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2-Nil and whistle as RKFC defeat Arrows in maiden win at home

Firdous Hassan




Srinagar, Nov 25: Real Kashmir FC on Sunday returned to the winning ways after registering their first victory on home turf against Indian Arrows FC in the ongoing I-League tournament.

Sunday being a holiday saw thousands of spectators thronging the TRC ground and show their support for their team, who recently had to face losses against Neroca and Mohun Bagan FC.

Since morning the ecstatic football fans had lined up outside the match venue to seek passes for the match.

Ahead of the beginning of the match, the entire stadium was jam packed with people irrespective of their age and profession.

RKFC, known as the ‘Snow Leopards’, started the game on an attacking note, making an attempt to score in the very first minute.

The squad saw some changes as Coach David Robertson preferred to bring in Surchandra Singh instead of the regular Danish Farooq.

Similarly, three changes were seen in the Indian Arrows FC, which fielded Rahim Ali, Khumanthem Ninthoigamba and Vikram Pratap Singh.

Real Kashmir FC, which so far had not registered any win at home preferred to play long balls.

It was in the 25th minute when an assistive pass from Masonn Robertson to Surchandra Singh led the ball into the net.

Fans in numbers were ecstatic seeing the team score their first goal on home turf after three-match long wait.

The large crowd waved the flags of the club and cheered for the team.

The players equally celebrated the occasion as many were seen pointing towards the crowd for attaining the feat after three-match long struggle.

A metachronal rhythm from crowd ceased to end for minutes together as football fans expected a bounce back from the Snow Leopards.

In the final minutes of the first half, the Indian Arrows failed to convert a few chances into a goal despite witnessing much possession.

The second half of the game saw some changes from host squad after Danish Farooq was brought in in place of Nagen Tamang in the 56th minute.

The Indian Arrows equally got a chance to score an equaliser but failed when a shoot from Vikram Pratap Singh missed the target.

Continuing with an aggressive tempo, Surchandra in 68th minute of the game delivered an inch-perfect corner to the far post for Danish Farooq who played it back into the six-yard box for Bazie. The midfielder scored a simple header from handshaking distance.

The second goal by hosts followed a loud celebration with defender Aaron Katebe displaying his dancing moves to the people.

The host came really close to adding a third to the score line, but Ravanan Dharmaraj could not cash in.

An additional five minutes were given during which least attempts were made by the Indian Arrows to score a goal.

For minutes together after the match, the winning squad stayed on the ground and thanked the spectators for their support.

Many among the fans were seen shouting names of their favourite football players   and waving Real Kashmir flags.

Tanveer Ahmad, a local from Bandipora, who watched all the matches of native team said he expected bounce back from them.

“They (Real Kashmir FC) have rekindled the hopes of their fans now. We expected a better performance from them and hopefully upcoming matches are going to be more interesting,” he said.

Real Kashmir FC, head coach David Robertson said the first win at home turf by this team was one of his emotional moment in life.

“Today we again showed that we have the ability to battle hard and even work hard with our fighting spirit. But it was support of the people which kept us going and register first win here at home turf,” he said.

Coach Robertson said the win will boast the moral of his players to perform “even better in upcoming matches.”

“We had no pressure at all as we are just new to this league. During the nie day break we toured to Gulmarg even but it is very nice to win. Emotions were on rise when we scored the first goal of I- league in home town,” he said.

Indian Arrows, head Coach Floyd Pinto equally praised the Real Kashmir FC for their “direct style of playing and physicality.”

“You get to see this style very less in I- League. They have a direct style of playing with more physical presence. I think the home ground support is equally helping them,” he said.

Coach Pinto said, “Our boys played well but we were not able to convert few chances into a goal. We had couple of errors but will perform better in upcoming games.”


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Need to replace idea of ‘Azad Kashmir’: Mehbooba

Mudassir Kuloo



Srinagar, Dec 14: Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti Friday said there was a need to replace the idea of ‘Azaad Kashmir’ with a better one within the framework of the Indian Constitution.

Addressing a seminar ‘Kashmir – The Way Forward’ at the Observer Research Foundation in Mumbai, Mehbooba said, “We need to replace the idea of Azad Kashmir with a better idea within the framework of the Indian Constitution. We cannot go back to 1947, we have to move forward.”

Mehbooba, who led the PDP-BJP coalition government for over two years, said governance was only possible when there is peace.

“Thank God we are living in a democracy where people are allowed to vote and not cows,” she said.

“Kashmiris are the sufferers. Till when will our people keep witnessing this farce of people getting killed? Youngsters are taking up the guns. A 17-year-old boy who played a role in Hyder movie and 14-year-old boy recently got killed after they took up the arms.”

Referring to her coalition government with the BhartiyaJanta Party (BJP) in 2014, Mufti said it was a “suicide”.

“We put everything at stake because we hoped that Narendra Modi will pick up where Vajpayee Ji had left. Unfortunately, Modi ji could not rise to the occasion. Like Vajpayee, we invited him to address a gathering of around 30,000 people in Srinagar. Instead reaching out to people, he said he did not need anybody’s advice. We (Kashmir) are sufferers. If he does not listen to us, whom will he listen to?” she asked.

She said there was a total “distrust and disconnect” between people of Kashmir and New Delhi Delhi.

“They look inwards or outwards (outside the border) for support. During the time of Vajpayee, the people of Kashmir thought of him as a leader who cared,” she said.

“Even Pakistan responded positively resulting in reduction of militancy and ceasefire. Between 2002-05, it was the golden period of Kashmir, since for the first time the CM of Kashmir and PM of India were on the same page. Even Mirwaiz Umar, Yasin Malik, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat went  New Delhi and met Vajpayee.”

She asked New Delhi to make Kashmiris its integral part instead talking only about the land.

“Vajpayee did not hand over Kashmir to Pakistan but he realised the pain of Kashmiris. But the Indian leadership is only stuck that Kashmir is an integral part of India without talking about its people. New Delhi has to make Kashmiris its integral part.”

While her party is losing more people in last few days, including former cabinet ministers, Mehbooba said she felt that SAARC countries were being held hostage to the animosity between India and Pakistan.

“For example, why can’t we have a SAARC Handicrafts University in Kashmir?” she asked.

“India is never an issue during Pakistan elections. However, that is not the case in India. It is for the country to rise up, reach the Kashmiris and find a solution. All the SAARC nations must come together and make Jammu and Kashmir a model of cooperation.”

“Unfortunately, the media which is an important stakeholder in this discussion, is only adding fuel to the fire. The shaking of fists and shouting at one another is not representative of the real Kashmir. We need to change the discourse,” she said.


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Lead Stories

JK first state with explicit law banning ‘sextortion’



Jammu, Dec 14: J&K has become first state in India to have a law explicitly banning sexual exploitation of women by those in positions of authority, having a fiduciary relationship or a public servant.

The State Administrative Council (SAC) under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved the‘Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018 and the Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018’.

The bill seeks to amend the Ranbir Penal Code whereby specific offence under section 354 E is being inserted to provide for the offence of ‘Sextortion’, said an official handout.

“Amendments are being made in section 154, 161 and Schedule of Criminal Procedure Code and section 53 A of the Evidence Act so as to bring sextortion at par with similar offences prescribed under Ranbir Penal Code and amendment is being made in Prevention of Corruption Act to amend the definition of misconduct and to provide that demand for sexual favors would also constitute misconduct within the meaning of section 5,” said the handout.

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Real Kashmir ‘ill-treated’ by Gokulam Kerala



Kerala/Srinagar, Dec 14: Real Kashmir FC Friday said they were hurled abuses and manhandled by officials of Gokulam Kerala, who “deprived” the visitors of training facilities ahead of their I-League game in Kozhikode.

Lying third after a sensational start to their maiden season in top-flight, Real Kashmir are scheduled to face seventh-placed Gokulam Kerala at the EMS Corporation Stadium on Saturday. Real Kashmir even threatened to pull out of the game if they are not provided police protection.

The visiting Real Kashmir issued a statement, giving the sequence of events.

“An unfortunate incident happened today morning in Kozhikode in Kerala when the coach and other members of RKFC were abused and heckled by officials of Gokulam Kerala FC,” the Kashmir club said in a statement.

“As per protocol, the home team is supposed to provide a ground two days ahead of the main game for practice. However, RKFC was deprived of that. This morning no transport was provided to ferry the team from hotel to the ground and when they managed to reach themselves, the home team officials prevented physically from entering the ground,” it added in the statement.

Real Kashmir go into the match after a thumping 6-1 win against ShillongLajong at home.

They further said, “Abuses were hurled at the team members including their coach and finally the RKFC members were asked to leave the ground and stay indoors till the match tomorrow with Gokulam Kerala FC.

“There was no team bus, no proper training ground was provided by the host Gokulam Kerala FC, which is a mandatory requirement as per the guidelines of the I-League.”

This is Real Kashmir’s first season in the I-League after winning the second division last year while this is the second season when Gokulam are playing in the competition.

“We condemn the treatment that has been met by our team members who have been asked to stay inside the hotel till tomorrow’s game.

“Our coach and staff was abused by the officials of Gokulam Kerala FC. We need police protection and assurance that none of our players or staff members will be harmed. If we feel threatened, we may not play the game tomorrow. The matter has been taken up with appropriate authorities of law enforcement agencies as well as football federation,” said Real Kashmir.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has demanded safety of the team.

“Have been told @realkashmirfcare facing numerous difficulties down south in the run up to their clash against Gokulam Kerala FC to the point where they are unsure they will be safe playing tomorrow. Request local authorities to intervene to ensure safety of players & staff”.

On their part, Gokulam Kerala FC issued a clarification and alleged “poor and irresponsible
behaviour by Real Kashmir FC.

Gokulam also took to Twitter to issue a clarification. Gokulam said that they had arranged for a bus for the club officials to the Medical College training ground — a bus they “never took” for training at Medical College.

Gokulam said that Real Kashmir invaded the EMS stadium where training a day before the match is not allowed. Gokulam also alleged that Real Kashmir officials manhandled the groundsman and used foul language.

“Today is ‘Harthal’ (Strike) organised by a political party. After a long previous night of arrangements to get the transport for both the teams, we managed to send the bus for RKFC. Medical college ground was booked for RKFCs training,” Gokulam wrote on their twitter handle.

“Before the bus arrived, RKFCs officials who are staying in a nearby hotel invaded the EMS Stadium, where training a day before the match is not allowed by any MC. To keep this in track, we refused to let them train in the EMS.

“RKFC officials stormed the FOP and manhandled the groundsman and threw his phone away when he tried to capture what Mr. Robertson and his club members tried to do.”

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