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Jammu & Kashmir Lifestyle Lite Blogs

Nestled in Kashmir’s Splendour

Radisson Collection Hotel & Spa, Riverfront Srinagar, the largest hotel in the Jammu and Kashmir region, offers 212 spacious and well-defined rooms across categories, including premium, executive, executive, executive, and presidential…reports Asian Lite News

Radisson Hotel Group announces the grand debut of its luxury lifestyle brand, Radisson Collection in India with the opening of Radisson Collection Hotel & Spa, Riverfront Srinagar.

Nestled on the banks of River Jhelum, the hotel derives its design inspiration from Kashmir’s heritage, culture, and art. The hotel exudes the true spirit of Kashmir, combining landmark architecture, elegant interiors, exceptional gastronomic and cultural experiences, personalized service, and luxurious amenities.

Strategically located, the hotel enjoys proximity to major tourist attractions such as Dal Lake, Mughal Gardens, Tulip Garden, Shalimar Garden, Cheshmashahi Garden, Pari Mahal, Shankaracharya Temple, historic Lal Chowk, and Downtown Srinagar. It can be easily reached by car or taxi from Srinagar International Airport and the local bus and train stations.

“We are proud to introduce the first Radisson Collection hotel in India, located in the enchanting city of Srinagar. With an impressive scale of 212 rooms, the largest in the Jammu and Kashmir region, Radisson Collection Hotel & Spa, Riverfront Srinagar, promises an unparalleled experience for our guests. With this debut, we are looking forward to many such opportunities to collaborate with the right partners and build a unique collection of iconic properties under the Radisson Collection brand in the country,” says Nikhil Sharma, Managing Director and Area Senior Vice President (ASVP), South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group

Radisson Collection Hotel & Spa, Riverfront Srinagar, the largest hotel in the Jammu and Kashmir region, offers 212 spacious and well-defined rooms across categories, including premium, executive, executive, executive, and presidential. Corners of the hotel take inspiration from Kashmir’s authentic motifs and iconic geometrical star patterned ‘jali’ – a traditional lattice or screen typically found in Kashmiri architecture, renowned for its complex craftsmanship and decorative appeal. These designs are complemented by artworks depicting the intricate embroidery process of Kashmiri shawls and carpets. 

The hotel offers an exceptional culinary journey, blending diverse cuisines within a fusion of contemporary and traditional architecture. Firdaus, one of its two F&B outlets, presents Kashmiri Wazwaan – a traditional multi-course meal known for its elaborate preparation, and local specialties, prepared using age-old Kashmiri cooking techniques. The traditionally adorned interiors evoke Kashmiri culture, seamlessly merging the past with the present through regional culinary specialities.

Sapphire Lounge, a modern tea and coffee lounge, offers French pastries, cakes, and a variety of teas in an elegant ambiance. Guests can indulge in aromatic coffee and French delights while enjoying lush green lawns. The lounge also serves Kashmiri Kahwa, Noon Tea, and a selection of Kashmiri breads. Additionally, Mehfil, an elegant bar space, offers a curated selection of premium spirits within a sophisticated setting highlighted by transparent glass walls and colourful leather furniture, reminiscent of a cozy residential living room. 

The hotel also features Mumtaz, one of the largest pillar-less banquet halls in the Kashmir valley spanning across an area of 5,000 sq. ft. Its walls are donned with diverse Kashmiri art forms such as ‘Mehrab’ – a design usually adorned with intricate geometric patterns, calligraphy, and sometimes floral motifs. Surrounded partially by majestic Chinar trees, and the charming colonial architecture of Srinagar city, the Mumtaz Lawns provide an idyllic backdrop, creating unforgettable moments for weddings and corporate gatherings. For smaller meetings, Zewar makes for the perfect venue.


“We are thrilled to partner with Radisson Hotel Group as we proudly unveil the first Radisson Collection in India – Radisson Collection Hotel & Spa, Riverfront Srinagar, reaffirming our belief in the Group. Our partnership reflects our unwavering commitment to providing exceptional luxury experiences. Together, we intend to redefine the very essence of grandeur, contribute to the local growth of the hotel sector, and set new industry standards,” says Wasim Chaya & Naseem Chaya – Managing Directors of Mushtaq Group of Hotels. 

Additionally, guests can explore the Artisan Shop that houses local, artisanal products within the hotel premises and partake in expert-led experiences unveiling the region’s rich heritage and adventures. They can also enjoy handpicked treatments focused on the four pillars of beauty, regeneration, balance, and detox, at the in-house L’Occitane Spa designed with a blend of traditional and contemporary elements.

ALSO READ-The Spectre of Jamaat E Islami in Kashmir

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Columns India News Jammu & Kashmir

The Spectre of Jamaat E Islami in Kashmir

The Jamaat’s tendency to define religion in distorted political contexts is the primary reason that youth have fallen prey to its propaganda, only to regret their decisions decades later, writes Dr. Shujaat Ali Quadri

The Ministry of Home extended the ban on Jamaat e Islami by five years. This was in recognition of the fact that that organization is synonymous with terrorism in Kashmir. The Jamaat was banned in 2019 as the government prepared its groundwork for abrogation of Article 370.

The Jamaat e Islami Kashmir was established in the early 1950s and over the decades the organization charted its own ideological path contrary to its parent organization that relocated to Pakistan. In doing so the Jamaat e Islami of Kashmir contradicted the principles of its parent body. Like any organization founded on long term institutional vision, the Jamat E Islami kashmir targeted the youth and middle classes through mass education campaigns.

Compared to Kashmir’s sufi establishment, the Jamaat’s missionary zeal empowered it to reach all corners of the valley in the name of establishing an Islamic society.

In 1960s and 1970s, when the then Congress leadership’s micromanaging of Kashmir affairs and the arrest of Sheikh Abdullah created a permanent leadership vacuum in the valley, the Jamaat got entrenched in Kashmir’s society and governmental apparatus.

Influenced by the upheavals in the Islamic world in the latter years of the Cold War, the Jamaat played a key role in the creation of Muslim United Front that contested the infamous elections of 1987. It is an open truth that elections were rigged by the Congress leadership and were followed by the beginning of armed insurgency by MUF Cadre. Later, an MUF leader Syed Salahuddin established the Hizb ul Mujahideen which eventually emerged as the most powerful militant outfit in the valley as it extensively drew from the Jamaat cadre.

Within the first few years of the insurgency, it became clear that armed violence was inadequate for the Jamaat to achieve its aims and its leaders founded another outfit, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference that carried the radical agenda with more sophistication.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani

Ideologues like Syed AIi Shah Geelani, who wrote extensively on the need for an Islamist society, simultaneously advocated Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan. In his book “Nava-e-Hurriyat”, he presented a wrong interpretation of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India. Geelani justified Pakistan’s invasion of Kashmir in 1947, terming it as a war of liberation. Geelani even led prayers for Osama bin Laden after he was killed by American forces in Pakistan. For decades, he remained the face of radical politics Kashmir, bringing the daily life in Kashmir to a standstill whenever he wished.

Students head for school as winter vacation end in Baramulla of Jammu and Kashmir. (Photo: IANS)

To conclude, in these three decades since the onset of insurgency, the Islamist agenda seeped so deep into the Kashmiri politics that it became synonymous with Kashmir’s body politic till the government finally decided to ban the Jamaat e Islami in 2019. In fact, it is not just Kashmir but the entire subcontinent that has suffered at the hands of the Jamaat. The Jamaat’s tendency to define religion in distorted political contexts is the primary reason that youth have fallen prey to its propaganda, only to regret their decisions decades later. Firstly, the Jamaat ideology alienates the muslim youth from their local Sufi traditions and instilled hatred against Sufism, and finally it antagonizes them to a point of no return.

(The Author is the Chairman of the Muslim Students Organisation of India)

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India News

In Kashmir, PM hits out at Congress and its allies

This was the first visit of Modi to Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 by his government in 2019…reports Asian Lite News

Noting that Jammu and Kashmir is touching new heights of development and is breathing freely today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that freedom from restrictions has come after the abrogation of Article 370 which was being used by some political families for their benefit.

Addressing ‘Viksit Bharat Viksit Jammu Kashmir’ programme in Srinagar, the Prime Minister said the region is breaking all tourism records.

This was the first visit of Modi to Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 by his government in 2019.   

He said that Congress and its partners had for decades misled the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the country over Article 370 and people have come to know the truth.

“Today Jammu and Kashmir is touching new heights of development because Jammu and Kashmir is breathing freely today. This freedom from restrictions has come after the abrogation of Article 370,” he said.

“For decades, for political gains, Congress and its allies misled the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the name of 370 and misled the country. Did Jammu and Kashmir benefit from Article 370 or were only a few political families taking advantage of it? The people of Jammu and Kashmir have come to know the truth that they were misled. Jammu and Kashmir was kept in chains for the benefit of a few families. Today there is no Article 370, hence the talent of the youth of J&K is being fully respected and they are getting new opportunities. Today there are equal rights and equal opportunities for everyone here,” he added.

He said the abrogation of Article 370 has led to the respect of youth’s talent and equal rights and equal opportunities for everyone.

He spoke about the refugees from Pakistan, the Valmiki community and sanitation workers getting voting rights, fulfilling the demand of the Valmiki community for the SC category, reservation of seats in the assembly for Scheduled Tribes and eligibility of several communities for reservation benefit.

Modi said he would not leave any stone unturned to repay the debt of affection of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Whenever I came here after 2014, I have always said that I am working hard only to win your hearts… I am doing all this hard work to win your hearts and I believe that I am on the right path. I will keep trying hard…This is Modi ki guarantee and you know that ‘Modi ki guarantee’ means, there is a guarantee of fulfilling the guarantee,” Modi said.

The Modi government abrogated Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, soon after returning to power in 2019. The state was bifurcated into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

In his speech, Modi accused some families of using the resources of Jammu and Kashmir for their benefit. “J-K has been a huge victim of ‘Parivarvad’ and corruption. The previous governments here had left no stone unturned to destroy our J-K Bank, by filling the bank with their relatives and nephews, these ‘Parivarvadis’ have ruined the bank. Due to mismanagement, the bank had incurred so much loss that all of you were in danger of losing thousands of crores of rupees…” Modi said.

The Prime Minister said he has treated the people of Jammu and Kashmir as his family. He greeted people on Ramadan and Shivratri.

“The people of my family stay in my heart, and ‘Main hoon Modi ka Pariwar’ is in the hearts of Kashmiris. I promise that the development works in J-K will not stop at any cost. In the next few days, Ramazan is going to begin. I want to extend my best wishes to the people of the country for Ramazan…Tomorrow, we will celebrate Maha Shivratri, I extend my best wishes to the people of the country for Maha Shivratri as well…” the PM said.

Modi also referred to blooming of lotus in lakes of Jammu and Kashmir and noted that the flower is the symbol of the BJP.

“In the future, the success story of Jammu and Kashmir will be the centre of attraction for the world…Lotus are seen everywhere in the lakes here. The logo of the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association formed 50 years ago, also has a lotus. Is it a coincidence or a sign of nature that the BJP’s symbol is also a lotus and Jammu and Kashmir has a deep connection with the lotus,” he said.   (ANI)

Modi launches Rs 5,000 cr project in J&K

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday inaugurated initiatives worth nearly Rs 5,000 crore for boosting the agri-economy in Jammu and Kashmir. during his maiden visit to the Valley since the abrogation of Article 370 by his government.

He dedicated to the nation the about Rs 5000 crore worth ‘Holistic Agriculture Development Programme’ (HADP)- for boosting agri-economy in Jammu and Kashmir.

HADP is an integrated program encompassing the full spectrum of activities in the three major domains of agri-economy viz Horticulture, Agriculture and Livestock husbandry in Jammu and Kashmir.

The programme is expected to equip about 2.5 lakh farmers with skill development via dedicated Daksh Kisan portal. Under the programme, about 2000 Kisan Khidmat Ghars will be established and robust value chains will be put in place for the welfare of the farming community.

The programme will lead to employment generation benefiting lakhs of marginal families in Jammu and Kashmir.

He also launched nationwide projects worth more than Rs 1,400 crore related to the tourism sector under the “Swadesh Darshan” and “PRASHAD” (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation And Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive) schemes. These include a project for the integrated development of the Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar.

In an effort to create world-class infrastructure and amenities for pilgrims and tourists visiting the Hazratbal Shrine, and to enhance their holistic spiritual experience, the project ‘Integrated Development of Hazratbal Shrine’ has been executed.

Modi launched the “Dekho Apna Desh People’s Choice Tourist Destination Poll” and the “Chalo India Global Diaspora” campaign as well, besides announcing tourist destinations selected under the Challenge-Based Destination Development (CBDD) scheme.

ALSO READ-Modi’s Visit Promises Healing Touch for Naya Kashmir

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It’s raining projects ahead of polls

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has opened or laid foundation stones for works amounting to over Rs 10.5 lakh crore and more announcements are on the anvil…reports Asian Lite News

The BJP-led NDA government appears to be in a tearing hurry to launch projects ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. In the last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has opened or laid foundation stones for works amounting to over Rs 10.5 lakh crore.

Modi will be visiting visiting Jammu to launch multiple development projects, including for education, railway, aviation, and road sectors, worth over Rs 32,000 crore.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the projects relate to several sectors, including health, education, rail, road, aviation, petroleum, and civic infrastructure, among others.

During the programme, the Prime Minister will distribute appointment orders to about 1500 new government recruits of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Prime Minister will also interact with beneficiaries of various government schemes as part of the ‘Viksit Bharat Viksit Jammu’ programme.

Rs 13,375 crore education projects

In a significant step towards upgrading and developing education and skilling infrastructure across the country, the Prime Minister will inaugurate, dedicate to the nation, and lay the foundation stone of several projects worth about Rs 13,375 crore.

The Prime Minister will dedicate to the nation the permanent campus of IIT Bhilai, IIT Tirupati, IISER Tirupati, IIITDM Kurnool; the academic and residential complex in IIT Patna and IIT Ropar; two permanent campuses of Central Sanskrit University – at Devprayag (Uttarakhand) and at Agartala (Tripura).

The Prime Minister will inaugurate the permanent campuses of IIM Visakhapatnam, IIM Jammu, and IIM Bodh Gaya. He will also inaugurate the Indian Institute of Skills (IIS) – a pioneering skill training institute on advanced technologies in Kanpur.

The Prime Minister will also inaugurate and dedicate to nation-improved infrastructure like hostels, academic blocs, administrative buildings, libraries, auditoriums, etc in multiple higher educational institutes across the country, like IIT Jammu, NIT Delhi, IIT Kharagpur, NIT Durgapur, IISER Behrampur, NIT Arunachal Pradesh, IIIT Lucknow, IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, and the Central University of Kerala Kasaragod, among others.

The Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone for multiple projects for upgrading the infrastructure in several higher educational institutes across the country. These projects include construction of the permanent campus of Sindhu Central University and IIIT Raichur; construction of academic block, hostel, faculty quarter etc. in IIT Bombay; the construction of Hostel and Staff quarters in IIT Gandhinagar, construction of Girls hostel in BHU, among others.

PM Modi will inaugurate the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Vijaypur (Samba), Jammu. The institute, whose foundational stone was also laid by the Prime Minister in February 2019, is being established under the Central sector scheme Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana.

New airport

The Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone for a new terminal building at Jammu Airport. To be spread over 40,000 sqm area, the new terminal building will be equipped with modern facilities catering to about 2000 passengers during peak hours.

The new terminal building will be environment friendly and will be built such that it showcases the local culture of the region. It will strengthen air connectivity, boost tourism and trade, and accelerate the economic growth of the region.

Prime Minister will dedicate to the nation various rail projects in Jammu and Kashmir including the new rail line between Banihal-Khari-Sumber-Sangaldan (48 Km) and the newly electrified Baramulla-Sringar-Banihal-Sangaldan section (185.66 Km). Prime Minister will also flag off the first Electric Train in the valley and also train service between Sangaldan station & Baramulla station.

Rs 677 crore petrol depot

Prime Minister will also lay the foundation stone for a project to develop CUF (Common User Facility) Petroleum depot at Jammu. The state of art fully automated depot which will be developed at a cost of about Rs 677 crore, will have storage capacity of about 100000 KL for storing Motor Spirit (MS), High Speed Diesel (HSD), Superior Kerosene Oil (SKO), Aviation Turbine fuel (ATF), Ethanol, Bio diesel and winter grade HSD.

Rs 3150 crore infra push

Prime Minister will also inaugurate and lay the foundation stone of several development projects worth more than Rs 3150 crore for strengthening the civic infrastructure and provisioning of public facilities across Jammu and Kashmir.

The projects to be inaugurated by Prime Minister include, Road projects and Bridges; Grid Stations, receiving stations transmission line Projects; Common Effluent Treatment Plants and Sewage Treatment Plants; Several Degree College buildings; Intelligent Traffic Management system in Srinagar city; Modern Narwal Fruit Mandi; Drug Testing Laboratory at Kathua; and Transit accommodation – 224 flats at Ganderbal and Kupwara. The projects whose foundation stone will be laid include the development of five new industrial estates across Jammu and Kashmir; Data Centre/ Disaster Recovery Centre for Integrated Command and Control Centre of Jammu Smart City; Up-gradation of Transport Nagar at Parimpora Srinagar; Up-gradation of 62 road projects and 42 bridges and project for development of transit accommodation – 2816 flats at nine locations in districts Anantnag, Kulgam, Kupwara, Shopian and Pulwama, among others. (ANI)

ALSO READ-Modi’s Second Republic

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India News Jammu & Kashmir

India Bans Faction of Muslim League Jammu Kashmir

The MHA issued a notification declaring that the Muslim League Jammu Kashmir (Masarat Alam faction), referred to as the MLJK-MA, chaired by Masarat Alam Bhat, is known for its anti-India and pro-Pakistan propaganda…reports Asian Lite News

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday declared the ‘Muslim League Jammu Kashmir (Masarat Alam faction)’ MLJK-M as an ‘Unlawful Association’ under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act with immediate effect for the next five years, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah saying that “anyone acting against the unity, sovereignty, and integrity of our nation will not be spared and face the full wrath of the law”.

The MHA issued a notification declaring that the Muslim League Jammu Kashmir (Masarat Alam faction), referred to as the MLJK-MA, chaired by Masarat Alam Bhat, is known for its anti-India and pro-Pakistan propaganda.

The Ministry’s action against the group followed input that “the objectives of MLJK-MA are to get freedom of Jammu and Kashmir from India so as to realise the merger of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan and establish Islamic rule in Jammu and Kashmir.”

“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967), the Central Government hereby declares the Muslim League Jammu Kashmir (Masarat Alam faction) as an unlawful association with immediate effect for a period of five years,” reads the notification.

Soon after the notification was issued, the Home Minister took to ‘X’, formerly Twitter, mentioning that “the ‘Muslim League Jammu Kashmir (Masarat Alam faction)’/MLJK-MA is declared as an ‘Unlawful Association’ under UAPA.”

“This organization and its members are involved in anti-national and secessionist activities in J&K supporting terrorist activities and inciting people to establish Islamic rule in J&K. The PM @narendramodi government’s message is loud and clear that anyone acting against the unity, sovereignty, and integrity of our nation will not be spared and face the full wrath of the law,” Amit Shah posted on ‘X’.

As per the MHA notification, the members of the MLJK-MA have been indulging in the secessionist activities in the Jammu and Kashmir, and the leaders and members of the group have been involved in raising funds through various sources including Pakistan and its proxy organisations for perpetrating unlawful activities, including supporting terrorist activities, sustained stone-pelting on Security Forces in Jammu and Kashmir.

The notification points that the MLJK-MA and its members by their activities show sheer disrespect towards the constitutional authority and constitutional set up of the country; and its leaders and members, particularly its Chairman Masarat Alam Bhat, have been indulging in unlawful activities, which are prejudicial to the integrity, sovereignty, security and communal harmony of the country.

The MHA said there had been a number of inputs showing linkages of the MLJK-MA with banned terrorist organisations; as well as the MLJK-MA and its members have been involved in supporting terrorist activities with an intent to create a reign of terror in the country, thereby endangering the security and public order of the state, and its anti-national activities also show disrespect and disregard to the constitutional authority and sovereignty of the state, hence an immediate and prompt action is required against the organisation.

“The Central government is of the opinion that if there is no immediate curb or control of unlawful activities of the Muslim League Jammu Kashmir (Masarat Alam faction), it will use this opportunity to continue with the anti-national activities which are detrimental to the territorial integrity, security and sovereignty of the country; continue advocating the secession of Jammu and Kashmir from the Union of India while disputing its accession to the Union of India; and

continue propagating false narratives and anti-national sentiments among the people of Jammu and Kashmir with the intention to cause disaffection against India and disrupt public order,” mentions the notification.

Noting these reasons, the notification says, the Central government is firmly of the opinion that having regard to the activities of the Muslim League Jammu Kashmir (Masarat Alam faction), it is necessary to declare the Muslim League Jammu Kashmir (Masarat Alam faction) as an ‘unlawful association’ with immediate effect. (ANI)

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Legends League Promises Thrills with Superstar Lineup

Cricket fans in Jammu will see superstars like Kevin Pietersen, Harbhajan Singh, Finch and others….reports Asian Lite News

International cricket will arrive in J&K’s Jammu city as international superstars will play here on Monday.

The Legend League cricket will be played here on Monday between Harbhajan Singh-led Manipal Tigers and the Southern Superstars, led by Aaron Finch.

Cricket fans in Jammu will see superstars like Kevin Pietersen, Harbhajan Singh, Finch and others.

The match will be played under floodlights at the Maulana Azad stadium in the city.

The last international cricket match was played here on December 19, 1988 between India and New Zealand.

Heightened security arrangements have been made for the matches to be held on November 27, November 29, November 30, and December 1 here.

The teams have arrived here on Sunday. Maulana Azad stadium has 20,000 capacity and sources said all the tickets have been sold out.

The first match between Manipal Tigers and Southern Superstars will be played on Monday at 7 p.m.

Second match will be played on November 29 between Bhilwara Kings and Southern Superstars, the third match on November 30 between India Capitals and Gujarat Giants and the fourth match on December 1 between Bhilwara Kings and Urban Risers Hyderabad.

The 22-day long Legends League is being played from November 18 to December 9 in which six teams will contest for the title.

On Monday, in the Harbhajan Singh led Manipal Tigers and Finch captained Southern Superstars, cricketers like Mohammad Kaif, Abdul Razzaq, Robin Uthappa and others will be seen playing in Jammu.

In the second match, Bhilwara Kings captained by Irfan Pathan and Southern Super Stars players Yusuf Pathan, Shane Watson, and Tillakaratne Dilshan will be playing on November 29 and on November 30, Gautam Gambhir-led India Capitals will face Parthiv Patel-led Gujarat Giants and will see stalwarts like Chris Gayle, S Sreesanth, Hashim Amla, Pietersen, Munaf Patel, and Abhimantyu Mithun.

In Jammu, the last match will be played on December 1 at 3 pm between Irfan Pathan-led Bhilwara Kings and Suresh Raina-led Urban Risers Hyderabad. This year’s LLC season is being played across five cities in India including Jammu, Ranchi, Dehradun, Vizag, and Surat.

Legends League Cricket, co-Founder and CEO, Raman Raheja in a communique said: “I am delighted to say that Legends League Cricket is spreading its wings to the city of Jammu for the upcoming season. This move to Jammu is our commitment to take cricket to every corner of the nation, and it is special for us as the city will witness a tournament like this for the first time. Security arrangements include deployment of police commandos and sharp shooters at vantage points to secure the Stadium”.

ALSO READ: Spin Maestro Ashwin Tips Hat to Oz Brilliance

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KASHMIRI WOMEN: Breaking Barriers for Social and Financial Independence

It was quite unlikely for women in Kashmir a few years ago to stand up to patriarchy and start their own businesses. Social media and different government schemes played a crucial role in the transformation …writes Dr Sakariya Kareem  

Women in Kashmir appear to have made significant progress in achieving social and financial empowerment as they are overcoming barriers and creating employment opportunities. Now they are involved in activities ranging from manufacturing to selling local products to working in factories to becoming entrepreneur. Revocation of the Article 370 of the Indian constitution four years ago seems to have had a positive impact of the people of Kashmir. It even led to a decline in Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir. Now there is peace and Kashmiris are living normal life. They are getting well-aligned with the national life and governance, allowing them to reap benefits of the impressive economic growth India is recording.  

Women in Baramulla district which once was infested with Pakistan-backed militant activities now have started jam-making business. Humaira Mohideen represents the story of the resilience and determination of Kashmiri women, who have turned a traditional jam-making process into a brand. “This initiative has given us a chance to support our families and contribute to the local economy. It feels amazing to have a source of income that we can proudly call our own,” she said.   It was quite unlikely for women in Kashmir a few years ago to stand up to patriarchy and start their own businesses. Social media and different government schemes played a crucial role in the transformation.  

Ruhi Jan is among 30 women who travel by bus to work in the Pashmina shawl manufacturing factory. “For ages, women spinners in Kashmir have been used to working from home. It impacted their efficiency, output and earnings. (Factory) is now providing them with safe working environment and better wages,” she said.   Srinagar resident Nava Shah took inspiration from social media to start her pickle business, which gets 70 percent of orders through Instagram. Now she has expansion plans. “We will go into retail business. This will also help us to provide an employment opportunity to Kashmiris who are well qualified but jobless,” she said.               

Kashmir’s Handicrafts and Handloom Department has established a training centre to learn copperware. These women are even provided with a monthly stipend of INR 1,000. Tahmeena Manzoor, a trainee, said “For many of us, this amount means a lot. It is something we don’t have to ask for. It ensures our self-reliance and we see this as our first step towards financial independence and empowerment.”

Now there are women entrepreneurs in Kashmir, who are trying their hands at retail shopping, handicrafts, agriculture, and hospitality, among others. Farzana Gulzar, an associate professor at the University of Kashmir’s Management Studies, said Kashmiri women seek to become financially independent and thus come up with innovative ideas in order to become entrepreneurs. “The women in business trend is on the incline in Kashmir. For centuries, women have battled a stereotype that involves staying home to cook, clean and care for the family. However, a new generation of young female entrepreneurs are overcoming all the challenges,” Gulzar said.  

The government of India is building a women entrepreneur ecosystem to connect, collaborate, and invent for scaling up businesses and building a strong women workforce. Dilshada Bano from North Kashmir received financial assistance under a government scheme named Jammu & Kashmir State Rural Livelihood Mission (JKSRLM). This helped her set up a milk processing unit. Mahmoona Akthar started a mushroom farm with the help JKSRLM after her husband died in an accident. “I decided to stand on my own feet and do something for my family,” she said.       Two Kashmir women raised funding of INR 5 million and INR 2.5 million at an event that was held in collaboration with the New Delhi government. Rahul Narvekar, CEO of start-up platform The India Network, said Kashmiri entrepreneurships’ passion to achieve their goals was inspiring. ”I am truly impressed by the remarkable energy and unwavering determination exhibited by these women entrepreneurs,” he said.   During its recent presidency of G20, the government attempted to open up opportunities for employment and livelihood generation by showcasing millet delicacies and products like handicrafts and pottery to foreign guests. According to the government, the aim was to give exposure to international standards to the Self-Help Group (SHG) women and reinforce the spirit of strength & resilience.

Despite the history of terrorism-led violence and limited access to basic facilities, Kashmiri women have shown remarkable resilience and courage in overcoming the obstacles to their empowerment, said local political activist Safina Baig.  

ALSO READ-‘The Winter Within’ : Unspoken Realities of Kashmir


 

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‘The Winter Within’ : Unspoken Realities of Kashmir

One would expect the director to be upbeat about the attention he draws to the Valley, but he tells that he feels bereft after making it, as he does not know how many people it will reach. ..writes Sukant Deepak

In the bleak cold of Kashmir, Nargis’ gaze cuts right through. The atmospherics scheme with her tragedy and silences become a partner to reveal the conflict that is not just external.

National award-winning filmmaker Aamir Bashir’s latest film ‘The Winter Within’, that was screened during the latest edition of the Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF), premiered at the 27th Busan International Film Festival and revolves around Nargis (Zoya Hussein), a domestic help whose husband Manzoor has been picked by the security forces and is ‘missing’. Forced to return to her village as a ‘half widow’, in a subversion to the Greek Penelope, where she weaves an intricate Kani shawl awaiting her husband’s return, she is unable to move on despite the attention shown by the weaving workshop owner Yaseen.

One would expect the director to be upbeat about the attention he draws to the Valley, but he tells that he feels bereft after making it, as he does not know how many people it will reach. 

“I do begin to question myself as we are in these bubbles where like-minded people turn up at festivals, but does it change anything on the ground? I am quite pessimistic. Frankly, I have been banished by many for talking about the contemporary social and political scenario around us. Even when I was studying in a college like St. Stephen’s, students aroud me would talk about how the Army should be given a free hand to fix things.”

Stressing that for him, making a film like this is about taking an individual stand, he does believes, “The only way Kashmiris can draw support is by telling their stories even if they are in whispers.” 

Not considering himself an insider despite being from the Valley, the actor-director, who shot to prominence with his roles in ‘A Wednesday’ and recently in ‘Sacred Games’ and ‘Inside Edge’, says that he has lived in Kashmir for more than 30 years now, and the distance has brought a perspective that is objective. 

“Of course, there is a part of me that still remains an ‘insider’ for I do feel the many assaults. But I must add that there are very few people willing to tell the story, and fewer who want to receive it.” 

While his directorial debut film ‘Harud’ that premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival won the National Film Award for ‘Best Urdu Feature Film’ at the 60th National Film Awards, he is still reluctant to call himself an artist. 

“Filmmaking was never planned, and it was mainly the situation in Kashmir and the fact that the narrative was not in the Valley’s control, that pushed me to make these films.”

It need not be said that getting funds for a film like this is seldom easy. 

“This one has been in my mind since 2011. People do question why such a movie needs to be made, many do not have an idea about the ground situation in Kashmir. So more than spending energy on making the film, I need to thoroughly explain about the situation there,” he says.

Talk to him about this time of democratication of technology when young Kashmiri musicians are making music about issues there, and using social media for distribution, and he feels filmmaking is much more difficult as one needs an elaborate infrastructure to tell a story.

“Yes, there are rap artists who are staying more true to themselves as a Kashmiri voice, but the masses do not really get to listen to them — you need a studio and a label. The same is with films, even if something is made — where will it reach?” he asks.

Initially, he had planned a trilogy — Autumn (‘Harud’), Winter (‘The Winter Within’) and Spring.

“But I am still grappling — is there a point? I really do not see the possibility of the movie on Spring. But it can be a fantasy, no…?”

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Kashmir Skips Israel-Hamas Emotional Trap

Even though Kashmir is a Muslim-majority valley, the people have decided not to take to the streets on the issue….writes Deepika Bhan

As Israel’s war on Hamas rages, demonstrations are being seen in several countries in support of the Palestinian cause. In India too, pro-Palestine and anti-Israel protests were held in a few cities.

Some organisations, including Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and Left parties, held protests in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Kerala and others against Israeli bombings in Gaza.

But, one place that has remained largely silent is Kashmir.

Even though Kashmir is a Muslim-majority valley, the people have decided not to take to the streets on the issue.

Israel arrests more than 50 Hamas operatives after fatal shooting

Some separatist leaders and their sons did try to mobilise supporters soon after Israel declared action in Gaza. On October 13 in central Kashmir’s Budgam district Hurriyat leader Aga Syed Hassan’s son Muntazir led an anti-Israel and anti-US demonstration following the congregational Friday prayers. As the separatists tried to fan passions, quick J&K Police response thwarted any conflagration.

Kashmir political leaders also reacted angrily over the bombings in Gaza. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first leaders to condemn the Hamas terror attack on Israelis, and after strike on a hospital in Gaza held a phone conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to convey condolences over the loss of civilian lives, and also reiterated India’s “long-standing principled position on the Israel-Palestine issue”, the leaders in Kashmir have been trying to whip up passions.

Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti addresses a press conference in Srinagar on Aug 4, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

Former Chief Minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti criticised the Government of India’s stance on the Hamas attack on Israel. In her October 10 post on X she said, “…Vajpayeeji too called Israel an occupying force which mustn’t be allowed to continue reaping the benefits of occupation. Today once again BJP is choosing their agenda over national policy.” She has been tweeting almost every day to stir passions on the crisis.

Former Chief Minister and NC president Farooq Abdullah expressed concern over India’s stand. “India since (former Prime Minister) Jawaharlal Nehru’s time supported Palestine and stood against oppression of Palestinians. It’s unfortunate the same voices do not come forward to Palestine’s support in India anymore. History stands witness that Jews took over the land of Palestinians in Palestine and expanded their territory,” Abdullah said.

Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq expressed great anguish and grief at the loss of lives and lamented that the international community and the United Nation have failed the people of Palestine. “The issue of Palestine is a long-pending one, and a just solution should be found to it. The rights of the people of Palestine should be given back to them. Their nation and their land have been squeezed. Can there be a bigger oppression than that?”

While the leaders expressed their feelings and are trying hard to guide sentiments in the valley, the people are not reacting like earlier times when even small happenings were deliberately turned into major anti-India protests and stone pelting sessions.

On December 8, 2017, Kashmir witnessed massive protests over the US recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Hundreds of demonstrators held rallies and burned American and Israeli flags and at some places protests took a violent turn as the protesters clashed with security forces.

Six years later the valley is no longer violently reacting to the situation. Leaders trying to whip up passions are not being listened to, and helping maintain peace are the security agencies.

Normal life in Srinagar on the 4th anniversary of the Abrogation of Article 370 & 35A – Umar Ganie

Since 1988 Kashmir has witnessed a lot of bloodshed because of Pakistan sponsored terrorism. Though there are no official estimates, in the over three-decade period thousands have died, minorities uprooted and social fabric harmed. Businesses and education suffered. Families were torn apart and people lived in a round-the-clock atmosphere of fear.

Leaders propped up by Pakistan propagated a false narrative of ‘azadi’ and hundreds of youths were misled to take up guns and many were made stone pelters. The myth was broken soon after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, and now four years later the people have realised the falsehood spread by Pakistan and their prop up in Kashmir.

Investigations by various agencies have helped unmask these leaders, who filled their coffers, built properties in and outside the valley, educated and settled their kin out of Kashmir and country even as they led youths to violence.

Since the abrogation of Article 370, the valley has witnessed a tremendous transformation from terrorism to tourism.

Till September 1.70 crore tourists have already visited the UT. This figure may go up to 2.25 crore by the end of the year, a significant increase from last year’s 1.88 lakh tourist arrivals, which was the highest number of tourists in the UT in the last seven decades.

The number of foreign tourists to the UT has also seen a major hike from 4,028 foreign arrivals in 2022 to 30,647 till August. Srinagar hosted the G20 meeting (the third tourism working group meeting of the G20 member countries) and post that, the number of foreign tourist arrivals in J&K has gone up by 350 per cent from the last year, Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha has said.

As tourism is booming in the UT, the locals are witnessing the benefits and a large number of unemployed are now earning. Other businesses, like handicrafts, are also showing an upwards trend.

With the peace pervading, education has also taken precedence. The number of youths qualifying for UPSC is growing every year. And more youths are participating in sports activities. Investments are also picking up and a lot of development projects are upcoming.

The locals, who have borne the brunt of the terror phase, are now realising the futility of the violence on the name of religion and ‘azadi’, and are realising the path of peace and development.

Kashmir was a laboratory for Pakistan and its people were not dear to it. This is what the common Kashmiri has realised. The pathetic situation in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) has laid bare this truth. The people in PoK are up against Pakistan and its army and seek merger with India.

The truth of the 1988-2019 period of Kashmir is too bitter and tragic that Kashmiris don’t want to fall into the trap again. When demonstrations are flooding the streets of the US, Europe and other countries, Kashmiris are preferring to stay silent. They know what the pain of loss is and they have lost enough.

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Kashmir on High Alert Ahead of President’s Visit for Convocation

Special intelligence review is being taken of the profile of all those who attend the convocation in whatever capacity their presence is required during the event…reports Asian Lite News

Heightened security was in place across the Valley on Sunday ahead of President Draupadi Murmu’s visit on October 11.

The President will deliver the 20th convocation address of Kashmir University on October 11. 

This will be her first visit to the Valley after she became the country’s President. 

The President will award meritorious students/scholars of the University from 2020 onwards. Four hundred students/scholars will receive gold medals, PhD and M.Phil degrees at the convocation. 

After the convocation, the President will attend a light and sound show on the Dal Lake in Srinagar where the Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha is hosting her on dinner in the evening of October 11.

As per the President’s security protocol, the campus of Kashmir University is being sanitized days ahead of the VVIP visit. 

Special intelligence review is being taken of the profile of all those who attend the convocation in whatever capacity their presence is required during the event. 

Special security personnel in civvies and in uniform will dot the entire over 1500 Kanal campus from Monday onwards and entry into the campus would be highly regulated through electronic and human surveillance. 

“It has to be a 100 per cent safe and secure environment within and outside the campus and for this purpose drone surveillance, electronic equipment, police, paramilitary and all other necessary hi-tech gadgets and human presence are in place,” said a senior security official. 

Extra security drills and surprise cordon and search operations have been started to keep anti-national elements and miscreants at bay. 

All vehicles and pedestrians entering Srinagar city are being frisked and additional deployments of mobile bunker vehicles and drop gates have been made in Srinagar and adjacent districts days ahead of the President’s visit. 

“A significant aspect of all our security arrangements is that the common man should be put to least inconvenience while ensuring 100 per cent security to the President,” the officials said. 

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