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JK on shaky ground, earthquakes jolt valley 135 times since 2009

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Srinagar, Apr 23: At least 135 earthquakes have hit Kashmir Valley in the last decade, with experts recommending earthquake-resistant constructions.
Official figures from the Meteorological Department reveal that the earthquakes have the region since 2009.
The Kashmir felt tremors nine times in 2009, six times in 2010, seven times in 2011, 11 times in 2012, 25 times in 2013, and 19 times in 2014.
In 2015, the valley recorded the highest number of earthquakes in a calendar year—27 times in total, 19 which were significant while eight measured less than 4 on the Righter scale.
The same year, two powerful quakes were recorded including the one measuring 7.5 on Richter scale on October 26. The quake consumed three lives and caused damage to scores of houses across the state.
In December that year, tremors jolted J&K thrice including a power earthquake on 26 midnight of the month measuring 7 on the Richter scale in which two people died due to heart attack.
In 2016, Kashmir was jolted nine times with the intensity ranging from 4 to 6 on the Richter scale.
However, there was increase in 2017 when Kashmir witnessed earthquakes 19 times. In 2018, three earth quakes have been recorded so far.
Kashmir Valley is vulnerable to disasters. At least 13 out of India’s 100 districts have been identified as ‘multi-hazard districts’.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department, most parts of Kashmir covering the districts of Srinagar, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Budgam, Anantnag and parts of Jammu region, Doda, Ramban, Kishtwar come under Seismic Zone V and are prone to earthquakes. While the rest part of the state comes under Seismic Zone IV.
Director Meteorological Department, Sonam Lotus, said the frequency of the quakes suggests that the people as well as the government should be “well prepared” to deal with such incidents.
“We need to take some measures like building earthquake-resistant constructions,” Lotus said.
Professor Shakil Ahmad Romshoo, who teaches Earth Sciences at Kashmir University, said the people should be well prepared for earthquakes.
“We can’t predict the timing, magnitude and place of an earthquake, but we should be well prepared in dealing with any such natural disaster,” Romshoo said.
An official document of the district development commissioner office Srinagar says that ‘disaster prone and vulnerable’ areas in Srinagar would be identified, so that “residential colonies are raised at safe locations and people living in risk prone areas are rehabilitated elsewhere”.
“Geology and Mining department shall be involved in identification of vulnerable areas. The concerned department would be asked to prepare a geological map, which would delineate areas in district Srinagar that can be exposed to the impact of strong earthquakes and other natural disasters,” the document reads.
An official posted at Divisional Commissioner Kashmir office said that there are many buildings in the district, which have been constructed without adhering to the norms pertaining to the earthquake resistant construction.
“Such buildings are not safe enough to resist the impact of a severe earth quake. If earthquake resistant technology is used in construction of buildings, such structures can withstand earthquakes up to a certain magnitude,” the official said.
The state cabinet approved the Disaster Management Plan in July 2015, when Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had been chief minister of J&K.
The government had said that it was an effort to reduce the vulnerability to hazards and cope with disasters and natural calamities in a more effective manner. However, the official said that government has done “little” to deal with disasters.
When asked Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan what measures were taken to deal with disasters, he said that he was in a meeting.


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Tribunal serves notice to Jamaat-e-Islami

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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.

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Militant killed in Rafiabad gunfight:Reports

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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.

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Budgam: NC worker of 4 decades stays away from polls

Firdous Hassan

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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.

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