Srinagar, May 08: Many aspiring visitors have started cancelling their travel plans to Kashmir in wake of a tourist’s death during a stone pelting incident on Monday.
Several travel agents’ associations of Kashmir Tuesday said the death of the Chennai tourist due to stone pelting in Narbal on Srinagar-Gulmarg road has unnerved potential tourists and resulted in the cancelation of bookings.
“Cancellations have happened (in the wake of the incident), however, we do receive many fresh bookings and enquiries as well,” Ashfaq Siddiq, president Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) who spoke on behalf of all travel agents during a presser on Tuesday said.
On Monday, R. Thirumani Selvan, a young male tourist from Chennai who was visiting Kashmir with his father and other tourists, was grievously hurt in a stone pelting incident in Narbal, Budgam.
He was rushed to SK Institute of Medical Sciences here but eventually succumbed to his injuries.
“The killing of the tourist could be the proverbial final nail in the coffin of tourism in Kashmir,” news agency Press Trust of India quoted Ashfaq as having said.
“This is a sad incident which should not have happened. Unfortunately, we feel that it will have an impact on tourist arrivals to Kashmir. I think it will be the final nail in the coffin,” the PTI report quoted him saying.
Condemning the killing, Siddiq, during the presser, said those who committed the crime are not well-wishers of Kashmiris.
“Innocent killing can’t be justified be it a Kashmiri or a non-local. Whosoever has committed the crime is a cold-blooded murderer. We condemn it in every possible manner and as a Kashmiri we shall apologise for it,”
He, however, said that it still needs to be established whether it was an accidental death or a case of stone pelting.
“We haven’t got any factual details about the incident yet. It needs to be seen whether the particular vehicle was at a wrong place at wrong time,” Siddiq said.
He said the continuing uncertainty coupled with civilian killings had deteriorated the situation in Kashmir, thereby leading to business losses.
“We have seen that lot of innocent civilians have been killed as no SOPs are followed by the forces,” president TAAK said.
He smelled it a “conspiracy” by “agencies” to bring down the economy of Kashmir.
“We don’t know who these agencies are behind to create such situation in Kashmir? We believe that there was a certain game plan on Kashmir by agencies especially to affect its economy. Every sector at receiving end and tourism become first causality here,”Siddiq said.
He added that Kashmir irrespective of other conflict zones has been portrayed negatively across the world.
“Kashmir has become a playfield of every party to score brownie points,” he said.
He said that it was high time for India and Pakistan to solve the problem by initiating the tripartite dialogue.
“All these three parties have to come on the negotiation table and do some negotiations. The sentiment of Kashmir is the basic criteria, which needed to be addressed,” he said.
BSF officer killed, 4 soldiers injured in cross-LoC firing
Jammu, Jan 15: An Assistant Commandant of Border Security Force (BSF) was killed in a ‘sniper fire’ by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) in Samba district of Jammu on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, three BSF personnel and an army soldier were injured in separate incidents of firing along Rajouri and Kathua districts of Jammu.
Quoting a police official, news agency GNS said that Pakistan army opened sniper fire upon the BSF posts along the fence at around 10:50 am on Tuesday resulting in serious injuries to the officer identified as Assistant Commandant, Vinay Prasad.
He was immediately taken to a nearby health facility of army, from where he was airlifted to military hospital Satwari, Jammu, the official said.
“The officer succumbed to the grave injuries in the evening,” the officer added.
Meanwhile, three BSF troopers and an army soldier were injured, two of them critically, after the armies of India and Pakistan traded fire along the Line of Control (LoC) and international border in Rajouri and Kathua districts.
Official sources said that two BSF men and an army soldier posted along the LoC near Sunderbani sector of Rajouri were injured in the firing.
“One among the injured BSF men was identified as AnirbanChatterji, who suffered critical injuries and has been shifted to military hospital Satwari Jammu,” officials said.
The army soldier identified as Akash of 6 Jat Rifles and other BSF personnel, whose identity could not be immediately established, have also been admitted to hospital.
In another similar incident, a BSF trooper was injured when Pakistan troops fired on Indian pickets along the International Border (IB) in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district on Tuesday. The injured trooper has been taken to hospital for treatment.
There was a fresh exchange of fire between India and Pakistani army in MendharMankote and Balakote areas of Poonch and Kalal of Nowshera Rajouri.
In these areas, shells landed in some residential areas, following which the local moved to safer places.
An official of the BSF confirmed all these incidents and said that “our troops guarding the fence returned fire effectively and strongly”.
The officer said that in wake of growing incidents of ceasefire violation and sniper attacks, the Indian troops guarding the fence in all these areas has been put on high alert.
Govt issues appointment orders to 921 medical officers
Jammu, Jan 15: To augment health care facilities in the rural and far flung areas of the state, Health and Medical Education (H&ME) Department Tuesday issued appointment orders to 921 Medical Officers recruited on fast track basis.
To fast track the recruitment process, the H&MEDepartment had made relevant provisions in the rules and SRO, which paved the way for making the recruitment process a time bound exercise.
Pertinently, the department had referred one thousand vacancies of Medical Officers (MOs) of the Jammu and Kashmir Health and Family Welfare (Gazetted) Service to the J&K Public Service Commission (JKPSC) for making selections. After conducting the written examination, the J&K Public Service Commission finally recommended 921 candidates for selection as Medical Officers.
The H&ME department completed the process of recruitment in a record time of 3 months and issued appointment orders to the selected candidates.
Out of total 921 Medical Officers appointed by the department, 35 have been posted in district Anantnag, 18 in Bandipora, 58 in Baramulla, 28 in Budgam,119 in Doda, 33 in Ganderbal, 32 in Jammu, 52 in Kargil, 84 in Kathua, 46 in Kishtwar, 62 in Kupwara, 30 in Kulgam, 33 in Leh, 27 in Pulwama, 81 in Poonch, 56 in Ramban, 57 in Rajouri, 16 in Reasi, 08 in Samba,15 in Shopian and 41 in Udhampur.
Of these, 185 Medical Officers with specializations have also been posted in different districts of the state.
As per the Government order issued in this behalf, the appointees shall submit their joining reports to their concerned Drawing and Disbursing Officers (DDOs) within a period of 21 days and in case of failure to join within the stipulated period, the appointment shall be deemed to have been cancelled ab-initio without any further notice.
Meanwhile, Governor Satya Pal Malik, Advisor to Governor K Vijay Kumar and Chief Secretary B.V.R Subrahmanyam have conveyed their best wishes to the newly appointed Medical Officers with the hope that they will work with zest and zeal to provide best healthcare services to the people, particularly living in rural and far flung areas of the state.
The selected candidates can visit www.jkhealth.org for the selection list and to check the details of their place of postings.
JNU case: Joint Hurriyat seeks withdrawal of charges against Kashmiri students
Srinagar, Jan 15:Joint Hurriyat Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Yasin Malik has strongly denounced the sedition charges and filing of charge sheet by the Delhi Police against Kashmiri students pursuing studies at Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU).
The leadership said the charges will have serious consequences on the academic and future career of the students.
The Kashmiri students include Aqeeb Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, MuneebHussain,UmairGul, Rayees Rasool, Khalid Bashir, Basharat Ali.
The leadership said the students only participated in the programme organized by JNU students Union in 2016 to condemn the hanging of Muhammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged in Tihar Jail under shadowy circumstances without even informing his family members and in contravention to all established norms and rules.
The leaders said to book the students in 2019 clearly exhibit the vote bank politics of the ruling dispensation.
They said to harass the Kashmiri students pursuing studies outside Jammu and Kashmir is not a new practice, earlier in many universities and colleges Kashmiri students have been harassed even beaten up, forcing them to drop the studies incomplete and return home
“The Joint Hurriyat appealed International Human Rights Organizations ICRC, Asia Watch, Amnesty International and other humanity loving nations to take serious notice of these nefarious practices carried out to ruin the carriers of the Kashmiri students,” a spokesperson of the amalgam said.
JNU Case: Delhi court to consider chargesheet on Jan 19
New Delhi, Jan 15: A Delhi court Tuesday fixed January 19 for consideration of charge sheet against former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar and others, including seven Kashmiri students, in the 2016 JNU sedition case.
The court put up the matter for hearing on the date as Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat was on leave Tuesday.
The Delhi Police had on Monday filed a chargesheet at a city court against Kanhaiya Kumar and others, saying he was leading a procession and supported “seditious slogans” raised on the varsity campus in February 2016.
Police also charged former JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during an event on the university’s campus on February 9, 2016, to commemorate the hanging of Afzal Guru.