Srinagar, Nov 7: Eight years after UNESCO included Kashmir’s Mughal gardens in its tentative list of World Heritage sites, the state government has not even started the basic process to reap the benefits.
Last month, the state government sought financial assistance from the Central government to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the project.
However, official sources said the governments since 2010 have been sitting over the process, causing the delay.
“After featuring in the tentative list, the state government prerogative was to immediately prepare a dossier about these gardens, and submit it to the central government. Neither the file has been prepared nor any other measure was taken in this regard,” said a source.
“Even the government has not decided which agency or department shall frame the DPR.” They said the Centre’s assistance was not required to implement the project, considering the revenue generated by these gardens.
“The DPR will consume half of the amount these gardens annually generate. The project got delayed as government changed with their different set of priorities,” sources said.
Enriched with numerous sites of Neolithic age, Jammu and Kashmir currently has not a single monument that the UNESCO has formally declared as World heritage site.
The UNESCO on its website has mentioned the relevance of the Mughal gardens with world heritage.
“The Mughal Garden heritage particularly stands out from the other parallels for their extraordinary geographical locations. They are the most excellent testimonies of this prolific period of Mughals. It represented a height of the Mughal gardening craftsmanship,” it mentions.
Muhammad Saleem Baig, Convener Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), said the project was important considering the distinctive identity and richness of Kashmir’s history.
He said these gardens need to been seen as historic sites rather than mere public parks.
“The perception regarding these gardens and their preservation aspect will come into force once it is declared officially as world heritage,” he said.
Adorned with mighty chinars, colourful flowers, Mughal gardens are a prime attraction for lakhs of tourists visiting Kashmir from different parts of the world.
Two Al-Badr militants killed in Shopian gunfight
Srinagar, Nov 18: Two Al Badr militants were killed in a gunfight with the government forces in a village in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Sunday morning, police said.
“Based on a credible input about the presence of militants, a cordon and search operation was launched by the state police and forces at the strike of dawn today in Rebban area of Zainapora,” said a police spokesman.
As the search operation was going on, the search party was fired upon by the hiding militants, he said.
“The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter.
In the ensuing encounter, two militants were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter,” said the spokesman, adding that “incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter.”
He appealed to the people not to go to the encounter site as “it can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials.”
Local sources said that the Internet service was suspended in the area during the night. However, the service was restored Sunday morning.
They identified the slain militants as Yawar Wani of Batnoor Pulwama and Nawaz Ahmad of Rebban Shopian — both affiliated with Al Badr militant outfit.
Later, multiple rounds of funeral prayers were held for the slain militants in their respective native places.
Reports said that thousands of people from various areas of the south Kashmir attended the funeral prayers of two militants.
Reports said that thousand people poured onto streets as the bodies of the duo were lifted, the scenes were poignant amid the chanting of pro-freedom slogans, hailing the “martyrs.”
An eyewitness said that scores of men and women wept bitterly as the bodies were being carried towards its final resting place.
A complete shutdown is being observed in Shopian and its adjoining district Pulwama to mourn the killings.
Reports said that all the shops and other business establishments in both the districts are closed and public traffic is off the roads.
CRPF man killed in Pulwama attack
Srinagar, Nov 18: A paramilitary trooper was killed after militants attacked CRPF camp near Railway station Kakpora in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Sunday evening.
Reports said that the militants fired on CRPF camp resulting in injuries to one personal. The injured identified as Head constable Chandrika Prasad
of 183 of D coy was rushed to nearby hospital where he succumbed.
A senior Police officer said the militants fired upon CRPF at Railway station Kakpora, which had arrived yesterday there for election duty.
He also confirmed the death of the trooper.
Meanwhile whole area has been cordoned off to nab the attackers.
3 dead, 15 injured in grenade attack at Amritsar
Chandigarh, Nov 18: Three people were killed while at least 15 others injured in an explosion at Nirankari Bhawan in Amritsar’s Rajasansi village in Punjab on Sunday morning.
Nirankari Bhawan is a prayer hall of a religious sect.
“3 dead and 10 injured in the blast at Nirankari Bhawan in Amritsar’s Rajasansi village,” IG (Border) Surinder Pal Singh Parmar said.
“Out of 250 people who were present in the religious congregation, 3 dead and 15 to 20 injured. As per initial reports, 2 people had come over here who knocked a grenade here,” IG Parmar added.
According to eyewitnesses, two to three bike-borne men carried out the grenade attack who later fled. They were masked.
Following the blast, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh called for an emergency meeting.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh condemned the incident and said he has asked the state home secretary and senior police officials, including the director general of police, to visit the spot for investigations.
“My heart goes out to victims of the Amritsar bomb blast and their families,” Singh said.
“My government will give Rs 5 lakh to kin of each of the dead and free treatment to the injured. Have asked district administration to extend all help.”
Singh did not rule out the possibility of the involvement of Khalistani or Kashmiri militant groups behind the grenade attack.
In a statement issued hours after the incident, the CM, who held a review meeting, said police teams were rushed to raid suspected hideouts of the assailants and multiple teams have begun investigating the various angles to crack the case.
Amarinder said while the state had been hit by a series of cases of targeted attacks since 2015-16, this was the first attempt, in a long time, to disrupt peace through indiscriminate killings.
He added that such incidents only strengthened the belief that Pakistan was continuing with its “nefarious activities to disturb the law and order in the state”.
The CM also said that the preliminary probe had so far revealed that two men, one of them with a flowing beard and both with covered faces, had allegedly forced their way into the hall by brandishing a pistol.
The duo detained the sewadar, lobbed the grenade into the prayer room and fled on a motorcycle.
A crater, which is three inches in diameter, was formed due to the impact of the explosion and is currently being examined by the forensic team. The safety valve of the grenade was also found and is being examined.
Earlier, soon after the blast, Amarinder had ordered the Home Secretary, DG Police, DG Law and Order and DG Intelligence to immediately rush to village Adliwal to supervise the probe.
State Congress chief Sunil Jakhar offered his condolences to the families of those killed. He called the attack “an attempt to disturb peace in Punjab”. “I believe all the security agencies should stay alert and coordinate with each other to maintain peace,” Jakhar added.
Punjab has been on alert following an input that a group of six to seven militants of the Jaish-e-Mohammad are in the state. Zakir Moosa, the commander of a militant group affiliated with the al-Qaeda, is also reportedly hiding in the state.
Last week, four people hijacked a car at gunpoint near Madhopur in Pathankot district. Police in Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Batala were put on high alert following the incident.
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