Srinagar, Nov 26: Lying motionless on a bed at the SMHS Hospital here, life has come to a standstill for 22-year-old Manzoor Ahmad.
The excruciating pain in his swollen eyes constantly reminds him of what has changed his life forever—the volley of pellets fired by the government forces at the civilian protesters at Largo, Kulgam, in south Kashmir.
The people were protesting for the militants holed up by the forces at the Shopian-Kulgam margin. In the resulting gunfight, six militants, one civilian, and a soldier were killed at the site.
The pellets hit Manzoor in his face, piercing and damaging both his eyes.
“I fell onto the ground after the pellets ruptured my face and eyes. I was trying to open my eyes, but couldn’t. Blood was oozing out of them, and then I fainted. I don’t know who brought me to the hospital,” recalled Manzoor, the breadwinner in his family comprising a handicapped mother and a blind sister.
He was first taken to the Kulgam District Hospital, from where the doctors shifted him to the SMHS Hospital here.
Already undergone one surgery, he is still unable to see.
“I was not able to open my eyes after the surgery. I tried to open my eyes to see who is around, but did not know that I would end up seeing my dark future,” Manzoor wails.
Manzoor, not the only pellet-hit patient in the ward, has swollen face and eyes, pellet holes visible all around, and his beard still blood-stained.
He has been earning for his family for 15 years, since his father had passed away.
“I was the only breadwinner and support to my mother and sister. I don’t know how they will survive, as I am no more in a condition to earn,” he said, tearing.
“I am not able to handle myself and I don’t know who will handle my family. I need two persons to accompany me to the washroom.”
Only his married elder sister and neighbours came to see him, leaving his mother and the younger sister home.
There were 10 pellet victims in the ward, and eight of them were partially blinded by the pellets.
Waseem, another pellet victim, a resident of Shopian, has been hit in his right eye.
“I was working in the orchard with my friend and was hit by pellets fired by the government forces. I have undergone a surgery yesterday, but cannot see with my right eye,” he said.
3 aides of Junaid Sehrai arrested in Srinagar
‘Trio responsible for Jammu blast, firing at SPO’
Srinagar, Jul 23: Family’s efforts and timely intervention has paid off after three youth who had recently joined militant ranks were arrested in Srinagar, police said on Tuesday.
Asif Iqbal Dar, Shahid Hassan Dar both from Soura, and Rasheed Latief Mir from Barzulla were affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen (HM).
Addressing media persons, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Srinagar, Dr Haseeb Mughal said Asif was on their radar for a long time.
“We have been following him for a long time. He has been sharing incriminating material on social media to inspire youth to join militant ranks. One fine day, he went missing and reached Pulwama following which parents lodged an FIR in police station Soura,” Mughal said.
City police chief noted that efforts were made to trace the trio. “Help from other agencies was also sought. Ultimately all three of them reached their homes,” he said.
Mughal said that their questioning revealed how youth are being recruited into the militant ranks.
“All the three were in close contact with Junaid Sehrai, a militant from Srinagar. They were receiving instructions from him. Before their debut into militancy, they were asked to carry some attacks, which they did,” he claimed.
Mughal said the attack on Jammu Bus stand was the trio’s handiwork. “They also fired at SPO Roman Rashid at Barzulla. Interestingly, they were told not to kill him. They even lobbed a grenade on the CRPF vehicle at Barzulla even though we have no record. It might have not exploded,” he said.
The SSP said that youth were getting directions from Junaid Sehrai about the targets.
“For the time being, they were assigned smaller targets. Later they were supposed to get bigger targets. Some incriminating materials have been recovered from them including a grenade, some rounds and a flag of Ansar Ghazwat ul Hind,” he added.
Urging youth not to fall prey to militant conspiracies, he appealed them to concentrate on productive things.
“Life is precious and you should make best use of it. Use your mind on productive things,” he said.
Among others, Superintendent of Police (SP) West, Sudanshu Verma and SP South, Dr G V Sundeep were also present during the media conference.
Ready to assist India, Pak: US State Dept
Srinagar, Jul 23: After US President Donald Trump said that he would act as a mediator between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue, the US State Department on Tuesday supported his statement and said that they were ready to assist in the matter.
“While Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties to discuss, the Trump administration welcomes Pakistan and India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist,” a spokesperson for the US State Department said.
The spokesperson further went on to say that any successful dialogue between India and Pakistan was based on the latter’s efforts against terrorists on its territory.
“We believe foundation for any successful dialogue between India and Pakistan is based on Pakistan taking sustained and irreversible steps against terrorists on its territory. These actions are in line with PM Imran Khan’s stated commitments and Pakistan’s international obligations,” the spokesperson said.
He also said that the US will continue to support efforts to reduce tensions between the two countries.
“We will continue to support efforts that reduce tensions and create an environment conducive for dialogue. This first and foremost means tackling the menace of terrorism. As the President indicated, we stand ready to assist,” the spokesperson said.
On Monday, Donald Trump offered to mediate in Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan ‘if mediation is required’.
President Trump said this during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in White House in Washington DC on Monday.
Trump’s remarks created uproar on Twitter where users slammed him for interfering in the politics of the two countries.
India in the past has categorically denied any foreign help in the Kashmir dispute with Pakistan. India maintains that Kashmir dispute in an internal issue and will be resolved bilaterally with Pakistan.
Cong-JD(S) govt falls; Kumaraswamy loses trust vote
Bengaluru, Jul 23: The one-year-old coalition government of the Congress and HD Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular – teetering for weeks – collapsed on Tuesday, paving the way for the BJP’s return to power in Karnataka.
The coalition failed the floor test in the assembly, cobbling up only 99 votes in comparison to the 105 votes of the BJP, which later dubbed it a “Game of Karma”.
The demand for trust vote came as 16 legislators resigned and two Independents withdrew support to the government within a fortnight. The trust vote, pending since Friday, was held Tuesday evening after a back and forth between the Speaker, the coalition and the BJP – and prodding from Governor Vajubhai Vala – that stretched over a week.
“It is victory of democracy. People were fed up with Kumaraswamy government. I want to assure people of Karnataka that a new era of development will start now,” said state BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa, who is set to be the Chief Minister for the fourth time.
“It’s the victory of people of Karnataka. It’s the end of an era of corrupt & unholy alliance. We promise a stable & able governance to the people of Karnataka,” the state BJP tweeted.
The trust vote came after a tug of war between the ruling coalition and the BJP that even reached the Supreme Court. The debate extended over Monday and Tuesday despite Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s Monday deadline.
Ahead of Tuesday’s session, the Speaker made lacerating comments after seeing near empty treasury benches in the assembly. “Should this be the fate of the Speaker or the assembly?” Kumar demanded. “You will lose credibility, leave alone strength,” he said.
Last Friday, a trust vote could not be held despite two deadlines from the Governor. The house was adjourned after marathon speeches by Kumaraswamy and other coalition leaders. The BJP accused the government of delaying the trust vote with lengthy speeches in hopes of reprieve from the Supreme Court.
Kumaraswamy said he was “not particularly worried about the end of this debate” and that he would “happily give up… rather than all this”. “I have acted with decency. The last 14 months has been – ‘will they stay or will they go’ – and I thank my party leaders for staying through it all. The objections to us started on Day 1 of the coalition government,” he added.