SRINAGAR: While Kashmir is still in shock over the killing of a Chennai tourist in an incident of stone pelting, his father Rajavel is thankful to “strangers” who came forward with every help. His wife Selvi was also injured in the incident.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is seen with Rajaveel, father of Chennai tourist R Thirumani, who was killed in an incident of stone pelting at Magam. The father-son were travelling to Srinagar when they were caught in the clashes.
“So many strangers came forward to help. They offered money for treatment, gave me their numbers. I am thankful to them,” Rajavel was quoted by the Indian Express saying. “At the hospital, everyone was very helpful, but my son was already gone. They tried their best.”
“This was the work of a few men gone wild,” the distraught father said. “That is what I told the J&K Chief Minister, too. She asked for my forgiveness. It was good of her to come and see me.”
“It started all of a sudden. Stones started hitting all four buses carrying the tourists. There was very little time to react. Some of us yelled at other passengers to duck and take cover. Only my son, who had earphones plugged in, didn’t hear me,” Rajavel was quoted by the Time of India saying. “I was sat in the row to his front. I yelled at him to duck. He had earphones on and didn’t understand why there was this sudden commotion inside the bus.”
R Thirumani, the 22 years old BPO analyst was travelling with his parents and sister Sangeetha, when they were caught in a stone pelting incident somewhere between Narbal and Magam on Monday. They were driven to the hospital where the boy later died.
Rajavel, an employee with Avadi Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment under DRDO, was part of the 43 employees of the department that had availed the LTC package and were on an eight-day trip to Kashmir.
“We were 43 of us, all from the same department,” Rajavel said. “We had a vague idea that there was unrest in Kashmir, but we did not expect to be caught in it when the tour was planned some months ago. All I knew was that such things happen once or twice in a month.”
The family was travelling to Gulmarg in a Tavera. The entire convoy was aware of the crisis and they did stop. But they had stone pelting at the same spot where they had halted. “We were waiting to move when suddenly the stones started flying. I was sitting next to the driver and screamed for everyone to duck. That’s how my daughter escaped, she was sitting by the window behind the driver. My son was sitting behind me. He didn’t duck,” the Chennai tourist was quoted saying.
Newspaper reports said Thirumani was listening to music and had earphones on and that was the reason why he did not listen to. He said his son’s left side of his face was completely smashed, his jaw, teeth, and nose were broken. There was a huge pool of blood under him, he said.
Living at Muthapudupet (Avadi), Rajavel and Selvi had three children: two sons and a daughter. One of their sons Rajiv Kumat had stayed back. Both their sons were working with the Accenture Sholinganallur. Thirumani, a B.Com graduate, was working with the same company where his brother was a management graduate. Sangeetha, their sister, worked at the travel department of Spencer.
DNA reported that all the classmates and the colleagues of the slain young man had reached Avadi, 25 km from Chennai. “Thirumani’s friends and neighbours describe him as an unassuming and silent person,” the newspaper reported.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had announced a solatium of Rs three lakh to the family of Thirumani Selvam. Besides, state government extended a compensation of Rs 2 lakh as ex-gratia.
Disputes, lack of funds keep grid stations projects in limbo
Srinagar, May 18: Lack of funds and land disputes over towers have been delaying the completion of several grid stations in Kashmir.
There are several grid stations over which works have been started years ago. However, they are facing inordinate delay due to non-completion of construction of transmission towers, and laying of transmission lines.
One such project is Alastang grid station in Ganderbal district, on which work was started nine years ago.
“Although the work on Alastang grid station has been completed, the authorities have failed to resolve the land dispute for setting up towers over the years and connect Alastang with Zainakote grid. Presently this grid station is non-operational,” an official said.
He added that there is an immense load on Pampore and Zainakote power grids from where electricity is being supplied to Srinagar, Ganderbal, and Pulwama districts.
“Ganderbal gets electricity from Zainakote grid station and mostly remains overloaded,” the official said.
“Had the Alastang grid station been completed, it would have reduced the load on two existing power grids and helped the state to upgrade the power supply in the valley,” he added.
Similarly, an official document reveals that construction of grid station at Ahmedpora in Magam too has been put on hold.
“The work will be started as soon as the funds are released,” the document reads.
Completion of other grid stations at Lassipora Pulwama is also facing delay due to lack of funds or government’s failure in resolving the land disputes over towers.
The official said that existing transformers and power lines are also in bad shape. “There are technical snags in electricity due to poor power infrastructure,” the official added.
In a recent meeting, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan directed for effective monitoring of ongoing works on grid stations and strict adherence to the design, drawing and specifications, and use of quality material for creation of durable assets. He has directed the concerned authorities to submit a proposal for arrangements of funds.
“Chief Engineer System and Operations PDD has been directed to pursue the matter with the concerned authorities for release of funds,” a source privy to the meeting said.
Offices of 12 militant organisations operating from PaK sealed, funding stopped
Srinagar, May 18: The offices of the 12 Kashmiri militant organizations operating from the Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) have been sealed, reported the newspaper Independent Urdu.
The newspaper reported that offices of all 12 organizations affiliated with the United Jihad Council were sealed, while as, the amount of office expenditure in these organizations has also been completely stopped.
Independent Urdu reported that the action has come in the backdrop of mounting pressure by the Financial Action Task Force or FATF.
This is the first time in last 32 years of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir that Pakistan has sealed the offices and also stopped financial assistance.
Recently, Pakistan took 44 members of proscribed organizations, including Mufti Abdul Raoof and Hamad Azhar — the former believed to be the brother of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Masood Azhar and the latter his son — in preventive detention for investigation.
Ronaldo donates $1.5 million to fasting Gazans: Report
Srinagar, May 18: Cristiano Ronaldo has donated $1.5 million to feed people in the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestine, against the backdrop of the holy month of Ramadan, Sputnik News reported.
The Portuguese football star has never hid the fact that he is pro-Palestine, expressing his support for Palestinians several times in the past.
In 2012 the 28-year-old star gave away his Golden Boot Award to the Real Madrid foundation, which subsequently auctioned it off to raise money for building schools in Palestine.
In 2013, he refused to swipe t-shirts with an Israeli player in a display of support for Palestinian rights.
Although he did shake hands, he excused himself by explaining that he could not wear a shirt with that country’s flag, press reported.
The incident occurred at the end of the match between Portugal and Israel for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
A 5-year-old boy Ahmad Daubasha — sole survivor of a Palestinian family attacked by Israeli settlers, was received by Ronaldo in 2016 at the Real Madrid training center, where he photographed himself with the boy, giving him a specially-dedicated t-shirt. The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli land, air and sea blockade since June 2007, greatly impacting living standards, levels of unemployment and increasing poverty.
Palestinians have held weekly rallies along the Gaza border to protest the siege on the enclave and demand the right for refugees to return to their homes they fled during the 1948 creation of Israel.
Pro-Palestinian celebrities range from longtime activists to musicians to younger stars, calling for boycotts of artistic and scientific gatherings, divestment from Israeli businesses, etc.
The Portuguese star is known as one of the most involved in humanitarian work around the world.