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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Budgam ADC sleeps over State Times RTI but Div Com asks DC to retrieve Humhama land

Friends Enclave residents complain nexus between land grabbers and Revenue officials

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Nov 20: Even as the Revenue authorities in Budgam district are continuously sleeping over an application seeking information about the community and the State land grabbed by a large number of influential people in the posh Friends Enclave, Humhama Estate and Gogoland, close to Srinagar Airport, Kashmir Divisional Commissioner Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon on Friday took cognizance of the complaints from the residents and directed Deputy Commissioner of Budgam Altaf Mir to immediately remove all the encroachments in accordance to law.

“Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon today asked Deputy Commissioner Budgam to remove all the encroachments in Humhama area. The Commissioner issued the instructions after the residents from Friends Enclave Humhama apprised him with their issues during a meeting. Dr Samoon asked Deputy Commissioner Budgam to clear all kinds of encroachments including those on Kahcharai land in the area”, an official e-mail issued to the media by Directorate of Information this evening said.

Attempts to contact Dr Samoon on telephone did not succeed but informed sources disclosed that a delegation of the residents of Friends Enclave complained to him that Revenue authorities in Budgam district were “hand-in-glove” with a well-connected land mafia and the legal action, initiated by Tehsildar and Naib Tehsildar of Budgam sometime back, had stalled under pressure from “powerful people”.

“Tehsildar and Naib Tehsildar have been threatened of dire consequences if they enforced the eviction notices delivered on the land grabbers a long time ago. They have been directed by senior officials not to share any information with media. It’s a tantamount to total breakdown of the rule of law”, residents, according to sources, complained to Divisional Commissioner who himself happens to be a resident of Friends Enclave.

As already reported by this newspaper, State and kahcharai land of 335 Kanals, valued at Rs 335 crore, has been found to have been encroached upon and grabbed by different powerful people. A survey conducted by a former Tehsildar and Naib Tehsildar led to issuance of notices to the identified land grabbers. However, no substantive action was initiated against them. Those identified as the land grabbers include a Cabinet Minister of Omar Abdullah’s NC-Congress coalition government, a former Chief Town Planner, around a dozen of senior and middle-rung KAS and IAS officers besides six senior Police officers including retired IGPs, DIGs and SSPs.

Kahcharai land grabbing assumed menacing proportions to the extent that on one occasion, a former Revenue Minister’s Police guards and a former Chief Secretary’s security staff took out guns against each other in an attempt to annexe 10 marlas of kahcharai land on behalf of their VIPs. It led to registration of FIRs and counter-FIRs at Humhama Police Division. Invariably the modus operandi has been allotment of a piece of land from J&K Housing Cooperative and subsequently annexing adjacent kahcharai strips.

“This is total dereliction of duty and the delinquent Revenue officials must be taken to task. We are going to approach J&K High Court and seeking action against both, the land grabbers as well as the delinquent Revenue officials by name in a PIL already filed in the court”, eminent lawyer and activist Sheikh Shakeel Ahmad said.

RTI application ignored

On July 7, 2015, STATE TIMES filed an application under RTI Act before Public Information Officer of Revenue Department in Budgam district (Additional Deputy Commissioner Mr Qadri), seeking details about the kahcharai and the State land grabbed in Friends Enclave, Humhama Estate and Gogoland besides particulars of the land grabbers, their official and public position and the notices served on them. It also sought reasons how the follow up action had got stalled without any plausible reason, and the particulars of the officers who acted as Deputy Commissioners, Tehsildars, Naib Tehsildars, Girdawars and Patwaris in the said area.

Even as the ADC was bound by law to provide details within a month, he did not respond either to the application or to the reminders. On September 7, 2015, STATE TIMES filed the First Appeal under RTI Act before the appellate authority (DC Budgam). He too chose to ignore the appeal for over two months forcing the applicant to file second appeal before State Information Commission.

Mufti tells media barons: “Indira-Abdullah Accord revived democratic process in J&K, dealt a blow to cynics”

‘Hate propagandists are a fringe minority, can’t derail agenda of peace and development’

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Nov 20: In a significant contrast to his decades-long rhetoric of opposition to the National Conference founder late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and his political ideology, Peoples Democratic Party supremo and Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Friday hailed the 1975 Indira-Abdullah Accord and claimed that it had created space for politicians like him and neutralised Kashmir’s cynicism vis-à-vis accession to India.

In an exhaustive interaction with the Indian broadcast media magnates here, Mufti called the Indira-Abdullah Accord “an important event”. “It revived the democratic process in the state and created space for politicians of different shades, including me. It also dealt a blow to those who believed that J&K was remote-controlled by New Delhi”, Mufti asserted.

“I am thankful to former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for exploding the myth by ensuring free and fair elections in 2002 which strengthened the democratic institutions and allowed parties like PDP to emerge on the political canvas of the state”, Chief Minister told the delegation of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), a think-tank of news and entertainment media, which, for the first time, held a Board of Directors (BoD) in Srinagar.

President IBF and CEO of Star India, Uday Shankar, Vice President IBF, Puneet Goenka, Vice President IBF & Chairman India TV, Rajat Sharma, Vice President IBF and Director Bangla Entertainment Pvt Limited, N. P. Singh, Treasurer IBF and GM South Asia of Discovery Networks, Rahul Johri, Director Eenadu TV, I. Venkat, Group CEO of Viacom 18 Media Pvt Ltd, Sudhanshu Vats, MD (South Asia) Turner International, Siddharth Jain, Chairman of TV Today Group, Arun Purie, MD of UTV Entertainment, Siddharth  Roy Kapoor,  and Member Finance Doordarshan, Rajeev Singh, were among the participants who interacted with Mufti.

Chief Minister had a word of caution over the threat posed by “certain fringe groups” to the country’s rich diversity and multiculturalism. “The agenda of development cannot take a back seat to the politics of hate propagated by a fringe minority which relishes media attention. We need to shrink their space by simply ignoring them,” he asserted. He called Mohammad Akhlaq’s lynching to death in Dadri and Kashmiri trucker Zahid Rasool Bhat’s killing by a frenzied group in Udhampur “very unfortunate” but expressed his satisfaction over the way the people of both the communities “demonstrated great maturity and did not fall prey to the evil and nefarious designs of these enemies of the State who want to destroy the centuries-old harmony exhibited by the people”.

The peaceful conduct of Amarnath Yatra year after year, he said, was “an ample testimony to the secular credentials of the people of my state”. “I am happy that our Legislature set a great precedent by unanimously adopting a resolution in both the Houses, condemning violence in any form and sending out a clear message of peace and tolerance to the rest of the country”, Mufti said.

Pleading for restoration of New Delhi’s talks with Islamabad, Mufti said reiterated that relationship with Pakistan had a direct bearing on J&K. “Political uncertainty hampers state’s development. I strongly believe that all issues between India and Pakistan should be resolved amicably by engaging in a meaningful dialogue. I set the tone during my earlier tenure from 2002 to 2005 when we had a decade-long peace in the region”.

Mufti also advocated revival of dialogue with Hurriyat Conference and other Kashmiri separatists. “On internal front, we favour dialogue with all shades of opinion. Sajjad Gani Lone is one example. The government’s Agenda of the Alliance also favours dialogue with those who have ideological differences with us. We will continue to explore this option”, he said. He described the cross-LoC trade and travel as “the biggest confidence building measure between India and Pakistan”.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Shutdown series 2010

Shutdown or 'Hartal' has been the Kashmiris' staple form of demonstration---protest against the killing of civilians or militants, alleged custodial disappearance, alleged rape or molestation of women by security forces or Police---since the outbreak of armed insurgency in 1989. Also on Indian Independence Day (August 15), Indian Republic Day (January 26) and Indian Army's first arrival in Kashmir (October 27), there has been a call of shutdown every year in the last 26 years. Militants or separatist politicians have never tolerated criticism of Hartal, pleading that it was "the only available tool of protest and demonstration". Daily Al-Safa News editor Mohammad Shaban Vakil's assassination in 1991 in the midst of his series of critiques on Hartal. Five senior officers, including Naeem Akhtar (now PDP's MLC and Minister of Education in Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's PDP-BJP Government in J&K, sponsored a 72-day-long shutdown of government services leading to their dismissal which was, however, withdrawn and all the five officers were reinstated by Governor's administration. Now, for the first time, Chairman of Hurriyat Conference's 'moderate faction' Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has sought suggestions from traders, academicians, politicians and intellectuals with regard to Hartal's "alternative".

In June 2010, I published a series of articles in Early Times on Hartal which is reproduced here for the benefit of all concerned including fellow journalists, researchers, historians and students of journalism.

Kashmir shutdown on 1,562 days in 20 years

While losing Rs 100 Cr on each day of shutdown, J&K has suffered loss of Rs 150,000 Cr

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jun 23: Thanks to the Valley’s militant outfits and separatist organizations, who have enforced 1,562 days of shutdown in the last 20 years of the secessionist movement, Jammu & Kashmir state has suffered loss of over Rs 150,000 Crore. Government’s contribution is also substantial as the state has additionally suffered loss of Rs 15,000 Crore on account of curfew on 150 days during same period of the political turmoil.

J&K state’s economy is estimated to have suffered loss of around Rs 200,000 Crore during 20 years of the separatist movement. This includes infrastructure destroyed by militants and security forces besides illegal felling of conifer trees and timber smuggling. Shutdown enforced by Hurriyat Conference, its constituents and militant outfits for 1,562 days till date, besides nearly 150 days of declared and undeclared curfew by the government, though mostly restricted to downtown Srinagar, have been the largest contributing factors. Loss suffered by the state’s economy on account of shutdown and curfew accounts for about 80% of the cumulative damage.

While the separatist groups and alliances have been enforcing shutdown mainly to protest human rights abuse by the armed forces, authorities have been resorting to imposition of curfew in extreme law and order situations from day one of the armed insurgency. Capital city of Srinagar, as also the key business townships of Sopore, Baramulla, Handwara, Bandipore, Budgam, Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian and Anantnag have been the worst hit.

There were nearly 700 days of Hartal in Kashmir valley in the first four years of militancy. According to the official figures tabulated by Jammu & Kashmir Police, year 1990 witnessed 198 days of shutdown. It was followed by 207 days of shutdown in 1991---highest so far. Similarly, the Valley shut for 148 days in 1992 and 139 days in 1993. With the gradual improvement in situation, days of shutdown reduced to 24 in 1999 but again went up to 122 in 2001. Minimum days of shutdown in a calendar year were witnessed in 2007 when the business in Kashmir remained closed for 13 days.

Mainly due to the Amarnath shrine land allotment strife, Kashmir was shut for 33 days in 2008. It jumped to 35 in the first year of Omar Abdullah government in 2009 when Hurriyat and other separatist outfits succeeded in freezing the Valley for different intervals on account of alleged rape-cum-murder of two women in Shopian (which was not proved in CBI investigation) and several related incidents. Second year of the NC-Congress coalition government is threatening to prove worse as the Valley has already observed 22 days of shutdown in just 6 months and 23 days.

All individual outfits and both factions of Hurriyat Conference have been calling for a strike whenever an incident of human rights abuse happens or is perceived to have happened at the hands of Police or security forces. On several occasions, these constituents and alliances have enforced shutdown “in honour” of the militants killed by security forces in gunbattles. Over a dozen historical days, like Republic Day (January 26), Martyrs Day (July 13), Independence Day (August 15), Indian Army’s First Arrival (October 26) besides the assassination anniversary of Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq (May 21) and death anniversaries of top ranking militants have been marked as red in Kashmir’s calendar. Hardliner separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, has attained the highest profile among all political and militant leaders in enforcing a bandh in the Valley.

Sponsors of the shutdown have been justifying their calls for strike with the argument that it was the “only form of demonstration” with the Kashmiris. Though a large number of strike calls have failed to generate desired impact, most of such appeals have evoked substantial response. Guns, grenades and stones have also been used on certain occasion to enforce a shutdown, particularly around Lok Sabha, Assembly and Municipal elections.

(To be continued tomorrow).



Courtesy shutdowns, J&K is on verge of economic collapse

General trade alone suffers loss of Rs 40 cr on each day of Hartal in Kashmir

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jun 24: If President of Kashmir Traders & Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), Sadiq Baqal, is to be believed, there are around 300,000 shops and various sales units in Kashmir valley. Quoting a survey, he said that 2,35,000 shops had been counted in the Valley two years ago. “In a comprehensive exercise, we have calculated that the Valley’s economy is suffering loss of Rs 100 Crore on each day of shutdown. General trade alone has been suffering loss of Rs 35 Cr to Rs 40 Cr on each day of shutdown”, Mr Baqal told Early Times [].

Leading businessman and President Federation of Chambers & Industries Kashmir (FCIK), Shakeel Qallandar, seconded Mr Baqal and said that each day of a total strike would mean dent of Rs 100 Cr to the state economy. He added that the loss suffered by Kashmir was around 90% and even Jammu division, which rarely observes a shutdown, was being subjected to 10% of the damage on such a day.

With due regards to the spiraling macro economic indicators compiled by Directorate General of Planning and Statistics and presented alongwith his Budget in the Legislative Assembly by Finance Minister, Abdul Rahim Rather, Mr Qallandar insisted that Jammu & Kashmir state’s economy was on the verge of economic collapse. Taking exception to “prejudiced claims” from certain analysts in New Delhi and overseas that J&K was flourishing with a “visible as well as invisible economy”, Qallandar said: “Don’t go by the deceptive indicators of the flowing in vehicles and coming up houses. One must bear it in mind that J&K is currently suffering the trade deficit of Rs 27,000 Cr a year. Total volume of our exports is Rs 7,000 Cr today while as goods worth Rs 34,000 Cr are imported in a year”.

“Everybody in J&K is debt trapped. Residents have lifted loans worth Rs 22,000 Cr from different banks and their liquidity is dismal”, Qallandar added. According to him, in terms of overall economic development, J&K stood among the highest growing eight states in 1988 while as, mainly due to a hostile business atmosphere, it had over the years plummeted to the bottom. He claimed that in 2009, J&K was among the three states of the worst economic development. Yet another negative indicator was a survey by Transparency International which put J&K as India’s second worst state in terms of corruption.

With the state government’s latest statistics putting the number of unemployed youth (between age group of 18 to 37 years) at 600,000, Qallandar insisted that total number of the people with no assured or permanent source of income in J&K was currently 10 Lakh (one million). “Our unemployed ratio has already crossed the red mark of 10 percent. It was just 2 percent in 1988. With 1000,000 unemployed people, we, on the other hand, engage 500,000 skilled and unskilled labours from Bihar, UP, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Punjab and few other North Indian states every year. State does not have institutions to create its own workforce of the skilled labours”, he said.

Another leading entrepreneur, who wished anonymity, told Early Times that frequent shutdowns were the worst enemy of the Valley’s new generation. “If our separatist political leaders continued to fail to introduce some benign form of demonstration of protest in the next couple of years, they will be dismissed by history as the agents of destruction”, he cautioned. He revealed that thousands of youth from the families traditionally associated with Kashmir’s art and handicrafts, living on either side of erstwhile Nallah Mar Road, had been lured into a romanticism of stone pelting and enforcement of shutdown. “They neither work themselves not let others work”, he said while fearing extinction of Kashmir’s unique art and intellectual talent that made the Valley proud for centuries in the past.

(To be continued)


[On June 25, 2010, CRPF shot dead 2 civilians after it was attacked in Sopore by a group of people on concluding a search operation/encounter and the trail of three-month-long summer agitation was triggered off. Due to it, Part 3 of this series could not be published]

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kashmir shutdowns

1990: 198
1991: 207
1992: 148
1993: 139
1994: 97
1995: 88
1996: 95
1997: 72
1998: 25
1999: 24
2000: 41
2001: 122
2002: 76
2003: 58:
2004: 25
2005: 18
2006: 26
2007: 13
2008: 33
2009: 35
2010: 22 (till 23rd June)

Total days of shutdown from 01-01-1990 t0 23-06-2010 = 1,562

[Source: Jammu & Kashmir Police]

Syed Ali Shah Geelani's fresh calendar of shutdowns for June-July 2010

[As released by Hurriyat (Geelani) leader and Vice Chairman of Muslim League, Massarat Alam Bhat at a news conference in Srinagar on June 24, 2010]

25th June: Shutdown in Jammu & Kashmir

26th June: Hold mass prayers and Qanoot-e-Nazila at mosques

27th June: Write “Go India Go Back” slogans on walls and roads

28th June: Male students to wear black badges on their arms

29th June: Female students to wear black badges on their arms

30th June: Protest demonstrations at mosques between evening prayers

1st July: Women’s march to Pathar Masjid in Srinagar downtown

2nd July: Shutdown

3rd July: Shutdown

9th July: Shutdown

10th July: Shutdown

13th July: Shutdown plus march to two martyrs’ graveyards in Srinagar

3rd July onwards: Indefinite shutdown if Police/forces killed anybody in Kashmir.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

After 1600 days of shutdown, Hurriyat looking for alternative to hartal

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Nov 18: Ever since its formation in 1993, Kashmir’s separatist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference faced criticism for debilitating the Valley’s trade and economy with its typical form of reaction to “excesses” by the government. However, it maintained for over 22 years invariably that Hartal was the Kashmiris’ “only tool of resistance” to everything---from the anniversary of the Indian Army’s first entry to Jammu and Kashmir to the Indian Independence or Republic Day to a militants’ killing in encounter to a civilian’s “custodial murder”. Hurriyat’s detractors and satirists sometimes called it ‘Hartal Conference’.

The separatist movement and its armed insurgency being in its 26th year, Hurriyat’s Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has now taken an unprecedented initiative of seeking Hartal’s “alternative” from the Valley’s politicians, academicians, traders and intellectuals. This inspite of the fact that Kashmir has already observed around 1,600 days of shutdown in the last 26 years and suffered losses to the tune of thousands of crores of Rupees on account of such strikes.

One of Kashmir’s seniormost mainstream politician, Prof Saifuddin Soz, who has served as a Minister in the Union Cabinet twice and headed Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee, was the first on Wednesday who welcomed Mirwaz Umar’s initiative and described it as a positive development. Mirwaiz had planned to convene the first session of the comprehensive discussion at the Rajouri Kadal headquarters of his own constituent, Awami Action Committee (AAC). According to the insiders, 250 participants had been invited to share their wisdom of the hartal’s “alternative” with the Hurriyat chief.

Significantly, the representatives of Hurriyat’s hardline faction headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani had also been invited. However, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s government allegedly botched up the peaceful programme with around a hundred arrests and detentions. “Mirwaiz Sahab was held under house arrest at his Nageen residence while as almost all other political attendants were detained at Police Stations”, Hurriyat chief's Political Secretary Shahidul Islam told STATE TIMES.

Mirwaiz, nevertheless, addressed the session of around 150 participants by telephone. In his absence, Islamic Study Circle supremo Dr Yousuf Al-Umar presided over the deliberations. “Speakers gave varied alternatives. We jotted down all of these. It’s long process of finding an alternative to Hartal and will continue for some days”, Shahidul Islam said.

On Thursday, Mirwaiz will be available online from 1030 hours to entertain suggestions from respondents of his appeal all over the world. He will be personally responding to questions and reacting to the suggestions. “Since we used to face flak from different quarters, particularly from parents of the students, traders, academicians and intellectuals for sticking to the hackneyed form of the resistance---hartal---Mirwaiz Sahab decided to seek suggestions regarding alternative to shutdown whenever we need to register our protest or observe a historic day”, Shahidul Islam added. He said that the 40-year-old cleric-politician was open to any suggestion and he would take a call in consultation with other separatist leaders.

Earlier, a Hurriyat (M) spokesman said despite all efforts of the state machinery to scuttle the initiative by arresting or detaining many invitees and activists, a mammoth six-hour-long  meeting was held at Mirwaiz Manzil Rajouri Kadal ,which was attended by more than hundred fifty participants from across the board organisations, including the Bar Assosiation, Jamiati Ahli Hadees, Kashmir Economic Alliance, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Association, Chamber of Commerce, Darul-Aloom Qasmiya, Darul Aloom Bilaliya and Kashmir Civil Society.

“Mirwaiz said that the aim of initiative is to get suggestions and ideas from people representing various sections and occupations of society at formulating a joint strategy and looking into alternate means of protest against continuous and growing state aggression, imposition of undeclared curfew especially in seven police stations, and detention and house arrest of resistance leadership. The Mirwaiz said that let each organization deliberate upon these objectives amongst themselves, compile their suggestions and select a representative who will put them before the forum. He said a forum could be formed where in these suggestions will be discussed by the selected representatives and the best ideas and suggestions conveyed to the top leadership who will then deliberate upon them and devise a strategy”, the spokesman said in a statement.

It added: “Mirwaiz said that the objectives outlined for the initiative cannot be achieved in a single meeting but will take time and as such it is a process that has been set into motion. He said that this process has to be all inclusive and anyone and everyone who can contribute to it is most welcome. He said that in these direction suggestions from people especially the Kashmir Diaspora and others will be invited online through social media”.

“While putting forth their suggestions, the participants said that it is amply clear that the government is day by day hardening its policy of suppression and intolerance of dissent and any and every form of freedom of expression is curbed. In such a serious situation it is incumbent upon all sections of society to find ways and means of how to resist this oppression and make the world take note of it and take the freedom struggle formed. The participants also thrust upon the resistance leadership to unite as that was the surest way to success”.

Among those who spoke on the occasion included, Masroor Abbas Ansari, Advocate Bashir Ahmed Siddique, Mohd Yasin Khan, Abdul Rehman Khan, Mufti Nasir ul Islam, Shakeel Qalandar, Aijaz ul Haq, Jan Mohammad Koul, Aga Syed Taqi, Mussadiq Adil, Dr. Sameer Siddiqui, Mukhtar Ahmad Waza, Mushtaq ul Islam, Abdul Qayoom Wani ,Advocate Nazir Ahmed Ronga and others.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Colonel killed in Kupwara encounter; 3 militants holed up

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Nov 17: Commanding Officer of Rashtriya Rifles 41st battalion, Col. Santosh Mahadik, was killed in an encounter with a group of militants holed up in Manigah forest cover in Kupwara district on Tuesday.

Informed sources in North Kashmir told STATE TIMES that two “Pakistani-looking militants” descended on Manigah village and demanded food for themselves and their ailing associate. However, the villagers refused to cooperate with them and both the militants went back towards the forest. Army’s sources called Col. Mahadik over telephone and told him that two Pakistani militants had entered their village and later gone back towards the jungle.

Leading a unit of his RR 41 Bn, headquartered at Khumriyal, Col. Mahadik reached Manigah within half an hour. As he was ascending towards the forest cover, the militants on the vantage position opened fire and were seen fleeing. Col. Mahadik got critically hit while as one soldier and one SPO also sustained minor injuries.

Col. Mahadik was evacuated and quickly airlifted to Army’s 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar. However, he succumbed to injuries. Reports from Khumriyal and Manigah said that the soldiers were seen weeping over his death as he was an exceptionally popular Army officer. Residents described him as an officer of tremendous public popularity and relations who would never tolerate a soldier’s misbehaviour with any civilian.

During routine patrolling, a unit of RR 41 Bn had accidentally stumbled on the body of an unidentified militant, with an AK-47 rifle in his hand, between Trumnard and Kani Bahak on November 10. Thereupon, troops launched a wide search operation and learned from its sources that a group of four Pakistani militants of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba had infiltrated through the unusual route of Manigah. It learned that the militants seemed to be suffering gangrene and were not fit enough to walk a distance.

Defence sources told STATE TIMES that three militants of the group, who are believed to have infiltrated two to three weeks ago, were still hiding in Manigah forest area and their escape would not be easy. “They are holed up in that very area and will be eliminated in a couple of days”, said an officer.

A Defence spokesman said that Colonel Santosh Mahadik “attained martyrdom while leading his troops in an fierce encounter with a group of three terrorists in Manigah Forest Area”.

“Colonel Mahadik, the Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles made the supreme sacrifice in the highest traditions of the Indian Army. The Colonel was a true soldier and had conducted many successful counter terrorist operations. Originally from the Special Forces, the officer was earlier awarded Sena Medal for exhibiting gallantry and leadership in counter terrorist operations”, said the Defence spokesman in his statement.

Lt Gen DS Hooda, Army Commander, Northern Command expressed deep condolences on the officer’s death.  He said: “We owe a deep debt of gratitude to officers like Santosh who lead from the front and are willing to pay the ultimate price in the fight against terrorism.”

“Colonel Mahadik leaves behind his wife and two children aged eleven and five years. The Army is committed to providing all support to the family in this hour of grief”. 

In his message, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed conveyed his heart-felt sympathies to the bereaved family and prayed for peace to the departed soul.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Army smashes woman’s head in Bandipore clash

FIR filed against RR 14th Bn. after severe thrashing of six civilians

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Nov 16: Police on Monday registered a criminal case against a unit of Rashtriya Rifles 14th Battalion after the troops severely thrashed civilian protesters and left six of them wounded in Bandipore, in northern Kashmir. 

Informed sources told STATE TIMES that troops barged into the residence of Noorani Khan at Surrender Gujjarpatti in Chuntimulla village of Bandipore district at around 0300 hours and whisked away cousins Manzoor, Shakoor and Junaid after wrapping their heads with black cloth. They were detained and intensely interrogated at a camp of RR 14th Bn near Chuntimulla with the allegation that they had harboured some militants in recent past. 

Army has conducted a chain of cordon-and-search operations in a vast forest area from Bandipore to Boothu in search of the militants of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba after they shot dead J&K Police’s ace counterinsurgent, Sub Inspector Altaf Dar, at Gund-e-Dachhin village on October 7. On two occasions, troops during the operation were fired upon by militants but none of them could be arrested or killed. 

During the course of the search operation on Monday, troops swooped down on Noorani Khan’s house and lifted three of the family members for sustained interrogation. 

In the morning at around 0800 hours, a large number of the residents of Kudara, Sumlar, Surrender Gujjarpatti and other Chuntimulla hamlets gathered at the Army camp. They shouted slogans with the allegation that the troops had arrested and physically tortured “innocent civilians” who, the gathering claimed, had no links to militants. 

After a while, troops came out and severely thrashed scores of the demonstrators. Officials claimed that the clash took place after the “mob” attacked the camp and a bunker of Army. 

However, residents of Chuntimulla, who insisted to remain anonymous, told STATE TIMES that the soldiers mercilessly thrashed men and women. Six protesters, who included two Gujjar women, Sakeena and Reshma, were left wounded. Reshma’s head was smashed with a baton and she bled profusely while being rushed to District Hospital of Bandipore. 

Three of the injured, namely Reshma, Junaid Khan and Hussain Khan were referred to SKIMS Soura for specialised treatment. Three more, including two of the detained youths, Manzoor and Shakoor, were treated at District Hospital Bandipore. 

Sources said that the protesters in the afternoon gathered in Bandipore town and staged a demonstration outside Deputy Commissioner’s office. They demanded arrest registration of “attempted murder” case against the officers of RR 14th Bn involved in severe manhandling and thrashing of the civilians and their arrest. 

Superintendent of Police Choudhary Shabir said that Police received a written complaint and FIR “is being registered against Army”. Later, an official source told STATE TIMES that FIR No: 161/2015 was registered against officers of RR 14 Bn. “We have taken cognizance and will initiate an investigation”, SP Bandipore Mr Choudhary said. 

DC Bandipore Sajjad Hussain Ganai, who was not reachable on telephone, is reported to have ordered a separate magisterial inquiry which would be conducted by Assistant Commissioner Revenue Massarat Hashim. 

Meanwhile, Chairman of Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and some other separatist leaders in their statements issued late in the evening condemned Army’s alleged excesses on the civilian protesters in Bandipore. 


Monday, November 16, 2015

Meaning of TERRORIST in different 21st century dictionaries:
American: One who kills an American or Israeli and is a member of Al-Qaeda or ISIS outfits. Others can be called Rebels.
British: One who kills a Briton, European or American. Others can be freedom fighters.
French: One who kills a French man or woman and is a member of ISIS. Others can be rebels, freedom fighters.
Indian: One who kills an Indian Hindu and is a member of LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad or Hizbul Mujahideen.
Iranian: One who kills an Iranian or Palestinian or Lebanese or Syrian or Iraqi Shia.
Saudi Arabian: One who kills an Arab royal family member or an aboriginal Arab, comes from Yemen or Iran.
Pakistani: One who kills a Pakistani Muslim and comes from TTP, Afghanistan or India.
Kashmiri: One who kills a Kashmiri Muslim and belongs to SOG, Ikhwan, BSF, CRPF, Indian Army, BJP, Jan Sangh, RSS.
So the 8 rounds in 8 different directions and Mr Terrorist does 'hahaha.....'

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Even those of us, whose hearts beat for ISIS and who perceive ISIS and her terror cousins as messiahs and freedom fighters, have condemned the Paris bloodbath with their lips and finger touches-----not for the 150-odd innocent civilians whose blood spilled on the streets but to escape Europe's post-11/14 radar, to protect their own luxurious shuttling between Asia and Europe and flow of money from Saudi Arabia, the Gulf and Europe. At a mosque or procession in Asia, they love waving of ISIS flags and eulogise the masked youths as heroes of freedom but in Europe same people call them 'terrorists' and empathise with the victims of a carnage. Crass hypocrisy. Characteristic of a class from 6th century to 21st century. This is completely different from the teachings of the great founder of Islam whose conduct and character, honesty, clarity of thought and action, respect for other religions, universal brotherhood and co-existence made hundreds of thousands embrace Islam. Swords and AK-47s are for defence when a combatant will attack. These are an evil when used to spill the blood of innocent, non-combatant followers of other faiths. Practice only the great Mohammad's Islam which does not terrorise, not the one professed by his hypocrite enemies.