Srinagar, Nov 20: Donned a partially green and maroon shirt, 45-year-old Bapi Maji ecstatically waves a flag as Mohun Bagan FC players start warming up for the game.
Suddenly, he stands up and shouts Mohun Bagan captain Shilton Paul’s name, who equally responds to him before the football is kicked at the Centre.
Maji, a tea seller, known to Mohun Bagan team, never misses any chance to watch the matches of the Kolkatta giants anywhere in India.
His love for Mohun Bagan FC earned him a name ‘Walking Mascot’, as he often is seen cheering loudly for the players in whatever circumstances of the game.
Maji, was recently diagnosed with colon cancer and had almost grim chances to watch Mohun Bagan FC versus Real Kashmir FC match, considering his medication schedule and cold climate.
But without caring for his diseases, the effects of which has almost subsided, Maji chose to sit on cold iron benches to watch his team performing against I –League debutants Real Kashmir FC.
“I never skip any match of my team. And it is not less than a treat to watch Sony Norde, Omar Elhussieny or any other players in Kashmir especially,” he said.
Maji said he has saved his income for months together to accompany Mohun Bagan FC to Kashmir.
“I got much help from people to treat my diseases. But for Kashmir tour I saved money after working hard. I really desired to visit Kashmir as I heard much about the people and particularly game during the recent past,” he said.
After spending two days in Srinagar, Maji was moved by the craze for the beautiful game among Kashmiris.
“We failed to get tickets initially but then some local boy came and made it possible for us to watch the match. We never expected to see a sea of people cheer for their team,” he said.
Like Maji as many as 30 Mohun Bagan FC fans were there on the stands to watch the game, which the Kolkatta giants won by 1:0.
Arijit, a member of Delhi Mariners, which is a Mohun Bagan FC fan club said Kashmir deserves more football due to its beautiful nature.
“We had many Kashmir players like Ishfaq Ahmed, Mehrajuddin Wadoo playing for Mohun Bagan. So, overall Kashmir is beautiful and there should be beautiful game in Kashmir,” he said.
After the culmination of the game, the Kolkata fans gathered and cheered for Real Kashmir FC for giving it a tough competition for Mohun Bagan FC to score goals.
Address reason forcing youth to take up arms: Mirwaiz to Guv
Srinagar, Jan 18: On J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik’s statement that the government does not want to ‘kill militants but militancy’, Hurriyat (M) Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Friday said if that was the case the Governor should address the cause that forces the young boys to take up the arms.
“If it is so and they (Governor’s administration) are sincere then the government should address the cause that is leading these educated and young boys to take to arms,” Mirwaiz said while addressing the Friday Congregation at Jama Masjid here.
Calling for a political process to resolve the issue, Mirwaiz said: “…start a political process in earnest to address the sentiment behind it and resolve the dispute. It will not only save the lives of our youth but soldiers also, end militarization and the resultant atrocities that governor sahab wants Joint Hurriyat leadership to convey to him, and end the uncertainty and hostility that the region is hostage to for past 71 years.”
Mirwaiz also reacted to the army’s statement terming 2018 as ‘remarkable year’ because of militant killings calling the same “extremely unfortunate and inhuman.”
Mirwaiz called it strange that a well-trained armed force meant to fight another well trained armed force was “celebrating and patting its back on killing young men and boys, some as young as 14, while some budding intellectuals and academics, and calling it remarkable.”
“…army’s boasting of the killings of militants, who are not some hard core armed guerillas and terror mongers, but sentiment driven youth forced to take to arms as a consequence of severe repression due to forcible control,” said the Mirwaiz, according to a statement.
“It is simply the intensity of their passion that drives these young boys, who are poorly trained and starved of ammunition to be able to give a real fight, in this greatly unequal battle to an armed force of a country,” Mirwaiz said.
He said the pain and loss that all of Kashmir feels at the killings of militants only adds to people’s resolve and pushes more young to join in.
“Instead of admitting this, the armed force of a country that prides itself in the history of its freedom struggle by honoring the likes of Subhash Chander Bose who raised Indian National Army to fight the British colonial rule , sells the killing of these armed youth as a great achievement to people of India,” he said.
The chief cleric said many in Indian army have in their write ups and lectures admitted that Jammu and Kashmir is a political problem that has to be resolved as such.
“Those who are using militarization to prolong the status quo should understand that it comes with a cost and keeps increasing complexities,” said the Mirwaiz, adding that the whole world has said that there can be no military solution to the dispute.
Drug Abuse in Kashmir: Over 300 cases registered, 482 peddlers arrested in 2018
Srinagar, Jan 18: Kashmir has emerged as one of the major consumers of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances with police registering over 300 cases against drug peddlers in the region during 2018.
As per the official figures of the police department, at least 312 cases were registered against the drug peddlers in the valley during the year.
Police arrested 482 persons involved in these cases. In 221 cases, the charge sheets have been filed while 91 are still being investigated.
Of the cases, 123 have been registered in south Kashmir followed by 108 in north and 81 in Central parts of the valley.
Police have also seized a huge quantity of contraband substances including poppy straw, fukki, brown sugar, charas, heroin, ganja, bhung putri, and opium straw from various parts of Kashmir.
As per official data, the drugs seized include poppy straw (1734.7 kg), fukki (850.61 kg), brown sugar (6.88 kg) and charas (73.27 kg), apart from other seizures of opioids.
Another disturbing trend has been the increased use of narcotic drugs including heroin, sedatives and painkillers.
“Use of these substances increases the intensity of addiction and hastens the process of complete subjugation to the narcotic dependence,” a police official said, adding that heroin is often considered as a “status symbol” among the drug addicts.
Last year, the report by Narcotics Control Bureau of Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ said J&K was among the top states in India in the cultivation of illicit crops.
The former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti too had directed police to use Public Safety Act (PSA)–a law under which a person can be detained without trial for up to two years–against those involved in the cultivation and smuggling of drugs.
RKFC vs Shillong Lajong FC: Snow Leopards aim repeating history
Shillong (Meghalaya), Jan 18: Real Kashmir FC head coach David Robertson Friday said the team’s five- day stay in Shillong has helped his players to prepare themselves “mentally as well as physically” for a “bigger” game against Shillong Lajong FC.
Before resuming their home leg, RKFC will Saturday face Shillong Lajong FC, which currently is rooted to the bottom with just four points from 12 games.
Last month, RKFC played dominating football against Shillong defeating it 6:1 at Srinagar’s Astro-Turf ground.
Coach Robertson, in a pre-match conference on Friday, said his players understood the technicalities of the venue, Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, which is very similar to the visitor’s home turf.
“The Shillong playground is similar to that of Astro-Turf, which too has a synthetic turf. Currently, there is good spirit within the team and players are ready for the match,” he said.
Coach Robertson said his team is confident enough for the upcoming match as all eight foreigner players are declared fit for the game.
“We are enjoying the season as we haven’t faced any defeat since March 2017 in away games. So, in tomorrow’s match, we are expecting some good results to get three points before our home matches resume,” he said.
The RKFC head coach said the pressure will be more on the host team but quickly added that Shillong Lajong’s ability to bounce back can’t be underestimated.
“It will be premature to predict about the upcoming game. There are chances that the game can be difficult for us but we have to continue our momentum to get good results tomorrow,” he said.
“There is great enthusiasm in my team and every game, irrespective of the team’s rank, is challenging for us,” Robertson added.
Shillong Lajong FC so far scored almost at a rate of a goal every match but has conceded at a rate of three goals a game, highlighting a rickety defensive line.
RKFC, on the other hand, is on an unbeaten run of eight games that has helped them accumulate 22 points after 12 rounds.
Shillong Lajong FC coach Alison Kharsyngtiew said the physical stature of RKFC players can give a tough competition to any team.
“Considering the physicality of the RKFC team, the game can be tough. But we are ready to give our best,” he said.
Asked about the reasons behind featuring at the bottom, he said his players are very young.
“This is the future of our national team and entire north-east. We have to guide them and encourage them to do better in future,” he said.
He said two of his players including defender Rakesh Pradhan and midfielder Hardy Nongbri are injured and won’t play the upcoming match.