Srinagar, Sep 20: Outside the high walls of famed Harwan garden stands a makeshift apiary nestled under a towering mulberry tree.
The air around it rings with the growing buzz, as Mohammad Shaban Kumar, an 80-year-old beekeeper, carefully lifts the lid off the wooden beehive box, giving a live demonstration of his emotional relationship with bees.
With his face covered in a net to shield against stings, Shaban uses his ever-ready yellow screw driver to extract honey from a sticky frame of hexagon-shaped honeycomb.
“I treat them like my children, and in return, they reciprocate my love for them. Normally, the bees used in apiculture sting only in self-defense. If you handle them with care, they don’t attack you.” says Shaban with a smile, allaying the fears of getting stung.
His beekeeping journey dates back to Maharaja’s rule.
“I started bee keeping right in 1957,” the old beekeeper, who never felt like giving up on his passion despite witnessing the brutal stages of conflict, says.
“I have seen the hardest of times. The guns roared and there were days when I earned literally nothing, but I never thought of switching my profession,” he says.
The old man says he sacrificed four lucrative government jobs to live his dream.
“I have worked in an engineering college, fisheries department, wild-life department, and silk-factory. My passion kept on calling me and one day I decided to turn my dream into reality,” says Shaban, who earns around “Rs 2 lakh” annually.
The old beekeeper finds utmost satisfaction in this profession and has been researching and experimenting with the bees over the years.
“There is lot of Barakah (blessings) in this field of work, but it demands lot of hard hard work and patience,” says Shaban, who lives with his wife and four sons.
He maintains around five to six beehive boxes in his apiary. From cooking to cleaning the wet frames inside the boxes, he does everything by himself.
“I make sure the boxes are cleaned properly by spraying sulphuric acid at regular intervals,” the beekeeper says.
He owns three farms and 250 beehives.
Till date, he has employed no helpers and lives alone. His family lives in a big concrete house some kilometers away from the apiary.
He believes that youngsters should explore this field of work instead of running after the “unattainable” government jobs, as this can prove to be a viable career option.
“Why should we only run after government jobs? Apiculture is a growing field and there is a lot of scope in it. The government should also create more avenues for the apiculturists so that more youth are drawn towards it,” Shaban says.
ASI among three cops injured in Rajbagh grenade blast
Srinagar, Jan 17: Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) of police and two traffic cop were injured in a grenade blast near Zero Bridge in Rajbagh area of Srinagar city in Central Kashmir on Thursday afternoon.
Reports said that suspected militants lobbed a grenade on police party near Zero Bridge in Rajbagh.
In the blast, three policemen including an ASI of police and two traffic policemen sustained splinter injuries and were evacuated to SMHS hospital for treatment.
The injured has been identified as Iqbal Singh (ASI of JKAP 14 Bn) and traffic policemen Haris Manzoor (SPO) and Sanullah (Head Constable).
While ASI Iqbal has sustained splinter injuries to both of his legs, Haris suffered an injury to the back side of his neck and Sanullah suffered injuries in his right leg.
SSP Srinagar Imtiaz Ismail Parray confirmed the attack and subsequent injuries to the ASI and two traffic cops.
Soon after the attack, the government forces cordoned off the area and launched a hunt to nab the attackers.
Security forces have launched a massive search operation in Rajbagh and adjoining areas near Zero Bridge after three police personnel including assistant sub-inspector were injured in a grenade attack by the terrorists on Thursday.
Homes and hotels in the area were searched frisking was also carried out. It was the first major terrorist attack in the Srinagar city this year. The injured cops are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Meanwhile Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has claimed responsibly of the grenade attack on the forces’ party at Raj Bagh area of Srinagar.
A JeM spokesperson Muhammad Hassan in a statement claimed that two forces personnel were killed and 6 critically injured in the attack.
An ASI of police and two traffic cops were injured in a grenade blast near Zero Bridge, Raj Bagh in Thursday afternoon.
2018 has been remarkable year for forces: Army commander
Srinagar, Jan 17: A top army commander on Thursday described 2018 as “remarkable year” for government forces, saying that more than 250 militants were killed, 54 others were arrested and four others surrendered in Kashmir Valley.
“The year 2018 has been a remarkable year for armed forces on the security front. As per the record of last ten years, army along with other forces have neutralized many militants. Many militants have surrendered under pressure and many others were arrested alive,” said Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, GoC-in-C Northern Command told reporters after inaugurating Kalai Bridge constructed by Border Roads Organization.
“More than 250 militants were killed, 54 others arrested and four others have surrendered,” he said, adding, “This speaks about the strength of our security establishment,” the officer said.
He said that the army was giving “befitting reply” to Pakistan army along the Line of Control whenever there were instances of any ceasefire violation or snipping.
“As per wireless and other intercepts, Pakistan army and militants suffered a huge loss in our retaliatory action.”
The Kalai Bridge spans over Suran River and connects Kalai area to Chandak area in Poonch district. During the inaugural function, the Army Commander addressed the gathering of Army, GREF and local residents and said that the Kalai bridge is an important milestone towards enhancing the road communication in the area.
“The bridge is an important strategic asset as it enhances the movement of military equipment and troops in a faster time frame,” he said. The Indian Army and BRO have been working towards infrastructure development in the remote and far-flung areas and improving the road connectivity, he said.
“The bridge will reduce traffic congestion in the city and ease out inconvenience caused to the people specially those moving towards Budha Amarnath Shrine in Mandi as it reduces the travelling time considerably.”
The Army Commander appreciated the contribution of the District Administration for their support and cooperation during the construction of the bridge.
Beg to differ: Omar Abdullah
Srinagar, Jan 17: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah on Thursday lashed out at the Northern Command Chief Lt General Ranbir Singh, on his “great year for security forces” remark.
Taking to Twitter, Abdullah wrote, the compulsion of killing militants/terrorists shouldn’t be treated as a cause for celebration.
“I beg to differ, a great year would be one in which no young man would join militancy, no terrorists would be killed & no security personnel would lose their lives in encounters. The compulsion of killing militants/terrorists shouldn’t be treated as a cause for celebration,” Abdullah wrote.
Abdullah was reacting to a statement by Gen Singh on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Kalai bridge in Poonch district. Gen Singh said 2018 had been a great year for the security forces as they had managed to kill 250 terrorists.
Heartening to meet Kashmiri students in Bangladesh: Shahid Afridi
Srinagar, Jan 17: Star Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi on Thursday met Kashmiri students in Bangladesh and interacted with them.
Afridi said that it was heartening to see Kashmiri students in Bangladesh who are studying medicine.“Heartening meeting with some Kashmiri students who are in Bangladesh on scholarship, studying Medicine. Keep up the hard work and making your people proud!,” he tweeted.
Afridi in the past has been in controversies over Kashmiri over his support to the Kashmir cause. He has been vocal about letting the people of Kashmir decide their future.