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Occupied by forces, Parimahal on verge of ‘collapse’

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Nov 23: One of the famous heritage sites in Kashmir, Parimahal is on the “verge of collapse” due to its ‘occupation by the government forces’.
Parimahal, ‘angels of abode’, is a seven-layeredd garden located at the top of Zabarwan mountain range overlooking the city of Srinagar and south-west of Dal Lake.
It was built by Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh in the mid-1600s. However, over 400-year-old heritage site is in a dilapidated condition, as it has been virtually abandoned by the authorities due to its occupation by the government forces.
As per the documents from the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir’s office, the absence of maintenance, regulation on walls has posed a “severe threat” to the monument.
“The walls right from the main gate comprising of Hamam, hall, and library are on the verge of collapse in absence of repairs. The repairment cannot be taken up due to occupation of the site by security forces. The structure may get more damaged or even collapse if not repaired,” the document reads.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee of Tourism and Culture, Government of India, during its recent visit to the monument has held that the structure should be vacated by the forces in order to take conservation work on a priority basis, the document says.
The police has informed the government that occupation of Parimahal by forces dates back to early ’90s, with a BSF platoon assigned the responsibility of protecting all dignitaries residing at Cheshmashahi including the Governor.
However, police, as per the documents, has told the government that a balanced view may be obtained or an alternate nearby location may be provided to the BSF platoon, “in case of any threat to the centrally-protected site”.
However, the BSF has claimed its platoon at Parimahal “does not comprise of more than 10 to 12 men”.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, who also holds the additional charge of LAWDA VC, believes that security cover should continue for area domination.
“Yet, the monument having national importance like Pari Mahal cannot be mistreated or devoid of upkeep,” he said.
An official of Archeological Survey of India said Parimahal was both a world heritage as well as Archeological Survey of India centrally-protected site as listed by UNESCO.
“The issue about its occupation by forces has been raised with the government several times. Government is now considering to provide some alternate site with pre-fabricated huts to the forces,” the official added.
Parimahal served as a library and an abode for Dara Shikoh, who was said to have lived in this area in the years 1640, 1645, and 1654.
It was further used as an observatory, useful for teaching astrology and astronomy.
The gardens have since become the property of the Jammu and Kashmir government.


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ASI among three cops injured in Rajbagh grenade blast

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) of police and two traffic cop were injured in a grenade blast near Zero Bridge in Rajbagh area of Srinagar city in Central Kashmir on Thursday afternoon.
Reports said that suspected militants lobbed a grenade on police party near Zero Bridge in Rajbagh.
In the blast, three policemen including an ASI of police and two traffic policemen sustained splinter injuries and were evacuated to SMHS hospital for treatment.
The injured has been identified as Iqbal Singh (ASI of JKAP 14 Bn) and traffic policemen Haris Manzoor (SPO) and Sanullah (Head Constable).
While ASI Iqbal has sustained splinter injuries to both of his legs, Haris suffered an injury to the back side of his neck and Sanullah suffered injuries in his right leg.
SSP Srinagar Imtiaz Ismail Parray confirmed the attack and subsequent injuries to the ASI and two traffic cops.
Soon after the attack, the government forces cordoned off the area and launched a hunt to nab the attackers.
Security forces have launched a massive search operation in Rajbagh and adjoining areas near Zero Bridge after three police personnel including assistant sub-inspector were injured in a grenade attack by the terrorists on Thursday.
Homes and hotels in the area were searched frisking was also carried out. It was the first major terrorist attack in the Srinagar city this year. The injured cops are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Meanwhile Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has claimed responsibly of the grenade attack on the forces’ party at Raj Bagh area of Srinagar.
A JeM spokesperson Muhammad Hassan in a statement claimed that two forces personnel were killed and 6 critically injured in the attack.
An ASI of police and two traffic cops were injured in a grenade blast near Zero Bridge, Raj Bagh in Thursday afternoon.

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2018 has been remarkable year for forces: Army commander

Global News Service

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Srinagar, Jan 17: A top army commander on Thursday described 2018 as “remarkable year” for government forces, saying that more than 250 militants were killed, 54 others were arrested and four others surrendered in Kashmir Valley.
“The year 2018 has been a remarkable year for armed forces on the security front. As per the record of last ten years, army along with other forces have neutralized many militants. Many militants have surrendered under pressure and many others were arrested alive,” said Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, GoC-in-C Northern Command told reporters after inaugurating Kalai Bridge constructed by Border Roads Organization.
“More than 250 militants were killed, 54 others arrested and four others have surrendered,” he said, adding, “This speaks about the strength of our security establishment,” the officer said.
He said that the army was giving “befitting reply” to Pakistan army along the Line of Control whenever there were instances of any ceasefire violation or snipping.
“As per wireless and other intercepts, Pakistan army and militants suffered a huge loss in our retaliatory action.”
The Kalai Bridge spans over Suran River and connects Kalai area to Chandak area in Poonch district. During the inaugural function, the Army Commander addressed the gathering of Army, GREF and local residents and said that the Kalai bridge is an important milestone towards enhancing the road communication in the area.
“The bridge is an important strategic asset as it enhances the movement of military equipment and troops in a faster time frame,” he said. The Indian Army and BRO have been working towards infrastructure development in the remote and far-flung areas and improving the road connectivity, he said.
“The bridge will reduce traffic congestion in the city and ease out inconvenience caused to the people specially those moving towards Budha Amarnath Shrine in Mandi as it reduces the travelling time considerably.”
The Army Commander appreciated the contribution of the District Administration for their support and cooperation during the construction of the bridge.

 

Beg to differ: Omar Abdullah

 

Srinagar, Jan 17: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah on Thursday lashed out at the Northern Command Chief Lt General Ranbir Singh, on his “great year for security forces” remark.
Taking to Twitter, Abdullah wrote, the compulsion of killing militants/terrorists shouldn’t be treated as a cause for celebration.
“I beg to differ, a great year would be one in which no young man would join militancy, no terrorists would be killed & no security personnel would lose their lives in encounters. The compulsion of killing militants/terrorists shouldn’t be treated as a cause for celebration,” Abdullah wrote.
Abdullah was reacting to a statement by Gen Singh on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Kalai bridge in Poonch district. Gen Singh said 2018 had been a great year for the security forces as they had managed to kill 250 terrorists.

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Heartening to meet Kashmiri students in Bangladesh: Shahid Afridi

Agencies

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Star Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi on Thursday met Kashmiri students in Bangladesh and interacted with them.

Afridi said that it was heartening to see Kashmiri students in Bangladesh who are studying medicine.“Heartening meeting with some Kashmiri students who are in Bangladesh on scholarship, studying Medicine. Keep up the hard work and making your people proud!,” he tweeted.

Afridi in the past has been in controversies over Kashmiri over his support to the Kashmir cause. He has been vocal about letting the people of Kashmir decide their future.

 
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