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Sgr-Jmu highway closed for fourth consecutive day

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Srinagar, Feb 9: The Jammu-Srinagar highway remained closed on Saturday for the fourth consecutive day due to snow accumulation and landslide debris on the strategic 300 km-long road, a traffic official said.

“Snow clearance operation is going on in the Bannihal area while landslide debris is being cleared at Digdol, Panthal, Battery Chashma and Anokhi Falls in the Ramsoo-Ramban sector,” the official said.

“We are expecting to get the highway cleared by this afternoon. A decision to allow traffic will be taken after getting an approval from the Border Roads Organisation and the NHAI (National Highway Authority of India).”

 

Over 2,500 trucks carrying essential supplies to the landlocked Kashmir Valley are stranded on the highway for the last four days.

Meanwhile, airfare between Srinagar-Jammu and Srinagar-Delhi has skyrocketed ever since the closure of the highway.
Flights to Srinagar airport resumed on Friday afternoon following a two-day suspension.

A special Indian Air Force plane carried 179 students to Jammu from Srinagar on Friday. These students will appear for the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering exam on Satuday.

The MET Office has forecast dry weather till February 13 in Jammu and Kashmir.

After a slight improvement on Friday, minimum temperatures has again dropped below the freezing point at most places in the Valley on Saturday.
“Due to the clear night sky, the minimum temperatures have again dropped below the freezing point at most places in the Valley. The weather is likely to remain mainly dry in the state during the next 24 hours,” a Met department official said.

Kargil recorded the night’s lowest temperature at minus 19.4 degrees Celsius while neighbouring Leh recorded a minimum temperature of minus 15.0, Met office said.

Drass town was the coldest in the Jammu and Kashmir at minus 26.8.

Srinagar, the summer capital of the state recorded a low of minus 5.7 while the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 9.0 degrees Celsius.

Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 14.4 degrees Celsius.
The night temperature in Pahalgam – the famous health resort which also serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath Yatra – settled at a low of minus 12.7 degrees.

Kokernag town recorded a low of minus 7.7 degrees Celsius while Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 7.4 degrees Celsius last night.

Jammu recorded a low of 4.0 degrees Celsius while Batote recorded minus 1.6, Katra 4.8, Banihal recorded 1.4, and Bhaderwah recorded minus 4.4 degree Celsius.


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Principal’s ‘custodial killing’: Probe officer meets family, locals

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Srinagar, Mar 23: Assistant Commissioner Revenue (ACR) Pulwama Qazi Masood probing the “custodial killing” of a school principal Saturday met the victim’s family in Awantipora area of Pulwama district.
Rizwan Asad Pandit, the Principal of Sabir Abdullah Public School Tral, was picked up by the police from his home late on March 17 during a raid and was killed in police custody at the Cargo Building two days later, according to his family.
Although the police had initially admitted that Rizwan had “died” in custody and that the matter was being probed under “procedure laid down in Section 176 of CRPC,” it later filed an FIR against him for “escape or attempts to escape from custody”, lending a new twist to the case.
The magisterial inquiry that was ordered in Srinagar was also closed and a fresh probe ordered in Pulwama district and a report sought in “four weeks.”
“Government has appointed me as an inquiry officer, I assured the family that I will conduct the fair investigation into the case,” the inquiry officer Qazi Masood told GNS after meeting Rizwan’s family members and local residents.
Masood said he has sought a report from SP Awantipora on why and how Rizwan was detained and the circumstances that led to his death.
“I have also sought a postmortem report from the SP,” the officer said.
Meanwhile, reports said that soon after the inquiry officer arrived in the area and met the family members, locals held a protest demonstration demanding stern action against the guilty.

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Civil society, traders, Bar demand special inquiry commission

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Mar 23: Kashmir business community, civil society, and High Court Bar Association on Saturday asked Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Paul Malik to set-up an independent Special Commission of inquiry in the custodial killing of Awantipora school teacher Rizwan Asad Pandit.
Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, they said that there have been countless instances of inquiries being ordered in killings without any results.
“To deter future violations, we appeal to the Governor for setting up of a time-bound Independent Special Commission of Inquiry,” they said.
The members said that till the time the commission submits its report, it would serve justice if the case is treated to be one of custodial killing and all persons associated with it are put behind bars and kept away from active duty.
“Such inquiries, suffering from institutional bias and state interference, have rarely served the interests of justice,” they said.
“We have a reason to believe that this killing would also suffer the same fate and the killers would again roam free to kill, more confident in the fact that their crimes will never be brought to account,” they said.
They said that the repeated perpetration of serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law needs in-depth fact-finding and investigation.
On Tuesday, Rizwan Asad Pandit, a 29-year-old school teacher, died inside the Jammu and Kashmir’s CARGO camp in Srinagar.
He was picked up for questioning from his home in Awantipora on Sunday.
The family had said that his body bore evidence of being subjected to extreme physical violence.
The press conference was jointly held by KCC&I, High Court Bar Association, KTMF, KEA, KTMF (R), FCIK(A), FCIK(M), JKSECC, KCSDS, KHARA, CCIK, All Transport Welfare Association, Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Dealers Association, Houseboat Owners Association, KHAROF, Pvt School Association, Kashmir Bakers Association, All Kashmir Chemist & Distributors Association, Hoteliers Club, All Traders & Transporters Coordination Committee, All J&K Taxi Owners Association, Association Of Kashmir Tour, Environmental Protection Group, Shehr E Khaas Coordination, Beopar Mandal S R Gunj, Rehabilitation Alliance, and Batamaloo Traders Association.

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ED imposes Rs 14.4 lakh penalty on Geelani

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Srinagar, Mar 22: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Friday imposed Rs 14.4 lakh penalty, on Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani for “illegally” possessing foreign exchange of around $10,000, news agency PTI reported.
After completion of the probe and adjudication proceeding, the ED an order on Wednesday under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), levying the penalty and confiscating forex of $10,000 that was allegedly recovered from Geelani, they said.
The ED will also impose a penalty on Yasin Malik, Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and confiscate foreign exchange recovered from him. The adjudication proceedings against Malik are in progress.
On Wednesday, a Delhi court also allowed ED to quiz Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Shah and others in connection with an alleged funding case.

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