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JKCCS stopped from visiting grave of man who buried 230 unidentified bodies

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Feb 04: Advocate Parvez Imroz, President Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and Patron APDP, and three lawyers accompanying him were illegally detained by personnel from police station Boniyar for more than one hour on Sunday.

The members and activists of APDP were visiting the grave site of Atta Mohammad Khan in Bimyar village of Chehal area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district to pay tributes and to lay a tombstone on his grave and to offer prayers, an official JKCCS statement read.

The event, as per the statement, was planned to remember Atta Mohammad and his contribution to the discovery of the phenomenon of unmarked and mass graves in Jammu and Kashmir. As a result of the police action, the event could not be held and APDP members, around 15 persons (mostly family members of the disappeared) could not pay their respects to Atta Mohammad Khan.

 

The police were waiting for Advocate Imroz and his team at Bimyar village. They informed him that he and his team had to accompany the police to the Boniyar police station to meet with the Station House Officer.

“At the police station the names and personal details of each person were recorded and their phones were taken away. Finally, after about an hour they were informed that the Station House Officer would not be able to meet them and directed them not to hold the planned event. No formal order or reason was provided for the action of police,” the statement added.

It said the “state action today is yet another reminder of the manner in which the Indian State has used violence to curb all human rights in Jammu and Kashmir. Not only does the State refuse to recognize the phenomenon of enforced disappearances, or find the disappeared and punish the perpetrators, the State refuses to allow any activity that serves to memorialize and respect the disappeared.”

Atta Mohammad, who died at the age 75, on 10th January 2016, following a prolonged illness, has buried more than 230 unidentified bodies in the Bimyar graveyard between 2003 and 2009.

A farmer by profession, Mohammed’s selfless efforts ensured a dignified proper burial to many unidentified bodies. He played a significant role in identifying unmarked graves in the Valley. APDP members and activists first met Atta Mohammad in 2005 while researching the issue of unmarked graves – a phenomenon where unidentified dead bodies, often bearing marks of violence, were buried across grave sites in Jammu and Kashmir after being handed over to locals by armed forces as bodies of “foreign militants”.

Gravediggers such as Atta Mohammad are recorders of evidence as the unmarked graves represent sites of possible crimes. Unmarked graves are also closely tied to the phenomenon of enforced disappearance in Jammu and Kashmir. According to conservative estimates more than 8000 people have been subject to enforced disappearances since 1989.

Beginning from 2008, APDP documented 7000+ cases of unmarked graves in five districts of Jammu and Kashmir and found prima facie evidence that some of these unidentified bodies belonged to those disappeared civilians. Despite the SHRC confirming the presence of unmarked graves and recommending investigations, the State has refused to take any action on the issue.


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Fog disrupts air traffic for 3rd straight day

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Dec 9: No flights could operate from Srinagar airport for the third consecutive day due to poor visibility.

The Meteorological (Met) Department has warned that foggy conditions will continue for the next 48-hours.

“There will be a slight improvement in the foggy weather on Tuesday, and then the weather will improve from Wednesday,” said Sonam Lotus, Director, Met Department, Kashmir.

 

He said for the last ten days Kashmir has mostly seen dry weather with a slow wind speed, resulting in foggy conditions.

Lotus said there will be a significant improvement in the foggy conditions from Tuesday.

“Significant improvement (in visibility) is expected from Tuesday onwards,” he told The Kashmir Monitor.

The valley, he said, will witness light rains on December 11.

“Moderate to heavy snowfall is predicted between the intervening night of 12 and 13 December,” said Lotus.

“Below freezing temperature, calm winds (1 to 2 km per hour), more than 75% humidity, and suspended dust particles in the atmosphere are the reasons for such dense fog,” he added.

Lotus said that similar foggy conditions occurred back in November months of 2015 and 2016.

The Met Department has predicated snowfall in Kashmir from December 12 and 13 due to a fresh western disturbance.

According to a government advisory, an active western disturbance is most likely to affect the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and adjoining areas from December to 10-14, 2019.

“Under the influence of this weather system, widespread moderate rain/snow is expected at a few places of Kashmir on December 10, thereafter increase in intensity and distribution will happen.”

The weather advisory says the system is likely to cause heavy rain/snow mainly in Pirpanjal range of Jammu division (from Baderwah to Banihal), upper reaches of Kashmir (Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Baramulla and Kupwara, and Drass subdivision of Ladakh Union Territory.

“This may lead to disruption of surface and air transport including Jammu-Srinagar national highway. Srinagar-Leh National highway (Zojilla pass), Leh-Manali Highway, Mughal road and Sadhana pass and there would be a further dip in temperature.”

There has been a significant drop in temperature due to prevailing cold wave conditions in Kashmir.

The night temperature in Srinagar was recorded at minus 2.6 degrees and minus 4.2 degrees in the ski resort Gulmarg. 

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87% fewer tourists visited Valley: Report

Agencies

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Srinagar, Dec 9: The number of domestic tourists who visited Kashmir from August to November this year fell 87% compared to the same period last year, The Times of India reported on Monday. The number was 32,411, as against 2.49 lakh during August-November 2018. The number of foreign tourists fell 82% during the four-month period – from 19,167 in 2018 to just 3,413 this year.

However, November was the best month since August, with 10,946 domestic and 1,140 foreign tourists visiting the Union Territory.

The drop in the number of tourists appears to be a consequence of the Centre’s decision to impose prohibitory orders after abrogating the special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The decision was taken on August 5. Prohibitory orders are gradually being lifted.

 

On October 10, the Jammu and Kashmir administration lifted its advisory against tourists in the Valley. Postpaid mobile services have resumed in the Valley, but internet connectivity remains blocked.

In June and July, Kashmir received 1.62 lakh and 1.49 lakh domestic tourists. This was around 27% higher than the figures for June and July 2018.

Parvez Baba, the owner of Hotel Samci Riviera in Srinagar’s Rajbagh, told The Times of India that he has only four rooms out of 24 occupied this week. “My hotel is just three years old and I can’t afford to lose any business that comes my way,” he said. “If I charge Rs 4,000 per room, what chance do I have of getting a guest?”

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JK Govt announces winter vacations for schools from Dec 10

Monitor News Bureau

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SRINAGAR, DECEMBER 09: Government today ordered winter vacation for all Government Educational Institutions and recognized private schools up to Higher Secondary level functioning in the Kashmir Division and winter zone areas of Jammu Division from December 10 to February 22, 2020.

The order was issued in view of foggy conditions and forecast of further dip in temperature along with rains and snowfall over next week.

 
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