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Hiba’s pellet injury to football glory: Here is what made headlines in 2018

Srinagar, Dec 26: From elections to impeachments to human rights violations, there was no shortage of international events dominating headlines in 2018.

The Kashmir Monitor has listed five stories from the valley that grabbed the international attention during the year.

The year began with a tragedy.

Gang-rape, torture and death of an 8-year-old Muslim girl in Kathua district of Jammu region in January left the whole world shocked.

International news organisations including New York Times, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, BBC, and The Asia Times spoke about how the crime ‘split’ Jammu and Kashmir along communal lines and that it was another instance of “battleground in India’s religious wars”.

These organisations noted that news about the crime in Kathua came as India was debating a 17-year-old woman’s allegation of rape against a legislator in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district.

The second big news that left the Valleyites and media fraternity shell-shocked was the assassination of Shujaat Bukhari, a veteran journalist.

On June 14, unknown gunmen shot and killed Bukhari, the editor of English language daily ‘Rising Kashmir’ newspaper outside his office in Press Enclave here ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Two of Bukhari’s personal security officers also died in the attack.

Apart from running three daily newspapers, Bukhari worked aggressively for peace by organising and attending conferences and summits in the US, UK and other parts of the world.

A major event from Kashmir took place in the sports arena. Real Kashmir Football Club (RKFC), barely few years old, broke into record books by becoming the first such sports clubfrom the valley to make it to India’s prestigious I-League.

RKFC stunned defending champions Minerva Punjab FC in a sensational start to their maiden I-League campaign.

Later, the team played its home matches in Srinagar, drawing their first match against Churchill Brothers, which was witnessed by over 10,000 fans rejuvenating the grand old love for the beautiful game in the valley.

Another news receiving attention worldwide was Hiba Nisar, a 20-month-old toddler, suffering a pellet injury to her right eye in her native village in south Kashmir’s Shopian district during clashes.

On November 25, Hiba’smother carrying the baby in her arms was trying to move out of the house as intense tear-gas shelling had made breathing difficult.

As soon as she opened the door, the government forces fired pellets at the duo, some hitting the mother in her hand and one piercing the child’s eye.

Hiba had to be operated and is on the course to recovery, with doctors hopeful of her not losing the vision.

Towards the fag end of the year, a huge political transformation took place in the valley, hogging limelight internationally.

The state came under President’s Rule on December 20. It happened for the first time since October 9, 1996, when the then-Farooq Abdullah-led National Conference took over at the end of six years of direct central rule.

It was for the third time when the state came under the President’s Rule.