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Kashmir situation volatile following death of October 9 bomb attack victim

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 NewsGram Staff Writer

Srinagar:  Violence erupted in parts of the Kashmir Valley on Sunday following the news of death of a victim of the October 9 fire-bomb attack on a truck in Udhampur. Situation further worsened with the calling of a strike on Monday by separatists and others outfits.

Zahid Rasool Bhat, who was being treated for serious burn injuries in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, succumbed to injuries Sunday, a police officer told reporters in Srinagar. Some reports said Bhat was aged 16, while other reported that he was in his early 20s.

As news of the death in Delhi spread on Sunday, mobs took to the streets in the southern district of Anantnag in the Kashmir Valley and blocked the Jammu-Srinagar highway by burning tyres.

Notably, the highway is the most strategic road link between the Kashmir Valley and the rest of India.

They also pelted stones at security personnel who tried to disperse them with tear gas, triggering street battles.

Meanwhile, separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik and local traders, transporters and manufacturers unions called for a complete shutdown on Monday protesting against the incident.

Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the state government was solely responsible for Bhat’s death as it failed to provide security to the truckers.

Zahid Bhat and another Kashmiri from Anantnag district, Showkat Ahmad Dar, 35, sustained major injuries when a mob hurled a petrol bomb on their stationary truck at Udhampur on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.

Udhampur District Magistrate Shahid Chowdhary on Sunday said that murder charges had been added to the FIR against the five attackers arrested earlier. They were first accused of rioting and triggering communal passion.

The accused are Sandoor Singh, Danish alias Pamma, Harish Singh, Balbahadur Singh and Varinder Singh alias Kaka.

The accused were also booked under the Public Safety Act, normally used against terrorists in the country’s only Muslim-majority state.

The attack took place following a beef party hosted by independent legislator Engineer Rashid in Srinagar.

Both the victims of the attack were flown to Safdarjung Hospital which specializes in treating burn injuries.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had visited them at the hospital three days back.

Meanwhile, the body of Bhat was flown from Delhi to Kashmir on Sunday evening in a state-owned aircraft.

A senior police officer said the body was received at the Srinagar airport by ruling Peoples Democratic Party president and Lok Sabha member Mehbooba Mufti, state Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu, and state Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Syed Basharat Bukhari, besides state police chief K Rajendra Kumar and other senior officials.

“Ghulam Rasool Bhat, the elder brother of Zahid, also came from Delhi in the same plane,” the officer said.

A large contingent of police and paramilitary forces formed part of the convoy in which the body was taken to Batango village in Anantnag district, where the burial would take place, the officer said.

A large number of people gathered on the highway from Bijbehara town onwards to Batango village, 52 km from Srinagar city.

Former chief minister Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah expressed shock over the death of the youth and blamed the BJP and its ruling alliance partners for “stoking communal passions” which led to the Udhampur attack.

Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed too condoled the death of the youth and assured that those responsible for the dastardly act would be brought to justice.

In the wake of the bandh call, the first convocation of Islamic University of Science and Technology (Awantipora) scheduled for Monday was postponed.

All exams of Kashmir University and state board of school education scheduled for Monday were also postponed.

(With inputs from 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?”

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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Know about the Famous Amarnath Cave in Jammu and Kashmir!

Here are some facts and stories about the very popular Amarnath Cave situated in Jammu and Kashmir

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Amarnath Cave
Amarnath Cave, Jammu and Kashmir. Wikimedia
  • The Amarnath Cave is a popular pilgrimage in Jammu and Kashmir
  • Founded by Buta Malik, a Muslim shepherd, whose family is offered donations even today
  • Amarnath as its name came later after the name Amareshwara was used for many years

Jammu and Kashmir, July 21, 2017: Jammu and Kashmir’s Amarnath Cave is among the most popular pilgrimage sites in the region. Devotees believe it to be a sacred place because according to Hindu mythology, it was chosen by Lord Shiva to reveal the secrets of immortality to his wife, Goddess Parvati. Amareshwara was the first name of the tirtha, but later the name Amarnath became popular.

There are multiple references to the Amarnath caves in the Rajatarangini written by Kalhana. Rajatarangini book VII, V.183 states that Queen Suryamati “conceded under her significant other’s name agraharas at Amareshwara, and masterminded the sanctification of trishulas, banalingas and other [sacred emblems]”

ALSO READ: Amarnath Yatra: Adhere to these Do’s and Dont’s While on the Pilgrimage

Jonaraja in his Chronicles of Kashmir (which is a continuation of Rajatanganini) explores that Sultan Zainu’l-abidin also visited the tirtha of Amarnath while waterway to the left bank of Lidder valley was being developed. Today, the trench is known as Shah Kol.

The melting of the ice lingam and the journey to the Amarnath was also mentioned in Rajavalipataka. Yusuf Khan, Kashmir’s legislative leader at the time, mentioned these things to Akbar, who added Kashmir to his empire in 1586.

The Amarnath cave was discovered by Buta Malik, a Muslim shepherd Click To Tweet

During Shah Jahan’s reign too, the Amarnath yatra was a famous pilgrimage destination. Panditraj Jagannath, in his tribute to Shah Jahan’s son in law, wrote in ‘Asaf Vilas’ that Indra (the king of divine beings) himself visits the Amarnath to come see Lord Shiva.

Emperor Aurangzeb visited Kashmir in 1663 with a French doctor Francois Bernier, who mentioned the Amarnath cave in his book “Goes in Mughal Empire” Another voyager Vigne, in his book “Goes in Kashmir, Ladakh and Iskardu” describes the Amarnath as a spot for explorers and pilgrims from all over India.

The cave was first discovered by Buta Malik, a Muslim shepherd.

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter @Saksham2394


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.