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Are rumours again travelling ahead of the news in JK?

Monitor News Bureau





Srinagar, July 3: There is a new twist to Kashmir’s political tale indicating that perhaps, once again, rumours could be travelling ahead of the real news in Jammu and Kashmir.
The political grapevine is once again agog that a “democratic government” would soon be formed in the state by expedient politicians resorting to the most undemocratic means of horse trading.
What has fuelled the rumour mill this time is the growing dissatisfaction within the Peoples Democratic Party (DPP) headed by former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
At least three of PDP’s 28 MLAs in the 87-member state assembly have revolted against Mehbooba Mufti.
Influential Shia leader and former minister Imran Ansari, his uncle Abid Ansari, and Abbas Wani have accused Mehbooba Mufti of running the PDP as a fiefdom.
Imran accused Mehbooba of creating dynastic rule by bringing her brother, Tasaduq Mufti, as a minister and handing over all the affairs of governance to her relatives and cronies.
Ironically, Imran and his uncle stayed put in the PDP till it lost power in the state.
Former Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta’s remarks gave credibility to reports that some deep churning was taking place in the state’s political cauldron.
“We are working on something and you will come to know of this soon,” Gupta’s words to media within days of the BJP withdrawing from the PDP-BJP ruling alliance were initially not taken seriously.
The recent visit of BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav and his meeting with senior party leaders, in addition to Sajad Gani Lone of the Peoples Conference, finally stirred the hornet’s nest.
Sajad’s party has two MLAs and he has been supporting the BJP. This had earned him a ministerial berth in the previous government — out of the BJP’s quota in the coalition.
Madhav’s visit was followed by reports that the PDP had approached the Congress for cobbling up a new ruling alliance in the state.
Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad denied these reports, saying that the Congress has an all-weather friend in the regional National Conference (NC) headed by Farooq Abdullah and there was no question of aligning with the PDP.
Mehbooba Mufti also denied any knowledge about her probable meeting with Sonia Gandhi as reported by a section of the media.
While news reports and rumours about possible permutations and combinations between the PDP, the Congress and the NC are still doing the rounds, another political bombshell has hit the state.
Reports of disgruntled MLAs from the PDP, the Congress and the NC breaking loose from their parties to support a BJP-led government are the latest addition to the media fever here.
Horse trading is nothing new in the state.
In 1984, a democratically-elected government headed by Farooq Abdullah was brought down by his brother-in-law, G.M. Shah.
Shah became Chief Minister by engineering defections in the NC and with outside support of the Congress.
The political upheaval was widely believed to have the blessings of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who had been insulted by some NC supporters during her public rally in Srinagar city.
It is common knowledge in Kashmir that Jagmohan was brought in as the state governor by Gandhi so that Abdullah was ousted through defections within the NC.
After exactly 34 years, the political rumour mill suggests that the same experiment is being tried once again with the blessings of the Centre.
The 1984 coup was staged by engineering defections within just the NC. If rumours are to be believed, the reported horse trading would this time spare no major political party in the state.
Rumours suggest defections to create a BJP-headed government would affect the Congress, the PDP and the NC as a minimum of 44 MLAs are needed to stake claim to power.
At present, the PDP has 28, BJP 25, NC 15, Congress 12 and others seven seats in the 87-member assembly that was put into suspended animation by Governor N.N. Vohra after he imposed governor’s rule.
It is precisely because of the danger of horse trading that NC Vice President and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been demanding the dissolution of the state assembly, a chorus now joined by Mehbooba Mufti as well.
Rumours may be dismissed as a mere figment of someone’s imagination under normal circumstances. But not in Kashmir’s topsy-turvy politics.
It was initially just a rumour that his government was being toppled, which Farooq Abdullah brushed aside in 1984 till he got a letter from Governor Jagmohan that he was no longer the Chief Minister.



‘10 percent of drug addicts are women’

Hirra Azmat



Srinagar, Jul 18: Inside a drug de-addiction center of SMHS hospital, a well-built 45-year-old woman could well be mistaken for an attendant. Until she tells you how she got trapped in the vortex of drug-abuse.

A mother of two school going children, she in fact exemplifies how the valley’s drug menace is a half told story. It’s been mostly about the men. Among those visiting de-addiction center are homemakers, students, divorcees’ and working women.

Her story of drug addiction is a byproduct of both turmoil and never-ending grief.  She suffered the first blow when one of her brothers died due to illness and the second shocker came when the clashes at an encounter site claimed the life of her second brother two years ago.


“I got hooked to drugs two years back when my two brothers passed away. In an attempt to escape the emotional pain, I sought refuge in sedatives first. The dependence became chronic and eventually it led me to heroin,” she said in a heavy voice.

When she felt lonely, she decided to bite the bullet and seek help from doctors though without informing her husband.

“No-one in the family knows about my addiction. Drug-abuse is a known vice. When a woman is doing drugs, it becomes all the more difficult for the men-in-house to accept the fact,” she said with a sigh.

She did not turn up after her first visit to the Center. But the constant withdrawals and fear of dying due to drug-overdose made her seek the following treatment properly.

“I came here a fortnight ago and am determined to come again for follow ups. The worst nightmare of my life should end now,” she said.

Kashmir has in recent years seen a rise in the cases of drug abuse.

Data of drug de-addiction Centre accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveals that there has been almost 1300 percent increase in the number of patients treated in OPD since April 2016.

Figures reveal that the number of patients treated in OPD were 489 in 2016-2017. The number increased to 3622 in 2017- 2018. The patient load increased to 5113 in 2018-2019. The number of patients treated in OPD in first three months of current financial year is 1095.

In addition, there has been 600 percent increase in the number of patients admitted in the Centre.

Data shows that the number of patients admitted in 2015-2016 was 116. The number increased to 203 in 2015 -2016.  Around 207 were admitted in 2016- 2017 followed by 374 between in 2017-2018. The number increased to 624 in 2018-2019. The patients admitted in first two months of current financial year are 140.

Registrar drug de-addiction centre, SMHS hospital, Dr Salim Yousuf said: “It’s not uncommon for women to get addicted due to easy availability of drugs such as heroin. Nowadays, it has become as easy as ordering pizza.”

Dr Salim noted that 10 percent of the addicts are women. “We are receiving a lot of patients particularly from the regions like Tanghdar and Bijbehara. Now Rajouri and Poonch are also following suit,” he said.

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Wasn’t allowed to take my father’s body, says top Govt official

Monitor News Bureau



Srinagar, Jul 18: A senior official of the Jammu and Kashmir government has alleged that he was stopped while carrying his father’s body back to Srinagar and made to wait for several hours because of the restrictions due to the ongoing Amarnath Yatra.

Imtiyaz Wani, director finance PHE/I&FC department narrated his ordeal in a Facebook post to say that if this is what was done to a government official, what must be happening with the commoners.

“All civil rights are subordinate to Amarnath Yatra while moving from Jammu to Kashmir. I am not being allowed to carry forward my father’s dead body. What hell the life of a common Kashmiri is. Inspector Rakesh of J&K Police on yatra duty categorically said the body shall not be allowed (sic),” Imtiyaz wrote on his Facebook account.


His ailing father was shifted to Delhi for treatment. He, however, passed away in the hospital. The family was moving back from Delhi to Jammu. They were travelling towards Srinagar in the early hours of Thursday morning when they were halted on their way.

“When we crossed Nagrota after leaving Jammu with my father’s body, I was stopped. I kept pleading with them that I am a senior public servant but they did not pay any heed. It was only after two hours that they let me take my father’s body. The officer kept saying that he has to allow the Yatris and not dead bodies. It is very sad. We are not against the Yatra but does it suspend our civil rights of taking a deceased person home,” said Imtiyaz.

Traffic police in Jammu, however, said that there are no such orders to stop a body from being transported. “There are no such orders,” Joginder Singh, SSP Traffic Jammu was quoted saying by India Today.

There have been several instances when the civilians in the Valley have complained of problems due to restrictions on the movement of vehicles. A few cases of ambulances being stopped have also surfaced.

Complaints have been pouring in on a daily basis that authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have barred civilian traffic on Qazigund-Nashri stretch of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway for few hours every day in order to allow incident-free passage to vehicles carrying Amarnath pilgrims.

However, division commissioner of Kashmir in a recent press briefing said that there was no blanket ban.

“There is no ban on civilian movement during the Amarnath Yatra, only traffic regulation,” Baseer Khan, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir said during a press conference in Srinagar last week.

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WORLD’S RICHEST: Bill Gates toppled by LVMH boss Bernard Arnault




New Delhi, Jul 18: Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates, who has never been ranked below the second spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index has been pushed to the Number 3 rank by Bernard Arnault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of LVMH Moet Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE, aka LVMH.

LVMH pushed Arnault’s net worth to $108 billion. In 2019 alone, Arnault added $39 billion to his fortunes, which is the biggest gain by an individual in all of the 500 people on the list.

Amazon chief Jeff Bezos is the still richest man in the world, with a total net worth of $125 billion. Bill Gates stands at Number 3 with net worth of $107 billion. According to Bloomberg, the trio’s collective wealth exceeds the individual market values of almost every company in the S&P 500 Index that has firms like Walmart Inc, Exxon Mobil Corp and Walt Disney Co on its list.


It must be mentioned that Gates’ philanthropic endeavours was one of the biggest reasons for his slip in ranking. Gates donated more than $35 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Without that, he would still have been the richest man.

Arnault and his family are among luxury titans who pledged more than $650 million in April for the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral after fire ravaged the landmark church. He controls about half of Paris-based LVMH through a family holding company and also owns a 97% stake in Christian Dior, the fashion house founded three years before his birth in 1949.

Arnault entered the luxury-goods market in 1984 by acquiring a textile group that owned Christian Dior. Four years later, he sold the company’s other businesses and used the proceeds to buy a controlling stake in LVMH. His art collection of modern and contemporary paintings includes pieces by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Maurizio Cattelan, Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso.

Jeff Bezos’ fortunes saw an uptick despite his divorce with MacKenzie Bezos, which made her the fourth richest woman in the world, according to Bloomberg. MacKenzie Bezos is ranked 22nd with a net worth of $40.3 billion.

The richest woman, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, daughter and heiress of L’Oreal’s Liliane Bettencourt, is at the Number 10 spot. The second richest woman Alice Walton and third richest woman Jacqueline Mars are ranked 15th and 19th on the list.

The richest Indian, Mukesh Ambani is on the 13th spot, with a net worth of $51.8 billion. Azim Premji is the second-richest Indian to be on the list at the 48th rank with $20.5 billion, followed by Shiv Nadar in the 92nd spot and Uday Kotak on the 96th spot.

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