More than 35 schools were damaged by protesters in Budgam district during the Srinagar parliamentary bypoll on April 9.
Chief Education Officer (CEO), Budgam, Inderjeet Sharma said 35-40 schools, where polling stations were set up, were damaged by protesters on April 9.
“According to our preliminary assessment, nearly 35-40 schools were attacked by protesters where polling stations were set up. It will take us two more days to come up with a report and assess the full damage,” said the CEO.
The official said around 10 schools had been severely damaged and he would take up the issue with the election authorities.
“Doors, windows and other infrastructure have been damaged in schools. The schools did not open after April 9 due to strike and other holidays. We will be able to assess the situation in these institutions tomorrow,” the CEO said, adding that a team will assess the schools one by one.
He said that during repolling in 38 polling stations in Budgam district on April 13, there were no protests and no schools were damaged.
In Budgam, 547 polling booths were set up in educational institutions during the Srinagar parliamentary byelections on April 9. The day witnessed violence, resulting in eight deaths and injuries to hundreds.
Since the unrest last year, many government schools have been damaged or set ablaze. Following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani in July last year, 37 schools were set ablaze by miscreants. The schools are yet to be rebuilt.
During the bypoll to the Srinagar parliamentary constituency on April 9, two schools were set afire in Shopian and Pulwama districts of volatile south Kashmir.
‘Will take up issue with poll authorities’
In Budgam, 547 polling booths were set up in educational institutions during the Srinagar parliamentary by elections on April 9
Chief Education Officer, Budgam, Inderjeet Sharma said 10 of the 40 schools had been severely damaged and he would take up the issue with the election authorities

Fool-proof security arrangements put in place to ensure peaceful voting: CEO

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Shantmanu, Tuesday reviewed the arrangements put in place for re-polling at 38 polling stations in district Budgam of Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency scheduled to be held on April 13.
District Election Officer (DEO) Budgam, SSP Budgam and other concerned were present at the meeting.
The CEO said adequate security will be provided at all the 38 polling stations that are located at 32 different locations in district Budgam. He said foolproof arrangements of security have been put in place to ensure free, fair and peaceful conduct of re-polling.
He appealed the people to cooperate with the administration in maintaining peaceful atmosphere in the district during re-poll.
Pertinently, as per a notification issued by Election Commission of India (ECI) re-polling is to be held on 38 polling booths of Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency on April 13 from 7.00 am to 4.00 pm.
As per the ECI notification, the polling stations in Chadoora Assembly constituency, where re-polling is to be held include 31-Bogam Batepora (B), 32-Bogam Batepora (B), 33-Nowbug, 39-Chack Mahand-Joo-Dhar, 52-Wathora (B), 54-Zoolwah, 55-Gopalpora (A), 56-Gopalpora (B), 57-Dooniwari, 60-Kralpora (A), 61-Kralpora (B), 63-Kralpora (D), 65-Dharambug (A), 66-Dharambug (B), 87-Bagi Mehtab (B) and 98-Dharambug (C).
In Budgam Assembly Constituency, the re-polling would be held on 22- Nusurullah Pora (B), 23-Nusurullah Pora (C), 28-Galwanpora (A), 30-Haripora, 32-Wara Sangam, 40-Soibug (H), 107-Putlibagh and 120-Galwanpora (B) polling booths.
Similarly, in Beerwah Assembly Segment, the re-polling would be held on 15-Kanihama, 29-Badran (B), 34-Peerpora, 89-Sehpora and 94-Gundipora (A) polling booths.
Likewise, the re-polling would also be held on 7-Repora, 9-Gopal Saif (A), 16-Nowpora, 38-Chrar-i-Sharief (M), 86-Kanir (A), 87-Kanir (B), 90-Hushroo and 91-Wagam of Chrar-e-Sharief Assembly Segment and polling booth number 79-Kandora (B) of Khan Sahib Assembly Constituency.

Meanwhile, opposition National Conference working president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah Tuesday questioned the logic behind holding a repoll in 38 polling stations in Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency in the wake of EC postponing the bypoll in Anantnag seat till May 25.
“Situation is not conducive for polls in Anantnag but it is conducive for a repoll in the areas worst affected by violence on April 9. Logic?” Omar wrote on Twitter.
The Election Commission yesterday decided to postpone the bypoll in Anantnag Lok Sabha seat from April 12 to May 25, hours after an appeal by PDP candidate for the seat and CM Mehbooba Mufti’s brother Tassaduq Hussain Mufti to this effect.

Ever since the electoral politics regained ground in Kashmir after 1996, seven years after the outbreak of armed insurgency, the central Kashmir’s Budgam district was one of the most receptive pockets in Kashmir for the democratic process.
For every election, be it for the Assembly or Parliament, long queues were seen in the district, especially at Chrar-e-Sharif, the area that defied separatists’ poll boycott call long ago.
Cut to 2017. The response at Chrar-e-Sharief and other pockets of the central district, including Chadoora and Beerwah, to the parliamentary by election had drastically changed. Instead of long queues of voters, there were defiant youngsters, armed with stones and anger, targeting poll staff and security personnel. They invaded polling booths and forced the staff to pack up.
On Sunday, over 300 incidents of violence at Budgam district left seven protesters dead. Out of the seven, three were killed in the Beerwah constituency, and two each in Chrar and Chadoora.
Muhammad Yousuf, a resident of Beerwah, said Budgam district echoed the sentiment prevailing across the Valley, especially in south Kashmir, that borders the district. During the unrest in 2016 triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, at least seven persons were killed in Budgam district.
The latest provocation in the district was the encounter at Darbugh village in Chadoora, where three protesters were killed in clashes with security forces at an encounter site. “The Chadoora area remained shut for at least four days after the encounter,” said Bashir Ahmad, a local resident. “Angry about the killings, people wanted to take revenge, and they showed their resentment at the first opportunity they got by defying the elections,” he said.
The other factor, locals said, was the ‘influence’ of a senior militant from the area, Yasin Yatoo, who has emerged as one of the top militants in the Valley. Yatoo operates mostly in south Kashmir’s Kulgam, but youth of his locality are influenced by him.
“The militant from Kulgam who was killed in the Chadoora encounter last week was Yatoo’s confidant. It is because of this association that youth thronged the encounter site to help him escape, though unsuccessfully,” said a resident of Chadoora.
Peoples Democratic Front president and MLA Khansahib Hakim said the time had come for mainstream parties to introspect.
“Even during the 1990s when militancy was at its peak and elections were held, never ever was there this kind of situation. It is the right time for the secular forces in the state to introspect and see what has led to this situation, where youth of Kashmir are out on the streets for a rebellion,” Hakim said.
A police officer said the violence was expected in the district after the killing of three civilians in Chadoora. “The civilian killings triggered anger and it was visible on the streets of the district on Sunday,” said the police officer, not wishing to be named.

Votes polled in district

Chadoora               602
Budgam                 13,276
Beerwah                13,625
Khan Sahab           9,492
Chrar-e-Sharief    3,293

As the news about two killings in Charar-i-Sharief area spread in area by late afternoon, more people including women and young girls came out to protest.

At Aripanthan in Beerwah area of Central Kashmir’s Budgam district, the polling staff sat in one of the corners of a room, anxiously waiting for voters to turn up. The polling time had started at 7 in the morning but by 12 pm none of the total 938 votes had been cast.
“The situation is same everywhere in the area. We just want the polling time to end so that we can leave for homes,” said a polling staff member.
Aripanthan remained in the news during the last year’s anti-India uprising when forces shot dead four youth from the village. “How can we forget our sons and come out to vote? We can’t sell the blood of our martyrs,” said an elderly Abdur Razaaq, who was joined by a group of over 50 youth. At the polling booth, none of the mainstream parties contesting the election was represented by polling agents. “This is unusual. I have never seen it in the past,” said the Presiding Officer there. “It is a complete boycott here.”
The scene at the polling booth replicated itself at majority of booths in the area on the day the Srinagar-Budgam constituency, which went to polls, witnessed almost complete boycott and was marked with killings and clashes between civilians and forces.
At Kanhama, people including women had come out on roads to stage anti-election protests. A bridge over Sukhnag Nallah had divided the protesting youth and forces who were trying to push the former back. “Don’t give up; they can’t dare to cross the bridge,” a youth shouted as forces fired teargas canisters and resorted to aerial firing to disperse the protesters. But they failed.
“Look what they did to us,” an elderly man pointed towards the broken windows of his house, located on the bank of the Nallah. “They (forces) barged into our house, broke windowpanes and threw household items into the river.” “But we won’t give up. We have decided to boycott polls,” he said. At the polling station in the area, of total 957 votes registered, just two had been polled.
As the news about two killings in Charar-i-Sharief area spread in area by late afternoon, more people including women and young girls came out to protest.
The protests were more intense in main Beerwah town, the constituency represented by former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah. Owing to intense stone-pelting, the two polling stations had been closed and shifted to Boys Higher Secondary School. Outside, the youth had engaged the forces in intense stone-pelting though the forces tried to break the protests with aerial firing and teargas shelling.
In Soibug, the native village of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahudin, there was complete boycott as youth took control of several polling stations and forced the staff as well paramilitary forces deployed for election duty to vacate the polling booths.
“As the polling time started, youth barged into polling stations and asked the polling staff to wind up and leave,” the local residents said.
Later, youth fought pitched battles with police and paramilitary forces. As the clashes intensified, forces, according to locals, surrendered the centers and took off the deployment.
Earlier, during clashes, J&K policemen and paramilitary forces resorted to teargas shelling and used pellet guns, injuring over a dozen youth in Soibug. “We received over 20 youth with pellet injuries. Three were beaten by forces. Two youth had pellet injuries in their eyes,” officials at Sub District Hospital Soibug said.
The village has total 1195 votes but it witnessed a complete boycott, according to locals. “The buildings where authorities had set up polling stations were vacated in the morning hours,” a group of youth said.
Next to Soibug, youth in Check Hattaran entered the polling stations and damaged Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) where some votes were cast. “We damaged EVMs after we heard that three votes were cast in a polling station,” a group of youth said. The youth had blocked roads in the area and were raising pro-freedom slogans.
The situation in Naslapora village of Budgam district was on the edge as youth attacked CRPF personnel deployed at the local polling station soon after the polling began. The area was on the boil since yesterday after deployment of paramilitary forces. “Soon after the CRPF personnel entered the polling station this morning, the youth pelted stones at it, forcing them to vacate the building,” the locals said.
The youth, according to witnesses, took EVMs out of the polling stations and broke these outside. The area witnessed massive clashes between youth and paramilitary forces wherein around five youth, according to locals, sustained bullet injuries. The situation in Choon village was no different. In Chadoora, which witnessed two civilian killing recently by forces, the roads wore a deserted look as people completely boycotted the elections. At many places in the area, youth clashed with forces at many polling stations and forced the polling staff to close the booths. But Budgam town witnessed brisk polling throughout the day. Three polling stations were set-up in BDO office Budgam where youth were seen in queues and casting their votes. While other areas witnessed boycott, locals from main town Budgam justified voting, saying their vote was “against BJP”. “For us PDP is synonym to BJP. So we are casting our votes against BJP,” the locals said.

The officials, wishing anonymity, said the forces “intentionally attacked the transformers with bullets and tear gas shells.”

At least 37 electric transformers have been damaged allegedly by the forces during clashes in this district in the last three months, PDD officials said.

The officials, wishing anonymity, said the forces “intentionally attacked the transformers with bullets and tear gas shells.”

“Seven transformers were damaged in Beerwah town alone. Others were damaged at Narbal, Ompura, Wathoora, Gudsathoo, Kawoosa, Haknipora, Waterhail, Mazhama  and Wadipora. Transformers in Wanimohallah, Wazemohallah and Dangarmohallah were repeatedly rendered useless more than once,” the officials and eye witnesses said.

“We had taken up the matter with the police, but to no avail,” the officials said. Spokesperson CRPF Rajesh Yadav said they had received no such reports.

“The department should take up the matter with our higher authorities through proper channel, after which we would conduct an enquiry into the matter and do the needful.”

After three unsuccessful night raids, police and CRPF men rained bullets on civilians in Aripathan

  • No protest or stone pelting was going on in the area when cops fired on people: Witness
  • Police and CRPF men also barged into houses to molest women: Locals

After thrashing and injuring about 80 residents during three night-raids, police and CRPF men showered bullets on people in Aripathan village in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Tuesday morning, killing four youth and injuring many others.
According to locals and eyewitnesses, at about 7:50 am, few police and CRPF vehicles entered the village and fired indiscriminately on a group of youth, who had just gathered in a small group on roadside.
“Neither the youth, who were fired upon, were protesting nor any stone pelting was going on in the area. The police and CRPF firing was totally unprovoked and unjustified,” they said.
35-year-old Hajra, who has received bullet in her left shoulder in police firing and is recuperating in SKIMS Bemina hospital said people in the village were awake for the whole night as police and CRPF had raided the village thrice in the night to detain youth for observing August 15 as ‘black day’ to lodge their protest against continued civilian killings by forces in Kashmir.
She said when locals resisted the cops from detaining the youth during night raids, force personnel thrashed and injured 80 persons including women.
“All the villagers had gathered at a single place as nobody slept at home due to fear of detention. On Tuesday morning, police and CRPF again raided the village and opened indiscriminate fire on local youth,” she said.
Hajra said 16-year-old Javed Ahmed was first causality of forces’ indiscriminate firing. “He was hit by a bullet in head and died on spot”.
“After the forces firing, youth ran helter-skelter to escape the bullets. Few youth mustered courage to pick up Javed’s body. The force personnel fired indiscriminately on them,” she said.
In the forces firing, two youth Javed Ahmad Najar, 17, and Mohammad Ashraf , 32, died on spot while 29-year-old Manzoor Ahmad, who sustained critical bullet injuries, was declared brought dead by doctors in SKIMS Bemina.
“There was a total calm in the village as no protest or stone pelting was going on. Most of the people had gone to their homes to sleep after morning prayers. Those, who were fired upon by force personnel, had either come out to get bread and milk or newspapers from the market,” said the locals.
They said not only police and CRPF men fired on the people but force personnel also barged into the houses to molest women.
“Before shooting Hajra, the force personnel attempted to molest her. However, many villagers at their risk of life saved her from the clutches of ruthless forces,” they said.
According to doctors, about 11 people including a woman with bullet injuries were admitted in SKIMS hospital Bemina. Two more youth identified as Farooq Ahmad and Tauqeer Ahmed have sustained bullet injuries in heads and are undergoing treatment in SKIMS hospital Soura.
“After carrying out the bloodbath, forces went on rampage in the village and injured two dozen people by thrashing them mercilessly,” a local resident Nazir Ahmad.
He said the force personnel did not even spare elderly persons and injured many of them including 55-year-old Ghulam Rasool.
Doctors attending Rasool at SKIMS, Bemina told Kashmir Post that he has been badly hit in the head.
“It seems someone has stabbed him in the head,” said a doctor, wishing not to be named.
According to locals, a government official, who was on way to Beerwah in an ambulance yesterday, was interrupted by locals at Aripathan and not allowed to move ahead.
“The official had sought police help to pass through the area to reach Beerwah. The policemen resorted to teargas shelling and fired pellets at protesting youth,” they said.
Deputy Commissioner Budgam and SSP Budgam did not answer repeated calls from Kashmir Post.

Govt orders probe into Humhama land grabbing issueJammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday ordered an inquiry into allegations of land grabbing at Humhama in the outskirts of the city here.

The inquiry was ordered after MLCs in Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council, cutting across party lines, created ruckus in the House and demanded formation of a House Committee to probe land grabbing at Humhama by some influential persons.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) MLC Saifuddin Bhat, who raised the issue in the House after the Question Hour, said around 200 Kanals (10 hectares) of Kahchari (state land) has been illegally occupied at Humhama, but the state government has failed to retrieve it causing huge losses to its exchequer.

The government should probe this issue and retrieve the land, he demanded.

Bhat was supported by his party colleague Yasir Reshi, who demanded constitution of a House Committee to probe all such cases of land grab, saying it is a serious issue which needs the attention of the House.

The demand for the House Committee was supported by most of the legislators cutting across party lines.

Congress MLC Ghulam Nabi Monga, BJP’s Vinod Gupta, National Conference’s Bashir Ahmad Veeri also supported the demand.

State land had been encroached, but unfortunately the governments over the years have failed to retrieve it, Monga said, adding influential people are involved in the land grabbing which needs a thorough probe.

The government has been assuring the House from time to time that an inquiry would be conducted but so far there is no conclusion or any report about the encroachments, Veeri said.

There is a need to set up a House Committee to probe the land grabbing, he said, adding the legislators were the “custodians of the state property” and it was their right to protect those.

However, Chairman Anayat Ali did not accept the demand of constituting a House Committee and asked the members to listen to what the government had to say on the issue.

Minister for Revenue and Relief, Basharat Bukhari, assured the House that the encroached land would be freed.

“I am ordering a high-level inquiry to probe the land grab at Humhama and following the committee’s report, action as per law would be initiated against violators,” he said.
The assurance from the minister pacified the members.


The suspected terrorists are still on the run.

Four terrorists barge into BJP leader's house, snatch AK 56 from security guardFour suspected terrorists reportedly entered inside Jammu and Kashmir BJP leader Ghulam Mohamad Chopan’s house in Budgam on Tuesday and snatched an AK 56 rifle from his personal security guard.

According to initial reports, the incident took in the morning when the BJP leader was at his home in Chandoa of Budgam district. Chadoora is around 17 km from state capital Srinagar.

The suspected terrorists overpowered the security guard, snatched a rifle from him and ran away.

An alert has been sounded across the area and all entry and exit points leading to the village have been sealed.

A search operation has been launched to nab the suspected terrorists.

Earlier in the day, a terrorist was killed by security forces in Kupwara district.

Last week, as many as eight Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were martyred and 24 others injured in a major ambush by two terrorists who were neutralised in the encounter at Pampore.

Arms and ammunition including 2 AK-47 Rifles, 11 hand grenades were also recovered from the killed terrorists.

Fearing arrival of “Yatris”, Jammu and Kashmir Government has sealed central Kashmir’s Budgam district to thwart the proposed “Abhinav Gupta Yatra”.

A New Delhi based group has planned “Yatra to a cave in Beerwah” area of Budgam.

Reports and witness reports reaching here said that government has made strong deployment of forces personnel in and around Beerwah.

The Delhi based group had planned movement towards the cave in second week of June.

Police and CRPF men have sealed all the entry points with rolls of concertina wires.

With separatist outfit, Hurriyat Conference PDP-BJP Government has already said that

Officials said that the administration has be, calling it “another step of cultural aggression”, J&K government spokesperson, Naeem Akhtar, has clarified the PDP-BJP coalition’s position. “We won’t allow any sort of Yatra to such a destination,” Akhtar had said.

Quoting Deputy Commissioner Budgam, a news report said, “the administration has been directed not to allow a single person to enter into the town for the proposed Yatra.” “We have taken precautionary measures as there were apprehensions of law and order problem,” DC Budgam has said.

Abhinav Yatra organizers visit South Kashmir temples to mobilize peopleAcharaya Abhinav Gupt Sheshadri Samroh Samiti – a New Delhi based organization which is planning to undertake a Yatra to a cave in Beerwa area of Budgam district has been visiting various temples and minority transit camps across South Kashmir to mobilize the Pandit community for the yatra.
The yatra is being organized for the first time and after holding Pooja at Kheer Bawani in Ganderbal on June 10, it will proceed towards Abhinav Gupt cave the next day ( June 11). The Yatra, according to Samiti, will be open to participation for people from Jammu and Kashmir and outside too.
Sources said that in order to mobilize the Pandit community settled in Kashmir for the yatra, the members of the Samiti visited various historical temples of Anantnag district. The convener of the yatra Ajay Bharti, coordinator Dileep Matoo and route coordinator Ajay Pandita are leading the Samiti.
“The Samiti first visited a temple in Imoh-Verinag, then a temple in Nagdandi Achabal and Sun temple in Mattan,” sources said.
They said that the organization held a meeting with custodians of the temple about the proposed yatra.
“The organization also held meeting with minority community settled in transit camps in Vesu-Qazigund and Mattan,” sources added.
The Pandits are living in the transit accommodations after returning to the valley under Prime Minister’s Economic Package.
The Samiti is an amalgam of different organization having members from all over India and is headed by the founder of Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravi Shanker.
The yatra, according to Samiti, is aimed at bringing into limelight the life and times of Gupta, considered to be a scholar and Acharaya (Guru) of Shaivism and “redevelop links with the persons and communities that continue to believe their origins to be in Kashmir”.
The Samiti in its facebook page has mentioned that the “Kalash (pot) containing holy soil from Kashmir after been taken to various sacred and religious places of the country would finally be taken to Bhairav cave in Beerwa on June 11 after which a grand function would also be arranged there.”
The yatra began from Kanchi Kamkotipeetham in South India on March 31 after passing through various places of historical and religious significance in India is likely to culminate at the cave located on the foothills of Bayrum in Beerwa.
The Samiti had on January 4 this year kick-started “the year-long millennium celebration” of Acharaya Abhinav Gupt on its foundation day (Sankalap Divas).
Besides Delhi, the function was held at SSK Jammu, Ishwar Ashram Trust, Mohinder Nagar, Jammu, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, Bangalore and Uttarakhand.
Though the district administration has expressed ignorance about the yatra but Samiti maintains they are organizing it according to law.
“The entire program will be held as per the laws and wherever necessary we will seek permission from the Government,” Ajay Bharti, convener of the yatra had told.