Srinagar, Apr 14: Two years after Srinagar Lok Sabha bypolls made news for the wrong reasons, the security arrangements will be put to test in this constituency with over 12 lakh voters on April 18.
The Srinagar Lok Sabha bypoll, necessitated after PDP leader Tariq Hamid Karra resigned from the lower house of Parliament, was marred by violence and saw the lowest ever voter turnout of 7.2 per cent.
Nine persons were killed in security forces’ action against protestors in different parts of the constituency and an Army officer used a shawl weaver as a human shield on polling day.
This year, stringent security measures have been put in place to prevent any untoward incidents. Additional security personnel have been deployed in the three districts — Srinagar, Ganderbal and Budgam — that make up the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat.
The fate of 10 candidates would be decided by 12,90,318 voters.
Prominent among these candidates is National Conference (NC) president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, who is in the running to enter the Lok Sabha for the fourth time.
Farooq faces a challenge from Aga Syed Mohsin of the Peoples Democratic Conference (PDP), who had contested as an independent in the 2014 parliamentary elections.
Political observers feel that by fielding a “weak” candidate in Mohsin, the PDP might have conceded the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat to Farooq.
However, PDP spokesperson Harbaksh Singh said it would be wrong to write off Mohsin just yet.
“He (Mohsin) had contested 2014 Lok Sabha polls and won a significant number of votes. He is a prominent Shia leader and scholar. Moreover, he has the backing of the biggest political party of the state,” Singh said.
Sajad Gani Lone-led Peoples Conference has emerged as an alternative to the NC and the PDP in regional politics.
The party, which moved out of the separatist camp in 2009 to return to electoral politics, won the mayoral elections to Srinagar Municipal Corporation.
The Peoples Conference has fielded businessman Irfan Ansari, a greenhorn, against Farooq.
Ansari, however, has his elder brother Imran Ansari, a prominent Shia leader and former minister, to guide him.
The 41-year-old businessman is confident that he will be able to connect with the youth.
“I represent the younger generation and I believe I am more in touch with the problems and realities faced by today’s generation and would be able take on the challenges confronting the generation of today,” Ansari said.
“I will not only be able to understand them well but also try and find a way to resolve those problems,” he added.
The BJP too has fielded a debutant, party spokesperson Khalid Jehangir, from the seat.
Jehangir was vice chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Project Construction Corporation, a state PSU, during the PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Congress, an ally of the NC, has decided not to field any candidate against Farooq. It had not fielded any candidate opposite the NC patron even in 2017.
Farooq (83) has lost an election only once in his 42-year-long political career.
He was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1980. However, he returned to state politics due to the failing health of NC founder and his father Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in 1981.
Farooq first became the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir in September 1982, following his father’s death.
He remained part of state politics till 2002, when he passed on the torch to his son Omar Abdullah
However, Omar’s loss in the 2002 Assembly election put paid to his hopes and the NC, despite emerging as the single largest party, decided to sit in the opposition.
Farooq stayed away from active politics for several years but made a comeback after first winning Rajya Sabha elections in early 2009. He entered the Lok Sabha for the second time in May 2009.
As many as 1,716 polling stations have been set up in Srinagar.
For migrant voters of the constituency, 26 polling stations have been set up including 21 in Jammu, one in Udhampur and four in New Delhi.
Journos protest against 100 days of internet blackout
Srinagar, Nov 12: Journalists in the Valley took out a protest march here against the continued suspension of internet services which completed 100 days on Tuesday since the abrogation of the Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5.
Scores of journalists working with different media organisations assembled at the Kashmir Press Club here and took out a protest march against the snapping of internet services in the Valley on the night of August 4, hours before the Centre revoked the state’s special status under Article 370 and abrogated it into two Union Territories.
The journalists demanded immediate restoration of the services to facilitate the media persons to discharge their professional duties.
“We took out the protest against the suspension of internet services for 100 days now. Internet is a basic took for journalists to discharge their professional duties and we demand its immediate restoration,” senior journalist Pervez Bukhari told reporters after the protest.
The Centre’s August 5 decision led to an unannounced shutdown in the valley even as authorities imposed severe restrictions, including on communication, which were later gradually eased out.
Postpaid mobile services on all networks were restored in the Valley on October 14, 72 days after they were snapped. However, pre-paid mobile phones and all internet services continue to remain suspended since August 5.
The government has set up a ‘Media Facilitation Centre’ at a conference hall of a local hotel here for journalists to discharge their professional duties. But the media persons complain that it has not enough computers and they have to wait for hours for their turn.
Accused arrested: Six-year-old raped, killed in Samba
Jammu, Nov 12: A six-year-old tribal girl, hailing from Madhya Pradesh, was allegedly raped and killed by youth from her own community in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir, a police official said on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old accused, identified as Vishal alias “Chotu”, was arrested and booked in the case, the official said.
The incident took place at a slum inhabited by a group of labourers from Madhya Pradesh in the industrial area of Rakhamtali late on Monday.
The accused lured the girl, allegedly raped her and later strangulated her to death, the official said.
The minor’s body was recovered from inside a shanty and subsequently, the accused was arrested in the wee hours of Tuesday, he said, adding that the post-mortem of the body was conducted at the district hospital Tuesday morning.
‘Unreal Fans of Real Kashmir’: Adidas launches new home jersey
New Delhi, Nov 12: Global Sportswear giant Adidas and Jammu & Kashmir based football club Real Kashmir FC together unveiled the club’s 2019-2020 home jersey dedicating it to fans of the club.
The club, which played in the I-League for the very first-time last season, attracted massive crowds in both home and away games across the country, becoming one of the most loved clubs across India.
Adidas announced its partnership with Real Kashmir FC last season with an aim to bring about a positive change narrating an inspiring story of the ‘Snow Leopards’, as the club is popularly known.
The story has redefined the ‘Real’ Kashmir, with football at the catalyst for change. The result has been unexpected, the team scaled unprecedented heights finishing third in their first appearance in the I-League despite playing in extreme temperatures and having faced numerous challenges, semi-finalists in this year’s Durand Cup and now a serious title contender.
Unveiling the new season jersey, Adidas has dedicated this season to the “UNREAL FANS OF REAL KASHMIR” as the club gave rise to a new phenomenon in the Indian footballing history.
The 2018-19 I-League season saw a unique trend take place where fans of opponent clubs started cheering for Real Kashmir FC. It became the second favourite club of opponent fans on social media. Fans from across India joined in conversation to shut the cynics and lead the voice of positivity. And as the Real Kashmir FC team travelled across the country, often, the club received standing ovations at away games from opponent fans, who did not switch loyalties but rather supported both clubs – a trend not seen before in football fanfare.
Manish Sapra, Senior Marketing Director, Adidas India, “Our partnership with Real Kashmir is an essential part of the brand living its core belief that through sport, we have the power to change lives. With this launch of the new home jersey, we are celebrating this belief with fans who have shown their love and support for the club. This jersey is made for all those Unreal Fans who not only watch football but believe in the higher purpose of sport.”
The new season jersey has been carefully crafted, “Create. Believe. Inspire” written on the neck at the back, inspiring every individual to make a difference in their game, life and world. This season the yellow home jersey is accessible to the fans, available only in limited quantities across select Adidas stores and online on shop.adidas.com starting from 21st Nov 2019, is built with Adidas Climalite fabric and has the iconic Adidas 3-Stripes on the shoulder.
Present at the unveiling of the jersey, Sandeep Chattoo, Co-owner of Real Kashmir F.C, said – “Adidas and the snow leopards share a belief that sport has the power to change lives. Among other things, this power has inspired the youth, and put football at the center of conversations on Kashmir. It has garnered us a mammoth fan base that we could not have imagined. We are thrilled as, with this support, we are sure that we can go on to win the League”.
The club was founded in 2016 by a Kashmiri Pundit and a Muslim to channelize the energies of Kashmir’s youth through football, signed with Adidas last year and has seen great progress both on and off the pitch in a short span of time.