Briefing April 4-10, 2021

NARBAL

Adil Teli, a Budgam cyclist who holds the record for K2K, a rare feat he achieved in March 2021.

Aiming at breaking the Guinness World Record (GWR) of the fastest K2K(Kashmir to Kanyakumari) journey, Adil Teli, 23, pedalled the nearly 3,600 km journey in just eight days, 1 hour and 37 minutes. He lives in Narbal, in the city periphery.

Adil started from Srinagar on March 22, at 7:30 am and reached his destination on March 30 around 9 am. His last major record was cycling 440-km Srinagar –Leh distance – all hilly and hugely high altitude, in 26.30 hours. GWR is yet to certify the record as Teli is in the process of submitting his evidence. A Nasik resident, Om Mahajan, 17, holds the GWR record of covering K2K in eight days, 7 hours and 38 minutes. He said he cycled on NH-44 20 hours a day despite high temperature and humid conditions. He was accompanied by an 8-member team including a physiotherapist, a nutritionist, a mechanic and a camera crew. Abraq Agro, one of Kashmir’s controlled-atmosphere storage facility sponsored his journey.

After waiting for three months, GWR asked him to go ahead in March. Before that, he had been training in Amritsar by cycling 250 km, thrice a week, for five months.

Now, Velu P, a soldier is on way to Kanyakumari from Kashmir and intends to complete his 4000-km walk in 50 days.

TIRUPATI

File Photo of the Tirumala temple.

The federally administered Jammu and Kashmir will have a replica of Tirumala Tirupati temple. The administration has announced leasing 62 acres (496 kanals and 17 marlas) of government land to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam in Jammu for 40 years. The proposed temple complex will have a centre for pilgrim amenities, a Veda school and a meditation centre apart from offices, residential quarters and parking lots.

The GST collections in Jammu and Kashmir have increased from Rs 4750.60 crores in 2019-20 to Rs.4890.35 crores in 2020-21

NEW DELHI

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a charge sheet against Aijaz Hussain Khawaja, for being in touch with Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Toiba militant Muktiar Ahmed Bhatt alias Ahmed, in 2006 terror funding case.A resident of Baramulla, Khwaja was apprehended with a bag containing 2.05 kg RDX and 49 lakh in cash by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell. ED has already attached Khwaja’s flat in Delhi’s Jangpura area.

ISLAMABAD

The Wagha Crossing Point

A day after indicating the imports from India will start any time soon, Imran Khan-led cabinet has turned down the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) recommendation of getting cotton and sugar across the Redcliff divide. The U-turn, within 24 hours, marked the unpredictability of tense bilateral relations that the nuclear-armed neighbours are trying to manage for peaceful coexistence. Had Khan’s cabinet approved the ECC’s decision, it would have marked the beginning of the resumption of trade between the countries and a possible normalisation of the diplomatic relations, downgraded after the Lok Sabha read down Article 370. In 2020, India’s exports to Pakistan dipped by 76.3% to $283 million while imports plummeted by 96.2% to just $2.5 million. If relations are normalized, the bilateral trade has the potential of reaching up to the US $ 37 billion, according to a 2018 World Bank assessment. Pakistan foreign minister said the cabinet believes that as long as Jammu and Kashmir does not go back to status quo ante (pre-August 5, 2019) status, “normalising relations with India will not be possible”.

BUDGAM

Agha Ruhullah Mehdi

Possibly in one of the most-watched political speeches in recent days, NC’s Shia leader and two-time cabinet minister, Agha Ruhullah publicly talked about his priorities without distancing from the party, he sees as a ‘movement’. He has asked his party to shun silence or trying to fit in the roles that the government of India will locate for them through democratic means. He sees no politics or power worth a try in a situation when the identity of society was taken away with the reading down of Article 370. “Our priority should not be to contest polls but get back what has been snatched from us on August 5, 2019,” he said, insisting the leadership must talk about it. “It is a must to struggle rather than becoming part of the enforced process.” He said Jammu and Kashmir was cheated in 1953, 1977, 1983, 1996 and now in 2019. He said he will not distance from the party but will stay at home if the party participates in the election.

SOPORE

Masarat Kar, one of the NC councillors from Sopore talking to the media before the start of the meeting on May 29, 2021. When they were in the meeting, two of the members and a cop were killed in a militant attack.

In 2018, when father, daughter and son-in-law from Sopore were elected unopposed from a Sopore locality, it was seen as the rise of another family in the power corridors within BJP. Last week, Shamsuddin, the father and Riyaz Peer, his son-in-law, were killed in a militant attack. Abida, that linked the two in relation, survived merely because she ducked the meeting of the Municipal Council Sopore. A cop was also killed in the attack. Incidentally, he was part of the security detail of another councillor, Masarat Kar, for more than three years. The attack, however, did not only expose the security systems but also highlighted how the councillors are being prevented from fighting corruption and how their mandate is being compromised. Incidentally, the day the attack was carried out, councillors of the NC, who form the majority, had come with their heads covered with helmets. They were expecting stone pelting from the people who abused them in the last meeting. However, militants came instead and left with three killings.

SRINAGAR

Dr Farooq Abdullah takes the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

As the Covid-19 returns with possible after mutation, the crisis is getting messy. Dr Farooq Abdullah, the NC veteran and five-time Chief Minister, and State Police Chief and his wife, are indisposed and isolated because of the infection. Dr Abdullah’s infection was detected within days after he took the first vaccine shot.

MUMBAI

Kashmiri beautician Monisa Zargar with Shanaz Gill in Srinagar.

Kashmir beautician, Monisa Zargar is emerging as the new celeb cosmetologist. Reports appearing in media about Ms Zargar suggest that she has been in love with beauty brushes from childhood and would be the sought after expert during marriages. She even did her own makeup on her marriage. It was only after her marriage in 2018 that her husband encouraged her and enrolled her in Delhi for a yearlong course in cosmetology from Lakmé. She runs her own bridal fashion studio. In the past winter, she when Ex-Bigg Boss contestant Shehnaz Gill and rapper Badshah landed in Gulmarg for a video song shoot, Monisa was called for beautifying the Bollywood celebrities in town. This was her first brush on a Bollywood beauty. Earlier, she handled a project with Jigar Saraiya—a popular singer and music director—during her song shoot in Kashmir in November 2020.

BADAMWARI

A view of the stage at Badamwari Srinagar.

Police said they have rounded up 20 youth for the disturbances in Badamwari during a musical event on March 28. Reports said that a few youths requested the singers for a particular number but they refused. It led them to attack the stage and vandalise it.

GENEVA

This possibly could be the costliest Brooch on earth, involving a Kashmir Sapphire

A 1930s brooch that belonged to British aristocrat Maureen Constance Guinness is expected to fetch up to £2.2million in the auction. The diamond piece contains Kashmir sapphires, which are among the rarest coloured gemstones in the world, having been mined in the Himalayan area in the 19th century. It belonged to Maureen, Marchioness Of Dufferin And Ava, who was an Anglo-Irish socialite, member of the Guinness brewing dynasty and along with her blonde sisters Aileen and Oonagh, known as the ‘Golden Guinness Girls’ of 1920s British society. The trio, who had eight husbands between them, were the toast of Dublin and London and their antics were regularly covered by the British tabloids.

The brooch boasts a 55.19ct oval Kashmir sapphire – the largest of its type ever to appear at auction – alongside another of the gemstones weighing 25.97ct. It’s set to sell to the highest bidder at Sotheby’s Geneva on May 11.

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