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KPs throng Kheer Bhawani, pray for peace

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Srinagar, Jun 10: Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) started arriving at the Kheer Bhawani temple in Tullamulla town on Monday in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ganderbal district to attend the annual festival.
Officials said 85 buses carrying the pilgrims arrived late Sunday at the temple to spend the night in prayer and penance.
Right from Monday morning, devotees in buses, taxis, private cars and even two-wheelers reached the temple dedicated to the Goddess Kheer Bhawani constructed over a sacred spring.
“The 25-km long route from Srinagar city to Tullamulla has been secured by the police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) contingents.
“Facilities like safe drinking water, healthcare, sanitation have been provided at the temple complex,” an official said.
Tullamulla locals said comparatively lesser number of pilgrims have reached the temple so far this year.
“We had a larger number of Pandit devotees at the temple last year than this year so far. We are expecting more arrivals today,” said Assadullah Bhat, 52, a resident of Tullamulla town.
Rajinder Jatta, 65, a migrant Kashmiri Pandit has come from Faridabad. He spent the night at the Kheer Bhawani temple.
Jatta said: “We lived in Jawahar Nagar area of Srinagar city before migrating to Faridabad in 1989. I worked for the Archaeological Survey of India.
“Besides, our family had a shop called ‘Jatta and Company’ in Budshah Chowk. Our family traded in silk garments.”
He said he has prayed for peace and development in Kashmir.
“We must be able to return to our native places where we can live alongside our Muslim neighbours without any government security. I have prayed for the return of those glorious days when Muslim friends ate in my home and I dined at theirs,” Jatta added.
Another migrant Pandit, Ravinder Bhat, 60, said he lived in the old city Sathu Barbarshah locality before migration.
“Our children living outside and the children of our Muslim friends and neighbours living in the Valley cannot imagine the traditional brotherhood Pandits and Muslims had in Kashmir.
“Unless this distance between the younger generations of Kashmiri Pandits and local Muslims is bridged, Kashmir can never be the same again,” Bhat said.
Housing the shrine of Mata Ragnya, the Kheer Bhawani temple in Tullamulla village in north Kashmir’s Ganderbal district is the holiest religious destination for Kashmiri Pandits.
True to the centuries-old tradition of brotherhood, local Muslims living near the temple offer milk in small earthen pots to the devotees coming to pray at the shrine each year.
Interestingly, the Muslims living around the temple don’t eat or cook mutton on the festival day. This is done in deference to the practice of Kashmiri Pandits who do not enter the temple complex if they have had a non-vegetarian meal before visiting the shrine.
Kashmiri Pandits believe that the colour of the holy spring at the temple foretells the events of the next 12 months.
“The colour of the spring water on the festival day foretells the events that will unfold in the next 12 months till the next festival.
“Black colour of the spring water foretells violence and suffering while milky or light green colour is the harbinger of peace and prosperity,” said Ashok Kumar Koul, 60, who comes each year to perform the pilgrimage.
Koul lives in Jammu ever since the Kashmiri Pandits migrated from the Valley in 1990.


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SHO injured in Anantnag attack succumbs at AIIMS

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Srinagar, Jun 16: The Station House Officer of the police station Sadr in Anantnag succumbed on Sunday, four days after he had received critical injuries in a militant attack in the town.

The slain officer Arshad Ahmad Khan was critically injured after militants attacked a joint party of CRPF and police at a bus stand in Anantnag on June 12.

In the attack, five paramilitary troopers and a militant were killed and four other security forces personnel including the Station House Officer were injured in the attack. Besides, a girl Snober (18) daughter of Ashraf Malik of Danter also sustained a bullet wound in her leg.

 

Khan according to reports was being operated in Srinagar’s SKIMS hospital. However, he was flown to Delhi’s AIIMS hospital on Sunday where he succumbed to injuries.

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Malik instrumental in bringing JRL together: NIA

Claims Aalam revealed ‘rift between separatists on funds’

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New Delhi, Jun 16: National Investigating Agency (NIA) Sunday said that the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik was instrumental in bringing the Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani and Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq together to spearhead the 2016 agitation in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Yasin Malik was instrumental in bringing together the disparate factions of Hurriyat and formed Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) which spear headed the 2016 agitation in Kashmir,” NIA said in a press statement.

It said that the JRL issued protest calendars leading to economic shutdown for over four months and also caused death/injuries to civilians and security forces in the valley.

 

“Yasin Malik admitted that the JRL and Hurriyat Conference Geelani Group collected funds from business community as well as certain other sources and ensured that economic shut down and violent protests continue to disrupt the daily life of common citizens in the valley,” the NIA said in the statement.

It said that Muslim League chairman Masarat Aalam Bhat revealed in the investigation that Pakistan based agents route funds through hawala operators which were transferred to the separatists including Syed Ali Geelani.

“Aalam said there are rifts in the Hurriyat regarding collection/use of funds,” it said.

The NIA said leader of Duktaran-e-Milat, Asiya Andrabi, was grilled by it about the educational expenses of her son in Malaysia incurred by Zahoor Watali, who was arrested in the alleged funding case.

“During interrogation, Asiya Andrabi admitted that she had been collecting funds and donations from foreign sources and Duktaran-e-Milat had been organising protests by Muslim women in the valley,” it claimed.

The NIA has already approached the relevant authorities for providing evidence relating to certain bank accounts used by Asiya Andrabi’s son Mohammad bin Qasim while he was in the university, it said.

Another separatist leader, Shabbir Shah, had to face some tough time when he was confronted about his businesses, including a hotel in Pahalgam which is allegedly funded through foreign funds received by him from Pakistan, the statement said.

“During the custodial interrogation, Shabir Shah was confronted with evidence relating to transfer of money by Pakistan-based agents and representatives of APHC (All Parties Hurriyat Conference) factions to parties affiliated to Hurriyat in J and K. He was also confronted about his investments in various hotels and businesses in Pahalgam, properties in Jammu, Srinagar and Anantnag,” the NIA said.

The NIA had registered a case in May, 2017 against belonging to Jammat ud Dawah, Duktaran-e-Millat, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and other separatist leaders in the state for raising, receiving and collecting funds to fuel separatist and terrorist activities and entering into a larger conspiracy for causing disruption in Kashmir Valley and for waging war against India.

The agency has so far charge-sheeted 13 accused, including leader of Jammat-ud Dawah Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, head of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen Syed Salahuddin, seven separatist leaders, two hawala conduits and some stone-pelters.

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Have busted ‘Shuara-e-Zindan’ inside jails: Police

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Srinagar, Jun 16: The Jammu and Kashmir Police has busted ‘Shuara-e-Zindan’ (supreme council for jail), a term used by militants for governance inside prisons, and restored the prison manual completely, officials said here.

After the escape of Naveed Jatt, a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant, last February, the Jammu and Kashmir prison department under the leadership of Dilbagh Singh took a series of measures to “sanitise” prisons, including shifting all hardcore militants from the Srinagar Central Jail.

“A complete analysis of the prisoners was carried out and the message was loud and clear that the hold of terrorists inside the prison needs to be broken and rule of law needs to be implemented,” says Singh, who recently relinquished the post of Director General of Prisons, said.

 

However, he did not elaborate further on the measures carried out and said “we have only ensured that hardened militants and separatists are segregated from those who are first-timers and have a scope of improvement.”

However, the officials in the state prison department said after Singh took charge, raids and searches were carried out regularly and militants were shifted to other jails in Jammu and Udhampur.

Two cases were registered at Rainawari police station which includes the one where militants were operating “Shaura-e-Zindan” inside the jail which used to decide allotment of barracks and other amenities to the prisoners, the officials said.

The ‘Shaura-e-Zindan’ used to provide facilities to the prisoners based on their experience in the field of militancy, which includes food of their choice and other facilities, they said, adding Ashiq Hussain Faktoo, serving life sentence, was the supreme commander of this group.

Now, after the crackdown and repeated searches, all private kitchens operating inside the jail premises, have been shut and all inmates queue up to the common ‘langar’ where they are served food, they said.

There was a report in December 2017 that “sermons are given on Jehad…The basic tenets of religion are overlooked and emphasis is laid on radical aspects. Such religious sermons have a deep psychological impact on inmates and youths in particular who develop inclination towards joining militancy or getting recruited as overground workers (for militants).”

It said the jail, which is expected to act as a correctional facility, is “instead being used as a place of religious indoctrination and militant recruitment”.

“It is being observed that even petty criminal who spend some time in jails are today coming out as highly indoctrinated individuals with religious motivation to support or even join militant ranks,” it said. However, Singh ensured that there is a segregation of prisoners and people arrested for charges under terrorism or separatism are treated with higher degree of caution and separated from inmates arrested for petty crimes.

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