Article 370 is Non Negotiable: Omar Abdullah

Tawqeer Hussain

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah once again reiterated that the state has “conditionally acceded to India” and that “Article 370 is non negotiable and we won’t let anyone rob our rights.”

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Pic Source/Internet

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Pic Source/Internet

Addressing an election rally in Central Kashmir’s Budgam District, the Chief Minister said that his party National Conference will “never give up its demand of reversing the erosions in Article 370 and will keep striving for the restoration of Internal Autonomy in Jammu and Kashmir.”

Without naming BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Abdullah said that those against Article 370 should learn from history.

“Those entities that are desirous of a debate on Article 370 should read history and know that the State of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India based on basic, constitutionally validated conditions that were put in place by Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah” Abdullah, who is also the working president of National Conference said.

Lambasting the PDP, Congress and BJP, he was emphatic that Article 370 is “non negotiable”.

“Let me make it very clear to the BJP, Congress and the PDP that Article 370 is non-negotiable and the only debate one needs to have on Article 370 is about its restoration to its original, pristine form,” the Chief Minister said. “I have said this on the floor of the Assembly, I have said this as the elected Chief Minister of this State and I say so today as a proud citizen of this State who will never allow any political force to rob us of our rights,”he added.

Abdullah accused PDP patron and Chief Ministerial Candidate Mufti Mohammad for supporting the imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Kashmir, and for having worked with governments planning to abrogate Article 370.

“I want to ask Mufti Sahab if he is so concerned about Article 370 today, why was he a major player in successive machinations that were launched to erode Article 370? Was Mufti Sahab not a part of the Cabinets in J&K which signed orders making erosions in Article 370?” the Chief Minister said.

He said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir were aware of Mufti’s role in imposing AFSPA in the state, and unleashing former Governor Jagmohan on Kashmiris.

BJP in both the Lok Sabha and now Assembly elections has spoken of abrogating Article 370. An adverse response, particularly during the first two phases of the ongoing state elections, silenced PM Modi to a point where during a recent election visit to Jammu he did not speak about the article but focused entirely on dynastic politics in the state, in reference to the PDP, NC and the Congress party.

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Gentleman’s game took another star

Tawqeer Hussain

Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes has died aged 25, two days after being struck on the top of the neck by a ball at SCG on Thursday, November 27, 2014.

Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes has died aged 25, two days after being struck on the top of the neck by a ball at SCG on Thursday, November 27, 2014.

New Delhi: West Indian batting great Brian Lara while praying for Phillip Hughes speedy recovery on Wednesday said that “cricket is a dangerous game and there is always an element of risk”, Lara would have never imagined that next morning he would have to hear the news of tragic death of 25 years old Australian cricketer, who was hit by bouncer while paying a tournament match in Sydney cricket ground.

Confirming the death, Australia team doctor Peter Brukner said he never regained consciousness and died in hospital in Sydney.

“It is my sad duty to inform you that a short time ago Phillip Hughes passed away. He never regained consciousness following his injury on Tuesday” Brukner said.

Hughes, 25, was carried off on a stretcher at the Sydney Cricket Ground after a short-pitched delivery struck his head, missing his helmet two days back. He had CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation before being taken to hospital and placed in an induced coma.

“As a cricket community we mourn his loss and extend our deepest sympathies to Phillip’s family and friends at this incredibly sad time” he added.

Today Phillip is no more, the cricket is in deep shock, and so are the admirers of the game. The gentleman’s game has taken yet another blooming star and left an unfulfilled void.

With condolences pouring in from around the world, the cricket once again came in scanner with many questions being raised. Is it safe to face the ball travelling at a speed of over 140kph.

Going through this Gentleman’s game to recall how careers have ended and life vanished when a speeding ball hit any part of the body. Although many survived but others were unlucky like Phillip and lost the race of life.

In 1933, the Australian wicketkeeper Bert Oldfield had his skull fractured when he was hit by a ball from English fast bowler Harold Larwood.

In the 1960s, the then Indian captain Nari Contractor was hit in the head by a ball from West Indian paceman Charlie Griffith. Although, Nari survived after being unconscious for six days but never returned to the game again.

In an another incident, McCosker’s jaw fractured in 1977 Centenary Test after being hit by a speedy delivery by Bob  and 1986 Mike Gatting’s nose was smashed by a Malcolm Marshall special.

In 1975, New Zealander Ewen Chatfield swallowed his tongue and stopped breathing after being hit on the temple by English fast bowler Peter Lever during a Test match.

Just two years ago, South African wicketkeeper Mark Boucher lost the lens, iris and pupil in his left eye after a being hit by a bail that flew back off the top of the wicket.

Although these players were lucky to come out of shock and injury, others were not.

In 1988, 38 years old Indian cricketer Raman Lamba died after being struck in the temple by a cricket ball hit by a Bangladesh batsman.

Similarly, 17 years old Pakistan’s Abdul Aziz was struck on the chest by a ball, collapsed and never regained consciousness. He died on the way to the hospital.

Despite adequate safety equipment used by the cricketers on ground, the fatal incidents have not ended. Hughes death have once again left the alarm bells ringing for the International cricket Council to look into the safety of players.


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US Based Photographer Claims Copyright Infringement by PM Modi


Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Facebook account may land him in copyright trouble after Nepal Born, US based Photographer Bimal Nepal claimed that the Indian PM used his picture without permission on his facebook page without giving him credit. He said this was a copyright infringement.

US based Photographer Bimal Nepal claimed that his photograph was used  on PM Modi's facebook account with his permission.

US based Photographer Bimal Nepal claimed that his photograph was used on PM Modi’s facebook account with his permission.

In an exclusive chat with this reporter, Bimal Nepal claimed that he is in touch with US lawyers and they will soon be sending a notice to the Prime Minister’s Office in India.“I am consulting US lawyers and soon they are going to contact PMO in India,” he said.

Nepal said he will be asking both for compensation and credit from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“This is a huge issue of international misuse of intellectual property and copyright and American professionals and Lawyers will decide on the compensation,” Nepal added.

According to him Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s facebook page has modified the same picture and used it to greet people on Dhanteras .

“Greetings on Dhanteras. May Lord Dhanvantari bless us with prosperity, joy and good health,” the photograph caption reads.

Unhappy with the use of his photograph, Nepal wrote a message on his Facebook page saying he was honored that the Indian Prime minister had used his picture, but was concerned that neither his permission was sought not credit attributed to him.

“I am truly honored that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is using one of my photographs in his Facebook page. My greatest question and concern is – there is no credit for the photographer?! What will happen so called © copyright issue? He did not ask for the permission” Nepal wrote asking suggestions from his acquaintances in India.

Soon after his post, comments starting pouring in from a cross section of of people across the world with most posts blaming PM Modi and his team for the mess. Some even asked Nepal to take strict action for compensation.

“Just because he is PM does not give him the right to take what he has not paid for” commented Facebook user Donatella Lorch.

“This is simply unbelievable–PM of worlds one of the largest democracies uses others photo and doesn’t give credit. Goodluck for justice, it’s time to collect evidences and make ur claim strong;” posted another Facebook user Dinesh Karki

Some people advised Nepal not to pursue the case as it will harm India-Nepal relations.

“Nepal-India relation is really warming up these days so I don’t want you ruining this for all of us. Let it go PM Modi is not making money out of it,” wrote Rhododendron Arboreum.

However Bimal claimed that he clicked the picture at his home in Cambridge Massachusetts, with the help of his daughter, said that it disrespectful to use someones’ property without permission and claimed that all his pictures are protected under US copyright Law.

“No-one can use anyone’s intellectual property/photographs without permission. If they would like to use it for commercial use, then the appropriate compensation should be granted to the owner. For non-profit use, permission sometimes can be given without payment” Nepal posted on his Facebook.

He added that “In both cases you need permission. It is disrespectful to use someone’s property without giving them credit. You can’t publish any photographs without permission, PERIOD. All of my photographs are protected by US copyright law. No one is above the law”.

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Shell-shocked hamlets

Tawqeer Hussain

Those living along the India-Pakistan border find themselves in the crossfire yet again

“Who will take care of us now, why are they killing us?” asked 15-year-old Suman Bhagat, who lost her mother, Pholi, aged 32, and her 68-year-old grandmother Shakuntala Devi when a mortar shell fired from the Pakistani side of the International Border (IB) hit their house on October 7. Four other family members were injured and Suman alone escaped unhurt.

Her village, Chilliyari in Samba district of Jammu division, just 8km from the Line of Control (LoC), bore the brunt of the cross-border shelling from October 1 to 9. Residents moved out of their houses at night, when the shelling intensified, and returned in the morning to assess the damage.

“Our lives have become hell, we move from place to place and spend nights in the open or in temporary shelters despite having homes,” said Sonu Lal.

The shelling has claimed eight lives in all, injured close to 90 and displaced 32,000 people from 113 hamlets in Jammu division, Samba and Kathua districts along the IB.

Meanwhile, at a local school-turned-temporary shelter, Suman is inconsolable while the women around her try to wipe away her tears.

Suman repeatedly cries out, “I want to see my mother, where is my father?” Fearing more shelling, the family has been unable to even bury its dead, locals said.

Besides the loss of life, residents bemoaned their destroyed farms and houses. Many lost their cattle to the cross-border violation. Villages that once bustled with life are now deserted, with only unexploded shells or dead cattle in sight. According to the local pharmacist Mohinder Pal, more than 200 cows and buffaloes have been immobilised by splinter-shell injuries and are dying a slow death in the absence of veterinary care.

“Who will take care of these injured cattle under these circumstances?” he said.

Huddling alongside hundreds of villagers at a temporary shelter, 13-year-old Shanti clutches her school bag — the only belonging she took with her when fleeing. A resident of Chilliyari, the girl who loves to study and write exams is hoping things will soon return to normal.

But 82-year-old Shonal Devi is angry and unwilling to settle for mere hope. “They are striking us again and again, which has made our life hell. We are living under the constant fear of shells or bullets,” said Devi, a resident of Arnia village close to the border. “India should retaliate strongly and teach Pakistan a lesson once and for all,” she added.

Fed up of the ever-present danger, those living near the border want the government to permanently relocate them to safer places.

“We are ready to live as migrants in safer locations,” said Hitanshu Ram, even as an uneasy calm prevailed along the 192km border in Jammu last weekend.

According to widely reported sources, Pakistani forces refused the sweets offered by their Indian counterparts on Eid, a decades-old practice, and resorted to heavy shelling later in the evening on the border outposts in the Samba sector of the Jammu division.

The firing soon intensified and multiple Indian posts were attacked, leading to the largest migration witnessed since the 2003 ceasefire.

Defence minister Arun Jaitley called on Pakistan to stop the “unprovoked” attacks and issued a warning.

The divisional commissioner of Jammu, Shantmanu, said more than 6,000 people were relocated, but other sources put the figure at 18,000.

What next

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah flew to the border areas after Eid prayers and directed the state administration to take all measures to ensure the safety of the people in the affected areas.

Meanwhile, Islamabad summoned India’s deputy high commissioner JP Singh to lodge a strong protest against what it termed “unprovoked firing” from the Indian side.

Even as the firing scaled down on October 10, the people at the temporary camp in Samba are not ready to sigh in relief yet as they expect Pakistan to resume its strikes. A few youngsters braved a visit to Chilliyari village to check if their homes were still intact. “We want to see what has happened to our houses and livestock, after all this is our settlement and we have to live here,” said Sham Lal.

Prakash Kumar another youngster in the group was however anxious to return to the camp: “They (Pakistan) are not trustworthy neighbours, they can hit back anytime.”

(First published in The Hindu )

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Coming up for air

Tawqeer Hussain

An on-ground report from the flood-ravaged towns and villages of Jammu & Kashmir

Underwater: An aerial view of Srinagar from an IAF helicopter

Underwater: An aerial view of Srinagar from an IAF helicopter

“We had just finished dinner, when a local sarpanch rushed to our village to warn us that the water had changed course and had started flowing towards us through a drain. I grabbed my two children and called out to my husband, who was watching television in another room, and we ran out of the house,” says Afroza, 35, now at a shelter in a government school in Dahrun, 15km from the district headquarters of Anantnag. Afroza’s newly constructed home in this south Kashmir village crumbled before her eyes on September 6, even as strong currents took all her worldly belongings and tore through 46 structures, including 18 homes, in the area. Torrential rain that had started on September 3 breached the banks of the Jhelum on September 7, which caused unprecedented flash floods.

With hundreds dead, lakhs stranded and property worth millions destroyed, Afroza’s story is echoed by many across the State. According to official estimates (at the time of going to press), 129 people lost their lives in the Jammu region alone, while over 46 were found dead in the Kashmir valley. As the waters recede, however, the number of rescued — 2.5 lakh and counting — by the Indian Army and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is expected to rise.

No one here has witnessed a natural disaster of this magnitude before. “I’m 72 years old,” says Ghulam Nabi Antoo of Pulwama in south Kashmir, “and I haven’t seen anything like this my entire life. I lost my house… This is divine fury.” Others blame human folly, manmade conflicts with nature and growing encroachments across the region.

South and central Kashmir, where many houses remain submerged even after the rains have let up, are the worst-affected areas. In the south, districts like Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam and parts of Anantnag, where several villages were completely washed away, face the same challenges as Srinagar and Budgam in central Kashmir. With many parts of the capital city Srinagar, and Bemina and Budgam, still under water, authorities expect to find as many as one lakh people stranded in flooded homes. Several tourists and migrant workers are also among those affected.

Back at the school in Dahrun village, even as someone consoles Afroza and offers her a glass of water, her neighbour Haseena feels faint, and it’s Afroza who gets busy sprinkling water on her face. Haseena, who was preparing for her daughter’s wedding when the waters rose, could save nothing but her daughter’s GOLD ornaments. Once revived, she is inconsolable. Dissolving into sobs, she says, “What will I tell my daughters-in-law? What will happen to my daughter’s wedding? Where will we stay after this?” The latter is a growing concern among families at the shelter, as they fear eviction when the school reopens. The families say they will resist any such move by the authorities until all of them are provided with an alternative.

At the moment, however, the loss of property and dreams are not the only concerns of the flood-hit Kashmiris. “We are worried about the well-being of our relatives, who we haven’t been able to contact due to the breakdown in communication,” says Zafar Ahmed, in downtown Srinagar. After seven days of unrelenting rain, the State’s telecommunication system collapsed and remains largely disrupted even now.

“In the age of technological advancement, this breakdown is a failure of the State government, which hasn’t been able to restore it days after the rain relented,” says Qazigund’s Arshid Ahmed, whose brother was in Srinagar to file a job application and is currently untraceable. Some have told him that he might have been in the Rajbagh area, the worst-affected neighbourhood in the city, but he has no way to confirm this.

While Ahmed continues to live in hope, Bragam Doru’s Mohammad Abass Malik is a victim of false hope. Led to believe that his 25-year-old son Rayees was seen walking on the highway, Malik, who had been unable to reach his son on the phone, was shell-shocked when the police arrived with his coffin the next day. Rayees, who was working with a private construction company and living in a rented ACCOMMODATION IN Lasjan, on the outskirts of Srinagar, was apparently washed away while trying to save his certificates. His body floated up three days later.

Not surprisingly, the State government is at the receiving end of rising public ire. Apparently, ministers were spotted in Delhi instead of their flood-hit constituencies. “Where is Omar Abdullah’s government? What has he done for the people? There’s not a single person from the administration on the ground,” alleges Syed Arshid, who travelled to Srinagar from Doru in south Kashmir — mostly on foot, wading through water — in search of his relatives.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah concedes that the government’s initial reaction was slow and scattered: “We too were hit by the floods. For the first 36 hours, we had no government — there was no contact between my ministers and me.”

Despite the reports of stone pelting, locals have been praising the efforts of the defence personnel, who pressed 84 choppers and 300 army units into service, while NDRF brought in 16 units, to rescue people in Srinagar and Bemina. As the floodwater recedes, relief operation by the army and locals is gathering momentum in many parts of south and central Kashmir. People have been collecting daily utility items, including packed food and drinking water, while authorities have started distributing tents and temporary settlement shelters to families whose homes have been completely washed away. In places where construction of shelters is proving difficult due to large-scale damage, public land is being marked out elsewhere. Many who were stranded in houses that were partly underwater — and are, therefore, vulnerable — are also being asked to MOVE OUT. The State government has also announced the first instalment of the compensation, a sum of ₹80,000, to each family.

But even as the people prepare to rebuild their lives, the State machinery is left grappling with the prospect of epidemics. As many as 350 dead cattle from a government-run milk FARM on the Srinagar bypass are now floating in the Jhelum. Carcasses are surfacing elsewhere too. People who’ve lost their homes, their kin, are far too distraught to worry about the outbreak of diseases, making awareness and medical help even more critical.

With a single kameez on her back, now torn and soiled, at the shelter in Darhun village, Haseena only hopes that help from the local authorities and the rest of the country will arrive before disease does.

(The author is a Delhi-based journalist currently on assignment in Srinagar)
(the story was first published

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Indians Protest Against Israel As Killings Continue in Gaza

Tawqeer Hussain

Hundreds of people belonging to different religious and social organizations on Friday peacefully protested outside the Israeli embassy in New Delhi against Israeli aggression and killings in Gaza. The protesters under the banner of Jamaat-i-Islami Hind demanded that Indian Government to close down Israeli embassy in Delhi and ask its ambassador to leave country.

Hundreds of people after Friday prayers protested outside Israel Embassy in New Delhi on Friday, July 18, 2014

Hundreds of people after Friday prayers protested outside Israel Embassy in New Delhi on Friday, July 18, 2014

Gaza is witnessing serious air and ground bombardment from Israeli forces which has resulted in 228 deaths with 48 children below the age of 17 years.Shouting slogans like, Gaza we are with you, down with Israel, Die Die Israel, The protesters demanded immediate intervention of world bodies to stop innocent killings in Gaza.
“Whole world is aware that innocent lives are being bombarded in Gaza by Israel and still they are tight lipped about the issue” said Mohammad Hussain, a protester adding that “Indian Government too is in deep slumber and even they haven’t yet condemned this deadly aggression”.


Meanwhile Israeli Embassy on Aurangzeb Road has been put under tight security cover as protests over Gaza bombings are escalating in India’s capital city. Police in anti-riot gear and with water cannon are ready for any eventuality.

The protesters demanding boycott of lock down of Israel Embassy in New Delhi

The protesters demanded lock down of Israel Embassy in New Delhi

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As Israel offensive in Gaza Continues, Rights groups protest In Delhi

Tawqeer Hussain

With The Israel offeensive in Gaza continues on Eighth day, the death toll reached 227. According to the United Nations who otherwise have remained silent over the Gaza massacre said that most deceased are civilians.

In India various rights groups have been protesting over the Gaza carnage and have been accusing Indian Government led By Narendra Modi for criminal silence. The protesters demand that India should strongly condemn the Israeli attacks on Gaza. The protesters today shouted slogans against Israel and Indian Government outside Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, which is heavily guarded by Delhi Police and Rapid action Force.


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