Srinagar, Sep 10: Kashmir journalists’ fraternity on Monday held a sit-in at Press Enclave in Srinagar against the continued detention of journalist Aasif Sultan while demanding his immediate release.
Sultan, an assistant editor at a news magazine, was arrested from his home in Batmaloo area of the city two weeks ago.
The protest was organized by Kashmir Journalists Association (KJA).
The journalist body said Sultan’s arrest is aimed at ‘intimidating journalists in Kashmir who are already working under tremendous pressure.’
Members of Kashmir Journalist Corp, Kashmir Working Journalists Association (KWJA), Kashmir Press Photographers Association (KPPA) and Kashmir Video Journalist Association participated in the protest.
KJA also appealed to the governor Satya Pal Malik and DGP Dilbagh Singh to intervene in the matter and order highest probe into the arrest of Sultan and set him free.
“We demand the officers concerned be held responsible and action be taken against them for arresting a journalist,” KJA spokesperson said.
“KJA believes that media plays an important role to strength democratic and constitutional values. However, when the press freedom is choked and journalists are harassed situation becomes dangerous to live. It may affect the basic freedom of speech,” he said.
The journalists’ body also appealed to international journalist bodies and human right forums to take up the issue strongly with the local authorities.
KJA also appealed to the Press Council of India to push for the release of Sultan.
“They have made a simple journalistic piece (news article) as basis for the case which is totally uncalled for and against the ethics,” said a statement issued by the KJA.
Meanwhile, reports said that Sultan’s detention has been challenged in the court. The court has fixed September 13 for hearing the case, while issuing the notice to the state government.
Sultan’s arrest has evoked widespread criticism from many media watchdogs and human rights organizations. International watchdogs ‘Reporters Without Borders’ and the ‘International Federation of Journalists’ (IFJ) have condemned Sultan’s arrest and sought his immediate release.
Life comes to standstill for the cross-LoC trade workers
Srinagar, May 19: Tragedy befell 50-year-old labourer, Noor-ul-Amin three years ago when he was grievously injured while unloading the goods from the cross-LoC truck at the Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre in Uri.
Unable to work, Amin has been bed-ridden at his home nursing the injury. With no money left to bear the medical expenses, it was his fellow Cross-LoC trade workers who joined in to help Amin in meeting the medical expenses.
Enter the government decision to suspend the Cross LoC trade, the workers, who were not only eking out their living but also helping workers like Amin, were left jobless. With no money coming, Amin accompanied by his family members can be seen in mosques seeking alms from the people.
“For the last one month we couldn’t pool money for Khan. He is now seeking donations from the people at mosques in order to meet his daily expenses of medicines. These labourers would meet expenses of five ill workers who earlier were injured at the facilitation centre”, said Mohammad Yusuf, a labourer who used to work at Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre.
Last month, Centre suspended cross LoC trade from both routes –Salamabad (Uri) and Chakan-da-Bagh (Poonch)– citing its ‘misuse’ by Pakistan.
Started in October 2008, Cross-LoC trade was considered as mother of all confidence building measures (CBMs) between India and Pakistan. However, the trade could not grow beyond barter system. Lack of proper banking and communication facilities added to the woes of the traders.
More than 600 traders are registered for the cross LoC trade and 21 items are on the approved export and import list from both routes. Some of items to be traded include Rice, Carpets, Precious Stones Wall Hangings, Gabbas Shawls and Stoles, Namdas, Peshwari Leather Chappals, Medicinal Herbs Embroidered Items, Honey, dry and fresh fruits etc.
Official figures reveal that goods worth 1274.43 crore traded out and Rs 1093.39 crore were traded in from 2014-15 to 2016-17 from Uri-Salamabad cross LoC route. Similarly goods worth Rs 402.34 crore were traded out and Rs 662.78 were traded in from Chakan da Bagh crossing in Poonch from 2014-15 to 2016-17.
Haneef, a 28 year old postgraduate working as a labourer for the last eight years is equally worried with the suspension of the trade. Like him, many educated youth were working as labourers to earn their livilhood.
“This was the only means to earn bread for our families, which too has been snatched now. There are no good avenues of employment in Uri and we fear our families will have to starve ahead,” he said.
Data reveal that there are at least 100 labourer whose livelihood have got impacted due to the closure of cross LoC trade in Jammu and Kashmir. “The trade was a source of hope to earn livelihood for many families. We have no other option than to look for other sources, which is becoming harder now” Haneef said.
Scores of labourers have now moved to the other districts for work as hopes fade for the early resumption of cross LoC trade. “Earlier our work station was near to our homes. But now we have to travel to other towns in search of work. Majority of the labourers here have moved to Srinagar, Baramulla or either in Uri town. Our livelihood has been affected as all of us have been rendered jobless,” said Shabir Ahmad another labourer
Bhaderwah man’s killing: Magisterial probe ordered, curfew continues for 4th day
DODA, MAY 19: Authorities Sunday ordered a time-bound magisterial probe into the killing of a man in firing and subsequent violence here, which prompted imposition of curfew in the communally-sensitive town.
The curfew continued to remain in force without any relaxation for the fourth day on Sunday even as a total of seven persons involved in incidents of stone-pelting were arrested. The Army, which was called out following the violence, was withdrawn, officials said.
The Doda district administration had earlier refuted reports that “cow vigilantism” was the reason behind the killing of Nayeem Shah and said some people were trying to give a communal colour to the incident to flare up the situation.
“A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the killing of Shah and subsequent stone-pelting episode. Sub-divisional Magistrate, Thathri, Mohammad Anwar Banday will conduct the inquiry and was asked to submit his report within seven days,” Deputy Commissioner, Doda, Sagar Doifode said.
He said the officer is supposed to give a detailed report on the killing of Shah, reasons thereof and probable causes, besides the reason for stone-throwing and the perpetrators because the administration is of the idea that the stone throwing was well collaborated and needs a thorough investigation.
Doifode said the situation in the curfew-bound areas is well under control and there was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere.
“We are monitoring the situation and considering to relax curfew in a phased manner for a few hours later in the day,” he said, adding that the mobile internet services, however, will remain suspended in the town till further orders though the services have been restored in the rest of the district.
The official said the Army was withdrawn from the curfew-bound areas of the town, but the CRPF and police remained deployed in strength especially in the sensitive localities to maintain law and order.
On Saturday, police constituted a five-member special investigation team (SIT) headed by Superintendent of Police, Bhaderwah, Raj Singh Gouria to probe the killing of Shah at village Kachi Nalthi on Thursday.
The SIT visited the site of the incident and also seized a 12-bore gun which is believed to have been used in the killing and sent it to FSL Jammu for examination.
Eight persons have been arrested in connection with the killing so far and are being questioned, Gouria said, adding that seven more persons were arrested for their involvement in violent protests.
The relatives of the deceased alleged that he was victim of cow vigilantism and was targeted as he was involved in cattle trade.
However, the residents of Kachi Nalthi village told police that two to three persons were found moving under suspicious circumstances in the area which led to the firing.
PDP worker shot dead in Kulgam
Kulgam, May 19 : Suspected militants on Sunday evening shot at a civilian in Zangalpora area of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district
Reports said a PDP worker namely Mohammed Jamal resident of Zangalpora Kulgam was shot at his home.
He was shifted to district hospital Kulgam for treatment where doctors him dead.
An official confirmed that PDP worker has been shot dead in Zangalpora..
“Whole area has been cordoned off and search operation has been launched to nab the attackers,” the official said.