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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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Azad on Jharkhand lynching: Keep new India with you, give us old India

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New Delhi, Jun 24: Coming down heavily on the government over recent incidents of lynching and crime in Jharkhand, leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday said the state has become a factory of lynching and violence, “requesting” Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “give us our Old India where there was love, culture.”

“Dalits and Muslims are killed there every week. The PM, we are with you in the fight of ‘Sabka saath sabka vikas’, but it should be there for people to see it. We can’t see it anywhere,” Azad said in Rajya Sabha.

“I request you to keep the New India to yourself and give us our Old India where there was love, culture. Hindus used to feel the pain when Muslims and Dalits used to get hurt. When something used to get into the eyes of Hindus, Muslims and Dalits used to shed tears for them,” he added.

 

“In Old India, there was no hatred, anger or lynching. New India is one where humans are enemies of each other. You won’t be scared of animals in a jungle, but you’ll be scared of humans in a colony. Give us India where Hindus, Muslims,Sikhs and Christians live for each other,” he said.

In yet another lynching incident, a Muslim man was beaten up mercilessly for over 18 hours on the suspicion of theft in Jharkhand’s Kharsawan district on Saturday. The 24-year-old victim, identified as Tabrez Ansari, was attacked by a mob on June 18 and was later handed over to the police. He had been in the judicial custody since June 18 and was taken to a hospital on June 22 after his condition deteriorated. On the same day, Ansari succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

Several videos of the incident emerged on social media show a man hitting Tabrez brutally with a wooden stick while forcing him to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”. The videos of the Jharkhand mob lynching case have gone viral on social networking sites ever since the incident came to the light.

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GoI approves amendments to give more teeth to NIA

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Jun 24: The Union Cabinet is learnt to have approved a proposal to amend two laws to give more teeth to the NIA in probing ‘terror’ cases in India and abroad, sources said Monday.

Separate bills will be introduced in Parliament in the coming days to amend the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, they said.

The amendments will also allow the NIA probe cybercrimes and cases of human trafficking, sources aware of the proposal said.

 

Amendment to Schedule 4 of the UAPA will allow the NIA to designate an individual suspected to have ‘terror links as a terrorist’. As of now, only organisations are designated as ‘terrorist organisations’.

The NIA was set up in 2009 in the wake of the Mumbai attack that had claimed 166 lives.

Since 2017, the Union Home Ministry has been considering the two laws to give more power to the NIA to meet fresh challenges, the sources pointed out.

Another proposal to introduce a bill to extend the facility of proxy voting to overseas Indians could not be taken up Monday.

A similar bill had lapsed following the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha last month.

“The agenda of the Law Ministry stands postponed,” a functionary said.

As of now, overseas Indians are free to cast their votes in constituencies they are registered.

The Bill seeks to give them the option of proxy voting, which is as of now available to service personnel only.

Another proposal to amend the Representation of the People Act related to the spouses of service voters could not be taken up on Monday.

As of now, an armyman’s wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman army officer’s husband is not, according to the provisions in the electoral law.

The bill proposes to replace the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’, thus making the provision gender-neutral. Members of the armed forces, central armed police forces, personnel of state police forces posted outside their state and employees of the Centre posted outside India are eligible to be enrolled as service voters.

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Youths click selfies, walk alongside Leopard in Kishtwar

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Srinagar, Jun 24: Pointing towards the increasing man-animal conflict is J&K, a video that went viral on Monday shows a few youth carelessly walking right alongside a leopard on a tarred road while clicking photos and videos in some mountainous region.

The incident reportedly took place in Chingam area of Kishtwar district. The video shows at least three youth audaciously ambling near the leopard that, surprisingly, isn’t aggressive.

The incident comes to the fore      days after days after two leopards were spotted in residential areas of Budgam and Srinagar.

 

Deputy conservator of forests, wild life division, Kashmir, Rouf Zargar had told The Kashmir Monitor that one female leopard and an adult cub were spotted at Ompora, Budgam.

“They were spotted in the adjacent villages of Budgam and Airport. We are doing our best to trace them. Till the time we catch those, people should refrain from moving out during nights and in the wee hours,” he said.

There has been a spike in man-animal conflict in the last few years with several incidents of attacks by bears and leopards taking place in multiple areas of the valley.

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