New Delhi, Dec 5: Breathing the air of freedom after 106 days made him first think about the 75 lakh people of the Kashmir valley, former finance minister P Chidambaram said on Thursday, a day after he was released from Tihar jail.
“As I stepped out and breathed the air of freedom at 8pm last night, my first thought and prayers were for the 75 lakh people of the Kashmir valley who have been denied their basic freedoms since August 5, 2019,” the Congress leader said at a press conference, his first after the Supreme Court granted him bail in the INX media case.
Quoting late South African president Nelson Mandela, Chidambaram said “freedom is indivisible” as he called for the restoration of the rights of Kashmiris, who have been placed under severe restrictions for over four months now.
The famous Mandela quote from his autobiography was based on his belief that once freedom of anyone is restricted, it can start an irreversible decline that is difficult to stop.
“If we must preserve our freedom, we must fight for their freedom,” said Chidambaram in lines that again recalled Mandela’s fight for liberty of all.
The 74-year-old also expressed concern for the political leaders of Kashmir, who he said have been detained without charges. “If the government allows me, I will definitely visit Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Almost the entire mainstream political class of Kashmir, including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, with whose Peoples Democratic Party the BJP had at one time formed government in Jammu and Kashmir, are still under arrest.
The government had placed the Valley under a security lockdown as it moved to revoke the special constitutional status of the Muslim-majority region on August 5 by deploying thousands of additional troops and imposing a communication blackout.
While some restrictions have since been lifted, several still remain, including the blackout on internet services.
The government maintains these detentions and restrictions are necessary to prevent trouble makers from fanning tensions. The Congress party, along with others in the opposition, has raised the issue of the prolonged clampdown on rights during the Parliament session, but the government insists that this situation is normal.
5 more detained politicians released
Srinagar, Jan 16: Jammu and Kashmir administration on Thursday released five politicians including three former legislators after keeping them in preventive detention for more than five months following abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.
Officials said the five mainstream politicians were released from preventive detention this afternoon.
The leaders who were released include Altaf Kaloo (ex-MLA National Conference), Showkat Ganaie (ex-MLC National Conference) and Nizamuddin Bhat (ex-MLC PDP).
Former mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation Salman Sagar (National Conference) and Mukhtar Bandh (PDP) were also released.
Abrogation of Art 370 a historic step: Army chief
New Delhi, Jan 15: Army chief Gen M M Naravane on Wednesday hailed the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 as a “historic step” and said the move has disrupted plans of the “western neighbour and its proxies”.
The armed forces have “zero tolerance against terrorism”, he said at the 72nd Army Day function in the Cariappa Parade Ground here.
We have many options to counter those who promote terrorism and we will not hesitate to use them,” he said.
On August 5 last year, the Centre abrogated provisions of Article 370 that gave special powers to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two union territories.
The Army chief said, “Abrogation of Article 370 is a historic step. It will prove to be important in integrating Jammu and Kashmir in the national mainstream. This decision has disrupted the plans of our western neighbour and its proxies”.
Gen Naravane said the country had to face some security challenges last year.
“Not only it countered proxy war but other situations. Whether it is LoC (Line of Control) or LAC (Line of Actual Control), we have ensured security with activeness and strength,” he said, adding the situation at northern borders (China border) is relatively peaceful.
The Army chief said the situation along the LoC is linked with situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Today, we remember those who have made ultimate sacrifice for the country. It will keep inspiring the coming generations,” he said.
Mentioning his visit to Siachen last week, he said he was extremely happy to see all the ranks brimming with confidence at the post.
“In last few days, some of our soldiers achieved martyrdom due to avalanche. We will always remember their sacrifice,” he noted.
Dhanush and K-Vajra gun systems were showcased for the first time in the Army parade.
I-League: Krizo helps RKFC secure 1-1 draw against Punjab FC
Srinagar, Jan 10: Emotions ran high as Real Kashmir FC bounced back with a 1:1 draw against Punjab FC at Srinagar’s TRC grounds on Friday.
For first 20 minutes, strikers from both the teams tried hard to score a goal. It was an evenly contested game right from the beginning with both the teams trying hard to get the ball.
It was Punjab FC forward Makan Winkle Chothe who netted the ball in the 21st minute taking advantage of confusion among the Real Kashmir defenders. The RKFC got a chance when Kellum Higginbotham passed ball to striker Gonhere Krizo but the later failed to net the ball. Later Krizo too failed to convert a pass by Kellam into a goal
For hosts, all their efforts failed to score an equalizer in the first half. Snow leopards started the second half in an attacking mode as they seemed desperate to pick up an early equalizer. They dominated proceedings and constantly kept the opposition on their toes.
Their persistence paid off when Gnohere Krizo found the back of the net at the hour mark. The Ivory Coast forward received the ball at the edge of the box from Danilo Augusto’s mistimed back head. Krizo entered the box and scored past Punjab FC Goal Keeper Kiran Limbu.
The goal by RKFC charged the spectators who shouted their lungs out to cheer the team. Real Kashmir continued to dominate the proceedings after scoring the equalizer as they looked hungry for a winning goal. Punjab, on the other hand, brought in Dipanda upfront in a bid to find their second goal.
Mason Robertson and Gnohere Krizo came close to score on couple of occasions in the final 10 minutes of the match but the Punjab defenders did well to stop them.
RKFC David Robertson made three changes in the Real Kashmir lineup. Altamash Sayed, Chesterpaul Lyngdoh and Gnohere Krizo replaced Farhan Ganie, Subhash Singh and Aaron Katebe.
Punjab FC coach Yan Law, on the other hand, made two changes in the Punjab FC lineup. Thoiba Singh and Girik Khosla replaced Munmun Lugun and Aser Dipanda.
Friday’s draw meant that Punjab remained at the third spot with 10 points. Real Kashmir FC is at the eight spot with six points in five matches.
RKFC coach David Robertson said he was satisfied with the performance of his team but claimed there were many “dubious decisions” by referees.
“Getting one point from Punjab FC was good. There were many dubious decisions which couldn’t have happened. They might have changed the game. There were couple of penalties when our players Mason and Krizo were encountered by Punjab FC. But we still played consistently and didn’t lose the game till the end,” he said.
On being asked about inclusion of Mason Robertson and Krizo who were unfit for the game, he said they had insisted to play today.
“The spirit of the team is very high. These two players came to me and asked to be included in the squad,” he added.
Punjab FC coach Yan Law, however, seemed to be unhappy with the results. “Unfortunately we had to share our points with RKFC. We missed many chances at the front. Thanks to our goal keeper who also saved us today,” he said.
Law said the spectators in Kashmir motivated their players to put up a good show in the game.