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The fairy-tale football story: Scottish coach, Kashmiri team

Press Trust of India




Srinagar, Oct 14: Raising of eyebrows were natural when ex-Rangers player David Robertson decided to take in the reins of a rookie club in Kashmir, but now over a year down the line he knows the risk he took paid off mighty well — “four ready job offers” to be precise.

It was indeed a win-win situation for both — the team and coach. While Real Kashmir FC in May became the first club in the Valley to make into the I-League, for the coach the job offers are coming rather thick and fast.

The Srinagar-based club was started two years ago to help the community reeling from devastating floods in 2014.


“For me loyalty is everything. I am here for the cause — for Kashmir. But mind you it is not that only the team is benefiting out of it, when we made into I-League I got four job offers. It is both ways in that matter.

“This team, its players, its owners means a lot to me. I am always there for this team. Of course, the day I feel I am not the best person for the job… I will be the first person to call it quits,” said Robertson, who was a find of a rather famous Scotsman Sir Alex Freguson and had played for Rangers and Aberdeen.

Robertson, thanks to his frowning face and brawny physique, by the look of him is certainly not the friendliest of person to interview.

However, that is only till the time you don’t get to talk to him. Making a perception, that too in a jiffy, can go horribly wrong. And who knows it better than Robertson himself.

He wanted to leave Kashmir as soon he landed here for the first time.

“I had never been to India let alone Kashmir. Also, I thought that Kashmir is hot, like the rest of India. But to my shock when I reached the airport here it was winter time and a day into it there was snow.

“Power cut, no internet… I was ready to go. But then the club owner persuaded me to stay, and now I am so glad that he did that,” he said.

Robertson, who has worked in China and Uganda before, was in New York when an agent got him in touch with the co-owner of the Club and before he even knew he was in Kashmir.

Last year when asked to sign the deal, the coach admitted that there was this lingering apprehension back home about Kashmir not being the safest of place.

But that was then, now Robertson calls the place as “safe as any other in the world”.

“Kashmir is lot safer. In fact it is safer than a lot of places in the world. Of course, if you are in wrong place you will be in trouble… and that is true for so many places be it Phoenix, Glasgow.

“The trick is to be sensible and you won’t have any problem here,” he said, adding that had there been any “safety concerns” he would have not called his son Mason from Scotland to play for the club here.

The 23-year-old midfielder had quit Peterhead and joined the club for a full time contract.

“I could watch myself in him when he landed here for the first time. It was different for him as if he has entered some film set of sorts.

“However, the players here made him comfortable. And that was the only concern I had then, I didn’t want anyone to think that because he is my son he is here and that there is any favouritism. If he is good he will play,” he said while reminiscing about the day when his son joined the club.

Soon my wife and daughter will also be coming to the valley, and it will be there first time too, he added.

But to be fair, adjusting to Indian way of life takes time. More so when you are in Kashmir, and the list includes building an appetite for the much-enticing ‘Wazwan’ and putting up with the pan-Indian “poor time keeping” “Here time keeping is terrible and I tell this to everyone. They pray five times a day. Anyway, this is something that I have come to understand and respect.

“But then there are just so many excuses… one player didn’t make for practice on time because his motor-bike got punctured. Now this thing happened four times in the same month. Yes, for proof he would send me photo of the flat tyre – just that it was the same photo every single time,” he said, barely able to control his laughter.

That said, the players too had their complaints against the coach – what if they tell it in a jocular way.

While veteran midfielder Khalid Qayoom was asked to make an almost impossible sacrifice of the irresistible ‘white-meat balls’ (Gushtaba) for the sake of football, Danish Farooq said the coach, who has little or no knowledge of Hindi language, has somehow picked up Hindi abuses and uses it against them during training.

“Waise woh bol dete hain par unhe matlab kisi ka nahi pata (Yes, he abuses. But he doesn’t know the meaning of any one of them),” said Danish smiling, in his feeble attempt to make up for the damage already done on his part.

But then giving tough competition to the coach’s poor Hindi was one of the local player’s equally – if not more – imperfect English, and senior player Shah Nawaz Bashir cannot help but re-tell one such funny conversation when anyone asks about ‘how’s the communication between coach and players’.

“There is one player – I can’t name – who is not very good with the English language. Once after the match the coach called him and said ‘You dribbled really good. Keep it up for future matches’.

“Now, not able to make head and tail of it, he came to me and asked, ‘Bashir bhai, main sach mein itna bura khela tha? (Brother, did I actually play this bad?),” he said, ensuring this correspondent that he eventually did convey the right meaning.

Last checked, the coach is really working hard on his Hindi. The new words he recently added in the vocabulary includes: Paneer (Cheese) and Alloo (Potato).

Well, till the time it does not spoils the team’s recipe for victory, one doesn’t see anyone complaining, least of all the people from the Valley.







GMC admits: Patients referred to Srinagar attended by juniors

Nisar Dharma



Srinagar, Jan 21: The Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar Monday acknowledged that the patients referred to its associated hospitals in Srinagar are being treated by junior doctors.

A circular by Principal GMC, Dr Samia Rashid said it had come to her notice that “patients referred from various district, sub-district hospitals and peripheries for specialised treatment in Associated hospitals of GMC Srinagar are being attended by Junior Residents without taking advice and consultation from their Registrars and Consultants on emergency duty.”

The circular asked the head of departments and units to ensure that referral patients are only seen by registrars or senior residents on emergency duty.


“The head of the departments and units are also impressed upon to ensure that Consultants on emergency duty…should make periodic rounds on their emergency day and take final evening round in emergency areas. Registrars and other resident staff on emergency duty should note down their advice in respect of patients admitted,” the circular reads.

The GMC Principal, as per the circular, asked the medical superintendents of the associated hospitals to monitor the work of Resident Medical Officers (RMOs) and Casualty Medical Officer (CMOs).

“…check whether they are discharging their duties as per their job profile…take necessary disciplinary action against the RMO/CMO who fails to discharge their assigned duties.”

The GMC circular follows the Thursday’s incident in which a pregnant woman, who was referred from Kupwara to Lal Ded hospital, was forced to deliver her baby on road when the doctor on duty refused to admit her.

The baby delivered in sub-zero temperatures died soon after.

Facing flak, the hospital ordered a probe immediately, which, eventually, concluded: “The doctor with her clinical assessment/USG findings did not anticipate the precipitate delivery in her, although unfortunately the doctor on duty went against the SOP for referrals by not admitting the patient.”


No negligence will be tolerated: Adv Kumar

Jammu, Jan 21: Taking a serious note of alleged mishandling of a pregnant lady from District Kupwara at L. D Hospital, Advisor to Governor, K Vijay Kumar Monday conveyed his sympathies with the affected family and assured a thorough enquiry into the unfortunate incident.

Chairing a high level meeting in this regard attended by Principal Secretary, Health & Medical Education, Atal Dullo; Principal, GMCs of Srinagar and Jammu; Directors of Health Services of Kashmir & Jammu besides Medical Superintendents of several hospitals the Advisor informed that the Governor has instructed that Hospital authorities across the State should strictly adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) in the case of referrals to tertiary care hospitals adding that no negligence in observing these SoPs would be tolerated in future.

He said maintaining high standards of health care delivery to the citizens of the State should be observed at all costs and that the Governor’s Administration is committed to fill in all the existing gaps of manpower, equipment and infrastructure to strengthen the primary healthcare system across the State.

The Advisor sought recommendations to identify the lapses and gaps so that such incidents do not take place in future. He directed the Principal GMC Srinagar and Jammu and Director Health Services Kashmir/ Jammu to identify Nodal Officers who shall solely be responsible for streamlining the referrals from primary and secondary health care institutions to tertiary care hospitals in the State.

He said that directions have been issued as part of the ‘Auditing Mechanism’ that doctor’s prescription shall be inscribed with seal/ stamp mentioning name and credentials of the prescribing and referring doctor so that responsibilities can be fixed in any eventuality.

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‘Bukhari tried to sell PDP for his personal gains’



Srinagar, Jan 21: Refuting that Altaf Bukhari’s name was at any point suggested as an interim president of the party, Vice President Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Abdul Rahman Veeri on Monday said that seeking “self-promotion through illicit, undemocratic and unethical measures” was Bukhari’s sole agenda in PDP.
Veeri, in a statement, said that across the state, party functionaries, workers and activists en-masse support Mehbooba Mufti in her every endeavour to get the state out of the present cycle of violence.
“Every person associated with the PDP has witnessed how amid the tumultuous times Mehbooba Mufti built the party brick by brick and made it a guiding force in Jammu and Kashmir’s political landscape,” Veeri said.
He added that in spite of taking over in very trying circumstances, PDP president ran the government with “integrity and caliber”.
“However, she was back-stabbed by some people especially Altaf Bukhari,” he said.
Veeri said that by giving out his desire to become PDP President, Bukhari had “exposed his real agenda which he initiated within days after Mufti saheb’s death.”
“For that he even made Nagpur Yatra in a bid to seek their blessings for forming the government at the cost of party and state interest. Ever since the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, he tried to grab the party and sell it out for promotion of his personal ambitions,” said Veeri.
The PDP Vice President stated further that every person is now aware that when party President Mehbooba Mufti was standing firm before the government of India, Bukhari even went up to Nagpur to offer his services as an alternative. “Such action of his sabotaged the agenda of alliance and the negotiations Mehbooba Mufti was having with the government of India, demanding implementation of specific points in the agenda of alliance as a precondition for taking over as the Chief Minister of the state,” Veeri said.
The PDP veteran added that even when the government headed by Mehbooba Mufti was formed in April 2016, a clear signal was given to Bukhari as he was dropped from the cabinet. It was later, according to Veeri, on assurances of good conduct from Bukhari that his position was restored.
He said that the ousted leader had no problem with the party till the government was in place and he begun inventing issues soon after the dissolution of assembly.
“Till the dissolution, Bukhari had the hopes of getting the government back. Though, till then, he was behaving like a party man but his one foot was in PDP and his soul and spirit were with all other parties except PDP. He was in contact with the outlaws and even made hectic efforts to instigate rebellion within the party,” Veeri said, adding that soon after dissolution of assembly, Bukhari saw only one way of finishing the PDP and that was by taking over as president and he openly told some party leaders that he wants to take over as a prize for him to stay in the party.
“He had a one point agenda and that was to take over the party and sell it out for promoting his political and other interests. Now exposed, he is openly declaring his ambitions in public,” Veeri said.
He added that people of the state know Mehbooba Mufti as a person with “selfless courage and a desire to ensure betterment in peoples’ lives.”
“It is not Mehbooba Mufti who needs PDP. It is actually the PDP which needs the person of her stature. Her command and sincerity in work is already being praised by one and all, not only in JK but across the country. She has battled against various forces very bravely and the impression she has left on the minds of people is that she is actuated by high sense of fairness and impartiality. Every person associated with the PDP is proud of her leadership and is hopeful that she will lead the people of the state to their permanent prosperity,” said Veeri.

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Dy Mayor assaulted during SMC’s councilors session

Global News Service



Srinagar, Jan 21: Deputy Mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Sheikh Imran was Monday injured when “two corporators” allegedly assaulted him during the councilor session of the corporation.

He was shifted to police hospital for immediate treatment.

A senior police official confirmed the incident and said that a case has been registered and further action taken up.


After being discharged from hospital, Imran addressed a presser alleging that he was attacked by two “RSS and BJP-backed corporators”.

He said assault on him was pre-planned by the “BJP-backed mayor” and hoped that police will take appropriate action in the case.

“I will not bow down by such tactics. I will continue to speak against corruption and injustice,” he said, adding that he was attacked for launching a “tirade against BJP and Hindutva campaigns.” Imran said that he was committed to “kicking out” the BJP from Kashmir.

“From the first day, I urged the administration to look into the issue of BJP, RSS sponsored Mayor but they turned deaf ears to my pleas,” he said.


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