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As gymnasiums grow, females and middle-aged invest in fitness

Hirra Azmat





Srinagar, Nov 17: Kashmir is witnessing a growth in the number of gymnasiums, with people of all ages and genders accepting fitness like a ‘culture’.

The fitness industry in the valley has come a long way since its inception.

Earlier, teenagers and adults used to hit gyms, but the trend is slowly reversing. Now, the gym-goers include women, young girls, and middle-aged adults.


“Fitness is a very broad term, and yes people are becoming more aware about how they look and how they feel. Speaking about past few years, there is vast increase in the awareness of fitness and people’s attitude have drastically changed from good to better,” said Isaam Wani, co-founder of Gold Gym at Rajbagh here.

Isaam informed that the age group frequenting their gyms ranges from 17- 60 years and half of them are females.

“I am extremely happy that Kashmiris are becoming more aware about their health,” said Isaam.

Isaam said that the gym’s motto from the very beginning was to imbibe the fitness culture among the females here.

“We have pretty good number of females working out for us under certified female trainers,” he informed.

Sameer Shah, one of the founding members of Anytime Fitness at Jawahar Nagar, echoed the same views.

“Well I’d say from last one year there has been a lot of change in people’s lifestyle since so many good gyms opened. People who never worked out are now saying, when I sometimes interact with them, they are like ‘we don’t come gym for the physical fitness. We more of come to the gym for our mental fitness and happiness. So yes it has changed people’s life here in Kashmir in a good way,” said Sameer.

The gym has a total of 150 female clients registered with it.

“Yes, we do have a specialized female trainers and we have a separate yoga instructor and zumba trainer for females as well,” said Sameer.

Sameer, however, explained the various problems faced by female trainers as the job is deemed unfit for the women in a Kashmiri society.

“The challenges are mostly projected from the family, as female trainee as a profession is still somewhat taboo and even if the family is supportive, majority of the people in and around the society don’t give heed to such a profession for a girl, which is very unfortunate,” said the young fitness enthusiast.

Sameer said, “Apart from this another challenge faced by female trainers is the lack of female athletes in the gyms when compared to their male counterparts, which clearly gives these female trainers a lesser chance to earn in the manner as the male trainers do.”

While the industry is growing in the Valley so do the number of women who are, combining their knowledge and experience in the fitness industry to make their mark in it.

One such example is that of Mehreen Amin of Bohri Kadal who single-handedly trains and runs “Fitness Hub Healthcare Center” gym near Islamia College, Hawal.

The private fitness club, which opened a year ago, is now rapidly gaining popularity among female sports enthusiasts and its members are on a constant rise, despite a backlash from traditional male quarters in the old city.

“The attitude with regard to fitness and health has underwent a sea change in the Valley. People have begun to realize that gym is beyond six packs abs,” Mehreen said.

The young female trainer said, “Since the club opened, 100 women and girls have registered and regularly practice yoga, body building and other exercises, and the number is consistently rising in the face of traditional restrictions.”

Mehreen, however, rued: “Fitness is still not seen as a serious enough industry in our society and my work often gets discounted. I have often been at the receiving end of bad comments and abuses but as long as my clients and family are happy with me, I don’t care.”



Azad on Jharkhand lynching: Keep new India with you, give us old India




New Delhi, Jun 24: Coming down heavily on the government over recent incidents of lynching and crime in Jharkhand, leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday said the state has become a factory of lynching and violence, “requesting” Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “give us our Old India where there was love, culture.”

“Dalits and Muslims are killed there every week. The PM, we are with you in the fight of ‘Sabka saath sabka vikas’, but it should be there for people to see it. We can’t see it anywhere,” Azad said in Rajya Sabha.

“I request you to keep the New India to yourself and give us our Old India where there was love, culture. Hindus used to feel the pain when Muslims and Dalits used to get hurt. When something used to get into the eyes of Hindus, Muslims and Dalits used to shed tears for them,” he added.


“In Old India, there was no hatred, anger or lynching. New India is one where humans are enemies of each other. You won’t be scared of animals in a jungle, but you’ll be scared of humans in a colony. Give us India where Hindus, Muslims,Sikhs and Christians live for each other,” he said.

In yet another lynching incident, a Muslim man was beaten up mercilessly for over 18 hours on the suspicion of theft in Jharkhand’s Kharsawan district on Saturday. The 24-year-old victim, identified as Tabrez Ansari, was attacked by a mob on June 18 and was later handed over to the police. He had been in the judicial custody since June 18 and was taken to a hospital on June 22 after his condition deteriorated. On the same day, Ansari succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

Several videos of the incident emerged on social media show a man hitting Tabrez brutally with a wooden stick while forcing him to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”. The videos of the Jharkhand mob lynching case have gone viral on social networking sites ever since the incident came to the light.

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GoI approves amendments to give more teeth to NIA

Press Trust of India



New Delhi, Jun 24: The Union Cabinet is learnt to have approved a proposal to amend two laws to give more teeth to the NIA in probing ‘terror’ cases in India and abroad, sources said Monday.

Separate bills will be introduced in Parliament in the coming days to amend the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, they said.

The amendments will also allow the NIA probe cybercrimes and cases of human trafficking, sources aware of the proposal said.


Amendment to Schedule 4 of the UAPA will allow the NIA to designate an individual suspected to have ‘terror links as a terrorist’. As of now, only organisations are designated as ‘terrorist organisations’.

The NIA was set up in 2009 in the wake of the Mumbai attack that had claimed 166 lives.

Since 2017, the Union Home Ministry has been considering the two laws to give more power to the NIA to meet fresh challenges, the sources pointed out.

Another proposal to introduce a bill to extend the facility of proxy voting to overseas Indians could not be taken up Monday.

A similar bill had lapsed following the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha last month.

“The agenda of the Law Ministry stands postponed,” a functionary said.

As of now, overseas Indians are free to cast their votes in constituencies they are registered.

The Bill seeks to give them the option of proxy voting, which is as of now available to service personnel only.

Another proposal to amend the Representation of the People Act related to the spouses of service voters could not be taken up on Monday.

As of now, an armyman’s wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman army officer’s husband is not, according to the provisions in the electoral law.

The bill proposes to replace the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’, thus making the provision gender-neutral. Members of the armed forces, central armed police forces, personnel of state police forces posted outside their state and employees of the Centre posted outside India are eligible to be enrolled as service voters.

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Youths click selfies, walk alongside Leopard in Kishtwar




Srinagar, Jun 24: Pointing towards the increasing man-animal conflict is J&K, a video that went viral on Monday shows a few youth carelessly walking right alongside a leopard on a tarred road while clicking photos and videos in some mountainous region.

The incident reportedly took place in Chingam area of Kishtwar district. The video shows at least three youth audaciously ambling near the leopard that, surprisingly, isn’t aggressive.

The incident comes to the fore      days after days after two leopards were spotted in residential areas of Budgam and Srinagar.


Deputy conservator of forests, wild life division, Kashmir, Rouf Zargar had told The Kashmir Monitor that one female leopard and an adult cub were spotted at Ompora, Budgam.

“They were spotted in the adjacent villages of Budgam and Airport. We are doing our best to trace them. Till the time we catch those, people should refrain from moving out during nights and in the wee hours,” he said.

There has been a spike in man-animal conflict in the last few years with several incidents of attacks by bears and leopards taking place in multiple areas of the valley.

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