#AceNewsReport – July.12: Four of these dismissed officials are from Anantnag, three from Budgam, and one each from Srinagar, Baramulla, Kupwara, and Pulwama. Four were working in the Education Department, two were in the Jammu and Kashmir Police department, and others enjoyed various positions in the departments of Power, Skill Development, Health, Agriculture, and Sher E Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Srinagar.
#AceDailyNews says that on Saturday, July 11, eleven government officials in the Jammu and Kashmir administration were terminated for having jihad terror links.
Interestingly, two of the dismissed government employees were sons of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen founder Syed Salahudin, Syed Ahmad Shakeel and Shahid Yousuf. Hizb-ul-Mujahideen is a secessionist Islamic terrorist group operating in Indian-administered Kashmir to separate Kashmir from India and unite it with Pakistan. The jihad group has caused major unrest and plotted terror activities in the valley since its inception in 1989. The Indian government must be immensely generous to extend administrative positions to family members of the founder of an Islamic terror outfit, because no other rationale justifies entrusting the relatives of a terrorist with sensitive information.
The Union government had long suspected some government employees in Jammu and Kashmir of being involved in anti-national or terror activities. To identify these officials and tighten the noose around them, the government in July 2020 established a six-member committee for scrutinizing and recommending cases under Article 311 (2)(c) of the Constitution of India.
In its second meeting, the committee recommended three cases for termination of service, and in its fourth meeting, which was held recently, they recommended eight such cases. The recommendations abide by the applicable provisions of the Indian Constitution.
One of the three officials designated for dismissal during the second meeting is an Orderly of Industrial Training Institute, Kupwara, who has been sharing sensitive information about the movement of security forces with the Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba. As an overground accomplice of the LeT, the Orderly has harbored terrorists and abetted them in executing terror plans clandestinely.
Two teachers from the Anantnag District were also dismissed in the second meeting. Guilty of partaking in anti-national activities, they were accused of supporting and propagating the secessionist ideology peddled by the Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) and Jamat-e-Islami (JeI) among the Kashmiri youth. The Dukhtaran-e-Millat is part of a banned terrorist organization, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference. Jamat-e-Islami is another Islamic group promoting Islamic supremacy and Muslim brotherhood above nationality.
Among the eight government officials recommended for removal in the fourth meeting, two were serving as constables in the Jammu and Kashmir Police force; they supported terror activities from within the police department. They passed confidential information to jihad terrorists and provided them with significant logistical support. Constable Abdul Rashid Shigan has also carried out attacks on Indian security forces.
The two sons of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen founder Syed Salahudin, Syed Ahmad Shakeel and Shahid Yousuf, have been fired for involving in terror funding. The National Investigation Agency (India’s counter-terrorism task force) has tracked their terror funding, tracing their involvement in raising, collecting, receiving and transferring money through Hawala transactions and channelling them towards various terror activities plotted by the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.
The next government employee to go down in the fourth meeting of the committee was Naaz M. Allaie. Despite being an Orderly of the Health Department, Allaie was associated with the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen as an overground worker. He has been found to have had direct involvement in several jihad terror activities in the past and had harbored two notorious terrorists at his residence.
The next two officials recommended for dismissal were Jamat-e-Islami ideologues Nisar Ahmad Tantray and Jabbar Ahmad Paray. They were employed with the Education Department and were terminated for furthering the secessionist agenda introduced into the valley by Pakistani elements.
Shaheen Ahmad Lone, an Inspector of the Power Department, was also fired for partaking in jihad terror activities, including smuggling and transporting arms and ammunition for Hizb-ul Mujahideen. In January last year, Lone was spotted traveling with a couple of terrorists on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, assisting them in transporting weapons and explosives.
The Muslim intelligentsia in India has played the victim card extensively and exhaustively, and successfully portrayed themselves as a hapless marginalized community. Their myriad complaints include claims of being denied jobs and representation in the bureaucracy. Left-leaning media houses build on these claims and produce lengthy accounts of injustices meted out to Indian Muslims. However, Muslims occupy almost all the key ranks in the J&K administration, and this is where we are today.
Shopian, Indian-administered Kashmir – Ghulam Mohammad Mir, 62, looks grudgingly at the canal that usually brings water year-round to his and many other fruit orchards in Indian-administered Kashmir’s Shopian district, home to some of the finest apples grown in the lap of the Himalayas.
Mir’s anger has a reason. The canal is dry these days, hampering the start of the apple season when farmers prepare the trees with minerals and fertilisers.
“It is time to give trees their first shower (of minerals and pesticides) but there’s no water,” laments Mir, pointing to the parched canal. “It will prove costly, because missing even one spray (out of approximately a dozen recommended) can ruin the whole crop.”
Agriculture is the backbone of the region’s economy, contributing 8 percent towards its GDP. According to one survey, at least 700,000 Kashmiri families are directly or indirectly connected to the agricultural sector.
Last year, about two million tonnes of apples were harvested in Indian-administered Kashmir, two-thirds of which was exported to the Indian markets.
Shopian is the region’s second-smallest district, with a cultivable area of just 312sq km (194sq miles). Yet, it reported the third-highest yield of apples and second-highest yield of cherries in 2018-2019, according to the government’s agriculture department, making it the “apple capital” of Indian-administered Kashmir.
Illegal mining of rivers
In 2019, India scrapped the region’s semi-autonomy, bringing in developments that spelled disaster for the farmers as rules changed and outside players flooded the area.
Many irrigation canals and water channels crisscrossing the apple-rich belts of Shopian are running dry due to illegal and unabated mining of rivers.
In nearly three dozen villages of Shopian, there are complaints of water shortage, said Mohammad Yusuf Wagay, another farmer from Odura village.
“The Salar water stream feeds 12 villages and dozens of orchards but it is running dry. When we raised the issue with the administration, we were asked to shut our mouths and threatened with police cases,” he said.Rambi Ara, one of the major tributaries of Jhelum River in India-administered Kashmir, irrigates thousands of orchards and farms and provides drinking water to many villages [Jehangir Ali/Al Jazeera]The spring melt in the snowcapped Pir Panjal Mountains in the Himalayas washes the tributaries of Rambi Ara, Romshi and Vishow in southern Kashmir before flowing into the Jhelum River, which is part of South Asia’s grand Indus river system.
Rich with exotic snow trout and mineral wealth, the “three sisters” irrigate thousands of lush apple and cherry orchards scattered on their flood-prone banks, providing a livelihood to thousands.
A government of India study carried out by the Central Power and Research Station, Pune, has warned against mining the Jhelum river or its tributaries.
However, in February last year, when the local government opened auctions for mining, the “three sisters” were identified by the government as part of the reserves, despite environmental concerns.
For 222 “blocks” – areas demarcated for mining activities – the government received 199 Letters of Interest, the first step in the auction process. Accordingly, mining plans for 180 areas were approved.
But the environmental clearance to mine was only given for 13 “blocks” in Kulgam and Kupwara districts, according to official documents.
However, locals in Shopian, home to Rambi Ara tributary, allege that contractors whose plans were approved but pending environment clearance already started mining operations.
In a year of unabated excavation, they said, the tributary’s ecosystem has been vandalised and its watercourse tampered with.A dry canal in Shopian district during the harvest season [Jehangir Ali/Al Jazeera]
‘River resembles a war zone at night’
Sources in the government said roads were identified as a “priority sector” by the administration to “showcase the turnaround” in the infrastructural landscape after the region’s special status was scrapped and it was turned into a federal territory under New Delhi’s direct control.
“Roads are being constructed at three times the earlier speed. Efforts are being made to complete the power and water projects pending for years,” the disputed region’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said earlier this month.
A source in the government told Al Jazeera much of the stone and sand used for the construction and repairs of roads across south and central Kashmir is extracted from Rambi Ara, Romshi and Vishow, while the government “turns a blind eye to this wilful vandalism of environment”.
“I can understand what is happening. We also feel we cannot become an obstacle for any project put forth by the government,” said an official in the region’s geology and mining department, requesting anonymity.
In the daytime, locals are seen in the Rambi Ara tributary with their shovels and tractors. When darkness falls, non-local contractors plough out sand and other minerals using heavy machines, leaving deep craters in the river.
“The river resembles a war zone at night,” said Ghulam Qadir Bhat, resident of Odura village and head of a local village council in Shopian. “Throughout the night, the sound of heavy earthmovers rob us of our sleep.”
The mining contracts in about 40 blocks of Rambi Ara were bagged mostly by non-locals.
Kashmiri contractors, who use local labour and carry out excavation manually, could not participate in the bidding process due to the internet shutdown – part of India’s security and communications clampdown following the scrapping of the region’s special status.
“The bidding process was illegal. Almost 85 percent of contracts were bagged by non-locals who have snatched the livelihood of thousands of workers in this belt,” said Tariq Ahmad, who heads a local union of workers in Shopian.Romshi, a major tributary of Jhelum river, seen from Pulwama town in Indian-administered Kashmir [Jehangir Ali/Al Jazeera]
‘Our families will starve’
Bhat said the mining has tampered with the river’s natural course, leaving irrigation canals dry.
“Odura is a poor village of farmers,” Mir said. “Our survival depends on our orchards. If our trees are starved of water, our families will starve as well.”
The water scarcity has triggered a wave of anxiety among ordinary residents as well as farmers, forcing them to delay spraying their crops, which can prove detrimental.
“This river is a source of livelihood for hundreds of families. Where will we go? How will we sustain our families?” said Abdul Rahim Mir, a resident of Mispora village in Shopian.
The Rambi Ara river is a source of livelihood not just for the fruit cultivators but also for young, jobless men who used to extract stones and sand from the river manually for daily wages. Many bought tractors on bank loans to help with transportation.
Showkat Qazi, a tractor owner and resident of Shopian’s Shadab Karewa area, said some 200 drivers are jobless after the mining contracts were handed to non-locals.
“Many tractor owners have graduate and postgraduate degrees. Some availed bank loans for buying tractors but the mining by non-locals has destroyed their livelihood,” he said.
‘Broad daylight loot of resources’
According to Section 4.3 of the Jammu and Kashmir Minor Mineral Concession, Storage, Transportation of Minerals and Prevention of Illegal Mining Rules 2016, mining is forbidden in riverbeds “below the depth of 3 metres or water level, whichever is lesser”.
However, mining by heavy machines has left deep and wide craters in Rambi Ara which threaten a major power transmission tower built on the river.Miners have plundered the Rambi Ara river, threatening crucial public infrastructure [Jehangir Ali/Al Jazeera]“The water which fed our orchards now flows beneath large boulders dislodged by the machines. Due to unplanned mining, it is now difficult to reach the main river,” said Abdul Rashid, a farmer in Odura village.
According to India’s National Water Policy 2012, “skewed availability of water between different regions and different people in the same region” and “unreliable water supply system” has the “potential of causing social unrest”.
“It is a broad daylight loot of our resources,” said Bhat, the village council head.
“After the Article 370 abrogation, (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi had promised ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ (unity and progress for all). But instead of offering jobs, unemployment has only increased. Now our basic livelihood is being snatched from us,” he added.Residents of Odura village in Shopian have been approaching the government to curb illegal mining but they allege they were threatened to keep quiet [Jehangir Ali/Al Jazeera]
‘Forcing us to sell our land’
After New Delhi relaxed the rules, allowing non-Kashmiris to own land in the disputed region, many farmers in Shopian, a hotbed of rebel activities, say they see a disturbing pattern in the manner in which mining has been going on.
“It is a deliberate attack on our livelihood,” said a farmer who didn’t want to be named, “The government wants to destroy our orchards and force us to sell our land. They want us to beg for alms.”
Jammu and Kashmir territory’s mining law states the licensee must work “effectively in a proper, skilful and workmanlike manner with regard to conservation of mineral and safety of labourers and surroundings”.
But the villagers allege the contractors are not concerned with the “safety of surroundings”.
Shopian’s Deputy Commissioner Sachin Kumar Vaishya told Al Jazeera there is “no clarity” about the people involved in mining the Rambi Ara.
“The situation is not good. We have seized several vehicles. I am seeking a report from the irrigation and other concerned departments on this,” he said.
“We have to strike a balance between development and environment protection.”
The statistics are alarming. In 2018, the government’s geology department filed three cases involving illegal mining in Shopian. Last year, 83 such cases were filed.
In the adjoining Pulwama district, the figures stand at 46 and 317 respectively. In 2019, 476 cases were registered in 10 Kashmir districts which jumped to 2067 cases last year.
“If there is a jump of 400 percent in illegal mining cases, you can imagine the actual situation on the ground,” the geology and mining department official, who had requested anonymity, told Al Jazeera.
Vaishya said the mining contracts have not yet been awarded. “We are finding a way out to provide them (locals) livelihood and at the same time ensure that the ecology of the river is preserved. I have met locals. We will come out with a roadmap.”
But the villagers say that, given the manner in which the excavation has been carried out, it is unlikely the government does not know what is going on.
“I have four to six men at my disposal. Whenever I get information on illegal mining, we try to stop it. Due to militant activities, we can’t come out during the night,” Majid Qazi, district mining officer in Shopian, told Al Jazeera.
“We have filed many cases against illegal miners. I was the first officer to recommend the use of Public Safety Act against them,” he said.
For the fruit growers, however, these are desperate times.
Earlier this month, Ghulam Mohammad Shah, a resident of Odura village, found heavy machines at work in Rambi Ara, perilously close to the river banks.
“When I objected, they complained to the district administration and I was summoned by the officers. It was only after the intervention of some locals that I was set free.”
#AceNewsServices – INDIA (Kashmir) – October 12 – Civilians on both sides of the Kashmir Line of Control got a brief respite today from a solid week of cross-border fighting between Indian and Pakistan forces, but leaders on both sides indicate it is likely to remain brief indeed.
Modi bragged that the week of fighting had given Pakistan a “befitting lesson,” and that Indian soldiers had successfully “shut their mouth” so that they dare not repeat their violations.
The assessment on the Pakistani side was just a belligerent, for while the National Security Committee ruled out war with India, Premier Nawaz Sharif ordered the army to engage in a “tit for tat” strategy of retaliation against India.
The two nations have warred in the past over the Line of Control, and as usual both sides are insisting that the other is wholly to blame for the violations, which have killed dozens of civilians.
#AceNewsServices PAKISTAN (Kashmir) October 08 -The official website of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was defaced Wednesday by a team of Indian hackers, slamming PPP patron-in-chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari for his recent statement on Kashmir.
A group calling themselves the ‘Indian Hackers Online Squad’ replaced the website’s homepage with messages ridiculing Bilawal for his comments, and claiming that “will never get Kashmir”.
“To Citizens of Pakistan, Pakistan’s Army, Pakistan Peoples Party and Specially Mr. Bilawal Bhutto . Without any Violence Let Me tell you that Pakistan will never Get Kashmir. This is the Truth. You Have to Accept it,” said the message left by the hackers on the PPP official website.
Last month, Bilawal was reported to have said that party would get back entire Kashmir for his country.
“I will take back Kashmir, all of it, and I will not leave behind a single inch of it because, like the other provinces, it belongs to Pakistan,” he was quoted as saying.
Bilawal’s statement was not taken well on the other side of the border.
A spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs had responded by terming Bilawal’s comment “far from reality which takes us back into the past century”.
#AceWorldNews – PAKISTAN (Islamabad)- September 14 – Spa Authorities were struggling
Saturday to rescue thousands of people stranded by floods in more than 100 villages in central Pakistan, dpa quoted officials as saying.
Several artificial breaches were created along the protective embankments of Chenab river to divert flood-water away from the historic city of Multan, civilian administrator Zahid Saleem said.
He said the threat to the city was almost over, but the diversion of water has affected 126 small villages and hamlets.
Thousands of relief workers, policemen and soldiers were working to evacuate areas and deliver relief supplies, state-run Pakistan Television reported.
The flooding began September 03 due to heavy monsoon rains.
About 280 people have been killed in the eastern province of Punjab province, Pakistan-administered Kashmir and the semi-autonomous Gilgit-Baltistan regions in the north, National Disaster Management Authority official Ahmed Kamal said.
More than 2 million people have been displaced.
The disaster agency said the flooding would continue for at least another week before the excessive water could drain out through the southern province of Sindh.
#AceWorldNews – INDIA/PAKISTAN – September 13 – Following days of heavy flooding and dangerous mudslides have now claimed more than 450 lives in Pakistan and India, more than 200,000 people remained stranded Saturday in Indian Kashmir, despite receding water, officials said, commenting on the Himalayan region’s worst flooding in a century.
”Rescue teams are now able to go inside houses and get out those still trapped inside and account for the dead bodies,” Shantmanu, the divisional commissioner of Jammu region, who uses one name, told AFP.
Government officials say at least 200 people died and 130,000 people have been rescued in Kashmir.
Each affected family whose home was destroyed will receive an initial 75,000 rupees ($1,200) and six months of food rations, the government said.
#AceNewsServices – KASHMIR – April 24 – Police in the Indian-controlled Kashmir have clashed with protesters, as the last stage of India’s general elections is held amid separatist calls for a poll boycott in Kashmir valley.
Indian forces used tear gas and batons to disperse scores of demonstrators shouting anti-India slogans.
Protesters threw stones at the security forces and attacked some polling stations.
According to Press TV, despite the violence, polling is under-way in the restive region and police say the voting process has not been disrupted.
The turnout in the region – which has only six seats in the Indian parliament – has reportedly been very low, with only two or three percent of eligible voters casting their ballots.
The voting in the region is part of the sixth stage of India’s parliamentary election, in which over 180 million voters are casting their ballots in 12 states.
Altogether, more than 814 million Indians are eligible to vote.
The nine-phase election marathon began on April 7 and will come to an end on May 12. The final results are expected to be announced on May 16.
Activists of Kashmir’s top group, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, have held a torch rally as part of their election boycott campaign.
Ace Related News:
1. Press TV – http://tinyurl.com/kr4vcco
2. IRIB-EA – http://tinyurl.com/mgmn8fo
#AceWorldNews – MUZAFFARABAD – April 03 – (DWN) – A man whose nationality could not be ascertained by law-enforcement agencies in Azad Jammu and Kashmir for months has finally been declared to be a Vietnamese citizen.
Belonging to the Hmong ethnic minority of Vietnam, Vu Gia Po, who had earlier been wrongly referred to as Wu Ta Puma is desperately awaiting completion of procedural formalities for repatriation to his country.
The 37-year old was kept in a police station in Athmuqam, district headquarters of Neelum valley, about 74 kilometres north-east of here, in November last year and his hosts have since been finding it difficult to decide about their inadvertent guest.
“We feel relieved that his birthplace has been traced and hopefully he will soon be reunited with his family,” SHO Athmuqam Mohammad Yasin told Dawn on Wednesday.
#AceWorldNews – ISLAMABAD – (SANA): United Jihad Council Chairman and Hizbual Mujahideen Supreme Commander Syed Salahuddin has vowed to continue struggle on all fronts till the achievement of freedom from Indian illegal occupation.
He said that in the resolution of Kashmir dispute Indian ego, stubbornness, unrealistic approach, military power are main hurdles in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Ha said that India shows zero change in its s 60 year old stance over the Kashmir issue.
He added that Parvez Musharaf changed the 60 years old stance of Pakistan over the issues and introduced a new formula. He said that what is the logic behind the regular change in policy from Pakistani side while the India has shown no change in its polices.
#AceWorldNews says that sixty-six Muslim students from the disputed Indian territory of Kashmir were expelled from their university because they cheered for the Pakistani cricket team during a televised match against archrival India, AP reported.
They were also briefly threatened with sedition charges.
The students had been living in the dorms at the private College of Swami Vivekanand Subharti University, in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh state.
Plans to impose the sedition charges were dropped, State Home Secretary A.K.Gupta said. Sunday’s match was won by Pakistan.