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In Chadoora, a family mourns their soldier son

Monitor News Bureau

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Dalipora (Chadoora), Jan 01: “We ate in one plate, and shared the pillow,” wails 31-year-old Javed Ahmad Ganai of his missing twin brother, Sharif Ud Din Ganai.
Sitting in a cold, dimly-lit room on the first floor of their newly-constructed house, Javed refuses tea and bread offered by his close relative.
Sharif was among the five CRPF men killed in an encounter with militants at Lethpora, Pulwama, on Sunday.
As Javed describes his twin, tears roll down his face, making the eldest of the siblings, Feroz Ahmad Ganai, console him.
“This would not do. Abba downstairs would die otherwise. We have to face it,” a composed Feroz tells the younger brother.
To this, Javed has a few sips from the cup of tea.
As per a close relative, the twins shared a close bond.
Javed, following Sharif who joined the CRPF in 2006, got himself into the Indian Reserve Police (IRP).
To add to the family’s tragedy, Sharif as per his uncle, Hilal Ahmad Ganai was engaged last year with his wedding scheduled in spring.
“We planned their marriages step by step, but Almighty had planned otherwise,” says Hilal.
Besides Feroz and Javed, Sharif is survived by parents, three sisters, and younger brother.
In utter shock, Ghulam Ahmad Ganai, Sharif’s father, a postman who has joined his daughters and other women in the lobby of the house, wails: “Where are you Sharif, I would die for your tall stature.”
A couple of close relatives suggested not talking to the shocked father.
“He would not answer you properly. You would ask a thing to which he would give a different answer. He is not mentally stable at present,” a relative said.
To relatives and friends, Sharif had “nothing to with militancy operations”.
Apparently referring to the anti-militancy operations, a close relative says, “He was not in the field, but a physical trainer at the centre.”
“Ask anybody in the area about his behaviour,” another relative vouching for Sharif emphasised.
Comparing him with his “gentleman” father Ganai, a neighbour describing slain Sharif, said, “Like father like son”.
Conscious about the risk taking a job in the CRPF means to a Kashmiri, the relatives however cite “financial compulsions” behind Sharif joining the force.
“It was only for earning a livelihood. And it is all destiny,” says a relative. “And there are scores of Kashmiris who are serving in the force.”
Post a salute by the CRPF at Sharif’s funeral on Sunday evening and thousands others offering the prayers as per a relative, the area remained normal with shops even in the Ganais’ native village Dalipora open and traffic plying as usual.
While the aftermath has been the opposite over the militants’ killings, one of Sharif’s cousins, not willing to disclose name, draws the comparison between Sharif and slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Yaseen Yatoo alias Ghaznavi, who used to be the Ganais’ neighbour and was killed in an encounter earlier.
The cousin remarked, “Whether he (Yaseen) was a martyr or Sharif is, the thing is that both of them were Kashmiris.”


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Militancy related incidents in Kashmir have seen a downturn: Army Chief

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Feb 20: Army Chief General MM Naravane on Thursday said that militancy- related incidents have seen a downturn and the Army is maintaining pressure on “terror groups”.

“There is an external dimension to the decrease in cross-border terrorism,”he said.

When asked on the health condition of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the army chief only said security forces are geared up to take care of any situation.

 

On the proposed creation of a theatre command exclusively for J&K, he said there will be detailed discussions before anything is finalised.

“Indian Army does not discriminate any soldier based on religion, caste, creed, or even gender. The outlook of the Indian Army has been throughout like this and that is why we started inducting women officers as early as in 1993,” Gen Naravane told reporters.

Indian Army has taken the initiative to induct women in rank and file, and the first batch of 100 women soldiers is undergoing training at Corps of Military Police Centre and School, he said.

“The Supreme Court’s decision is a welcome one as it brings out a sense of clarity and purpose to gainfully employ officers for better efficiency of the organisation. I must assure that everybody in the Indian Army including women officers will be given equal opportunity to contribute to the nation as also progress in their careers,” he said hailing the verdict as enabling.

Letters are being sent to women officers asking whether they will prefer permanent commissioning, the Army chief said.

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Global investors’ summit: LG led delegation to meet India Inc leaders in Mumbai today

Press Trust of India

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Mumbai, Feb 20: Top officials from the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory administration will visit the country”s financial capital and meet industry leaders on Friday, more than six months after the virtual abrogation of Article 370.

Led by Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu, the officials will be pitching about the business possibilities in the restive Kashmir Valley to leaders of India Inc, officials said on Thursday.

A global investors” summit is being planned at capital Srinagar in May, and the event in a city hotel is organised by industry lobby CII, which is also a national partner for the summit, they said.

 

The union government”s bold moves on the vexed Kashmir issue in August have been met with mixed response, with many going public with the prolonged shutdown of telecom connectivity in the valley and the continuing detentions of political leaders, while others have welcomed the move.

At the time of the announcement, the Centre had assured that carving out union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh out of the state of Jammu and Kashmir will fasten economic development of the region through focused attention.

There were also reports of mega projects like a massive solar project in the mountaineous Ladakh region being launched.

The summit in May will be a showcase of investment opportunities across sectors, officials said.

Other officials and bureaucrats, including Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, the secretary for industries and commerce; Anoo Malhotra, the director of industries and commerce; and Rohit Kansal, the principal secretary of planning development and monitoring, among others, are expected to be present on Friday.

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Second batch of Union ministers to visit JK in April

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Feb 20: The second batch of about 40 Union ministers is likely to visit Jammu and Kashmir in April to get first-hand information about various development schemes initiated thereby both the central government and the Union Territory administration, officials said on Thursday.

The Prime Minister”s Office (PMO) will decide the composition of the ministerial delegation that will undertake the follow up of the first visit of 37 Union ministers, who had toured Jammu and Kashmir last month.

“A second batch of about 40 Union ministers may undertake a visit to Jammu and Kashmir. Dates and composition of the team have not been fixed yet but it will be done soon after the Budget session of Parliament,” a government official said.

 

After the recess, the second part of the budget session will begin on March 2 and it will end on April 3.

The PMO will finalise the list of the ministers and each minister will be assigned a particular district and focus will be on the Kashmir Valley, the official said.

Some of the ministers of the first batch may also be part of the second batch, he said.

The ministers will assess the development initiatives undertaken by the central government as well as the UT administration on the ground and they will not talk about political issues, the official said.

By interacting with the locals, they will try to get first-hand information about the roads, healthcare facilities, power situation, functioning of academic institutions etc. in the UT, he added.

As many as 37 central ministers had visited Jammu and Kashmir last month following a directive of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who wanted an honest assessment of the various welfare schemes being implemented there.

Among those who had visited Jammu and Kashmir were Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, ministers of state for home G Kishan Reddy and Nityanand Rai.

The Union ministers have already submitted their feedback to the PMO on the implementation of various development schemes there.

There were two sets of feedback — one on the initiatives taken by the UT administration and the other on the Centre”s initiatives — another official said.

Most of the central ministers stayed overnight at their respective places of visit such as Baramulla, Ganderbal, Doda, besides others.

In August last year, the Centre abrogated Article 370 provisions of the Constitution, which gave a special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated it into UTs — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Since then, the Centre has been closely monitoring the on the ground implementation of various development programmes there.

Jammu and Kashmir is currently under the President”s rule.

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