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For fighting militants:16-year-old Kashmiri gets Shaurya Chakra

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Mar 19: In one of the rare occasions, President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday awarded Shaurya Chakra to 16-year-old Irfan Ramzan Sheikh for fighting militants who attacked his residence in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Shaurya Chakra is usually awarded to armed forces and para-military personnel for “gallantry otherwise in the face of the enemy”.
During the intervening night of October 16-17 of 2017, militants cordoned off the house of Sheikh.
His father Mohammad Ramzan was an ex-sarpanch with affiliations to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
When Sheikh, the eldest son of Mohammad Ramzan, opened the door, he found three militants in the verandah of the house armed with rifles and grenades.
“Sensing that the militants could harm his family, he exhibited the highest degree of courage and faced the militants for sometime so as to avoid their entry inside the house.
In meantime, his father came out and the militants pounced on him, resulting in scuffle,” the citation for the award read.
Sheikh did not think for a moment for his own safety and pounced upon the militants for safeguarding the life of his father and other family members, it read.
The militants also resorted to indiscriminate firing, resulting in severe injury to Sheikh’s father.
He later succumbed. However, Sheikh did not lose courage and continued to engage in scuffle with one of the militants, who resorted to indiscriminate firing resulting in severe injuries to the militant as well.
On seeing one of their associates injured, the militants tried to flee. However, Sheikh chased them and they left the body of their fellow militant behind.
“Irfan Ramzan Sheikh exhibited the extraordinary show of bravery and maturity in such a small age,” the citation read.
Currently, studying in Class X, Sheikh aspires to become an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer.


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After Noori, Kashmir scientists planning to clone Hangul

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Apr 25: After successfully cloning Pashmina goat in 2012, the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry at SKUAST-K is now contemplating to make clone of Kashmir Stag (Hangul).

Realising that the Hangul was gradually getting extinct from the valley, the scientists at Department of Biotechnology SKUAST-K Shuhama came up with this idea.

“This project is in infancy as we require permission from Wild Life department, local government and Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA),” said Dr Riyaz Ahmad Shah, a veterinarian in the animal biotechnology center of SKUAST.

 

Shah said the execution of the project would require heavy funding and creation of the advanced infrastructure in the research centre.

“First of all a Deer park in needed where there these animals must have been already reared. Then advanced infrastructure is need as we currently have some basic machinery here. So overall this project can be only executed when the government is serious in accomplishing it,” he said.

He said the cloning could be achieved by using the body cells of some other inter-species including a goat or a sheep.

While the initial work including the framing of paper has been done, Shah said the tracing and catching this rare animal was becoming equally challenging for the concerned department.

“They usually die on being caught by the people. Still it could be managed but they are not being currently traced in abundance in the forests here,” he said.

 Shah believed that cloning of the deer can be an equally effective process like breeding procedure done to improve their population.

Official data reveals that population of Hangul has reduced to from 5,000 to 182 in last 118 years.

Department of Wildlife’s data shows the population of Kashmiri Hangul in 1900 was 5,000, spread over 65 miles from north to east of the Jhelum and lower Chenab valley.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is also all set to declare it a ‘critically endangered’ species to protect this beautiful animal from disappearing from earth.

In 2012, scientists at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) successfully cloned the first Pashmina goat. The healthy female goat was born using a foster mother and it took two years for standardisation of the technique.

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Assembly polls in JK: EC to convene meeting today

Agencies

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New Delhi, Apr 25: Election Commission of India (ECI) officials will meet on Friday to discuss assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Officials of the Jammu and Kashmir government are also expected to attend the meeting to assess whether the state assembly elections can be conducted in June this year.

While announcing the seven-phase Lok Sabha election schedule on March 10, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had said that elections for the Jammu and Kashmir assembly would not be conducted along with the Lok Sabha elections. In June 2018, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had withdrawn support to the PDP, led by Mehbooba Mufti in the 87-member state assembly.

 

Since the fallout of the coalition government, the state has been under President’s rule.

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IT Dept searches premises of kin of ex-minister

Press Trust of India

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Srinagar, Apr 25: The Income Tax Department Thursday carried out searches at two premises of a kin of Imran Reza Ansari, a former minister in the PDP-BJP coalition, for alleged tax evasion, officials said here.

They said the income tax officials, assisted by the Jammu and Kashmir police and the CRPF, carried out the searches at a business complex in the upmarket Karan Nagar where locations of North Point Complex were searched by the tax personnel.

Later, a team was sent to search another premises of the family at Alamgiri Bazar in the downtown Srinagar.

 

The income tax officials maintained that Thursday’s raids were carried out on a business family and were in no way connected to Ansari, a politician who switched over to People’s Conference led by Sajad Lone.

Ansari’s sister is married to the family whose premises have been raided.

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