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Jammu-Srinagar highway remains shut for 6th day

Div Com Jammu, IGP Jammu, IGP Traffic supervise road clearance operation

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Srinagar, Feb 11: The Jammu-Srinagar highway remained closed for the sixth consecutive day on Monday, stranding hundreds of vehicles and creating a crisis of essential supplies in the Kashmir Valley.

“Even as hectic landslide clearance operation was on in the Ramsoo-Ramban sector, a massive landslide hit the highway at Marog on Sunday, delaying the opening of the highway,” a traffic department official said.

Unless this is cleared, no traffic will be allowed, he added.

 

Over 3,000 vehicles are stranded along the nearly 300-kilometre long road for the last six days.
Many stranded vehicles are carrying essential supplies for the landlocked valley. Due to the non-availability of essentials a crisis situation has arisen there.

In addition to severe shortages of edibles like vegetables, poultry products, mutton, there is shortage of petroleum products as well.

Authorities were forced to order rationing of petroleum products till the supply position improves.
Airfare between the valley and outside has skyrocketed after the closure of the highway on February 6, with series of avalanches hitting Jammu and Kashmir in various spots.

Scores of valley-bound people stranded have started running short of money due to the unforeseen severing of road links.

Those stranded have demanded special air sorties so that they can reach the valley.

Divisional Commissioner Jammu, IGP Jammu M K Sinha, IGP Traffic Alok Kumar along with Director NHW Authority on Monday visited the site of the massive slide on Srinagar-Jammu highway near Maroog in district Ramban to personally oversee the clearance operation so that the highway is reopened for the traffic at an earliest.

Divisional Commissioner Jammu Sanjeev Verma said, “Road clearance operation is going apace. I along with IGP Jammu, IGP Traffic and other higher authorities are personally supervising the road clearance operation at Ramban and it would take few hours more to clear the road blocks and landslides on the vulnerable stretches between Banihal to Ramban and Ramban to Ramsoo.”

The traffic is likely to be restored by Monday evening or Tuesday morning, he said, adding that “we have ferried some of the passenger to accessible destinations where from they can proceed to Srinagar to reach their homes safely

 

Our natural routes closed, made dependent on artificial highway: Mirwaiz

Srinagar, Feb 11: Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has expressed deep concern about the fate of people stranded on highways, roads and airports because of inclement weather and asked Kashmiris’ to help each other in this hour of crisis.
Taking to micro-blogging site twitter Mirwaiz said, “Tens of thousands of Kashmiri’s are stranded in Jammu for past one week as the Srinagar Jammu highway is closed and few flights are operating on this sector.”
“People are facing tremendous hardship as their recourses to support themselves are drying up and they are stranded. There is no support in place for them from those who rule this place and they are left to fend for themselves,” he said.
Mirwaiz further said that no additional flights or accommodation and food till they reach home is provided.” It is incumbent upon those who have blocked our natural routes to outside world and made us solely dependent on this artificial route( Jammu srinagar highway) mostly closed in winter due to weather vagaries, to take responsibility of the dire consequences that people of Kashmir have to face and at least provide them with relief and help till they reach home.”


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In times of hatred, Sikh brethren’s efforts spread positive vibes

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Feb 20: With Kashmiris facing the heat following the suicide attack in Pulwama, Sikh groups have come to the rescue of Valleyites putting up in various parts of India.

In the aftermath of Lethpora incident in which 49 CRPF troopers were killed last week, there has been a spate of attacks against Kashmiris in Jammu and other parts of India.

Facing threats and harassment, Kashmiris have been forced to leave their education and businesses midway and make efforts to return home.

 

In these times of worry, Khalsa Aid International, an NGO, has reached out to the distressed students and offered them all possible help.

At least 30 Sikh youth associated with the NGO, have been helping Kashmiris in various parts.
“We evacuated scores of Kashmiris from Dehradun to Mohali and then to Jammu in the past three days. We transported first batch of 100 students and another of 150 from Dehradun to Jammu with proper security. At least 70 more students are on the way to Jammu,” Jeevanjyot Singh, who is associated with Khalsa International told The Kashmir Monitor.

“Eight Kashmiri girls were also sent to Srinagar by air after rescued from Dehradun,” he said.
Jeevanjyot said that Kashmiri students were feeling safe in Punjab.

“They are also provided accommodation at a Gurduwara in 3D1 sector Mohali arranged by the Gurudwara committee,” he said.

The group has provided several helpline numbers for Ambala, Chandigarh and Dehradun.

The role of Sikh youth has been well appreciated on social media in Kashmir and elsewhere.

“The Sikh sangat has gone above & beyond the call of duty in reaching out & helping Kashmiris in distress, whether in Jammu or outside the state,” former J&K CM, Omar Abdullah tweeted on Wednesday.
Mehbooba Makhdoomi, a prominent columnist and researcher, wrote: Kashmir pays gratitude to Sikh community in general & @Khalsa_Aid International in specific for coming to our rescue, at a time when it mattered. “He who does not thank people, does not thank Allah”. Will protect you with our blood, if, God Forbid, the need arises.”
Shinjini, a Twitter user wrote: “These @khalsa guys restore my faith in humanity. At a time when most of the country is going cuckoo, these guys are quietly doing what’s necessary.”

Kabir, a former JNU student, tweeted: “Salutes to @khalsa-Aid, when the streets across India are resonating with hate and malice, the gallant Sikhs came to the rescue of Kashmiris.”

A group of Sikhs from Tral Pulwama have also started free Langer and accommodation for Kashmiris near Jammu bus stand.

“We also have a group of volunteers from Jammu and have been providing all possible help to Kashmiris and many were rescued from mobs,” a Sikh volunteer from Tral told The Kashmir Monitor.

Similarly, the Sikh groups have arranged accommodation at various places in Chandigarh and Jammu for Kashmiris.

One of the students, who returned from Dehradun, said, “Our college authorities told us to leave saying when things get normal they will call us back. There was no safety for us and the crowd outside the campus threatened to beat us up.”

“The state government should make concrete efforts to ensure the safety of Kashmiris, he said adding: “Sikhs really played an important role in rescuing Kashmiri youth from the goons”.

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Two Kashmiri shawl vendors attacked on train

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Feb 20: Two Kashmiri shawl vendors have claimed they were beaten up and called “stone pelters” by unidentified men on a train, forcing them to cut short their business trip to Rohtak, officials said Wednesday.

The incident comes amid reports of attacks on Kashmiri people in many parts of the country in the aftermath of the February 14 attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama that left 49 personnel dead.

“Three Kashmiri shawl vendors boarded the general compartment of a local train from Sarai Rohilla station at around 10.40 am for a business trip to Sampla in Haryana. They claimed they were pushed into a corner and called ‘stone pelters’,” said Dinesh Gupta, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Railways).

 

“When they objected, the accused allegedly abused and slapped two Kashmiri vendors. The attackers said ‘you hurl stones there (in Kashmir) and come to earning a livelihood here’. Other passengers also joined in and created a ruckus,” the DCP (Railways) said.

Thereafter, the three Kashmiri men de-boarded at Nangloi station, leaving their bags containing shawls and suits worth around Rs 2 lakh in the train, Gupta added.

A case has been registered and the matter is being probed, he said.

The three men said they came to Delhi in December last year and were staying in Sarai Rohilla. They have been coming here for business purposes for the last 10 years.

The three Kashmiri men approached Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat through their local MLA. Karat helped them file a complaint with police.

“The men claimed the attackers told them they were from the armed forces. They said ‘you are the ones who killed our men’.

“Around 15-20 other men also joined in and beat the Kashmiri men with belts. The incident took place when they were crossing Mangolpuri. One of the three Kashmiris suffered severe head injuries and another sustained wounds on face,” she said.

Police said the attackers were yet to be identified, and it was not clear if they were from the armed forces since they were in plain clothes.

 

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Non-locals protest against attacks on Kashmiris

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Feb 20: Dozens of non-locals workers and businessmen putting up in Kashmir Wednesday carried out a peaceful protest against the harassment and attacks meted out to Kashmiris in different parts of India.

A large number of non-locals assembled at Hari Singh High Street here and raised slogans against miscreants attacking the students and businessmen of the valley operating in other states in wake of the Lethpora bombing last week.

They demanded the safety of Kashmiri traders and students outside the valley.

 

A Kolkata resident, Sushant Shanti, who is running a shop at Hari Singh High Street, told The Kashmir Monitor that they have been living in Kashmir for 25 years and have never faced any threat.

“I strongly condemn the atrocities that our Kashmiri youth and traders are facing outside Kashmir,” said Shanti, adding: “I request my Hindu brothers to ensure the safety of Kashmiris there.”

Another non local shopkeeper at Hari Singh High Street, Rajinder Kumar said: “Our Kashmiri brothers and students who are pursuing education in other states are facing extreme brutality and we strongly condemn this act of cowardice.”

Kumar said that some elements are politicizing the Lethpora incident.
“Whatever happens here, we have always been treated with brotherhood and humanity,” he said.

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