Editorial | PM Narendra Modi to states

Narendra Modi

Surajkund (Haryana): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday insisted on having a police technology mission that will enable all states to have the best common technology and mutual cooperation for crime prevention.

Addressing a gathering of home ministers of states to deliberate on issues of internal security — ‘Chintan Shivir’ — here, he said while ensuring the best technology the states should avoid any budgetary constraints that may come in the way of adoption of technological advancements.

The prime minister said the criminal world has globalised and stressed that “we need to be ten steps ahead” of them (criminals).

The prime minister pointed out that crime is no longer localised and instances of interstate, international crimes are going up.

“That is why mutual cooperation between state agencies and between central and state agencies is becoming crucial,” Modi said.

He said whether it is cybercrime or the use of drone technologies for the smuggling of weapons or drugs, the government needs to keep working towards new technologies to tackle the menace.

“The law and order system can be improved with the help of smart technology,” the prime minister said.
He said 5G technology, along with its benefits, brings the need for a heightened alert.

“With the help of 5G, the performance of facial recognition technology, automatic number plate recognition technology, drone and CCTV related technology, are going to improve manifolds,” Modi said.
But, the pace we move forward to, the world that is into committing crime has also been globalised and they have also become interstate, he said.

“They have also become forward in technology, meaning we need to be ten steps ahead of them,” the prime minister said.

He requested the chief ministers and home ministers to seriously assess the need for technology, going beyond the constraints of the budget as this technology will percolate the confidence of security among common citizens.

“We need to make our law and order system smart… My request is that please don’t weigh technology with budget (constraints),” Modi said in his address.

The prime minister mentioned the police technology mission of the central government and stressed the need for a common platform as differing technologies of different states do not talk to each other.
“Many states are working on it (technological upgrades) in their own capabilities. But what has come to the fore is that our technologies do not talk to each other and that is why our energy gets wasted,” Modi said.

He asked the states to “think with a big heart” about a common platform. “We should have a pan India outlook, all our best practices should be interoperable and should have a common link,” Modi said. PTI

Jashn-e-Kashmir Cultural festival, celebration of tradition, culture & heritage

Lt Governor inaugurates three-week long cultural festival Jashn-e-Kashmir, celebration of tradition, culture & heritage

We have taken steps to reconnect youth to their roots & providing an environment and a forum to folk artistes, visual artistes and authors to showcase our shared goals and values, says the LG.

  1. LG highlights efforts being made to document and preserve folk treasure of songs and tales 
  2. Felicitates artistes for their excellent contribution in preserving and promoting the local art, culture and folk traditions

Srinagar: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today inaugurated “Jashn-e-Kashmir”- New Kashmir New Hopea three-week long cultural festival celebrating tradition, culture and heritage, at Srinagar.


          The Cultural Festival is being organized by All J&K Folk Artists Association, Shah Qalander Folk Theatre, in collaboration with J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages, and the Office of Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir.


Congratulating everyone associated with the cultural festival, the Lt Governor said, “Our unique diversity is our pride and our biggest strength. Such festivals will encourage artistes, artisans and craftsmen to promote the spirit of Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat”.

The Lt Governor said that the government is working out a roadmap for preserving and reviving the culture and folk traditions of Jammu and Kashmir.


After a long pause, we are witnessing cultural revival in J&K. Several schemes for promoting folk arts, literature and visual arts have been prepared to give a new impetus to art and culture, added the Lt Governor.

We have taken steps to reconnect youth to their roots and provide an environment and a forum to folk artistes, visual artistes and authors to showcase our shared goals and values, observed the Lt Governor.


Schemes like ‘Guru Shishya Parampara’ to pass on the valued traditions of Jammu Kashmir to the coming generations; preservation of folklore, UT writers camp, national theatre festivals, inter-state cultural exchange programmes, international visits and cultural events in far flung areas will strengthen our traditional cultural richness, informed the Lt Governor.


   Our artistes are reflection of social values, social progress and the administration is fully committed for their welfare, said the Lt Governor.


We are aware of the difficulties being faced by many such senior artistes, writers who are not active today due to ill health and the hardships of the families of those artistes who are not with us anymore.  The Government will ensure such artistes, writers or their dependents are provided with financial assistance, the Lt Governor informed.


 Appreciating the role of voluntary organizations and institutions for the promotion of literature, folk art, music, the Lt Governor informed that the scheme of financial assistance for the registered societies related to various arts has also been approved.

The Lt Governor also highlighted the efforts being made to document and preserve folk treasure of songs and tales.


The Lt Governor urged the cultural organizations, departments, artistes and the people to work collectively for preserving the precious cultural and folk traditions of Jammu Kashmir.


 On the occasion, the Lt Governor felicitated the artistes for their excellent contribution in preserving and promoting the local art, culture and folk traditions.


Dr Darakhshan Andrabi, Chairperson, J&K Waqf Board in her address lauded the contribution of the artistes who are the face of culture and values of J&K and the country.  She said that the LG-led UT administration has provided a new lifeline to the field of art and culture in J&K.

Sh Gulzar Ahmad Bhat, Chairman, All J&K Folk Artists Association expressed gratitude to the Lt Governor for providing continuous support to art, culture and artistes of J&K. He said the renewed energy being filled in the field of art and culture of Jammu Kashmir has brought prosperity in the life of all artistes across the UT.

He also thanked the Lt Governor-led administration for launching the J&K film policy and other initiatives for promoting art, culture and traditions of Jammu Kashmir and welfare of performing artists.

On the occasion performances of different folk music and dance were presented by the artistes from across the UT. 

Mustaque Ali Ahmad Khan, Cultural Activist delivered the Vote of Thanks.

Pandurang K Pole, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir; Sh. Mohammad Aijaz, DC Srinagar;  Sh Bharat Singh Manhas, Secretary, JKAACL, besides prominent personalities from the field of art, folk and culture attended the inaugural ceremony at Tagore Hall, Srinagar.(KNS)

St. Stephens Removes Contentious Prospectus From Website After SC Order

St. Stephens Removes Contentious Prospectus From Website After SC Order 1

New Delhi: Hours after the Supreme Court rejected the college’s petition against the university’s admission process, St Stephen’s College on Wednesday removed from its website a contentious prospectus which was at the centre of discord between the college and its governing Delhi University. The prospectus, which was on the website since May, for admission to the college’s undergraduate courses for the academic year 2022-23 mentioned 85 per cent weightage to the Common University Entrance Test Admissions (CUET) and 15 per cent to an interview.

This was against Delhi University’s criteria which accorded 100 per cent weightage to the CUET and no interview. The matter went to court. As per the news agency PTI report, the Delhi High Court ordered St. Stephen’s to follow the admission policy prescribed by Delhi University, and The Supreme Court Wednesday refused to stay that ruling.

Hours after the Supreme Court rejected the St Stephen’s College petition against the admission process, the college removed the contentious prospectus from its website. When PTI checked the college website at around 4:00 pm, the prospectus was found removed. College principal John Varghese did not respond to calls and text messages. When it was still up, the prospectus stated, “St Stephen’s College will adopt the CUET as the eligibility criteria with 85 per cent weightage for CUET and the college’s interview for shortlisted candidates with a weightage of 15 per cent.”

The Delhi University opposed the prospectus and said that the college will have to follow the rules laid down by the government for admission. The Supreme Court Wednesday refused to stay the Delhi High Court order asking St. Stephen’s College here to follow the admission policy prescribed by the Delhi University.

The high court had directed the college to follow the university’s admission policy, according to which 100 per cent weightage has to be given to the Common University Entrance Test (CUET)-2022 score while granting admissions to non-minority students in undergraduate courses.

St Stephen’s College, however, wants to give 85 per cent weightage to CUET and 15 per cent to interviews for admitting students across categories. In a shift from the decade-old process, admission in DU this year is being conducted through CUET instead of Class 12th marks.

The college till last year used to follow a different admission process and schedule than the university and was also not part of the cumulative cut-off list issued by DU. St Stephen’s College, however, wants to give 85 per cent weightage to CUET and 15 per cent to interviews for admitting students across categories.

The Delhi High Court had on September 12 asked the Christian minority institution to follow the admission policy formulated by the Delhi University according to which 100 per cent weightage has to be given to the Common University Entrance Test (CUET)-2022 score while granting admission to non-minority students in its undergraduate courses.

The University began admissions for over 70,000 seats last month. Meanwhile, the varsity confirmed the first list of seats for admission to undergraduate courses on Wednesday by 5 pm and there would be no further delay. The varsity has deferred the release of the list by a day as the SC was set to hear on Wednesday St Stephen’s plea against High Court’s order.

Will Umar Khalid Finally Get Bail?

Will Umar Khalid Finally Get Bail? 2

“For two years now, I have been hearing this announcement every night – “naam note karein, in bandi bhaiyon ki rehaai hai” (make note of the names, these inmates are being released). And I wait and hope for the day when I would hear my name. I often wonder, how long is this dark tunnel? Is there any light in sight yet? Am I near the end, or am I only midway through? Or has the ordeal just begun?”

Umar Khalid wrote these lines in a letter around the time that the Delhi High Court reserved judgment in his bail plea.

Khalid, a former JNU student and political activist, is incarcerated under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) over allegations of involvement in the Delhi Riots ‘Conspiracy’ Case.

He recently completed two years in jail, but the road to trial still remains long and meandering, As per Khalid’s own advocate’s submission, the case is still at the stage of supply of documents, and there are some 850 witnesses to be examined.

His bail plea at the Delhi High Court – before a bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Rajneesh Bhatnagar – comes after it was rejected by a trial court.

As per Section 43D(5) of the UAPA, a court cannot grant bail to someone who has been accused of an offence under Chapters IV and VI, if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accusations against them are prima facie true. This makes the provision of bail very difficult for an accused in a terror-related case.

Summary: Submissions by Khalid’s Lawyer

Over several hearings at the Delhi High Court, Senior Advocate Trideep Pais, appearing for Khalid, has made an array of submissions, including the point that Khalid had no “criminal role” in the Delhi Riots, nor did he have any “conspirational connect” with the other accused in the matter.

The arguments in favour of bail for Khalid include:


  • Prosecution was “making stuff up as it went along”, the Delhi Police chargesheet was rife with inconsistencies and parts of it were without basis
  • The prosecution has nothing to show that there was a “meeting of minds” for committing a crime
  • The conspiracy alleged by the prosecution should pertain to the violence that ensued in Delhi, and not “raising issues of injustice” as there was nothing illegal in raising such issues
  • Khalid’s Amravati speech, which the Delhi Police alleges he was “desperate to give” and which forms the basis of the allegations against him, categorically called for non violence and did not lead to violence anywhere

Alleged Inconsistencies & Misrepresented Facts

Through the course of the hearings, Senior Advocate Pais listed out several instances where the prosecution allegedly misrepresented facts. 

Further, alleging glaring inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case, Pais argued that that the prosecution had initially accused Khalid of giving a speech inciting violence before a crowd of 700 people on 17 February 2020, in Maharashtra’s Amravati. This allegation, Pais pointed out, was based on a statement by a witness pseudonymously called ‘Bond’.

Pais went on to challenge Bond’s statement on various grounds including that the statement was not corroborated by any of the 700 other witnesses present when the speech was delivered. 

He also said that it was not connected in any way to the violence that erupted during the Delhi riots and that Bond’s statement was based on hearsay.

Pais underlined more inconsistencies by arguing that the initial allegation against Khalid was that he had delivered an inciting speech. However, in its supplementary chargesheet, the prosecution had said that Khalid was a ‘silent whisper’ in the 2020 riots.

Further, Pais pointed out that no evidence was found in the chargesheet which corroborated the allegations of Khalid meeting with other ‘co-conspirators’ in the riots, collecting protest funds, and planning to make protests women-centric to make it harder for the police to intervene.

‘Is Opposition to Scrapping Article 370 or CAA, Illegal?’

Arguing that no ‘linking of minds’ was established by the prosecution and that Khalid was not even present during any of the violent acts being referred to, Pais said that Khalid, in his Amravati speech, only raised issues which many have raised before.

According to LiveLaw, he said:

“The only overt act attributed to me is (the Amravati) speech. And just one line “sadko par utar aaye”. That was heard by many, it was a public event. It never lead to violence. “

Pais also asked the court if “opposition to scrapping of Article 370 or triple talaq or CAA (is) illegal in itself?”

According to LiveLaw, he went on to say:

“To show that two persons are opposed to CAA, there are various people who have opposed CAA, there are former judges who have made statements but other than showing commonality of thinking, nothing else shows meeting of minds for committing a crime or some kind of physical manifestation of agreement, as held by the Supreme Court, its not there.”

It may be pertinent to point out, here, that the apex court itself is presently in the process of hearing challenges to the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Responding to prosecution’s claim that that Khalid was part of five contentious WhatsApp groups, Pais submitted mere membership in Whatsapp groups (that have been named by them) does not make Khalid criminally liable.

Further, Pais said that Khalid remained silent in two such groups, and in the remaining groups, as well, only four messages could be attributed to Khalid. These four too neither incited nor called for riots, Pais pointed out.

What the Prosecution Argued…

Defending the trial court’s order denying bail to Umar Khalid, Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad said that the trial court has dealt with every recorded evidence and said that it will not deal with infirmities at this stage.

Further, the prosecution reportedly alleged: 

  • Speeches made by various accused carried a “common factor”, the essence of which was to create a sense of fear in the Muslim population
  • Umar Khalid’s Amravati speech was a ‘calculated speech’ because not only did it refer to CAA and NRC, but also other issues specifically pertaining to one community

The prosecution also went on to claim that the sit-in protest sites were planned and situated in close proximity to masjids and that the Shaheen Bagh protest was neither an independent movement nor driven only by women protesters.

The Possibility of Bail

Now it remains to be seen which view the Delhi High Court takes in consideration of Umar Khalid’s bail plea. It also does not need much reinforcing that bail under UAPA is tough. However, that does not mean that it has not been granted before and cannot be granted now.

As recently as on 20 September 2022, a Chief Justice of India (CJI) UU Lalit led bench of the apex court, granted bail to Kerala Journalist Siddique Kappan, despite the stringent UAPA provisions he too was booked under. While refraining to comment in the order on the “progress and investigation and material gathered by the prosecution in support of its case”, the top court did, however, consider “the length of custody undergone by the appellant” and “the peculiar facts and circumstances” of Kappan’s case.

Thereby, after nearly two years of incarceration, Kappan was granted bail. It is a different matter that Kappan continues to remain incarcerated, as he awaits a Lucknow court’s verdict in a bail plea in a PMLA case against him (which was filed with the alleged offence under UAPA, in which he has now got bail, being the predicate offence).

During the course of Kappan’s UAPA bail hearing, the apex court had also verbally asked the state:

“Every person has a right to free expression. He is trying to show that the (Hathras) victim needs justice and is raising a common voice. Will this be a crime in the eyes of the law?”

Khalid’s case is not very different from Kappan’s. He had exercised his right to free expression, his Amravati speech was the only overt act attributed to him, he has been languishing in custody for two years (with bail proceedings spanning months).

Besides given the large gaping holes in the prosecution’s case against Khalid – the lack of cogent evidence to establish the witness testimonies, the Whatsapp groups that barely carried any messages from Khalid (and none of criminal import), and the fact that Khalid was not even present at the time of the riots – his conviction under the UAPA seems highly unlikely.

So, why should Umar Khalid remain in jail? Why should, what many Human Rights advocates are calling the transmutation of ‘process’ into ‘punishment’ be permitted in his case? Why should his fundamental rights be ignored?

Besides, in the KA Najeeb case, the Supreme Court held that that a provision like Section 43D(5) of the UAPA “does not oust the ability of Constitutional Courts to grant bail on grounds of violation of Part III of the Constitution.”

As explained here, this means that if a constitutional court (ie a high court or a Supreme Court) sees that someone’s fundamental rights are being violated as a consequence of their arrest or prolonged incarceration, the court can grant them bail.

Meanwhile, in his open letter, Khalid writes that he feels pessimistic sometimes and “at times I also feel lonely.”

His mother, in an event organised to mark the second anniversary of his imprisonment says:

“Umar could have had a comfortable life, yet he chose to stand with the oppressed and question the oppressor eye to eye…. This is his crime.”

(Source: The Quint)

Presence Of Brown Bears In Kashmir’s Human Habitations Spark Alarm

Presence Of Brown Bears In Kashmir’s Human Habitations Spark Alarm 3

Srinagar- The wildlife experts have raised alarm bells over common sightings of brown bears in the human habitations across Kashmir as according to them such happenings occur due to rapid urbanisation.

The spotting of critically endangered Himalayan brown bears in parts of Kashmir in the human habitations has delighted wildlife experts who say it indicates the rising population of the rare species. However, they blamed the rapid development and increased tourism activities in high altitudes for the presence of brown bears in the human habitations.

The brown bear is the biggest animal in Kashmir and an adult weighs more than 2.5 quintals. It is found at an altitude of 2,000 to 2,500 metres mostly above the tree line. Its species are found across the world, but its Himalayan counterpart in the northern mountainous areas of India and Pakistan, is critically endangered.

Wildlife conservationists in Kashmir have noted increasing sightings and spread of the brown bear in the last two to three years in a few of its habitats including the hills of Sonamarg, Drass, Kupwara, Pahalgam, Pir-Panjal range and Gurez area of Bandipora district.

A wildlife official told a local news agency KNO that such animals have been found in large numbers in the human habitation for many years, which is an alarming situation.

“Last year, two such animals were sighted in Dumail area of Baltal near Amarnath cave shrine, besides three were sighted in Drass sector of the Ladakh region,” he said.

He added that earlier, two bears were sighted in Pahalgam while reports about the presence of the animal are also being received from other areas as well.

“The number of these animals was very good even before, but the presence of the animal in human habitation was rarely observed.”

Recently, the official said that the bear was also spotted in Shahgund village of the Bandipora district. However, the wildlife department successfully managed to catch the animal. Also, several critically-endangered Himalayan Brown Bears were sighted in Gurez Tehsil.

He said brown bears were sighted in Khandyal village of Gurez while another similar bear was seen crossing the Kishanganga dam site.

The wildlife official believes that the latest sighting indicates the population of the endangered animal is increasing in J&K.

He said that his team had to trek a difficult border terrain for three hours to spot these animals but now they are also commonly found near the human habitations.

Aaliya Mir, Project Head, Wildlife SOS, said that the rapid development of the area and increased tourism has significantly disrupted the habitat of the Himalayan brown bear, forcing the animal to venture close to the human habitation for survival.

“Numerous bears started relying on trash and food waste generated by humans at campsites, hotels, and restaurants for sustenance,” she said.

Aliya, while citing destruction of its habitat due to massive construction, increased military and nomad footprint, besides trekking destinations, said that such animals have been seen in residential areas for the last few years now.

She said that there have been frequent sightings of the brown bears in the cropland, market places, hotel premises, security camps, and residential areas.

Mir further said that “the more we interfere with the habitat of these animals, the more it will come down to the residential areas. The survival of the brown bear depends on the availability of suitable habitat, food, and water in the sanctuary.” KNO

Laal Singh Chaddha: Ableism, Masculinity and Nation 

Laal Singh Chaddha: Ableism, Masculinity and Nation  4

AFTER three decades of getting shut, a multiplex made its way into Srinagar’s Sonwar area. The inaugural ceremony closed with the screening of Laal Singh Chaddha, a movie that was to be Bollywood’s messiah for commercial resurrection.

Laal Singh Chaddha is a 2022 Indian film directed by Advait Chandan. The film sets out by introducing the protagonist, a boy named Laal who needs leg braces to walk. He faces ableism– discrimination against disabled people in the favor of able-bodied people– in school, both from the students and the administration. Even as his mother helps him build a resilient outlook on his condition, he continues to face sidelining. The film treats Laal’s disability as a shackle to break out of. Instead of affirming the disabled protagonist’s life and his rights to accessibility, the narrative takes an ‘inspirational’ turn, treating disability as something to be fixed.

Laal is shown to be chased by bullies as a kid. In order to escape them he starts walking fast. Suddenly, he finds himself running as Rupa, his close friend, watches. This ableist narrative is coupled with music that marks this event as one of rising action. The sunlight falls on his face as he finds himself sprinting. The braces he used as a mobility aid are run over by the bicycles of the boys chasing him, a final discardation. Rupa can’t believe her eyes as Laal is ‘fixed.’

Laal tells this story later in his life, and follows up his recollection with, “You won’t believe it, I run faster than the wind.” Not only is a disabled person fixed to match an able-bodied standard, but the expectation is to exceed the standard, to serve as a spectacle of inspiration. The scene is shown as a breakthrough for him, symbolized by him running through sesame fields, saturated with color, like Moses running through the parted Red Sea. Laal says “After that day, I ran everywhere.” There is a horizon of expectation where the disabled boy flies out of his ‘bindings’ and enters a life of possibility. His college coach closes the scene by remarking, “Is that a human or a rocket?” Thereafter, in his adulthood, Laal is shown as expressing his masculinity through races, i.e. through physical and muscular capacity. The film constructs his story such that the rejection he faces due to ableism as a boy is followed up by a recovery arc of masculinisation which culminates in the heterosexual family unit.

Ramaswamy, in her essay, Visualizing India’s geo-body argues that when the nation is constructed as a motherly geo-body, the territory falls under the guardianship of her loyal sons, like all women are in a paternalistic world. Laal steps up into dominant masculinity through joining the army, a masculinist institution. This not only makes him combatant but also heroic, he is shown to rescue his fellow fighters on the battlefield, saving the lives of other men defending the nation. Moreover, Rupa tells Laal he looks handsome in his army uniform. The aesthetic signifier gets attached to him for the first time in the film when he is in the most masculine garb imaginable.

Ableism is an ideology that functions in tandem with capitalism and hence colonialism. This is not to say that there is a linear relationship between them but that the ideas that govern the three are the exact same: the commodification of the human body for capital ends. The nation-state is the colonial manifestation of this ideological triad. Laal instrumentalizes his body for the nation, stepping into dominant masculinity as a result.

Masculinised Indian vs Emasculated Pakistani 

Mohammad, a Pakistani commander Laal saves from the Kargil war is constructed in opposition to him. Laal is chivalrous enough to carry the enemy to safety while the latter tries to shoot him in the back, Laal offers Mohammad a kulfi while he throws it away.

Mohammad is brought down from a position of aggressive masculinity to one of a person whose life falls apart after he loses his legs in the war. He is shown with disheveled clothes and hair, drinking from a bottle, self defining as “still a cripple.” While this Muslim enemy-of-the-nation is ‘brought down’ to the level of a meaningless man, Laal is shown to travel around the world as a part of the Indian army, and is even awarded with a medal of valor for saving his comrades. Leaving Mohammad to die would have been too neat a choice in the film. By keeping him alive, he serves as a constant reminder of everything Laal ‘rose’ out of.

Laal remembers the promise he made to his friend Baala on the battlefield and goes to great lengths to fulfill that promise. Mohammad on the other hand becomes a homeless man without any valor to his name. As opposed to Laal being fashioned out of his own intrinsic goodness as well as the support of those around him– his mother, Rupa, co-combatant Baala– Mohammad is shown as a man who is disposable to his community. After settling down in India, he states, “They (Pakistan) disowned the dead, let alone the living… there was no longer any need for us.”

The idea here is that the Indian nation makes moral men and gives back to them, while Pakistan treats its fighters like chattel after reaching ideological ends.

As Mohammad gets a redemption arc through Laal’s business ventures, he thanks Laal for saving him, not only physically but from the fate of those involved in the Taj attack. He asks Lal why he never worships to which he replies, “Religion spreads malaria,” an allusion to violence. The villainization of religion in order to create peace is a typical secular-liberal argument that refuses to engage with the colonial history of secularism itself, pitting a changing, secular self against the rigid, fundamentalist other.

Mohammad says he was brought up with the belief that everyone there was an enemy and a disbeliever. But he met Laal which changed him, that he himself was a victim of “malaria,” another allusion to extremism. Here we see an articulation of what was manifest visually all along. Mohammad says he plans to become someone who saves others from ‘malaria’ through schooling. The conversation of ‘teaching’ them ‘there’ about ‘good friends here’ paints Pakistan as a land full of hateful people who don’t know better than being brainwashed into violent praxis. Mohammad subscribes to the idea that they then require Education about better ways of being from one of them enlightened by a dutiful Indian man. Deepa Srinavas, in her essay on the figure of the Muslim Other in popular culture says that this portrayal has never been free from an underlying anxiety of belonging/ unbelonging to the idea of the nation. The Indian nation and its moral, dutiful citizen, Laal are both constructed through articulating what they aren’t, Pakistan and its violent, barbaric citizens.

Man as Provider 

Rupa’s life moves from her father’s abuse due to monetary constraints to a gang member Abbas’ abuse. As Rupa fails to make the life she wants for herself and is victimized by multiple men, Laal steps in to rescue her. He beats up any man who dares to touch Rupa. He shows up whenever she needs him with an uncanny foresight. Later down the line, Laal tells her about his successful endeavors and how she doesn’t have to worry about money anymore. Not for a single moment does the film sit in the possibility that Rupa could provide for herself, not until the very end. Joane Nagel, in theorizing the construction of men in relation to the nation states that women are relegated to symbolic roles while men defend their honor, their homeland and their women. In Laal’s journey as an army official and later as a businessman, Rupa becomes a beneficiary rather than an agential subject.

Rupa’s later separation from Laal due to associations with Abbas, a murdered and gang member, only reinstates their roles with respect to the nation. Laal continues to be a nation wide spectacle of masculinity, this time by running for four years straight. Rupa, as a less threatening yet supportive role to nationalism, testifies against Abbas, the violent Muslim germ in the nation and gets him arrested.

As Laal and Rupa enter the family unit, the one thing Laal asks at the get go is if their kid is smart or ‘like him.’ Any deviation from being able-bodied is seen as a regression. Rupa assures him that the kid is the smartest in his class.

Akhand Bharat 

At the tail end of the film, as Rupa lies sick in her deathbed, Laal speaks of how watching the Himalayas glow and witnessing the sunset at Kanyakumari was what took away the fear he felt while in the army. The map of India is affirmed here – from Kashmir to Kanyakumari- a material reality to attach oneself to, to quell fear. Ramaswamy articulates how patriotism requires persuasion and it happens most potently through the map. Rupa’s fears are laid to rest through attaching herself to the map of a monolithic, stable entity of the nation, of an akhand bharat. The complexity of illness, death and separation are flattened through the mythos surrounding India as an absolute entity to look up to.

This film visualizes the inseparability of nationalist and masculinist discourses, in the way they articulate each other. Manliness becomes the rhetoric of the nation in the film, becomes an epic of endurance through running, becomes a singular story of a man. Rupa and Lal’s mother stay static in their roles and never shift from the margins into the center stage. However, the film moves Laal from disabled, subordinate masculinity into an abled, dominant masculinity characterized by muscularity, valor and patriotism. KNO

  • by Saadia Peerzada for KNO, she is a student of English and Creative Writing at Ashoka University

J&K tariffs lower than other neighbouring state

J&K tariffs lower than other neighbouring state 5

The Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) for Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh has revised the power tariff from the third quarter of current financial year and it will be effective from 1st October 2022.

In this regard, an order issued by the Commission states that the new tariff has been designed in such a way so as to ensure minimum inconvenience to the citizens, while at the same time protecting the interests of the domestic, commercial, agricultural and industrial sectors.

The order adds that the average overall nominal increase over the previous tariff last revised in 2016-17 is just 8%, whereas the inflation rate in the corresponding period is 24% (the CPI Combined: All India General Index (All Groups) has risen from 131.1 in April 2017 to 162.5 in July 2022), thus it being safe to say that there is an effective decrease in tariff by 16% (adjusted for inflation).

The order further reads that it has been ensured that the tariff in Jammu and Kashmir is significantly lower than any other neighbouring state, and is in fact almost half when compared to states like Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan.

According to order, “the rates for Below Poverty Line consumers have been kept unchanged at Rs 1.25 for upto 30 units per month while as for domestic category consumers, for upto 200 units per month, the rate will be Rs 2 per unit, almost unchanged from before, for 200 to 400 units per month, the rate will be Rs 3.50 per unit, an increase of 6% in 5 years and for more than 400 units per month, the rate will be Rs 3.80 per unit, an increase of 8% in 5 years”. “The corresponding rates for Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi are Rs 5.95, 6.25, 7.30, 7 and 8 per unit respectively”, it adds.

The order also reads that the fixed charges shall be marginally increased from Rs 5.50 per kW per month to Rs. 8, the charges for flat metering shall be Rs 175 for the first quarter kW, then an increase of Rs 200 for every quarter kW till a load of 2 kW, beyond which the charges will be Rs 500 for every quarter kW.

In the commercial category, for Single Phase connections, for upto 200 units per month, the rate will be Rs 3.10 per unit, increase of 7% in 5 years, for Single Phase connections, for 200 to 500 units per month, the rate will be Rs 4.70 per unit, increase of 9% in 5 years and for Single Phase connections for more than 500 units per month, and for Three Phase connections at any usage, the rate will be Rs 5.10 per unit. The corresponding rates for Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi are in the range of Rs 5.50 to 9 per unit. It adds that the fixed charges shall be marginally increased from Rs 44 per kW per month to Rs 60 for single phase connections, from Rs 104.50 per kW per month to Rs 130 for three phase connections and the charges for flat metering shall be Rs 500 for every quarter kW.

In the agricultural sector, the charges have been rationalised at Rs 0.80 per unit for connections upto 10 HP, Rs 1.00 per unit for connections from 10 to 20 HP and Rs 5.25 per unit for larger connections beyond 20 HP. The fixed charges have been rationalised at Rs 30 per HP per month for all connections. The rate structure has only been simplified as the increase in agriculture category has been minimal.

In the LT Industry category, applicable to connections below 100 kW, the charges have been rationalised to Rs 3.65 per kVAh, and fixed charge of Rs 60 per kVA, an overall increase of about 11% in 5 years. There will be a special category called LTIS-II for connections less than 15 HP given to certain small industries eligible for concession as per government notification and for this category, the fixed charges will be Rs 30 per kVA per month.

In the HT Industry category, the charges will be Rs 3.60, Rs 3.50 and Rs 3.44 per kVAh for 11 kV, 33kV and 66 kV connections respectively and the fixed charges will be Rs 175 per kVA per month for all connections. The increase is about 22% in 5 years, less than the inflation increase of 24% and still significantly less than any other state in the country with an aim to incentivise industrial investments.

In the HT Power Intensive Industry category, the charges will be Rs 4.35, Rs 4.30 and Rs 4.23 per kVAh for 11 kV, 33kV and 66 kV connections respectively and the fixed charges will be Rs 225 per kVA per month for all connections and the increase is about 21% in 5 years.

In the Bulk consumer category, the charges will be Rs 4.90 and Rs 4.85 per kVAh for 11 kV and 33kV connections respectively. The fixed charges will be Rs 225 per kVA per month for all connections and the increase is about 23% in 5 years.

For supply to the Government sector establishments, the rates will be Rs 6.90 per kVAh and the fixed charge of Rs 40 per kVA per month for all central and state government departments. The rates will be Rs 7.50 per unit and the fixed charge of Rs 60 per kW per month for pubic street lighting, or Rs 3500 per kW per month on flat rate. The rates will be Rs 7.50 per unit and the fixed charge of Rs 60 per kW per month for LT public water works. The rates will be Rs 7.10 and Rs 7.00 per kVAh for 11 kV and 33kV connections respectively and the fixed charge of Rs 250 per kVA per month for HT public water works. The average increase in these rates has been around 25%, at par with the rate of inflation over the past 5 years.

Pertinently, the average rate of power purchase for the UT of Jammu and Kashmir is Rs 4.54 per unit and the Aggregate Technical and Commercial Loss for the FY 2021-22 stands at 46 % for Jammu division and 60 % for Kashmir region against the prescribed ceiling of 20%. Infrastructural improvements, technological interventions such as smart metering and a revised yet simplified tariff schedule are keys to improving the financial health of the distribution companies. The department aims, with all necessary interventions, to bring the losses within the acceptable limits and to provide 24*7 electricity to all consumers by 2025.

The tariff has been revised with an aim of providing round the clock power supply to the people of Jammu and Kashmir as well reduce the massive losses. The JERC has also kept the tariff rates lower for Jammu and Kashmir than other State or UT across the country.

Notable to mention, that the rates for industrial categories vary from a minimum of Rs 4.70 to a maximum of Rs 7.75 per kVAh in the neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. In order to ensure incentivize industrial development, the price of the highest rate slab of industrial supply has been kept less than the lowest rate slab in any neighboring state.

The new tariff schedule is designed to minimize the burden on the end consumer while at the same time ensuring the financial health of the power distribution companies. It has been ensured that the tariff is competitive for industries, and the interests of the average farmer, small shop-keeper and an average household have been given the prime importance. The department is committed to modernise the billing and metering system, in order to maximize compliance, minimize power theft and to provide best service to the end consumer. The consumers are encouraged to shift from flat metering to normal metering, since it will be economical for the consumer as well as good for the robustness of the distribution system.

Building Kashmir Into a Disaster-resilient Community

Building Kashmir Into a Disaster-resilient Community 6

HUMAN-induced climate change, including more frequent and intense extreme events (hot extremes on land and in the ocean, heavy precipitation events, drought and fire weather), has caused far and wide adverse impact and related losses and damages to ecosystems, people, settlements and infrastructure, beyond natural climate variability. Terrestrial, freshwater, and coastal and open ocean marine ecosystems have also been seriously affected. Additionally, it has made it harder to meet Sustainable Development Goals by reducing food and water security.

There has been a high death and morbidity rate in all regions due to extreme heat events. Over 2,000 people died in Spain and Portugal from heat-related causes over roughly a week by an unprecedented heat wave in July this year. In 2018 alone, the EU recorded 104,000 heat-related deaths among the elderly people, over one third of the global total, according to the Lancet Countdown report published in December 2020.

The occurrence of climate-related food-borne and water-borne diseases has increased. The spread of animal and human diseases, including zoonoses, is occurring in new locations. Climate-sensitive cardiovascular and respiratory distress has been linked to increased exposure to wildfire smoke, atmospheric dust, and aeroallergens.

Some losses have already become irreversible, whereas others are on their way to irreversibility, such as the impacts of hydrological changes resulting from the retreat of glaciers, or the effects of permafrost thaw on mountain and Arctic ecosystems.

It is becoming increasingly difficult and complex to manage the effects and risks of climate change. There will be multiple climate hazards occurring simultaneously, and multiple climatic and non-climatic risks interacting, compounding overall risk and cascading across sectors and regions.

Jammu and Kashmir has been witnessing an increase in a number of extreme events from the past 10 years. Massive flood in 2014, river Jhelum crossing the flood declaration mark five times in 2015, 2 dozen cloudbursts in Kashmir valley in 2015, cloudbursts at Kishtwar and Amarnath Cave Sonamarg in 2021 and 2022, respectively, extreme snow and rain spells in 2021 when the south Kashmir plains were buried under up to five feet of snow within a period of three days, untimely heavy November snowfall in 2018 and 2019, October snowfall in south Kashmir plains in 2021 and April snowfall in Kashmir plains in 2017, are a few of the extreme events that I have mentioned here. There have undoubtedly been many more. This agrees with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report ‘Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis’ – a 3,949-page report based on more than 14,000 scientific papers, written by 234 scientists, which states that extreme temperature events that used to occur once every 10 years are occurring 2.8 times more frequently nowadays, extreme precipitation events with 1.3 times more frequency and agricultural and ecological events with 1.7 times more frequency and their frequency will only increase as the temperature rises further.

Building Kashmir Into a Disaster-resilient Community 7

By limiting global warming to less than 1.5°C in the near future, human systems and ecosystems will have substantial reductions in projected losses and damages as compared to higher warming levels.

Adaptation, as defined in the second part of the Sixth Assessment Report of the IPCC, in human systems is the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects in order to moderate harm or take advantage of beneficial opportunities and in natural systems, the process of adjustment to actual climate and its effects. It plays a key role in reducing exposure and vulnerability to climate change.

The adoption of effective adaptation options and public policies will help enhance food availability and stability, reduce climate risks, and increase the sustainability of food systems. Cultivar improvements, agroforestry, community-based adaptations, farm and landscape diversification, and urban agriculture are among the effective options. Agroecological principles and practices, ecosystem-based management in fisheries and aquaculture, and other approaches that work with natural processes support food security, nutrition, health and well-being, livelihoods and biodiversity, sustainability, and ecosystem services. These services include pest control, pollination, buffering of temperature extremes, and carbon sequestration and storage. Adaptation strategies that reduce food loss and waste or support balanced diets contribute to nutrition, health, biodiversity, and other environmental benefits.

The combination of non-structural measures like early warning systems with structural measures like levees has reduced the number of people killed in inland flooding. Further reducing flood risks can be accomplished by restoring wetlands and rivers, implementing land use planning measures such as no-build zones, and managing upstream forests. The management of on-farm water, storage of water, soil moisture conservation, and irrigation are some of the most common adaptation responses that reduce vulnerability as well as provide economic, institutional, and ecological benefits. Several livelihood benefits can be derived from irrigation, which reduces drought risk and climate impacts in many regions. However, proper management is required to avoid adverse outcomes, such as accelerated depletion of groundwater and other water sources and increased soil salinization.

Measures to conserve, protect, and restore natural forests are part of forest adaptation. Sustainable forest management, diversifying and adjusting tree species compositions to build resilience, managing pest and disease risks, and managing wildfire risk are examples of adaptation strategies used in managed forests. In general, improving sustainable forest management, restoring natural forests and drained peatlands, restoring and conserving natural ecosystems and biodiversity, reforestation and avoiding deforestation, agroforestry, soil carbon management, and reducing CH4 and N2O emissions from livestock and soil in agriculture can boost the resilience of carbon stocks and sinks.

A combination of conservation, protection, restoration, and targeted management to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change reduces the vulnerability of biodiversity to climate change.

In order to promote urban and rural system transitions, inclusive, integrated, and long-term planning is essential at the local, municipal, sub-national, and national levels, together with effective regulation and monitoring systems in addition to financial and technological resources and capabilities. The ability of vulnerable people to adapt to changing conditions is improved when governments, civil society, and private sector organizations work together across scales.

Human health and well-being will be protected and promoted by strengthening health systems’ climate resiliency. An effective adaptation option for extreme heat is a Heat Health Action Plan that includes early warning and response systems. Improvements in access to potable water, reducing exposure of water and sanitation systems to flooding and extreme weather events, and improving early warning systems are some of the most effective adaptation options for water-borne and food-borne diseases. In the case of vector-borne diseases, effective adaptation options include surveillance, early warning systems, and vaccine development. Improved surveillance, access to mental health care, and monitoring of psychosocial impacts of extreme weather are effective adaptation options for reducing mental health risks under climate change.

By improving knowledge of risks, impacts, consequences, and available adaptation options, societal and policy responses will be strengthened. As a result of a wide range of top-down, bottom-up, and collaborative processes and sources, climate knowledge and sharing can be deepened, including capacity building at all scales, educational and information programs, use of the arts, participatory modelling, climate services, indigenous and local knowledge, and citizen science. In addition to raising awareness, these measures can influence behaviour and heighten risk perception.

A substantial reduction in overall fossil fuel use, the adoption of low-emission energy sources, the use of alternative energy carriers, and energy efficiency and conservation are all essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the full energy sector. By moving toward net-zero emissions through low-emission development pathways, urban areas can increase resource efficiency and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is possible for cities to reach net-zero emissions, but only if they reduce emissions within and outside of their administrative boundaries through supply chains, which will then have positive cascading effects across other sectors.

The most significant potential for decarbonization in land-based transport is offered by electric vehicles powered by low-emissions electricity. The use of sustainable biofuels in land-based transport can provide additional mitigation benefits in the short and medium term. It is possible to reduce CO2 emissions from ships, aircraft, and heavy-duty land transportation by using sustainable biofuels, low-emission hydrogen, and derivatives (including synthetic fuels). However, improvements in production processes and cost reductions are needed in order to achieve these goals. A number of mitigation strategies in the transport sector can have various co-benefits. These include improved air quality, improved health, equitable access to transportation services, a reduction in congestion, and a reduction in material consumption.

Urban planning and infrastructure design that is sustainable, such as green roofs and facades, parks and open spaces, the management of wetlands and forests, urban agriculture, and water-sensitive design, can be used to mitigate and adapt to climate change in settlements. These options can improve air quality and benefit health as well as reduce flood risks, pressure on sewage systems, and urban heat island effects.

The mitigation of land-related impacts with adaptive benefits may include agroforestry, cover crops, intercropping, perennial plants, restoring natural vegetation, and restoring degraded land. By maintaining land productivity and protecting and diversifying livelihoods, these measures can increase resilience.

A number of feasible and effective adaptation options exist which can reduce risks to people & nature, and the people & government of Jammu and Kashmir can implement some of them at least.

  • Source – Article By Faizan for KNO

This farmer of Kashmir’s Sopore village is becoming talk of the town with Kiwi farming

This farmer of Kashmir's Sopore village is becoming talk of the town with Kiwi farming 9

Bashir Ahmad War, a farmer from Sopore village of Kashmir is becoming a talk of the town with his Kiwi farming. Bashir Ahmad War, a farmer from Warpora Sopore visited Shimla three years back for some assignment. He was impressed and got inspired with several farmers in Shimla who had switched to Kiwi cultivation.

In the beginning, War prepared almost five kanals of land in his locality for a Kiwi orchard and got some plants from SKUAST Kashmir and took help from the horticulture and agriculture departments but later he went to Shimla to get some more Kiwi plants and started his own Kiwi farm at Warpora Sopore.

War told Greater Kashmir tough apple remains the most important cash crop of the valley but however he suggested that the Horticulture sector in Kashmir can go for introducing new varieties of fruits for better use of land and resources and added that Kiwi farming can play an important role in creating job opportunities and could be a turning point.

“A piece of Kiwi is being sold at Rs 25-30, while an apple costs Rs 5-8. Therefore, it has immense potential and can provide much-needed cash flow to the people,” Bashir said.

War informed that Kiwis don’t need a pesticide spray which could save huge amount of money and advised that people should also cultivate Kiwi crop side by side keeping in view the market value and health benefits of Kiwis.

Bashir has set up a Kiwi plant nursery where more than five thousand plants have been grown. “Last year I had grown twenty five hundred plants which I distributed free of cost among farmers with an aim to boost the crop across Kashmir,” he said.

This year, War anticipates a bumper crop of roughly 25 to 30 quintals, and both local and outside fruit merchants are contacting him to purchase the produce.