SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R    E D I T I O N

Season’s first snowfall in Valley
Srinagar, December 29
Girls on a daily errand as rain in Srinagar ended the long dry spell on Wednesday Breaking a long dry and cold spell, the upper reaches of the Kashmir valley witnessed snowfall while the planes received rain and snowfall bringing much relief to the people. The upper reaches of the Valley, including Shopian, Yusmarg, Khag, Gurez and Kulgam, experienced snowfall and other areas were experiencing rain, Aamir Ali, coordinator, Disaster Management, Kashmir division, said.
Girls on a daily errand as rain in Srinagar ended the long dry spell on Wednesday. Photo: Amin War

Cold wave intensifies in Udhampur, Jammu after rain
Udhampur, December 29
Chilly weather conditions prevailed in Jammu, Udhampur and surrounding areas, including Katra, the base camp town of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, after a brief spell of rain today.

20 youths booked under Public Safety Act
Srinagar, December 29
At least 20 youths out of the 500 arrested on the charge of stone throwing in Srinagar during the five-month unrest in the Valley last summer have been booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA), while all others have been released.



YOUR TOWN
Jammu
Srinagar



EARLIER STORIES

Pak troops target border post in Samba
Jammu, December 29
In the third successive case of ceasefire violation in the Jammu region, the Pakistan Rangers fired indiscriminately and targeted the Ballard border outpost in Samba district in the wee hours today. However, there was no loss of life reported in the one-hour firing from across the border.
Members of the All J&K SRTC Volunteer Retirement Employees Association hold
Members of the All J&K SRTC Volunteer Retirement Employees Association hold a protest in Jammu on Wednesday. Photo: Inderjeet Singh

Now, BJP plans march to Lal Chowk
Jammu, December 29
As its Ekta Sankalap Rally has evoked sharp reactions from the mainstream parties as well as separatist groups, the BJP is now going all out to make its forthcoming Lal Chowk Chalo Yatra a success to “give a befitting reply to these parties and groups”.

Now, Facebook to help streamline traffic
Jammu, December 29
If you have a grievance against the traffic police or you see a traffic rule violator, you will soon be able to post it on the official Facebook account of the traffic police.

Woman held, 30 tolas gold recovered
Jammu, December 29
The police arrested a woman and recovered 30 tolas of stolen gold from her today. It said Maharaj Krishan Raina, a resident of Wazarat Road, here had filed a complaint with the Peer Mitha police alleging that some gold ornaments were stolen from his house on December 15.

Govt seeks views on opening schools during winter
Jammu, December 29
Minister for Education Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed has sought suggestions from people, mediapersons and educationists to point out loopholes, if any, in the continuation of schools during winter.

Registration must for coaching centres: Peerzada
Jammu, December 29
Minister for Education Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed has directed the School Education Department to effectively implement the government order that makes it mandatory for all private coaching centres to get themselves registered. According to an official statement issued here, the minister said the provision had been made under the law to make it necessary for the coaching centres to notify the subject-wise fee, and depute well-educated staff for imparting education.

Transporters’ demand not genuine: IG
Hemant Kumar Lohia, IG, Traffic, addresses mediapersons in Jammu on Wednesday Jammu, December 29
The state police has rejected the demand of transporters to scrap the move to register attempt to murder cases against drivers found involved in road accidents. The transporters had observed a chakka jam on December 27 in the entire state and threatened the administration that they would intensify their stir if their demand was not accepted in a month.
Hemant Kumar Lohia, IG, Traffic, addresses mediapersons in Jammu on Wednesday. Photo: Inderjeet Singh

Educational tour for remote area children
Udhampur, December 29
The Army today flagged off another educational-cum-motivational tour to North Indian cities of a group of children living along the Line of Control (LoC) in the state.

Security reviewed in view of pilgrim influx
Udhampur, December 29
In view of the heavy rush of pilgrims during winter vacation, the IG, Jammu Zone, Dilbag Singh, visited Katra town today and reviewed the security arrangements at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.

Seminar on oral traditions of J&K tribes
Jammu, December 29
A two-day national seminar on ‘Oral Traditions of Tribal and Nomadic Communities of Jammu and Kashmir’, was inaugurated here today. Speaking on the occasion, the scholars stressed that a government policy to document the folklore of J&K tribes should be formulated to preserve their endangered literary treasures.

Varsity not following exam rules, says NSF
Jammu, December 29
The National Secular Forum (NSF) staged a protest on the university campus today to express its dissatisfaction against the functioning of the university.

Jammu youths excelled during 2010
Jammu, December 29
The year 2010 was luminous for the youths of Jammu, who excelled at the international, national and state levels. The Jammu girl, Taniya Gupta (28), represented not only the state of Jammu and Kashmir but also the country at the International level by participating in the Asian Games held in China this year.

Kashmir youth to have New Year bash
Srinagar, December 29
When youths in other parts of the country partied to celebrate New Year, Kashmir youths used to stay indoors. However, things are going to change this year and the youth in the Valley, too, would get a chance to take part in the New Year celebrations.

 






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Season’s first snowfall in Valley
Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, December 29
Breaking a long dry and cold spell, the upper reaches of the Kashmir valley witnessed snowfall while the planes received rain and snowfall bringing much relief to the people.

The upper reaches of the Valley, including Shopian, Yusmarg, Khag, Gurez and Kulgam, experienced snowfall and other areas were experiencing rain, Aamir Ali, coordinator, Disaster Management, Kashmir division, said. He added that snowfall was also expected tonight while the Meteorological Department had forecast rain and snowfall during the next two days. It was snowing and raining across the Valley this evening, reports reaching here said. Shopian town recorded three inches of snow by this evening and it was snowing till the last reports came in. The tourist resort of Gulmarg, 50 km northwest of Srinagar, recorded two inches of snow by the afternoon, while it was snowing in other places, including Yusmarg, Khag in the Valley. The Gurez area of Bandipore district, which remains cut off from the Valley by road during winter, also witnessed snowfall this morning. It was snowing lightly at Qazigund, Gund, Kangan and Kulgam, while Ganderbal and Srinagar received snowfall and rain, officials said. However, traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was moving without any disruption, the Traffic Department said.

The authorities had here yesterday directed that the traffic movement be restricted on the vulnerable roads in view of the weather forecast. These roads include Machchil, Keran and Karnah from Kupwara district headquarters, Bandipore-Gurez, Sonmarg-Gumri road, Daksum-Kishtwar and Mughal road. The 434-km Srinagar-Leh national highway has been closed to traffic since the first week of December and would remain closed till the snow clearance on the Zojila pass by March-April next year.

Meanwhile, a meeting of officers of the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department was held here today under the chairmanship of Minister for CAPD and Transport Department Qamar Ali Akhoon to review the stock position in the Valley.

Reviewing the stock position, the minister was apprised that 2.20 lakh quintal of rice, 90,000 quintal of wheat, 10,000 quintal of sugar and 729 kilo litres of kerosene oil were available at various sale outlets of the Valley.

The minister was also informed that a buffer stock of foodgrains and other commodities was available with the FCI, which included 20,536 million tonnes of rice, 7627 million tonnes of wheat and 758 million tonnes of sugar.

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Cold wave intensifies in Udhampur, Jammu after rain
Tribune News Service

Udhampur, December 29
Chilly weather conditions prevailed in Jammu, Udhampur and surrounding areas, including Katra, the base camp town of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, after a brief spell of rain today.

Though the rain in the afternoon today ended the dry cold conditions prevailing since the onset of winter, the fall in temperature due to it made people take extra care to keep themselves warm. It is expected that the incidence of cough and cold, especially among children and old persons, is likely to come down. The people in the markets and roadsides were seen making fire to feel cozy, besides wearing heavy woollen wears.

Kishtwar town, however, remained devoid of rain even as the weather remained cloudy. The cold wave is certainly intensifying as compared to the past few days. Interestingly, its skyline remained clear during nights these days, said a local resident, Noor Hussain Malik. The people expect rain as the dry weather conditions here have given rise to problems like chest congestion.

The rain has also kindled hope of season’s first snowfall in these areas. As people in Kishtwar anticipate snowfall if rain occurs, the business community, particularly in Katra, is also looking forward to it as this would mean a longer stay of pilgrims in hotels, guest houses and lodges. Usually, the upper areas of the track to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine receives snow. For youngsters like Suhail of Udhampur, the snow, if it occurs on the New Year eve at the famous hill resort Patnitop, would certainly add to the festivities.

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20 youths booked under Public Safety Act
Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, December 29
At least 20 youths out of the 500 arrested on the charge of stone throwing in Srinagar during the five-month unrest in the Valley last summer have been booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA), while all others have been released. Several others were arrested in other major towns of the Valley during the turmoil, many of whom continue to remain in jails even as the detained students appeared in various examinations while in custody.

While the police continues to keep an eye on troublemakers, at least five more persons, including an elderly person, were arrested in Bandipore district the other day. The police had also arrested a number of youths in the apple rich town of Sopore in Baramulla district following the turmoil. It found a nexus between militants and separatists in sponsoring stone throwing during the unrest, DIG, north Kashmir range, Muneer Khan has said. He had held that on the disclosures of an arrested Imam of a local mosque, it was known that each stone thrower would get Rs 400 every Friday, collected from fruit growers. The DIG added there was also a nexus between government employees and the hardline Hurriyat Conference faction led by Syed Ali Geelani. Sopore is the home town of Geelani.

Reacting to these claims, Geelani denied the charge of having a contact with militant organisations or their involvement in sponsoring stone throwers. In a statement, a spokesman for the APHC, Ayaz Akbar, said Muneer Khan’s claims on Monday were only an attempt to “defame the ongoing (freedom) struggle” to label it as terrorism. The agitation was not terrorism and there was no involvement of Pakistan, he added. “We are for peace and peaceful means to resolve all issues and the public involvement in the recent agitation was indigenous,” the spokesman said.

He held that the attempts to defame the “ongoing struggle”, as done by some police officers, was a conspiracy of the Central government with the ruling NC in the state.

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Pak troops target border post in Samba
Archit Watts/TNS

Jammu, December 29
In the third successive case of ceasefire violation in the Jammu region, the Pakistan Rangers fired indiscriminately and targeted the Ballard border outpost in Samba district in the wee hours today. However, there was no loss of life reported in the one-hour firing from across the border.

A heavy firing and attack with rocket projectile grenades (RPG) along the international border near the Basantar rivulet was noticed around 4:30 am today, said the DIG, BSF, G. Oberoi.

He added that the BSF jawans guarding the border took positions and effectively retaliated the firing, which continued till 5:30 am. “There was no loss of life or damage to property in the cross-fire and rocket attacks,” said Oberoi.

Earlier on December 2, the Pakistan Rangers targeted several Indian posts twice with mortars and rockets along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch sector. Now, the BSF would lodge a protest with the Pakistan Rangers during the flag meeting.

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Now, BJP plans march to Lal Chowk
Dinesh Manhotra
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 29
As its Ekta Sankalap Rally has evoked sharp reactions from the mainstream parties as well as separatist groups, the BJP is now going all out to make its forthcoming Lal Chowk Chalo Yatra a success to “give a befitting reply to these parties and groups”.

Although the Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the party, is organising the yatra, the state BJP has decided to involve its cadres in the programme so as to mobilise the maximum number of people in the march towards Srinagar on January 24 to hoist the Tricolour at Lal Chowk on Republic Day.

The BJP leadership thinks that like the Ekta Sankalap Rally, the yatra would also generate a debate in the country about the prevailing situation in Kashmir and would especially help draw the attention of the country towards the misuse of the special status by the ruling elites of the state. “Reactions from Kashmir-centric parties are on the expected lines because we were aware that they (separatists as well as leaders of the mainstream political parties of Kashmir) would not digest the reality,” Shamsher Singh Manhas, state president of the BJP, told The Tribune.

Manhas claimed that the BJP’s rally threw a challenge to the protagonists of greater autonomy or those demanding the pre-1953 position in the state. “Our rally has generated a debate in the whole country about the special status of the state. We have successfully exposed the ruling elites of the state who have been brazenly abusing Article 370 to further their petty political interests,” he said. He disclosed that the BJP wanted that the debate should continue as it would help remove some misconceptions about the special status. “We want to keep the pot boiling because it will help the nationalist forces counter the vicious campaign of the separatists,” he said.

Sources said the BJP had decided to organise the Lal Chowk Chalo Yatra as part of its strategy to keep Kashmir on the centre of its political agenda to retrieve its lost ground in other parts of the country.

Meanwhile, Nitin Naveen, national general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and MLA from Bihar, today convened a meeting of party activists in Jammu to supervise the preparations for the forthcoming yatra. He said the yuva morcha had taken the recent developments in the state very seriously. “It was in this context that the top leadership of the BJP was in Jammu for two days and its focus was on the state,” Nitin said, adding that thousands of morcha activists would come to the state to give a clear message to the separatists and other anti-national elements.

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Now, Facebook to help streamline traffic
Archit Watts
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 29
If you have a grievance against the traffic police or you see a traffic rule violator, you will soon be able to post it on the official Facebook account of the traffic police.

To streamline traffic in Jammu and Kashmir, the traffic police has now decided to create an account on the popular social networking site, Facebook.

The IG, Traffic, Hemant Kumar Lohia, said, “In the first week of New Year, we will start operating a Facebook account to get suggestions of the people for streamlining traffic in both Jammu and Kashmir regions.” On the sidelines of a press conference held at the police control room (PCR) here, the IG said they had also planned to build an official website of the traffic police, which would be updated every evening, and the pictures of traffic rule violators would be uploaded on it.

“The basic purpose behind building the website is to make the traffic rule violators feel ashamed, as their pictures will be uploaded on it, and the public can see them,” added Lohia.

He said a four-digit toll free helpline number of the traffic police would also be started. “We have talked to the senior officials of BSNL to provide us with a toll free number, which would be made operational from next month,” added the IG.

About the Facebook account, the IG said, “We need the suggestions of the youngsters to get rid of traffic chaos and confusion on the roads, as most of the youngsters are available on Facebook. We have decided to create an account on Facebook to get their feedback.”

Asked as to who would operate the Facebook account and what would be the account’s name, the IG said, “We have made an account, but can’t disclose it as of now. In the first week of Next Year, we will start operating it and only then we’ll tell further.”

He also admitted that the department was facing a shortage of staff and that is why they were trying new methods.

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Woman held, 30 tolas gold recovered
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 29
The police arrested a woman and recovered 30 tolas of stolen gold from her today. It said Maharaj Krishan Raina, a resident of Wazarat Road, here had filed a complaint with the Peer Mitha police alleging that some gold ornaments were stolen from his house on December 15.

Acting on the complaint, the police teams began investigating the matter, a senior police officer said. He added that the police finally arrested Puja, an old maid of the complainant who had worked in their house for almost 16 years and left about one-and-a-half year ago.

“She used to come and stay at the complainant’s house even after leaving the job. After getting some clue we interrogated her and she confessed to the crime,” said a police spokesman.

All stolen items, including 25 grams of solid gold and other ornaments worth Rs 6.1 lakh, were recovered from the house of the mother of Puja in Sainik Colony here, he said.

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Govt seeks views on opening schools during winter
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 29
Minister for Education Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed has sought suggestions from people, mediapersons and educationists to point out loopholes, if any, in the continuation of schools during winter.

According to an official statement issued here, Sayeed has specifically pointed out that the decision with regard to the continuation of schools during winter from Class IX to XII has been taken as a sequel to the colossal losses faced by the student community in the Kashmir valley as a result of the recent turmoil.

The minister said the schools had already been directed to make necessary heating arrangements out of the local funds. “A sum of Rs 25,000 has already been kept at the disposal of principals of high and higher secondary schools for the face-lift of schools and repair of windowpanes,” he added.

The minister said, “We are open to all kinds of suggestions so that neither the education of children suffers nor their health is affected.

They should also not face any inconvenience while attending schools during winter.” He appealed to the parents to send their wards to the schools so that these could function effectively.

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Registration must for coaching centres: Peerzada
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 29
Minister for Education Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed has directed the School Education Department to effectively implement the government order that makes it mandatory for all private coaching centres to get themselves registered. According to an official statement issued here, the minister said the provision had been made under the law to make it necessary for the coaching centres to notify the subject-wise fee, and depute well-educated staff for imparting education.

The above quoted order also requires the private coaching centres to strengthen their centres with adequate heating and cooling facilities as per the weather, and maintain proper education-oriented infrastructure in the respective coaching centres. These centres are also required to display the registration certificate indicating all formalities available for the general information of the people.

The minister has also made it clear that these coaching centres would not be allowed to run during the day when government and private schools remain functional.

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Transporters’ demand not genuine: IG
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 29
The state police has rejected the demand of transporters to scrap the move to register attempt to murder cases against drivers found involved in road accidents.

The transporters had observed a chakka jam on December 27 in the entire state and threatened the administration that they would intensify their stir if their demand was not accepted in a month.

Terming the agitating transporters’ demand as not genuine, the IG, Traffic, Hemant Kumar Lohia said the police could not scrap the move, as it was based on the orders of the honourable court and almost 950 persons had been killed in road mishaps this year.

Lohia said, “We are always ready to negotiate with the transporters about some of their genuine demands, but can’t do anything in the registration of cases under Section 307 of the RPC.”

Addressing mediapersons at the police control room (PCR) here about the road safety week of the traffic police to be held from January 1 to 7, the IG said, “If the transporters or the drivers are not making any mistake, what they are fearing?.”

Lohia said 12,000 persons were issued challans for violating traffic rules this year and 300 of them were found using fake registration numbers on their vehicles. He added that the traffic police was trying its best to address the problem of traffic chaos and confusion on the roads. “In this regard, already a number of steps have been taken and others are in the pipeline. We have proposed 16 footbridges for Jammu. In the first phase, three footbridges will be constructed,” said the IG. He added initially Bikram Chowk, Maheshpura Chowk and Nai Basti areas had been identified for the footbridges.

Lohia appealed to the public to start pooling vehicles. “If someone is going to drop his/her son to school, he/she should also take other children of the locality. Only then the traffic chaos can be solved,” he said. The department had sent a proposal to the Law Commission to enhance the punishment for traffic rule offenders, he added.

On the increasing number of hit-and-run cases by minibus drivers in the city, the IG said, “We have already warned the minibus drivers, but now we have come up with an idea to tell all minibus operators to install the global positioning system (GPS) in their vehicles so that the problem could be addressed.”

He added the GPS was a cheaper device to control traffic violations. He reiterated to introduce four police interceptor vehicles in the coming year.

About road safety week to be held from January 1 to 7, Lohia said a traffic rules awareness rally would be organised on January 1. During other days of road safety week, brochures and leaflets would be given to commuters on all city roads, he added.

Giving a strict warning to police officers, the IG said before December 31 all officers must ensure their vehicles had registration number plates, or face action.

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Educational tour for remote area children

Udhampur, December 29
The Army today flagged off another educational-cum-motivational tour to North Indian cities of a group of children living along the Line of Control (LoC) in the state.

Flagging off the tour at a function organised in Akhnoor, Brig S Mehta, Brigade Commander, Artillery, said the tour was part of the Army’s endeavour to reach out to people living in remote border areas in the state under Operation Sadbhavna.

Under the programme, the students of border areas would visit North Indian cities, including Amritsar, Jalandhar and Chandigarh. He expressed hope that such visits could be of immense help in familiarising the students of remote areas with other parts of the country, providing them an opportunity to acquire knowledge pertaining to other parts of the country. — TNS

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Security reviewed in view of pilgrim influx
Tribune News Service

Udhampur, December 29
In view of the heavy rush of pilgrims during winter vacation, the IG, Jammu Zone, Dilbag Singh, visited Katra town today and reviewed the security arrangements at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.

The SSP, Reasi, Keshv Prakash Chorasya, and Additional SP, Katra, Shiv Kumar Sharma, accompanied him. Singh first reviewed the security arrangement at Katra town, and later visited the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine. He issued on the spot directions to the security personnel deployed along 14 Km Yatra route to the shrine.

He also interacted with CRPF officers and emphasised the need for friendly dealing with the pilgrims.

He appreciated the role of the police in the maintenance of law and order. He directed the SSP, Reasi, to create more police posts for the smooth Yatra by the pilgrims despite the expected heavy rush in the coming days.

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Seminar on oral traditions of J&K tribes
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 29
A two-day national seminar on ‘Oral Traditions of Tribal and Nomadic Communities of Jammu and Kashmir’, was inaugurated here today. Speaking on the occasion, the scholars stressed that a government policy to document the folklore of J&K tribes should be formulated to preserve their endangered literary treasures.

The seminar was organised by the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, a frontal organisation of Gujjars, at the Abhinav Theatre complex here. In his address, renowned historian and former Director General, Culture, Mohammad Yousuf Taing, who is also a member of the Legislative Council, said a huge treasure of heritage and folklore had already been lost, and now it was time to act fast. “Our heritage is on the verge of extinction due to globalisation and rapid socio-economic changes. It needs urgent preservation and propagation at all levels,” he said.

Taing also announced one lakh from his MLC fund for documentation of the Gujjar culture.

Dr Javaid Rahi, secretary, Tribal Foundation, in his keynote address, said the main objective of the seminar was to assess the changing ethnic-cultural scenario of all 12 tribal groups of the state. He said this seminar would be an insight into the various threatened aspects of the oral traditions, including the oral history of the Himalayan nomadic tribes.

Prof Neelamber Dev Sharma, prominent Dogri writer and critic, and former secretary, Cultural Academy, called for a joint venture between the Dogri-Gojri tradition by using the latest techniques of preservation. Others who spoke on the occasion included Jahanger Mir, a member of the Legislative Council, Zabeer Bajad and Hussan Parwaz.

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Varsity not following exam rules, says NSF
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 29
The National Secular Forum (NSF) staged a protest on the university campus today to express its dissatisfaction against the functioning of the university.

According to a statement issued here, the NSF activists took out a rally on the campus and surrounded the office of Vice-Chancellor. While holding a dharna in front of the VC’s office, the activists condemned the alleged anti-student attitude of the university.

Addressing the activists, Vikas Sharma, state president of the NSF, alleged that the examination wing of the university was going against the statutes framed for the conduct of examinations.

“The students living in far-flung areas are not aware of the examinations being conducted in the university,” said Sharma.

He alleged that Dr Meenakashi Kilam, Director of Distance Education, did not fulfil the eligibility criteria of the Distance Education Council.

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Jammu youths excelled during 2010
Sunaina Kaul
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 29
The year 2010 was luminous for the youths of Jammu, who excelled at the international, national and state levels.

The Jammu girl, Taniya Gupta (28), represented not only the state of Jammu and Kashmir but also the country at the International level by participating in the Asian Games held in China this year.

In the closing ceremony of the Asiad, Taniya performed many Bollywood songs that enthralled the audience. Similarly, Piyush Bhagat (14), and Satyender Shanu (12) also made the state proud by participating at the national-level talent hunt reality shows, ‘Chak Dhoom Dhoom’, ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’, and ‘Chotte Ustad’.

On the one hand, the charming dance performance of Piyush in the reality show attracted a number of people throughout the country, on the other Satyender enthralled the people of the nation by his melodious voice. He sung soulful Sufi Kalaams and touched the hearts of his fans.

Though Piyush was adjudged runners up in the dance reality show, his performance earlier and in the grand finale made him a hero of the state.

It is pertinent to mention that in 2009, Ameek Singh Raina and Priya Raina of Jammu participated in the national talent hunt reality show ‘India’s Got Talent’. Ameek fascinated the audience by his melodious voice, while the mimicry by Priya left the people spellbound.

Not only in the talent hunt shows but also in academics the year 2010 was the best for the Jammu youth. Riva Verma was one of the toppers of Jammu in 2010. Riva, who is the daughter of Prof Rajnikant of the University of Jammu, brought laurels not only to her parents but also to the state this year. She stood first in the state by securing 96 per cent marks in Class XII examinations. Riva is also the first girl in the state to get “Kishore Vaigyanik Protshahan Yojna Fellowship” from the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research, Bhopal.

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Kashmir youth to have New Year bash
DJs, singers from Mumbai to enliven celebrations
Tejinder Singh Sodhi/TNS

Srinagar, December 29
When youths in other parts of the country partied to celebrate New Year, Kashmir youths used to stay indoors. However, things are going to change this year and the youth in the Valley, too, would get a chance to take part in the New Year celebrations.

Two youths from Srinagar have decided to give youngsters in the Valley a chance to celebrate New Year with aplomb. For this, they have invited some singers and disco jockeys (DJs) from Mumbai to perform live on the New Year eve.

“Due to the lack of opportunity, the youths here have become depressed. So this year, we decided to enable the people of Kashmir, especially the youths, celebrate New Year as is done in other parts of the country,” said Nafi, one of the organisers.

He said so far the response was good and they were encouraged with the reaction of the youngsters, who wanted to take part in the celebrations. “The event will be the first of its kind in the Valley and my friends from Mumbai have booked some professional singers and DJs to give a performance on the New Year’s eve,” he added.

Nafi said they had roped in a private FM station to be the radio partner of the event.

Meanwhile, sociologists in Kashmir opined that the people of Kashmir, especially the youth, should be given exposure to more such opportunities so that their alienation ends. “The youth of the Valley feel left out as there is nothing for them to do. Therefore, they indulge in anti-social activities. They need to realise that they are also a part of society,” said Showkat Ahmed, a sociologist.

The organisers said such an event would provide the youth an opportunity to get together and experience how New Year was celebrated in other parts of the country.

However, radical outfits like the Dukhtran-e-Milat, headed by Asiya Andrabi, had always been against such celebrations. In the past also, her “moral brigade” attacked various shops selling valentine cards, terming the celebration against the tenets of Islam.

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