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Meet SMC’s brand ambassador who was picked up from trash and forgotten

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Sep 27: Srinagar Municipal Corporation’s vanishing love for its brand ambassador is forcing the 19-year-old rag-picker surrender his dream to receive education.
Impressed his efforts to clean Wular Lake, falling in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, the municipality nominated Bilal Ahmad Dar as its brand ambassador in 2017.
Bilal soon became known as the ‘Wular Boy’, who started seeing his fame as an opportunity to fulfil his otherwise-rough dream of receiving education.
“I always wanted to study, but after my father’s death, I had to leave my education to support the family,” he explains.
“While working for the municipality, I felt that education is very necessary for me. I don’t know anything about the environment. I want to clean all the pollution in this beautiful lake, but I need to study for that.”
Bilal, who has studied up to class 6, said he was helped by Dr Shafkat Khan, the former commissioner of the municipality.
“I am very thankful to him. He gave me space in his house to live and admitted me to a government school,” he said.
Since his departure, Bilal said he visited school only twice, as he has been “facing a lot of problems”.
“I have abandoned my studies, because the Srinagar Municipal Corporation pays me Rs 10,000 after many months,” he said.
“I suffer, because the musicality doesn’t pay me regularly. My mother keeps waiting for my salary to run the house, but sometimes I have nothing to send to her.”
Joint commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Abdul Majeed Raina, said, “I have recently joined here, so I don’t know much about Bilal’s case. I really want to meet this guy and will see what help can be provided to him.”


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Kashmir

Mirwaiz condemns assault on Kashmiris, terms it ‘unfortunate’

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Srinagar, Feb 16: Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Saturday strongly denounced the attack on Kashmiris in several parts of India.
In a statement issued, Mirwaiz said it is incumbent upon those ruling in these Indian states and the Governor in Jammu to control these elements and ensure the safety of Kashmiris wherever they are being attacked and harassed and their properties vandalized and burnt down.
“Kashmiris are thrashed, intimidated and properties of hundreds of Kashmiri students, laborers, businessmen are vandalized in various Indian states,” he said.
Mirwaiz said that fanatic elements have got a great excuse and are let loose, having a field day in executing their communal agenda by targeting Kashmiris.
Mirwaiz said reports of violence against Kashmiris simply studying or doing their work outside is very distressing. He said people of Kashmir are known for their all-out help and support to outsiders who visit us as tourists or Yatris whenever in need. But it is extremely unfortunate that they are being targeted and assaulted and the majority is silent over it.
Mirwaiz said it is also sad that members of civil society activists or even leadership of Jammu are not speaking out against the assault on Kashmiri’s there and playing its role in stopping it.
Meanwhile, Hurriyat spokesman strongly condemned the CASO in Pulwama, Kulgam and Tral areas of south Kashmir wherein dozens of youth after being harassed are detained while inmates kept out of their homes for hours together, household goods and vehicles vandalized stating that lacs of forces deployed across Kashmir have been enjoying complete impunity resulting in the immense problems being inflicting on the innocent Kashmiris.
The spokesman also condemned the arrest of senior Hurriyat leader Mukhtar Waza who has been lodged in police station Sherbagh, Islamabad.

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Kashmir

Bar condemns assault on Kashmiris

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Srinagar, Feb 16: J&K High Court Bar Association Srinagar (JKHBA) strongly condemned the harassing, beating, abusing and intimidating of Kashmiri Muslims in different parts of country.

Calling for an end to these atrocities, Bar has appealed the International Community including United Nations, Amnesty International, Asia Watch and other human rights organizations of the world as also members of Indian Civil Society to come to the rescue of the people of Kashmir and save them from the brutalities being inflicted on them by the ruthless communal and fanatic forces of Jammu and other places of India.
In an Executive Committee meeting held here today it was stated that Kashmiri Muslims living in Jammu and the Muslims of Jammu are so frightened that they stayed back in their homes on Friday and did not offer Friday prayers to avoid being targeted.

“At several places, the Govt. owned residential quarters in which Kashmiri Govt. employees are putting up were stoned by these hoodlums belonging to RSS and other Hindu fanatic groups and the police did not stop them from doing so and watched the same as silent spectators, which is highly deplorable,” they said.

 

Bar further said that in Bihar, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Aligarh and other parts of India, Kashmiri students have been beaten to pulp and asked to leave those places forthwith, which is barbaric and shameful.

The Bar members took out a procession from District Court Complex, Moominabad Batamaloo, Srinagar, in which hundreds of lawyers participated and while raising slogans against all the communal and fanatic forces, asked he authorities to give protection to Kashmiri Muslims, who are presently in Jammu or in any other part of India and ensure their safety and security at all costs, as otherwise, if the harassing, abusing beating and teasing of Kashmiri and Jammu Muslims is not stopped forthwith, it will have serious repercussions.

In order to show solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren, the Bar Association also decided to support the call given by Kashmir Traders Federation for 17th of February, 2019.

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Kashmir

Lethpora attack aftermath: Youth who rescued 21 soldiers in 2014 floods among 8 arrested in Pulwama

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Pulwama, Feb 16: A day after the audacious attack on a CRPF convoy, government forces conducted nocturnal raids and arrested over 8 youth.
Reports said that the raids were conducted in different parts of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district including Lelhar, Hatiwara Letapora, Ratnipora and Lelhar.

Police sources said that over 8 youth were arrested. All these people are considered as the militant ‘sympathizers’, said a source.
Interestingly, one of the arrested youth Asif Muzafar Shah of Samboora had played a key role in rescuing a coloumn of armymen in 2014 devastating floods. The services of Shah were hailed by army then when he rescued 21 soldiers during devastating floods.

Sources added that government forces also picked up father-son duo from Hatiwara Letpora village. A top Jaish-e-Muhammad militant Mufti Waqas was killed in a house at Hatiwara last year. The owner of the house and his son were arrested during the nocturnal raid, said locals.

 

Government Forces have also made arrests from Tral and other areas after the Lethpora attack that claimed the lives of 49 troopers.
A police official feigned ignorance about these arrests.

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