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Life comes to standstill for the cross-LoC trade workers

Firdous Hassan

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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


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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

Press Trust of India

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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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