Internet gag surpasses all previous records in Kashmir

Services restored in Kargil; Cry for restoration of facility goes loud in Kashmir

The ongoing internet gag that started on August 5 this year has surpassed all previous records and is considered as the longest ever internet gag across the country. The internet services on all platforms was suspended on August 5, when the central government repealed the special status of Jammu and Kashmir (Article 370) and bifurcated the erstwhile State in two Union Territories—Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

According to the wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the Valley witnessed internet gag in the year for 240 hours while the ongoing internet suspension continued for 3480 hours now.

The Valley has witnessed frequent internet shutdown in the past. Soon after the situation was deteriorated or authorities had apprehensions of law and order situation, the internet was being suspended in the Valley.

However, it is for the first time that Kashmir witnessed internet gag for 145 days. The government spokesman Rohit Kansal had stated that the services were suspended to curb the provocations from across the Line of Control.

The Lieutenant Governor, Jammu and Kashmir, Girish Chandra Murmu has recently stated that the situation across Kashmir has improved since August 5, adding that internet services will be restored in the Valley soon after the situation improves a bit more.

A top leader from ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also stated that the internet services will be restored in phased manner.

The suspension of internet services sparked protests in the Valley with journalists, YouTubers and businessmen hitting the streets, demanding immediate restoration of internet services.

It has been learnt that the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, who recently chaired a security review meeting of Jammu and Kashmir has also discussed the restoration of internet services in the Valley.

Pertinently, the government has established internet kiosks across Kashmir for students, traders and others at different places. The government has also established a Media Facilitation Centre (MFC) for Valley scribes.

It is worth to mention here that the ongoing internet gag has caused huge losses to the people in Kashmir especially to the students and traders. The traders including the tourism players of the Valley as per KNO suffered unimaginable losses due to the continuous internet suspension across Kashmir. Many of the youth including entrepreneurs, delivery boys and others have lost their jobs, rendering them jobless.

According to the Cellular Operators Association of India, an amalgam of GSM mobile players, the overall telecom industry in Kashmir suffers daily losses of Rs two crore when calling and data services are suspended.

A recent study by International Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), a Delhi-based think-tank, reveals that frequent suspension of internet services has dealt a body blow to Kashmir’s fragile economy resulting in losses worth almost Rs 4000 crores since 2013.

Officials said that it is for the first time that the Valley has been witnessing such a prolonged internet gag. He informed that in the past, the Valley has witnessed internet gag for just 240 hours in the year 2016 when Kashmir witnessed uprising following the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander, Burhan Muzaffar Wani.

Meanwhile, after the gap of 145 days, the government restored mobile internet services in Kargil area of Ladakh Union Territory. The restoration of the services has brought relief among the students, traders and other communities in Kargil. (KNO)

Handwara students demand restoration of internet services

A group of students from Handwara town on north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Wednesday demanded that internet facility to them be provided at ADC office Handwara instead of Deputy Commissioner Office.

“We have to wait for almost a week to get a chance to access internet at the DC’s office. If we have to fill a form or check a mail, how is it possible that we can wait for five or six days,” they told KNS.

The students said they have to travel around 30 kilometres to reach DC Kupwara to access internet ,they said there are few computers installed in the office and they are are not enough.

The students said that they have been crippled for the past more than four months due to the snapping of internet services in Kashmir post abrogation of Article 370 on August 5. “In today’s world when everything is dependent on internet, we have been denied the facility,” they said.

While demanding immediate restoration of internet services in the Valley, the students said, “Till the time internet services are restored fully, we demand that instead of DC’s office, we may be provided the net facility at ADC office in Handwara.”

PM Narendra Modi condoles demise of Nagaland Assembly Speaker

PM Narendra Modi condoles demise of Nagaland Assembly Speaker

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday condoled the death of Nagaland Assembly Speaker Vikho-o Yhoshu, describing him as a diligent leader who was devoted towards development of the state.

Yhoshu (67) died on Monday at a hospital in Mumbai after battling lung cancer for several months.

“Anguished by the demise of the Speaker of Nagaland’s Assembly Vikho-o Yhoshu. He was a diligent leader who devoted his life towards the progress of Nagaland. My thoughts are with his family and supporters in these moments of sadness,” the prime minister wrote on Twitter.

The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) leader was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, and undergoing treatment in Mumbai since then. He is survived by wife and 10 children.

Time for ‘Jammutees’ to enter mainstream.

By:- Akhilesh Dhar

Plethora amount of hue and cry is being raised by many self-styled activists and politicians over the abrogation of Article 370, which deprived minorities of J&K even of their basic fundamental rights. Not only this, Article 370 was some kind of royalty which enriched only the political hegemonist of valley comprising of Obdulla and Mufti family.

But now it is right time for the Jammutees to enter the mainstream politics, especially the Dogra community and the Kashmiri Pandith youth. They often come up with many complaints regarding public concerns. But their political presence is very less or we can say; it not even exist in Jammu. Student politics, is however, at a bay.

In today’s J&K politics, the only visible way is eying forward, not to look back. And policies and implementation must be revisited, revised, and readjusted by politicians and our youth is enough capable to do so by joining mainstream. Gupkar road is neither synonymous to this nor they has a copyright. Youth, here, is credible enough and political literate to become the policy makers in order to meet today’s requirements.

I hope that this younger generation will take this political process forward without playing into anyone’s hands. We, now must take the road to development, that doesn’t goes through Gupkar. (Area where the resident of Abdullah’s is situated)

Writer is from Jammu city he can be contacted on @akhileshdhar1

Usman Khan, who killed two people in an attack near the London Bridge on November 29, was buried in his ancestral village in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

Usman Khan, who killed two people in an attack near the London Bridge on November 29, was buried in his ancestral village in Azad Kashmir on Friday, two reporters in the valley told SAMAA Digital.

The reporter, who wished not to be named, said that Khan was buried in Kajlani village in Kotli district after Asr prayers.

He added that his family declined to speak to the media when they were contacted, saying they had already released a statement.

According to the BBC, his family said they were “saddened and shocked” and they “totally condemn his actions”.

Another reporter told SAMAA Digital that only Khan’s family and relatives attended his funeral prayers.

According to reports in the UK media, Khan was first arrested in 2008 but was released without being charged. He was arrested again in December 2010 and sentenced in 2012 to detention for eight years after he confessed to preparing terrorist acts.

He was released in 2018 and was ordered to wear a GPS tag so the UK police could monitor his movements.

However, the UK officials never said that he was radicalised in Pakistan.

According to the Guardian, Khan was inspired by the ideology of Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. The report said that the London bridge attacker was a “student” and “close friend” of al-Muhajiroun leader Anjem Chaudhry.

Raja Mushtaq Ahmed, a relative of Usman Khan and also a resident of ancestral village, told journalist Secunder Kermani a few days ago that Usman Khan was angry over “western injustices” in the Muslim world.

“He used to say this is injustice… conspiracies are being hatched against Islam,” Ahmed said in the video shared by Kermani. He said that he remembers Usman Khan visiting his village as a teen and they used to discuss religion.

“Muslims are being oppressed. Why did they do injustice to us? He used to ask,” recalled Ahmed. “I used to tell him that it should be stopped but we should make it stop by responding peacefully.”

629 Pakistani girls sold as brides to China.

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Page after page, the names stack up: 629 girls and women from across Pakistan who were sold as brides to Chinese men and taken to China. The list, obtained by The Associated Press, was compiled by Pakistani investigators determined to break up trafficking networks exploiting the country’s poor and vulnerable.

The list gives the most concrete figure yet for the number of women caught up in the trafficking schemes since 2018.

But since the time it was put together in June, investigators’ aggressive drive against the networks has largely ground to a halt. Officials with knowledge of the investigations say that is because of pressure from government officials fearful of hurting Pakistan’s lucrative ties to Beijing.

The biggest case against traffickers has fallen apart. In October, a court in Faisalabad acquitted 31 Chinese nationals charged in connection with trafficking. Several of the women who had initially been interviewed by police refused to testify because they were either threatened or bribed into silence, according to a court official and a police investigator familiar with the case. The two spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared retribution for speaking out.

At the same time, the government has sought to curtail investigations, putting “immense pressure” on officials from the Federal Investigation Agency pursuing trafficking networks, said Saleem Iqbal, a Christian activist who has helped parents rescue several young girls from China and prevented others from being sent there.

“Some (FIA officials) were even transferred,” Iqbal said in an interview. “When we talk to Pakistani rulers, they don’t pay any attention. “

Asked about the complaints, Pakistan’s interior and foreign ministries refused to comment.

Several senior officials familiar with the events said investigations into trafficking have slowed, the investigators are frustrated, and Pakistani media have been pushed to curb their reporting on trafficking. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared reprisals.

“No one is doing anything to help these girls,” one of the officials said. “The whole racket is continuing, and it is growing. Why? Because they know they can get away with it. The authorities won’t follow through, everyone is being pressured to not investigate. Trafficking is increasing now.”

He said he was speaking out “because I have to live with myself. Where is our humanity?”

China’s Foreign Ministry said it was unaware of the list.

“The two governments of China and Pakistan support the formation of happy families between their people on a voluntary basis in keeping with laws and regulations, while at the same time having zero tolerance for and resolutely fighting against any person engaging in illegal cross-border marriage behavior,” the ministry said in a statement faxed Monday to AP’s Beijing bureau.

An AP investigation earlier this year revealed how Pakistan’s Christian minority has become a new target of brokers who pay impoverished parents to marry off their daughters, some of them teenagers, to Chinese husbands who return with them to their homeland. Many of the brides are then isolated and abused or forced into prostitution in China, often contacting home and pleading to be brought back. The AP spoke to police and court officials and more than a dozen brides — some of whom made it back to Pakistan, others who remained trapped in China — as well as remorseful parents, neighbors, relatives and human rights workers.

Christians are targeted because they are one of the poorest communities in Muslim-majority Pakistan. The trafficking rings are made up of Chinese and Pakistani middlemen and include Christian ministers, mostly from small evangelical churches, who get bribes to urge their flock to sell their daughters. Investigators have also turned up at least one Muslim cleric running a marriage bureau from his madrassa, or religious school.

Investigators put together the list of 629 women from Pakistan’s integrated border management system, which digitally records travel documents at the country’s airports. The information includes the brides’ national identity numbers, their Chinese husbands’ names and the dates of their marriages.

All but a handful of the marriages took place in 2018 and up to April 2019. One of the senior officials said it was believed all 629 were sold to grooms by their families.

It is not known how many more women and girls were trafficked since the list was put together. But the official said, “the lucrative trade continues.” He spoke to the AP in an interview conducted hundreds of kilometers from his place of work to protect his identity. “The Chinese and Pakistani brokers make between 4 million and 10 million rupees ($25,000 and $65,000) from the groom, but only about 200,000 rupees ($1,500), is given to the family,” he said.

The official, with years of experience studying human trafficking in Pakistan, said many of the women who spoke to investigators told of forced fertility treatments, physical and sexual abuse and, in some cases, forced prostitution. Although no evidence has emerged, at least one investigation report contains allegations of organs being harvested from some of the women sent to China.

In September, Pakistan’s investigation agency sent a report it labeled “fake Chinese marriages cases” to Prime Minister Imran Khan. The report, a copy of which was attained by the AP, provided details of cases registered against 52 Chinese nationals and 20 of their Pakistani associates in two cities in eastern Punjab province — Faisalabad, Lahore — as well as in the capital Islamabad. The Chinese suspects included the 31 later acquitted in court.

The report said police discovered two illegal marriage bureaus in Lahore, including one operated from an Islamic center and madrassa — the first known report of poor Muslims also being targeted by brokers. The Muslim cleric involved fled police.

After the acquittals, there are other cases before the courts involving arrested Pakistani and at least another 21 Chinese suspects, according to the report sent to the prime minister in September. But the Chinese defendants in the cases were all granted bail and left the country, say activists and a court official.

Activists and human rights workers say Pakistan has sought to keep the trafficking of brides quiet so as not to jeopardize Pakistan’s increasingly close economic relationship with China.

China has been a steadfast ally of Pakistan for decades, particularly in its testy relationship with India. China has provided Islamabad with military assistance, including pre-tested nuclear devices and nuclear-capable missiles.

Today, Pakistan is receiving massive aid under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a global endeavor aimed at reconstituting the Silk Road and linking China to all corners of Asia. Under the $75 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, Beijing has promised Islamabad a sprawling package of infrastructure development, from road construction and power plants to agriculture.

The demand for foreign brides in China is rooted in that country’s population, where there are roughly 34 million more men than women — a result of the one-child policy that ended in 2015 after 35 years, along with an overwhelming preference for boys that led to abortions of girl children and female infanticide.

A report released this month by Human Rights Watch, documenting trafficking in brides from Myanmar to China, said the practice is spreading. It said Pakistan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea and Vietnam have “all have become source countries for a brutal business.”

“One of the things that is very striking about this issue is how fast the list is growing of countries that are known to be source countries in the bride trafficking business,” Heather Barr, the HRW report’s author, told AP.

Omar Warriach, Amnesty International’s campaigns director for South Asia, said Pakistan “must not let its close relationship with China become a reason to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses against its own citizens” — either in abuses of women sold as brides or separation of Pakistani women from husbands from China’s Muslim Uighur population sent to “re-education camps” to turn them away from Islam.

“It is horrifying that women are being treated this way without any concern being shown by the authorities in either country. And it’s shocking that it’s happening on this scale,” he said. (AP)

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Associated Press writers Munir Ahmed and Shahid Aslam in Islamabad contributed to this report.

Additional forces start leaving Kashmir, though slowly.

‘A few Cos that arrived post Aug 5, left Valley on Sunday’

In a significant development, a gradual troop-cut has started in Kashmir with at least four to five companies leaving the Valley, first time after the Centre announced to roll back Article 370 on August 5.

According to the Kashmir News Observer (KNO), at least four to five companies of additional forces which means 4000 to 5000 central armed police force (CAPF) packed their bags and have left from Kashmir in the wake of “improvement in the ground situation.” “ Yes, four to five additional companies of forces have left Kashmir on Sunday. Whether more would leave, there are no clear cut directions,” a top security expert told KNO.

He said that 20 companies of additional forces that were deployed in various parts of Kashmir are likely to be taken out of Kashmir. “Of them, 16 are from BSF and four CRPF.”

The officer said decision about the withdrawal of more companies from Kashmir would be taken in a phased manner, depending on the overall situation on ground zero. The valley has seen unprecedented tension following the scrapping of state’s special status but luckily for the forces it did not boil into massive protests, contrary to the expectations of the government and the reports of intelligence agencies. The situation remains volatile but under control, giving opportunity to the government to de-induct some of the forces.

While the forces faced little challenge on the law and order front, they are facing quite a discomfort due to plummeting mercury. The November has been abnormally cold and some jawans complain their accommodations are not properly equipped with heating arrangements.

The central forces have been working in tandem with the local police to maintain law and order post the abrogation of Article 370. The ratio of central forces in handling law and order was much higher as compared to local police. Majority of the central forces that were inducted in Kashmir were from CRPF.

Sources told Kashmir that as and when situation improves further, more companies would leave Kashmir, even though gradually and in a phased-manner after thorough consultations with the other sister security agencies including Police and the Army. (KNO)

Govt orders transfers, postings in administration.

The Jammu and Kashmir government ordered transfers and postings in the administration.

As per the GAD order,

Mohammad Nazir Sheikh, KAS, Director, Panchayati Raj, J&K, is transferred and posted as Deputy Commissioner, Rajouri.

Yasha Mudgal, Additional Resident Commissioner and ex-officio Secretary, Resident Commission, JK House, New Delhi, is transferred and posted as Managing Director, Jammu Power Distribution Corporation Limited.

Mohammad Aijaz, Deputy Commissioner, Rajouri, is transferred and posted as Managing Director, Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited.

LG Ladakh initiates historical conference of elected representatives of Leh and Kargil in Leh.

LG Ladakh, Shri R K Mathur held a special forum of the elected representatives including Hill Council members, Presidents of Municipal Committees, BDC Chairmen, Sarpanches of Leh and Kargil districts of UT Ladakh at Sindhu Sanskriti Kendra Leh Saturday.

This pioneering conference was the initiative of LG Ladakh to bring together Leh and Kargil on one platform and discuss the developmental issues and aspirations of both the districts. He expressed his gratitude for overwhelming participation in the conference and appreciated the women representatives for raising relevant issues and their suggestions.

The whole purpose of holding such a meeting, he said, is to kick off action on important government decisions at district, block and panchayat levels. More importantly, it was to try and evolve a common and broad vision to thrash out appropriate developmental schemes for Ladakh at a time when scope, funds and society are all set to work towards new Ladakh taking everybody along, added Mathur.

He urged to set aside any feeling about comparison between Leh and Kargil, as government led by PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah is non-discriminatory and focuses purely on the fulfilment of needs of both the districts. He said that they are committed to take every individual of Ladakh along giving them equal opportunity to contribute in the growth of this country as a nation.

Other eminent speakers in the conference were CECs of LAHDC, Leh and Kargil, Gyal P Wangyal and Feroze Ahmed Khan, MP Ladakh Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, Advisor to LG Umang Narula, Commissioner Secretary Ladakh Rigzin Samphel, and Divisional Commissioner Saugat Biswas. Directors and District officers detailed the functions, structure and schemes of various like Rural Development, Education, Health, Agriculture, Industries and commerce, Power departments and others through power-point presentations.

On the whole, the daylong event proved very effective and successful in which representatives from Leh and Kargil highlighted the issues related to health, education, road, communication, power facilities among other developmental vagaries.