Srinagar, Apr 14: For at least four days now, fighter jets flying in Kashmir skies have been causing a fear among the people, who in all parts of the Valley reported seeing and hearing the fighter jets multiple times in a day.
“They have started flying them routinely only in the last few days. The jets create a thunderous noise. I don’t know why exactly the jets are flying so regularly. Are they preparing for a war? They did not use to do it earlier,” said Mohammad Younus, a resident of Awantipora, Pulwama, in south Kashmir.
In the summer capital, Srinagar, also, the people have noticed the jets.
“I saw it today morning and heard the same sound last night,” said Arsalan Shafi, a class-10 student from uptown Natipora.
Danish Shafi, a middle-aged shopkeeper at Jawahar Nagar, said the flying of jets reminded him of the ‘90s and the early 2000.
“Then, it was a regular sight. We used to see and hear them a lot. Seeing them nowadays concerns me. Are we back to ‘90s?” he asked.
A social media user asking about the flying of jets wrote: “Anyone has an idea why multiple fighter jets are hovering over the skies of Kashmir’s Islamabad (Anantnag) for the past many days and nights? Drills? Recon? Target acquisition? Intimidation?”
Army spokesperson in the valley told The Kashmir Monitor that it could be a “routine drill”.
However, he claimed not having any information about it.
The Indian Air Force (IAF), as per the state broadcaster, was scheduled to run Gagan Shakti, a country-wide exercise, between April 8 and 22.
“The aim of this exercise is real time coordination, deployment and employment of Air Power in a short & intense battle scenario. During Gagan-shakti, Indian Air Force will exercise the entire machinery to validate its concept of operations and war waging capability,” the DD News report on its official website reads.
On April 7, The Indian Express reported that Gagan Shakti was planned by Indian Air Force (IAF) “with an eye on the two-front threat posed by China and Pakistan”.
As per the existing protocol, the report said, Pakistan has already been intimated of the exercise.
The exercise will be conducted in two separate phases for western and northern borders across India and deep over the Indian waters. More than 15,000 IAF personnel, including 300 officers, will move from their bases during the exercise which will see the involvement of over 1,100 aircraft. This would mean 3,000 to 4,000 sorties per day during the exercise.
To mention, Army chief General Bipin Rawat, back in January, had said his force was prepared for a two-front war involving Pakistan and China simultaneously.
Tribunal serves notice to Jamaat-e-Islami
Srinagar, Apr 19: The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, constituted by the Centre, has issued a show cause notice to Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu Kashmir (JeI), which was banned by the government in February, asking it why the organisation cannot be declared as an unlawful association.
“A notice is hereby given under sub-section (2) of Section 4 of the Act (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) and you are hereby called upon to show cause, within 30 days from the date of service of this notice, as to why your Association, declared as unlawful, be not adjudicated to be so and why an order confirming such declaration be not made under Section 4(3) of the Act,” said the notice issued by Registrar, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, Lorren Bamniyal, to the JeI.
The notice was issued on April 5.
The Tribunal asked the Jamaat to file objections or reply affidavits, if any, before the next date of hearing of the Tribunal at the office of the Registrar.
“In case the objections/reply and the documents are in regional language, true English translation thereof be also attached. You may appear through a duly authorised person before the Tribunal on 20 May, 2019 at 3 PM in Court Room number 26 for further proceedings,” the notice said.
The Centre had constituted the tribunal headed by a Delhi High Court judge to decide whether there is sufficient cause for declaring the JeI as an unlawful association.
The Ministry of Home Affairs on March 23 had issued a notification which states that Justice Mukta Gupta would head the tribunal set up under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The government in its February 28 notification had banned the JeI, saying it was of the opinion that the Jamaat is “in close touch with militant outfits” and is supporting “extremism and militancy” in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere.
It said the outfit claims “secession of a part of the Indian territory from the Union” and supporting terrorist and separatist groups fighting for this purpose.
The action came following the February 14 attack in Pulwama that killed over 40 CRPF personnel.
Two militants killed in Rafiabad gunfight:Reports
Srinagar, Apr 19: Multiple gunshots were heard in Malpora Watergam area of Rafiabad in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Friday evening.
Sources said that at around 8:55 pm, unknown persons fired a volley of bullets in paddy fields in Malpora Watergam village of Rafiabad.
Sources said that a joint team of Army’s 32RR and Jammu and Kashmir Police’s SOG cordoned off the area in Malpora Watergam after credible inputs about presence of militants.
They said that as the forces laid the siege, gunshots were heard from the area.
SP Sopore Javid Iqbal said that “we are verifying the incident.”
He said that a cordon has been launched in the area.
Unconfirmed reports at the time of filing this report said that two militants were killed during the gunfight that ensued soon after.
Budgam: NC worker of 4 decades stays away from polls
Srinagar, Apr 18: Outside a two-storey Government Girls Higher Secondary High School in Ichigam village of Budgam, a man donning a chequered pheran loudly quipped at every person entering the polling booth to cast his or her vote on Thursday.
He argued with them over the performance of their elected leaders in the past as agents of political parties tried hard to convince him to cast his vote or stay away from others who wanted to.
Ghulam Hassan, in his 60s, has been an avid supporter of National Conference (NC) at Ichigam for the last 40 years.
Having worked hard over the years to lure voters for NC, Hassan, Thursday, was one among those who sidelined from the party and preferred not to vote.
He said the previous regimes failed to develop his area due to which he had decided to boycott and also not to “befool” people in this Lok Sabha election.
“It was the only option available with me. I have been supporting the party (NC) ever since I became eligible to caste vote. But it didn’t benefit me nor people of my area,” he said.
Hassan, who as per locals, would often engage himself in heated arguments with political rivals during elections, was dejected over the state of roads and growing unemployment in his village.
“I have two sons, who are sitting idle at home. Many students here have completed their higher studies and haven’t got a job. These politicians appear only during elections and forget their promises once they are elected,” he said.
Hassan said the idea of boycotting the election was way better than living with a hope of some relief from the politicians.
“Under these circumstances, it is better that you vote for a candidate who is trustworthy. But we are short of such candidates,” he said.
When agents attempted “tricking” him by saying his vote would secure Article 370 and 35-A, he replied, “Many among you have voted and let us see how your vote will benefit Kashmir,” he said.
Few metres away in another polling booth in Ichigam, Ghulam Muhammad Dar voiced similar concerns but said he voted after trusting the candidate for one last time.
“I have been casting my vote for the last 50 years and have seen how these politicians befool people. But this is going to be my last vote if the candidate didn’t work for the development and safeguarding special position of Kashmir,” he said.