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Are Kashmiris lesser humans, where is your humanity, asks Iltija Mufti

“We have arrived at crossroads in the history of J&K when this will now largely be a people’s movement”

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Srinagar, Sep 24 : In an exclusive interview with IANS, Iltija Mufti, daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, said Kashmiris have been stripped of their right to even mourn the death of their loved ones or celebrate a happy occasion.

She said time has come for political parties of Kashmir to forego their differences and unite if they want to protect the states identity.

Most people who ask her about joining politics don’t understand that leaders are not made in the cosy confines of TV studios or by giving interviews, she added.

Q. It’s been almost two months since the lock down in Kashmir, do you think the situation is any better?

A. What are the parameters to judge if it’s any better? Is traffic a sign of normalcy in a region which has witnessed an inhuman siege for almost two months now?

We are on the verge of a humanitarian, economic and psychological crisis and yet we are debating if it’s normal? I’ve read terrible stories of how families haven’t been able to even inform their relatives when their loved ones have died. Grooms who’ve had harrowing experiences with security on the eve of their marriage.

You have stripped Kashmiris of their right to even mourn the death of their loved ones or celebrate a happy occasion. Is this the new definition of normal?

Q. You moved the Supreme Court to meet your mother. Were you prevented by the J&K government from meeting her?

A. Government of India had directed the state government to ensure that my mother wasn’t allowed to meet or speak to us. This was done with the sole objective of isolating her.

I tried unsuccessfully for four weeks to see her. Eventually, I decided to approach the media and file a petition in court.

We live in times when people in this country and media fawn over the PM meeting his mother but behave like the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand when it comes to thousands of children who have been illegally detained by this government. Are Kashmiris subhuman? Where is your humanity?

Q. How was the meeting with your mother?

A. It was overwhelming.

As a daughter I will fight for my mother every hour, every day until she comes home. But what about the mothers whose kids have been sent off to jails outside the state? Who are they supposed to approach?

Q. What’s your strategy to counter the removal of Article 370?

A. Who am I to strategise? I’ve reiterated this several times that I’m not a politician or affiliated to any political party. But I think it’s time everyone regardless of their political leanings comes together and unites for the people of this state who are suffering immensely.

A few days ago we were told that Hindi would be shoved down everyone’s throats and was followed by a strong reaction from opposition parties, especially the DMK in Tamil Nadu. Those clamouring for Hindi imposition had no choice but to retract their statements. So nothing is impossible.

Q. Would you be joining politics formally now to fight for restoration of Article 370 and statehood to J&K?

A. A political career is not an heirloom that was passed from Mufti sahab to my mother. Even their harshest detractors will admit how both made a wonderful team and built PDP with sheer grit and hard work. This at a time when most had written Mufti Sahab’s political obituary.

Most media people who ask me this question don’t understand that leaders are not made in the cosy confines of TV studios or by giving interviews. We’ve arrived at a crossroad in the history of J&K when this will now largely be a people’s movement.

Q. Do you think it’s about time for all political parties in Kashmir to close ranks on the issue of Article 370 and statehood?

A. It certainly is. They will have to forego their differences and unite if they want to protect the states identity.

BY ZAFAR IQBAL

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Opinion: ‘This isn’t a movement by farmers’

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farmers at Sindhu border

New Delhi: In the name of opposing the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020, the people who have come to Delhi are saying that ‘Indira ko thok diya tha, Modi ko bhi thok denge.’ The only objective of those who are involved or supporting the agitation in the garb of farmers movement is to oppose the central government, the Bharatiya Janata Party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Some of the so-called agitators are also instigating farmers who used to go to Shaheen Bagh to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019. Surprisingly, despite the pro-Khalistan slogans about Indira Gandhi, the leaders of the Congress and other parties are keeping quiet on the objectionable rants of the so-called farmers. Does the Congress have no objection to ‘Indira ko thok diya tha’?

Various media reports indicate that the people agitating in Punjab are being fully backed by the Congress government in the state. Ration is being provided to the agitators. The Northern Railway had to suffer a revenue loss of Rs 891 crore till last week due to the agitation against agriculture bills. Indian Railways has also incurred a loss of Rs. 2220 crores.

The agitation was abolished by farmers’ organisations after the central government’s clarification on the questions raised on the agriculture bills and continuation of MSP. Various media reports say there is a big conspiracy behind the agitation. Food is being distributed to the people at mosques. People like Nazir Mohammad, who was involved in Shaheen Bagh, are roaming around wearing turbans. The elderly lady Momina from Shaheen Bagh, is also roaming around as a farmer. These are just a few examples. Like Shaheen Bagh and the Delhi riots, the truth behind such an agitation will also come out before to the public after the conspiracy is exposed.

The kind of mistake that Indira Gandhi had made by encouraging Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale is again being made by the Congress government in Punjab led by Amarinder Singh. The activities of Khalistan supporters are increasing during the Amarinder regime. It was even being discussed that some people could try to unfurl Khalistani flags in Delhi. People are already suffering due to the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. All business has been affected. The number of people dying from Corona in Delhi is increasing. Union Home Minister Amit Shah himself had to hold a meeting about the deteriorating condition of the pandemic outbreak in Delhi. Para-military forces had to be deployed in light of the shortage of doctors. In the guise of opposition to the agriculture bills, people who have come to the Capital with intention of camping in Delhi will only aggravate the agony of Coronavirus.

Why are the agriculture bills facing the maximum opposition in Punjab? Because the government is preparing people for the agitation. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi led the agitation by sitting on a sofa placed on a tractor in Punjab. It is worth noting that last year, 80 per cent of paddy and 70 per cent of wheat were from Punjab and Haryana were procured by the government.

The BJP is the only party that thinks about the interests of farmers. Other parties have just used farmers for politics. The central government is sending money to the farmers’ accounts. Prime Minister Modi has repeatedly said that our goal is to double the income of farmers. The agricultural reforms will provide new opportunities to farmers to sell their produce. This will increase their profitability. Farmers will get the benefit of modern technology and emerge stronger. Because of these bills, with the role of middlemen being eliminated, the so-called farmer leaders who acted as brokers have been the worst hit.

MSP has nothing to do with these Agriculture Bills. Confusion is being spread among the farmers that MSP will be abolished. Just as the Citizenship Amendment Act has nothing to do with the citizens of this country, MSP has nothing to do with the farm bills. The politics of spreading confusion by opposition parties won’t last long.

(The writer is National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Views expressed are personal)

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Indian-origin man in FBI ’10 Most Wanted’ list carries $100k reward

The FBI’s notice says that the accused “should be considered armed and extremely dangerous”.

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Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel,

New York, Nov 28 : The US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is reminding the public of a $100,000-reward offer for information leading to the capture of Indian-origin Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel, who has been listed by the agency as one of the “10 Most Wanted” since 2017.

Patel has been on the run since 2015 when he allegedly killed his wife, Palak, with a knife inside a Dunkin Donuts coffee shop in Hanover, Maryland state.

He has been charged with murder.

Although he was put on the list in 2017 with the $100,000 reward for information leading to his capture he has not been caught and on Friday the FBI tweeted information about him and the reward to draw attention to the case and the reward offer.

The FBI is asking anyone who knows where he is to contact the agency or the nearest US consulate or embassy.

Patel, who was 24 at that time, allegedly hit his 21-year-old wife in the face with a kitchen knife and stabbed her several times in the backroom of the shop where they both worked while customers were still there, according to officials quoted by WTOP radio.

He was last known to have taken a taxi from a hotel in New Jersey to a train station in Newark in the state.

Tim Altomare, who was the police chief of Anne Arundel County at that time, told the radio: “The violence in this case was stark. It was heart-wrenching and it was a shock to our collective conscience on the police department.”

WTOP reported that investigators think that Patel was still in the US in 2017 when he was put on the FBI list and according to Altomare investigators believe that someone was knowingly helping Patel or was interacting with him without knowing about his alleged crime.

The radio reported that according to Gordon Johnson, who was the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore field office in 2017, Patel was put on the list because of the brutality of the crime and the likelihood that someone outside the US knows where he was.

The couple’s visas expired about a month before the killing and investigators believe that Palak Patel wanted to return to India, but her husband opposed it, WTOP reported.

The FBI’s notice says that the accused “should be considered armed and extremely dangerous”.

According to the FBI he was born in Kantrodi Ta Viramgam in Gujarat.

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National Milk Day: Know history, significance of this day; Interesting facts about milk here

National Milk Day was established in 2014 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation to commemorate Dr. Verghese Kurien, who is considered the father of India’s White Revolution.

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Amul Milk Production

Every year, National Milk Day is celebrated on November 26 across India. The largest milk producing country celebrates this day to demonstrate the importance of milk in everyone’s life. It is worth noting that National Milk Day and World Milk Day are two different events, observed on different dates with different significance.

National Milk Day was established in 2014 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation to commemorate Dr. Verghese Kurien, who is considered the father of India’s White Revolution.

Why is National Milk Day Celebrated?

National Milk Day is celebrated on November 26 all over India, and it was established by the Food and Agricultural Organisation in 2014.

The day is dedicated to honouring Dr. Verghese Kurien, who is considered to be the father of India’s White Revolution. November 26 is also his birth anniversary, which is why this day is even more important as it also highlights his contribution to the country’s dairy farming and production.

First National Milk Day:

The Indian Dairy Association (IDA) in 2014, took the initiative to celebrate this day for the first time. The first National Milk Day was marked on November 26, 2014, in which various milk producers from 22 states participated.

Kerala-born, Dr Verghese Kurien is known as the ‘Milkman of India’ and the father of the 1970s White Revolution. He came with the one billion litre idea of turning a milk-guzzling country into world’s top dairy producer.

National Milk Day: Interesting facts about milk here

Milk is one of the best sources of calcium and the only drink in the world that contains such a large amount of natural nutrients.

Dr Verghese worked towards enabling the country to have its own production centres of milk. His support was crucial in making the Amul girl ad campaign-which is one of the longest-running campaigns for decades.

His accolades include Ramon Magsaysay Award, World Food Prize, Padma Shri, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Wateler Peace Prize.

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