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J&K floods: Discontent Kashmiris aiding each other in time of crisis

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credit: www.thehindu.om
credit: www.ndtv.com
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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

Baramulla (Jammu and Kashmir): Nearly a year after the deadly J&K floods that claimed almost 300 lives, the Kashmiris feel that the government was not doing enough and in some strange ways, they believe that the deluge united them like never before.

There are scores of people living in makeshift houses in Baramulla district, around 40 km from Srinagar and to make things worse, they don’t have any source of income.

Lamenting on the destruction of his weaving unit, Ali Mohammed Butt, a carpet weaver by profession from Duslipora village, says he needs Rs.50, 000 to Rs.60, 000 to restore it.

Adding salt to the wound, not only the weaving unit but his home was also destroyed in the floods. Butt and his family, during the day time, live in a half wooden structure built with government aid. At night, they shift into a community hall as their “home” is not safe for women.

Recently, he was ordered to evict the community hall.

“I was depressed after getting the notice as I was worried about the safety of my daughter and wife. But the villagers came into my rescue. The notice was withdrawn,” Butt was quoted as saying.

Gulam Nabi, another carpet weaver, said after the J&K floods he had to work as a labourer in Srinagar as his carpet loom too was destroyed.

Two months ago, Nabi resumed his carpet weaving after members of a village-level committee formed by NGO ActionAid India came to his rescue.

“The flood has further distressed people in Kashmir who were already suffering from psychosocial issues,” said Nasreen, a psychologist with the J and K Yateem Trust. “It was a challenge to boost their morale again.”

The Trust is a local partner of ActionAid, a global NGO working in India since 1972.

Few Kashmiris can forget the horror of September 6, 2014 night when the floods swept through the valley and Jammu region, claiming nearly 300 lives and  hundreds of houses were destroyed. With water rising upto over 15 feet in places, thousands became homeless and lost virtually everything.

Tabia Muzaffar of ActionAid India said: “Livelihood was badly hit by the floods. We are providing counselling and helping the victims to restart their business so that they can earn their livelihood.”

She said her NGO’s focus was on districts like Baramulla, Anantnag, Pulwama and Kulgam.

Muzaffar said ActionAid India was focusing on providing psychosocial counselling and helping in the restoration of livelihoods and linkages of families with government entitlements.

It appeared to be a popular sentiment that the government was not doing enough for people. Maqbul Rather, the sarpanch of Harinara village, said that villagers did not get much help from the authorities during and after the J&K floods and it were people who helped each other.

“In my village, 80 percent of families are into carpet weaving. After the floods they are working as daily labourers. Road and bridges are yet to be repaired. Some people got government assistance to construct their homes but the amount is not enough,” Rather said.

Another sarpanch from Yakhmanpura village, Gulam Ahmed Dar, shared the same feelings, “We need more help. Nothing was done to normalise our lives.”

A loss-memo of Rs.44,000 crore ($6.5 billion) was sent to the central government by the Jammu and Kashmir government for immediate assistance in October 2014. Activists say the memo is gathering dust in New Delhi.

With inputs from IANS

 

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Fight Against Terrorism: Iran, Pakistan Agree To Set Up Joint Border ‘Reaction Force’

Stressing that "no third country" could harm Iran-Pakistan ties, an apparent reference to the United States, Rohani said Tehran was ready to boost trade and business ties with Islamabad.

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Pakistan
Iranian President Hassan Rohani (left) and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan reviewing an honor guard in Tehran on April 22. RFERL

Iranian President Hassan Rohani and visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan have agreed to set up a joint border “reaction force” to counter terrorism, Iranian state media reported.

“We agreed to create a joint rapid reaction force at the borders for combatting terrorism,” Rohani was quoted as saying on April 22 during a joint press conference with Khan, who was officially welcomed in the Iranian capital earlier in the day.

The announcement comes following tensions between the two countries who have in recent months accused each other of not doing enough to stamp out militants allegedly sheltering across the border.

“Pakistan will not allow any militant group to operate” from its soil, Khan said at the press conference while adding that the problem of terrorism was “increasing differences” between both countries.

“So it was very important for me to come here and come with our security chief that we resolve this issue,” Khan said.

Pakistan
The visit comes a day after Pakistan asked Iran to take action against terrorist groups believed to be behind the killing of 14 Pakistani soldiers earlier this month. Pixabay

Citing a militant attack on Pakistani security forces in Baluchistan on April 18, he said, Pakistan’s security chief will be meeting his Iranian counterpart on April 22 to discuss how both countries can cooperate in not allowing their soil to be used by militant groups.

Stressing that “no third country” could harm Iran-Pakistan ties, an apparent reference to the United States, Rohani said Tehran was ready to boost trade and business ties with Islamabad.

For his part, Khan said his visit to Tehran aimed to “find ways to increase trade and cooperation…in energy and other areas,” noting that two-way trade was “very limited.”

Khan arrived in Iran on April 21 on his first official visit to the Islamic republic for talks set to focus on strengthening bilateral ties, “fighting terrorism, and safeguarding borders,” Iranian state media reported.

The two countries have in recent months accused each other of not doing enough to stamp out militants allegedly sheltering across the border.

The two-day trip started with a stopover in the holy city of Mashhad, where Khan visited the shrine of Imam Reza, who is revered by Shi’ite Muslims.

The visit comes a day after Pakistan asked Iran to take action against terrorist groups believed to be behind the killing of 14 Pakistani soldiers earlier this month.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on April 20 that 15 gunmen wearing military uniforms ambushed a bus in southwestern Balochistan Province on April 18, killing 14 Pakistani Army personnel.

Pakistan
“We agreed to create a joint rapid reaction force at the borders for combatting terrorism,” Rohani was quoted as saying on April 22 during a joint press conference with Khan, who was officially welcomed in the Iranian capital earlier in the day. Pixabay

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a letter to the Iranian government that the assailants came from an alliance of three Baluch terrorist organizations based in Iran.

Qureshi told reporters that Khan would take up the matter with Iranian authorities.

Earlier this year, Iran called on Pakistan to take action against a militant group behind a deadly attack on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

Also Read: Measles Could be Completely Wiped Off, Instead it’s Making a Comeback

Twenty-seven IRGC members were killed in the February suicide car bombing near the border with Pakistan.

The Sunni Muslim extremist group Jaish al-Adl claimed responsibility for the attack in southeastern Iran. (RFERL)