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‘Working animal of Kashmir’, Zanskari horse is nearing extinction

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Apr 12: Once known as the ‘working animal of Kashmir’, Zanskari horse, a rare species of native Himalayan equines, is nearing extinction, with this breed no more traceable in rural Kashmir.
Zanskari, basically from Kargil in Ladakh region, was a popular domestic animal in Kashmir before ‘90s, used especially for transportation.
These average 120-centimeters tall horses are known for their ability to carry loads at high altitudes even at minus 40 degrees Celsius.
Now, it is among the endangered species of the state due to its indiscriminate cross-breeding with other horses in the last two decades.
As per the data, in 1977, the population of Zanskari horses was estimated to be 15,000–20,000 in India with Kashmir contribution almost 70 per cent to the total.
Researchers at SK University of Agricultural Sciences’ Mountain Research Centre for Sheep and Goat (MRCSG) claim that their number in the state, including in Kargil where this animal would be found in abundance, has reduced to a few hundreds.
DrMuzamil Abdullah, Assistant Professor at MRCSG, claimed that these horses were being rarely spotted in Kashmir.
“Although their current population is not known, but very less pure Zanskari horses are left with us now. This animal was used in Tongas during ‘90s but with advancement in means of transport this breed has somehow went out of our sight,” he said.
“It used to be the most-suitable animal to the climate and topography of our region.”
He said that the valley farmers’ mostly rare ponies, despite them being less efficient compared to Zanksari horses.
“We have witnessed that some new breeds of horses have evolved in the valley. We have Arabian cross-breeds, ponies, mules and Zanskari cross-breeds. No pure Zanskari horse is found in the valley now,” Abdullah said.
He said the state government lacks conservation policy for Zanskari horses in the valley.
“The army has one breeding Centre at Haftchinar area in Srinagar for defense purpose and another one is in Padum in Kargil,” he said.
A research by scientists M.R. Fazili and M.A. Kirmani has cited the growing attacks by wild animals and the decreasing of pastures as the reasons behind the decline in the horse’s population in the valley.
Ghulam Ahmad, a resident of Sopore, said these horses were commonly used for domestic works by farmers.
“The height of Zanskari horse used to be more than a normal horse. In many villages, these horses were used to ferry apple boxes from gardens to the market,” he said.


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Convoy movement by road in JK to continue: MHA

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Feb 17: Movement of paramilitary convoys by road for logistical and operational reasons will continue in Jammu and Kashmir as it is “necessary”, the Home Ministry said Sunday, even though it has increased air support to carry troops to the state.

The statement came after 49 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday when a Jaish suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus, part of a 78 vehicle convoy, in the state’s Pulwama district.

In the wake of reports suggesting that the central government has rejected a proposal to ferry personnel of paramilitary forces from the Jammu-Srinagar sector by chopper, the ministry said it has significantly enhanced air courier services in all sectors to cut travel time of troops.

 

“Movement of convoys by road for logistical and operational reasons has been and will continue to be necessary. This is also the case with the army,” the Home Ministry said.

Reports appeared in a section of the media that air transit facility in the Jammu- Srinagar sector for CRPF troops has not been allowed. This is “untrue”, it said.

“Fact of the matter is, over the last few years, the MHA has significantly enhanced air courier services for CAPFs in all sectors to help troopers cut down on travel time during their journey to and back from home on leave,” it said.

In the Jammu and Kashmir sector, air courier service for transportation of personnel of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPFs) are already in operation for quite some time.

This initially included the Jammu-Srinagar-Jammu sector. Later, at the request of CAPFs in December 2017, the services were extended to the Delhi-Jammu- Srinagar-Jammu-Delhi sector with seven flights a week.

In December 2018, the ministry had approved enhancement of air support by increasing routes and in the Delhi-Jammu-Srinagar-Jammu-Delhi sector, four flights in a week were added to the Srinagar-Jammu-Srinagar sector. “In addition, air support is provided by the Indian Air Force as and when required. Several sorties were run for the CRPF in January 2019,” the ministry said.

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For ‘celebrating’ Pulwama attack: Sedition charges against 4 female students

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Feb 17: Four female paramedical students have been slapped with sedition charges after being suspended from a private institute here for allegedly celebrating the Pulwama attack by posting “anti-national” messages on an instant messaging app, officials said Sunday.

The second-year students of the National Institute of Medical Science (NIMS), Talveen Manzoor, Iqra, Zohra Nazir and Uzma Nazir, were suspended for posting on WhatsApp a picture in which they were purportedly seen celebrating the attack in Kashmir that claimed the lives of 49 CRPF personnel.

The picture soon went viral, prompting the university administration to take action.

 

In the suspension order, the NIMS registrar said, “You have posted an anti-national message on your WhatsApp for celebrating killing of Pulwama attack martyrs. The university will not tolerate and strictly condemns such activities. The act is grave and serious in nature.”

Later, a case was registered against the four students following a complaint by the university administration, a police official said.

The students were booked under IPC sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity) and relevant provisions of the Information Technology (IT) Act. Senior officials are investigating the matter and appropriate action will be taken thereafter, SP (Rural) Harendra Kumar said.

The Aligarh Muslim University has also suspended an undergraduate Kashmiri student for his alleged objectionable tweet in connection with the Pulwama attack.

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PM on Lethpora attack: ‘Fire in my heart too’

Agencies

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New Delhi, Feb 17: The demand for retaliatory action following the suicide attack in Lethpora grew on Sunday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bihar to inaugurate some central projects.

As NDA ally Nitish Kumar called for appropriate response, ally Ram Vilas Paswan said India should take “revenge” for “every drop of blood shed in Pulwama”.

The Prime Minister said he shared the nation’s outrage.

 

“To the people who have gathered here, I would like to say the fire that is raging in your bosoms is in my heart too,” he said.
Forty nine personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force died on Thursday as a suicide bomber of Jaish rammed a car, filled with explosives, into a 78-vehicle convoy.

The resulting explosion had ripped apart one bus and hit another, spreading metal debris and human remains over a 100-metre radius on the national highway.

There have been repeated demands for appropriate action from the shocked nation.

Slain Rajouri CRPF man: Guv announces ex-gratia of Rs 20 lakh

Jammu Feb 17: Governor Satya Pal Malik has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 20 lakh to the next of the kin of CRPF Head Constable, Naseer Ahmed of district Rajouri.
Naseer Ahmad was one of the 49 CRPF troopers killed when a CRPF convoy was attacked by a suicide bomber.
The Governor prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul and expressed sympathy and solidarity with his family members.

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