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Kashmir Killings: India vows more tough action, and aid, to tackle Kashmir conundrum

Wani, who was 22 when he died, grew in popularity through videos posted on social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp in which he would appear without a mask

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An Indian policeman pulls concertina wire to lay a barricade on a road during a curfew in Srinagar July 12, 2016. Image source: Reuters/Danish Ismail - RTSHIRO
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  • The strategy for the Muslim-majority region contested by nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan has worked in part
  • In Wani’s case, the security crackdown appears to explain his path towards militancy and raises the possibility that other Kashmiri youths may follow
  • At least 34 people were killed – almost all shot by Indian security forces – and more than 1,500 people wounded in the worst violence in Kashmir since 2010

India will go on hunting militants in Kashmir despite widespread protests over the killing of a young separatist commander, officials said, as the government bets that force coupled with development will quell a rebellion in the restive state.

The strategy for the Muslim-majority region contested by nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan has worked in part.

The number of militants crossing into Jammu and Kashmir state from Pakistan to launch attacks against India has dropped in the last few years, and home-grown fighters are estimated to number only around 100, according to one security official.

Last year, in 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is closely aligned to the Hindu nationalist right, also pledged 800 billion rupees ($11.9 billion) in investment there.

That has not prevented violent protests and rioting from breaking out when security forces killed Burhan Wani, a separatist militant commander and a Kashmiri, last Friday.

At least 34 people were killed – almost all shot by Indian security forces – and more than 1,500 people wounded in the worst violence in Kashmir since 2010, underlining how the crackdown on militants is not enough to solve a conundrum that has frustrated India since independence in 1947.

The government must also find a way to persuade local people that it is on their side, observers said, something it has failed to do since winning a landslide election in 2014.

Kashmir Valley Violence. Image Source: www.thehindu.com/
Kashmir Valley Violence. Image Source: www.thehindu.com/

“There is no denial in Delhi … that a problem exists,” said retired Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain, an Indian army corps commander in the area from 2010 to 2012 who was deployed there seven times during his career.

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“But no one seems to be clear on how to get into engagement with the people on the ground.”

Under Modi, whose BJP is also in a coalition government in Kashmir, the federal government has taken a harder stance on engaging in political dialogue with the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, a separatist alliance.

While Hurriyat leaders travelling to Delhi and meeting Pakistani officials had been accepted before, Modi’s government has objected to such interactions, saying Pakistan should not interfere in Indian affairs.

“WHY THIS HATRED?”

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the head of the alliance, said separatist political leaders felt isolated.

“The government of India cannot continue to deal with Kashmir with a clampdown,” he said.

The state’s deputy chief minister, Nirmal Singh of the BJP, said the government was ready to engage with the Hurriyat under a legal framework.

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“They are not ready, but they try to exploit every situation,” Singh said.

A senior BJP mandarin in New Delhi also said the government was open to talking to the Hurriyat but did not appreciate it when they spoke with Pakistan.

He added that the government will continue to go after militants, but with time it hoped the people in Kashmir would “realize that their anger is misdirected.”

“Be it jobs, education, health or any other amenities, the Kashmiri population gets all the same opportunities and benefits as any other Indian,” said the BJP official.

“Why this hatred against the Indian government?”

A senior government official in New Delhi said Wani was a criminal facing 14 separate cases, including the murder of elected politicians and security forces, and that popular support for him was beside the point.

CYCLE OF VIOLENCE

In Wani’s case, the security crackdown appears to explain his path towards militancy, and raises the possibility that other Kashmiri youths may follow.

His father, school headmaster Mohammad Muzaffar Wani, told Reuters in an interview last year, 2015, that Wani’s decision to take up arms was linked to an incident in which he and his brother were beaten by Indian police.

(Representational Pic) Kashmiri villagers attend a funeral procession of Afaq Ahmad Bhat, a militant of Hizbul Mujahideen. Image source:news.xinhuanet.com
(Representational Pic) Kashmiri villagers attend a funeral procession of Afaq Ahmad Bhat, a militant of Hizbul Mujahideen. Image source:news.xinhuanet.com

The brother, not known to be a militant, was killed by Indian security forces last year in circumstances that remain unclear.

Wani, who was 22 when he died, grew in popularity through videos posted on social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp in which he would appear without a mask.

Authorities have been accused by some of using excessive force to control the protests that followed his death.

The Doctors’ Association of Kashmir said in a statement that security forces launched tear gas shells into a hospital where victims were being treated, and officers beat hospital staff and damaged ambulances.

Asked whether police and paramilitary forces used excessive force to control crowds after Wani’s killing, BJP’s Singh replied: “It is a matter of concern: this should not have happened. It is a worry as the anti-national forces will try to exploit the situation.”

The inspector general for operations at the Central Reserve Police Force, a paramilitary organization with some 60,000 troops in Kashmir, said his men had been told: “Don’t get into the confrontation with locals, defuse the anger.”

The official, Zulfiqar Hasan, said 300 of his men were injured in four days. (Reuters)

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Cricket madness in Chicago

People sacrifice other chores just to enjoy this beautiful game and to keep it alive in countries outside India where cricket is not a major sport.

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Cricket has become a popular sport in Chicago. Around 900 people play the game in the windy city.

By West Loop Cricket Association, Chicago

WLCA Working Committee

Hari Mohan, Harshavardhna Hedge, Kunal Tembhurne, Niranjan Kulkarni, Saurabh Nigam, Shreenidhi Bharadwaj, Shekar Reddy Palla, Shwetabh Gaurav, Sunil Saini, Vivek Sarkar

About:

Cricket is more a religion, less a sport in India. People are obsessed with the sport and magnitude of love cannot be defined in words.

In the United States, Baseball, Basketball and Soccer are obviously more popular. However, Cricket has a strong presence due to the passion and love of Indians for the game. The Indian community in USA avidly plays and promotes cricket and, in the process comes closer to each other.

 

Cricket
The tournament played between Chicago Centaurs and Arrigo Avengers.

 

The passion for the game is unreal in USA too. Working men enjoy the sport in their free time. They even book grounds (baseball/soccer grounds) to practice and conduct tournament matches. The players are from all backgrounds – students, businessmen, lawyers, IT professionals to doctors. They all take out time out of their busy schedules and come together to rejoice the gentleman’s game in the windy city.

Tournaments in Chicago

As cricket has a strong presence in Chicago, many friendly yet competitive tournaments are conducted by cricket fanatics to keep the game alive.

Chicagotwenty20 tournament

Chicagotwenty20 is the oldest cricket tournament that was conducted in Chicago. It’s first season took place in 2009 and the tenth season was played in 2018. The league is played in 20 overs format. 56 teams participate from Chicago and are divided into groups 4 with 14 teams in each group.  Each team has a squad of 16 players with 11 playing and rest 5 as extras. Each team has a home ground. 7 matches are played at home ground and the rest at the opponent’s ground. The top eight teams from each group are qualified for the quarter finals. The tournament is almost four months long. The best player of the winning team is awarded the man of the match in every match. Best Batsman, Best bowler, MVP ( most valuable player) awards are given at the end of the season.

The 2018 season was won by team Yorkers. The Best Batsman, Highest score and the MVP award was given to Mr Pavan Shetty of team Yorkers, who scored 418 runs. The best bowler award was given to Sivakumar for taking 27 wickets.

 

Cricket
This is the team who connected via the meetup link which has more than 300 members.

 

WLCA Super 8 tournament

WLCA (West Loop Cricket Association, Chicago) was formed by four IT professionals in 2016 with the sole objective of promoting the game of cricket in Chicago City area. Based out of vibrant and affluent Chicago West Loop, WLCA is an assemblage of 300+ cricket players. These cricket enthusiasts come from different walks of life being corporate professionals, UIC/IIT students and local businessmen. There are hundreds of followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

WLCA mainly involve in:

  • Organize annual cricket tournament
  • Coordinate weekly cricket games in different Chicago City park locations
  • Coordinating friendly games with other known Chicago Suburban teams
  • WLCA team represented Chicago City in other Chicagoland tournaments including Chicago T20 League and Soha Cup
  • Maintaining and making available Cricket Equipment Kit free of cost to playing group

The WLCA hosts Super 8 Cricket tournament which started in 2017 by the West Loop cricket association (WLCA). It is played under the format of 8 overs and 8 players in each team. This concept of tournament was the first to be launched by WLCA in Chicago. This is the shortest time-consuming format (2 days) and the played at the heart of Chicago Downtown. The first season was extremely successful (12 teams) and participating teams called out as the best organized cricket tournament amongst many happening in Chicago.

Season 2 played in 2018 organized by WLCA had 16 teams divided into four groups with four teams in each group. The semi-finals and final are played with 10 overs. There is a man of the match, best bowler, best fielder award for every match

Cricket
Westloop Wolves Team.

 

Here is the fixture and schedule of Season 2:

There are 16 teams participating in this short format cricket tournament.

16 team is divided into 4 groups.

Group A Group B Group C Group D
Winter Wolves (A1) Chicago Wild Kittens(B1) Arrigo Avengers(C1) Super 9s(D1)
Dark Knights (A2) Challengers(B2) Cook County(C2) Chicago Super Kings(D2)
Chicago Centaurs(A3) Hunters (B3) Westside Wolves(C3) River City (D3)
International Khiladies (A4) Ballers(B4) Knights(C4) CSK+(D4)

Each team in the group will play only two matches with the other two teams.

From each group top two teams will be qualified for the quarterfinals, then semis and finals.

Chicago Centaurs were the Champions and Super 9s were the runners up.

The tournament has become a big deal in no time. It was sponsored by big names like USBank (thanks to Susan Brown), Lodha Group (this group was also the associated sponsor of Ind vs, Eng Test Series in 2018) and Metra Spice Mart (Only Indian Grocery Store in Chicago Downtown). The tournament has gained momentum in no time and is likely to do so in the years to come.

Keeping the game alive overseas

Cricket has become a huge deal in Chicago. Around 900 people play the game in the windy city. Tournaments like above help in maintaining healthy competition and something to be excited for.

People sacrifice other chores just to enjoy this beautiful game and to keep it alive in countries outside India where cricket is not a major sport.

 

Cricket
Dark Knights Led by Pranjal Chauhan

 

“My favourite sport and always loved to watch and play the game anywhere in the world anytime. Always loved to organize these kinds of tournament from childhood so continuing the same thing outside the country”, Says Harshavardhna Hedge, Organizer, WLCA super 8 tournament.

“Well I love the sport and love my country. We get to relive our childhood and impart love for the game to the next generation. The community comes together and enjoy, and we also return to the society through charity”, Says Hari Mohan, Organizer, WLCA super 8 tournament.