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KEG urges PCI: Issue detailed report about journalists killed in Kashmir

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Srinagar, July 4: Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) Wednesday asked the visiting team of Press Council of India (PCI) to utilise its resources and issue a detailed report about the journalists who were killed in Kashmir during the last 30 years.
The editors said ‘Rising Kashmir’ editor, Shujaat Bukhari, one of the most prominent journalists, was brutally assassinated and his killers must be brought to justice. They said his journalism was flawless.
KEG said the routine wreath laying and glowing tributes to the fallen journalists in Kashmir will not help the shocked media fraternity unless the PCI utilises its enormous resources and unmatched influence to issue a detailed report about every single murder of the journalists in Kashmir.
The report must start with the assassination of Shujaat and get into every single murder since 1990. The report must offer some sort of detail about why they were killed.
The editors said that when a journalist is killed in Kashmir, there are condemnations and obituaries – coming from all sides, and it all stops at that. Though in all the murders, the police did register cases but not in a single case does the media fraternity know the follow up, as the cases are closed and forgotten.
Right now when everybody is genuinely concerned over why a prominent editor was gunned down, the appreciation was lacking when Shujaat was seeking his rights before the policymakers in Delhi after DAVP stopped advertisements to major publications across the state including Rising Kashmir.
KEG, however, appreciated the PCI for being responsive in the first such killing since 1990. Kashmir has lost 14 journalists in turmoil and in Jammu one photographer was also killed.
Editors told the PCI that there was dire need for engagement between the institution of PCI and the journalists who are walking on razors edge almost on daily basis in Kashmir. The bigger crisis, they said, was to ensure the media in Kashmir survives with its credibility intact in wake of massive propaganda by the state apparatus and faceless individuals operating in the shady corners of internet.
Tragically, they pointed out that the PCI engagement with the media in Kashmir has three milestones so far. The first was when a group of editors were flown to Srinagar to rebut the reportage on Kunan mass rapes. The report that the three members of the PCI jotted down overnight was a decree against the Srinagar press corps and was used as a key document by the state in Srinagar and Delhi against the Kashmir media.
The editors reiterated – they had already stated the same in their earlier interactions with the PCI in 2017, that the PCI should either re-investigate the case and absolve Kashmir media of its alleged bias in its reportage of the incident or withdraw the report, the ‘Crisis and Credibility’.
The report, however, has not impacted the fairness and objectivity of the Kashmir media corps in covering a bleeding conflict. This, they said, is vindicated by the fact that everywhere across the globe when it comes to the coverage of a conflict, Kashmiri scribes will be covering it for international media outlets.
PCI’s second major engagement was in 2017, when the PCI team visited Srinagar and spent a good time in interactions with the governance structure, the peripheral reporters and the media in Srinagar. The objective of the prolonged visit was to investigate a few observations made by the Interlocutors on Kashmir – Dileep Padgoanker, Radha Kumar, M M Ansari, about the conduct of Kashmir media including the funding of media, their allegedly exaggerated circulation figures and other things. It was interesting that while Government of India binned the interlocutors report, the PCI found it as its top priority to investigate the observations.
But the KEG is thankful that the report that was made public by the PCI later 2017 investigated these observations and reduced the weight of blatantly unsubstantiated and baseless allegations heaped on Kashmir media by the vested interests.
Now, as the three member PCI team is visiting the state, it is yet another investigation – this time probing how and why Shujaat Bukhari was assassinated. On the assassination, the KEG said they know as much as the police revealed.
KEG told the PCI will have to increase its engagements with the journalists embattled in conflict and bloody situations. They suggested them to put their weight behind the rightful demands of the Jammu and Kashmir media in getting their rights which have been denied to them without any reason for last many years.
This blockages, they said, is aimed at hitting the viability of the operations of the print industry in the state. KEG also suggested that the PCI will have to be quick and fast in responding to the tensions the media faces in Srinagar and in urgent cases it can take suo moto cognizance of the events which revolve round the physical safety and professional requirement of the journalists operation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Admitting that the media in Kashmir was in dire straits, the PCI team said they will be quick in addressing the issues pertaining to the state. They asked Srinagar media to strongly react to the efforts by the police or any other security agency that is aimed at interrupting the news gathering and dissemination. PCI team said they will act strongly on issues as and when they reach PCI.


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Address reason forcing youth to take up arms: Mirwaiz to Guv

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Srinagar, Jan 18: On J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik’s statement that the government does not want to ‘kill militants but militancy’, Hurriyat (M) Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Friday said if that was the case the Governor should address the cause that forces the young boys to take up the arms.

“If it is so and they (Governor’s administration) are sincere then the government should address the cause that is leading these educated and young boys to take to arms,” Mirwaiz said while addressing the Friday Congregation at Jama Masjid here.

Calling for a political process to resolve the issue, Mirwaiz said: “…start a political process in earnest to address the sentiment behind it and resolve the dispute. It will not only save the lives of our youth but soldiers also, end militarization and the resultant atrocities that governor sahab wants Joint Hurriyat leadership to convey to him, and end the uncertainty and hostility that the region is hostage to for past 71 years.”

 

Mirwaiz also reacted to the army’s statement terming 2018 as ‘remarkable year’ because of militant killings calling the same “extremely unfortunate and inhuman.”

Mirwaiz called it strange that a well-trained armed  force meant to fight another well trained armed force was “celebrating and patting its back on killing young men and boys, some as young as 14, while some budding intellectuals and academics, and calling it remarkable.”

“…army’s boasting of the killings of militants, who are not some hard core armed guerillas and terror mongers, but sentiment driven youth forced to take to arms as a consequence of severe repression due to forcible control,” said the Mirwaiz, according to a statement.

“It is simply the intensity of their passion that drives these young boys, who are poorly trained and starved of ammunition to be able to give a real fight, in this greatly unequal battle to an armed force of a country,” Mirwaiz said.

He said the pain and loss that all of Kashmir feels at the killings of militants only adds to people’s resolve and pushes more young to join in.

“Instead of admitting this, the armed force of a country that prides itself in the history of its freedom struggle by honoring the likes of Subhash Chander Bose who raised  Indian National Army to fight the British colonial rule , sells the killing of these armed youth as a great achievement to people of India,” he said.

The chief cleric said many in Indian army have in their write ups and lectures admitted that Jammu and Kashmir is a political problem that has to be resolved as such.

“Those who are using militarization to prolong the status quo should understand that it comes with a cost and keeps increasing complexities,” said the Mirwaiz, adding that the whole world has said that there can be no military solution to the dispute.

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Drug Abuse in Kashmir: Over 300 cases registered, 482 peddlers arrested in 2018

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Jan 18: Kashmir has emerged as one of the major consumers of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances with police registering over 300 cases against drug peddlers in the region during 2018.

As per the official figures of the police department, at least 312 cases were registered against the drug peddlers in the valley during the year.

Police arrested 482 persons involved in these cases. In 221 cases, the charge sheets have been filed while 91 are still being investigated.

 

Of the cases, 123 have been registered in south Kashmir followed by 108 in north and 81 in Central parts of the valley.

Police have also seized a huge quantity of contraband substances including poppy straw, fukki, brown sugar, charas, heroin, ganja, bhung putri, and opium straw from various parts of Kashmir.

As per official data, the drugs seized include poppy straw (1734.7 kg), fukki (850.61 kg), brown sugar (6.88 kg) and charas (73.27 kg), apart from other seizures of opioids.

Another disturbing trend has been the increased use of narcotic drugs including heroin, sedatives and painkillers.

“Use of these substances increases the intensity of addiction and hastens the process of complete subjugation to the narcotic dependence,” a police official said, adding that heroin is often considered as a “status symbol” among the drug addicts.

Last year, the report by Narcotics Control Bureau of Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ said J&K was among the top states in India in the cultivation of illicit crops.

The former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti too had directed police to use Public Safety Act (PSA)–a law under which a person can be detained without trial for up to two years–against those involved in the cultivation and smuggling of drugs.

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RKFC vs Shillong Lajong FC: Snow Leopards aim repeating history

Firdous Hassan

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Shillong (Meghalaya), Jan 18: Real Kashmir FC head coach David Robertson Friday said the team’s five- day stay in Shillong has helped his players to prepare themselves “mentally as well as physically” for a “bigger” game against Shillong Lajong FC.

Before resuming their home leg, RKFC will Saturday face Shillong Lajong FC, which currently is rooted to the bottom with just four points from 12 games.

Last month, RKFC played dominating football against Shillong defeating it 6:1 at Srinagar’s Astro-Turf ground.

 

Coach Robertson, in a pre-match conference on Friday, said his players understood the technicalities of the venue, Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, which is very similar to the visitor’s home turf.

“The Shillong playground is similar to that of Astro-Turf, which too has a synthetic turf.  Currently, there is good spirit within the team and players are ready for the match,” he said.

Coach Robertson said his team is confident enough for the upcoming match as all eight foreigner players are declared fit for the game.

“We are enjoying the season as we haven’t faced any defeat since March 2017 in away games. So, in tomorrow’s match, we are expecting some good results to get three points before our home matches resume,” he said.

The RKFC head coach said the pressure will be more on the host team but quickly added that Shillong Lajong’s ability to bounce back can’t be underestimated.

“It will be premature to predict about the upcoming game. There are chances that the game can be difficult for us but we have to continue our momentum to get good results tomorrow,” he said.

“There is great enthusiasm in my team and every game, irrespective of the team’s rank, is challenging for us,” Robertson added.

Shillong Lajong FC so far scored almost at a rate of a goal every match but has conceded at a rate of three goals a game, highlighting a rickety defensive line.

RKFC, on the other hand, is on an unbeaten run of eight games that has helped them accumulate 22 points after 12 rounds.

Shillong Lajong FC coach Alison Kharsyngtiew said the physical stature of RKFC players can give a tough competition to any team.

“Considering the physicality of the RKFC team, the game can be tough. But we are ready to give our best,” he said.

Asked about the reasons behind featuring at the bottom, he said his players are very young.

“This is the future of our national team and entire north-east. We have to guide them and encourage them to do better in future,” he said.

He said two of his players including defender Rakesh Pradhan and midfielder Hardy Nongbri are injured and won’t play the upcoming match.

 

 

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