayeed said.
Nirmal Singh said that whatever happened in the house was unfortunate and he disapproved of it, but added that what Engineer Rashid had done the previous day was “both condemnable and unfortunate”.
Since the deputy chief minister stopped short of issuing a clear apology in his statement, opposition NC, Congress, CPI M, member Yusuf Tarigami and other independents including Engineer Rashid and Hakeem Yaseen walked out of the house after which question hour started in the assembly.
Kashmirwhich is known as the “Living Paradise on Earth”, Kashmir which has its own majestic beauty~ always purveys the panoramic and all embracing view of the beautiful nature. Nature has so lavishly endowed Kashmir with unequivocal benevolence which hardly finds a parallel in any land in this world.
For so many years, Kashmir has been a hub of shooting Bollywood Movies. Be it the couple romancing and singing in a boat amidst Dal Lake or in the resplendent views of Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Char Chinar or Srinagar~ Kashmir has given the perfect mood to match the Aesthetics.
The times eventually changed when militancy became illustrious and the era from 2000s saw an inundation of films which were politically sensitive where Kashmir was made the intrinsic part of the scripts along with its backdrop.
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Today, I have brought a few bollywood films which have their plait confined to Kashmir and were shot amidst its scenic beauty. Hope you will enjoy!
DIRECTOR: Vishal Bhardwaj
STARRING: Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, Shraddha Kapoor, Narendra Jha, Kay Kay Menon.
Haider is a fervent adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, and so far, Vishal Bhardwaj’s Magnum Opus! Bhardwaj had engrossingly adapted “Hamlet” to the rise of Kashmir Conflict in the formerly peaceful South-Western part of Jammu and Kashmir in the Era of 90s. The story is about grieving son’s search for his missing and adoring father. All the actors in the film have played their roles with par excellence. According to me, Haider is a wonderful piece of art, it tells the pain of poetic narrations and complex sentiments along with deep fervours.
DIRECTOR: Abhishek Kapoor
STARRING: Tabu, Katrina Kaif, Aditya Roy Kapoor
Fitoor is based on a popular novel by Charles Dickens titled “The Great Expectation”. It is a soft and emotional love story. Its songs blend with the natural music of the Himalayan Mountains. The characters in the film possess a casual tenderness. It is a very passionate film and the amazing visuals of Kashmir add different dimensions to the myriad aspects of this movie. Surely watch it if you are a lover of romantic celluloids.
LAILA MAJNU (2018)
DIRECTOR: Sajid Ali
STARRING: Avinash Tiwary, Tripti Dimri
There are love stories that never die, and then there is Laila Majnu. It is a folklore about two passionate lovers who are never destined to meet. This film for me is a moving celluloid that is a retelling of an eternal Love Saga whose characters live in contemporary times, but the emotions are still the same. The performances by the two actors are exceptional that will make you feel the pain, longing, heartbreak and separation. The music in this film is a masterpiece, which suits the mood of every scene of the film. You will surely get allured by the bewitching scenic view of Kashmir as a whole! This film is surely a must watch.
DIRECTOR: Nitin Kakkar
STARRING: Zaheer Iqbal, Pranutan Bahl
Notebook is one of the films which will take you along with them and you eventually feel teleported to heavenly Kashmir as backdrop. It is an unconventional love story where major issues of Jammu and Kashmir are subtly touched upon. It is so beautiful to see how simply a “Notebook” becomes the soul of the film, which also shows that children understand the language of love. It is a simple and mesmerizing story with brilliant cinematography. If you look for some old-world romance in today’s time~ then this film is surely made for you!
DIRECTOR: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
STARRING: Aadil Khan, Sadia
Shikara is a masterpiece which reflects the agony faced by Kashmiri Pandits because of the political turmoil in Kashmir in the 80s. It is based on real life incidents which will make you feel a lot through its words than the action. Premirely in every way, Shikara displays romance between two characters Shiv (Aadil Khan) and Shanti (Sadia) who, along with Immense grief of lost home share bliss of togetherness and hope. The slide of the film begins with late 80s and it rolls down to 2018 to its culmination with lead characters ageing, along with the dismay and hopelessness over their original homeland. Chopra has skillfully tied all of it with his passionate skills of a lucrative filmmaker. This film is a mastercraft! It is beautifully shot in Kashmir Paradise! You can surely feel the love and the pain as it comes. Altogether, This film is an alluring piece and again a must watch!
After two locals were declared on Saturday as “high viral dose cases with probability of testing positive for coronavirus”, the threat of the dreaded viral infection has become real in Jammu and Kashmir.
Both the suspected COVID-19 patients have been kept in isolation at the Jammu medical college hospital. Earlier, both of them had escaped from the isolation ward, but were traced on Friday and put under isolation.
“They have a travel trajectory from Italy to India. We are now ascertaining the arch of contact between these two and other locals after they arrived in Jammu”, said an official deployed on viral control and suspect identification duties.
Reports here suggest that around 49 tourists whose travel trajectory included Iran, South Korea and China entered the Valley two months back. Hopefully, these tourists were free of any coronavirus infection, but the fact that they entered the Valley without any confirmatory tests puts the place at high risk.
Around 300 Shia Muslim pilgrims have been to Iraq and other places during the last one month and they have started returning to Kargil district of Ladakh Union Territory. Except for thermal scanners there is no other confirmatory facility that has been used to ascertain whether the returning Kargil pilgrims are safe or not.
Kashmiri students from Wuhan in China, which is the epicentre of COVID-19 outbreak, have already returned to the Valley and joined their families. Parents of around 300 Kashmiri students studying in Iran have held demonstrations for the return of their children to Kashmir.
Reports suggest that an exercise have already been started by the external affairs ministry to bring these students back to Kashmir from Iran. So far, all tests of suspected COVID-19 patients are conducted in Pune and Delhi where samples are sent from Kashmir.
Director of Valley’s only super specialty hospital, Sher-e-Kashmir institute of medical sciences, has said that samples of suspected patients are now being sent to Delhi instead of Pune and the results are received within 24 hours.
Kashmir being a cosmopolitan tourist destination is susceptible to the epidemic more than most other places in the country. The risk is doubled because of the sanguine climate of the Valley where the maximum temperatures rarely rise above 27 degrees Celsius that is believed to be the survival limit for the dreaded virus. (IANS)
The internet shutdown in India’s Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir, which shows no signs of abating and has been the longest lockdown in a democracy, is taking a toll on the local economy and has led to the loss of thousands of jobs, according to rights groups and analysts.
Access Now, a global digital rights group that has been monitoring the situation in Kashmir, told VOA the “loss of connectivity in the valley” because of the shutdown has been “devastating to the local economy.”
“India’s internet shutdown in Kashmir is the longest ever in a democracy,” Raman Jit Singh Chima, Access Now’s senior international counsel and Asia Pacific policy director, told VOA.
“The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce has gone on record to speak of the immense economic cost that the internet shutdown has caused to the region, undermining the very economic goals that the Union Government promised it would drive through integrating the area into the wider Indian Union,” Chima added.
The lockdown has been in place since August, when New Delhi revoked Kashmir’s semiautonomous status and imposed a curfew on the region, including shutting down the internet.
The government defended its decision, saying it was a temporary measure to prevent possible terrorist attacks.
In a televised address to the nation in August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “The Kashmir decision will bring positive changes in the lives of the common man. It would mean the protection of Indian laws, industrialization, a boost in tourism and, therefore, more employment opportunities.”
However, opposition parties in the country argue the opposite is happening.
“You have redefined the definition of normalcy, the J&K [Jammu and Kashmir] definition of normalcy now prevails in the rest of the country. This is uncaring and unthinking government,” Indian National Congress said on twitter this week in reference to what’s happening in Kashmir and the passage of a recent controversial law.
India’s parliament recently approved legislation that allows Hindus, Christians and other religious minorities who are living in India illegally to become citizens. The applicants must prove they were persecuted because of their religious beliefs in neighboring Bangladesh, Pakistan or Afghanistan.
However, the law does not apply to Muslims, which critics say is discriminatory.
Terrorism or protests?
India’s government, led by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), defends its continued lockdown of internet connectivity in Kashmir as a deterrent to terrorist attacks.
While briefing the country’s lawmakers in November, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah, a close ally of Modi, said the internet would be restored as soon as local authorities felt it was appropriate.
“There are activities by our neighbors in the region, so we must keep security in mind. Whenever local authorities see fit, a decision will be taken to restore it [internet service],” Shah said, referring to Pakistan’s alleged interference in the region.
India has accused Pakistan’s intelligence agency of fomenting instability in Kashmir by supporting local militant groups, a charge Islamabad has denied.
Some analysts, however, say the internet lockdown is largely designed to prevent collective political protests.
“The stated reason [by the Indian government] was to contain possible terrorist attacks. In my view, it is largely designed to prevent collective political protests of any sort,” Sumit Ganguly, a professor of political science and the Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilization at Indiana University, told VOA.
Other analysts, such as Ashok Swain, a professor of peace and conflict studies at Uppsala University in Sweden who follows Indian politics, said the reasons behind the Indian government’s decision to shut down the internet in Kashmir are multifaceted.
“As I see [it], the real reason for [the] internet shutdown is not to restrict communication within Kashmir Valley, but to restrict Kashmir’s communication with [the] outside world,” Swain said, adding the government is more concerned about its global image as a democracy.
“By taking away the internet, [the] regime is also controlling the local media and its publication as the journalists are dependent on [the] regime’s mercy to communicate with [the] outside world and to contact with their offices,” Swain said.
Sheikh Ashiq, the president of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told VOA that there has been a rapid rise in unemployment and a significant drop in Kashmir’s cottage industry.
“Our handicraft sector, that is solely based on the internet, is at a standstill. As a result, 50,000 artisans are jobless,” Ashiq said, adding that the export of its heritage industry handicrafts had declined by 62%.
Experts say the action against Kashmir has led to losses in tourism, health care, education and in the communications industries.
“The state economy has lost more $1.5 billion due to [the] lockdown. Several companies, whose operations were internet-dependent, have been closed,” Swain said.
The internet lockdown “has affected education, health service and even regular movement of the people, creating a severe humanitarian crisis. Business, particularly fruit trade and tourism, have [been] affected severely,” he added.
Young Kashmiri entrepreneurs like Muheet Mehraj see a bleak future in Kashmir, as the internet shutdown has placed a cloud over future employment prospects.
“If something doesn’t change for the better with time or our internet isn’t resumed, then I don’t understand what I am going to do in the future,” Mehraj told VOA.
Many businesspeople told VOA they have been forced to leave Kashmir to earn an income.
Syed Mujtaba, the owner of Kashmir Art Quest, shifted his business to Delhi because of the lockdown.
“Eventually, my family and my own logic told me it was best to leave Kashmir,” Mujtaba told VOA.
“Now I am in Delhi, you know … in search of new opportunity … and halfheartedly so, to be honest. My heart is still in Kashmir and will always remain in Kashmir,” he added.
The government, however, continues to paint a normal picture of the situation on the ground.