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Harshit Agarwal, student of JNU for 2.5 years and eyewitness to the events that unfolded after the protest by DSU on the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus.

Harshit Agarwal, student of JNU and eyewitness to the events that unfolded after the protest by DSU on the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus. Originally posted on Quora.

A lot of answers are here. The only weird thing is not one of them is from a JNU student or who witnessed what happened on that controversial day and yet everyone has such strong opinions about the whole incident from people calling everyone studying in JNU as terrorists, jihadis and naxals to asking for the university to be completely shutdown!

I am a JNU student studying right now and also happen to be a witness from distance for some events that happened on that controversial date - 9th February 2016. So, that kinda renders me more legitimate to answer this question than people who only know about it through Zee News and Times Now.

On 9th February 2016, ex-members of a student organization DSU, short for 'Democratic Students Union' had called for a cultural meeting of a protest against what they called 'the judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat' and in solidarity with 'the struggle of Kashmiri people for their democratic right to self-determination.' A lot of Kashmiri students from inside and outside the campus were to attend the event.

'Democratic Students Union(DSU)' is an ultra-leftist group in the campus that believes in the ideology of Maoism. It's a very small group of very well read students. They are not terrorists or naxals by any means. I have been in the campus for more than 2 years and never have I witnessed or heard of them committing a terror activity as much as of throwing a stone, let alone overthrowing the state!

Now, first things first.

Did they do something wrong in organizing a meeting over the issue of Kashmir? Is the issue of Kashmir so sacred to us and our brains so brainwashed with the idea of nazi-like nationalism that we are not even ready to hear about the issue of Kashmir from Kashmiris themselves?

Do I support the secession of Kashmir from India? No.

I am not even aware of the exact nuances of the political matter, but I am ready to hear, learn and debate all sorts of opinions, especially from the inhabitants themselves.

Now, did the organizers of the meeting do something wrong in calling Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat's execution 'judicial murder'? And was it the first time somebody raised an objection on capital punishment and the judgement of a court?

After Afzal Guru was hanged, a lot of human rights group condemned the hanging. The political party PDP with whom BJP has formed a government in Jammu and Kashmir itself called Afzal's hanging 'travesty of justice'. Arundhati Roy condemned it. Shashi Tharoor called it wrong. Markandey Katju has severely criticized it.

Praveen Swami, Indian journalist, analyst and author specialising on international strategic and security issues wrote in The Hindu,

"The Supreme Court’s word is not, and ought not to be, the final word. Indeed, the deep ambiguities that surround Guru’s case are in themselves compelling argument to rethink the death penalty."

Former Delhi High Court chief justice, Justice AP Shah, said that the hanging of Afzal Guru and Yakub Memon were politically motivated.

Now were all these people anti-nationals, terrorists, jihadis?

I have faith in your wisdom to answer that.

Now coming to next issue - the shouting of 'anti-national slogans'.

Now 20 minutes before the meeting was going to start, ABVP, who consider themselves to be the sole harbingers of nationalism, wrote to the administration asking it to withdraw the permission of organizing the meeting as it was 'harmful for campus' atmosphere'. The administration, feeling afraid of clashes, denied the permission. Now, for those who do not know, JNU is a beautiful democratic space where all voices are heard, all opinions however radical, respected. And ABVP was scuttling that space.

DSU asked for help from JNUSU (Jawaharlal Nehru Students' Union) and other left student organizations like SFI(Students Federation of India), and AISA(All India Students Association) to gather in support of their right to democratically and peacefully hold meeting and mind you, NOT in support of their ideology or their stand on Kashmir. DSU, JNUSU, and other student organizations decided they would not let the administration and the ABVP scuttle their hard-earned democratic space to debate and discuss, and decided to go ahead with the meeting.

The administration sent security guards to cover the badminton court where the meeting was supposed to happen, and denied the permission to use mics. The organizers agreed.

They decided they would continue the meeting around the dhaba itself and without the mics. However, the ABVP mobilized its cadres and started threatening and intimidating the students and organizers. They started shouting cliched slogans like

'Ye Kashmir Hamara hai, saara ka saara hai.'

The organizers as a response to them, and to create solidarity among the students attending the meeting started shouting,

"Hum kya chaahte? Azaadi!"

Do you think there was something highly inflammatory  and dangerous in this statement? Think about it. Nations break all the time. We were chanting the same slogan under Britishers. Soviet Union disintegrated. Secession is neither good nor bad. It depends on the precise circumstances of the region. And mind you, I don't support the secession of Kashmir. I claim to have insufficient knowledge of the situation and conditions of the people residing in that region. Hence, I am neither for nor against it. Hence, I have no problems with a group of students simply shouting slogans in support of a particular region's freedom. They were not planning a conspiracy to overthrow the government and seize Kashmir from India. They were simple students who read, travel and learn about socio-political issues and have a stand about it.

Next slogan -

"Tum kitne Afzal maaroge, har ghar se Afzal niklega!"

Now, I did not study the case closely, and hence, would believe in the courts of India and therefore, I believe Afzal Guru was a terrorist. Though principally I am against capital punishment.

However, this group of students believed that he did not deserve capital punishment and also have their skepticism about his involvement in the parliamentary attack. I am picking up this from wikipedia -

"It has to be noted, that in its judgement of 5 August 2005, the supreme court admitted that the evidence against Guru was only circumstantial, and that there was no evidence that he belonged to any terrorist group or organisation."

And this directly from the Supreme Court judgement:

"The incident, which resulted in heavy casualties, had shaken the entire nation and the collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied if the capital punishment is awarded to the offender."

So, a group of students believe that Afzal Guru was framed, had no role in the attack on the parliament and his capital punishment was wrong. Big deal?

And were therefore shouting, "Har ghar se Afzal niklega!"

And mind you, these people are not carrying any arms, all they are carrying are ideas.

So, in such a case, what should the state do? Charge them for conspiracy against the state? Or maybe merely try to engage with them, debate with them about a difference of opinion?

And was this some secretly organized meeting about overthrowing the government smuggling in bombs and grenades? No, this was a public meeting. Everyone was invited. You were free to disagree with them. They are not doing it in hiding. If they were terrorists they would not come out in public! But didn't you see them all at your TV channels courageously defending themselves and their right to have a difference of opinion? Tell me, which traits of terrorists do you find in them?

Now, I'll come to the most controversial part - the slogans against India.

In the meeting, there was a whole group of Kashmiri students which had come from outside JNU to attend the meeting. If you would even look closely at the video that is being circulated, you will only see these students who had formed a circle in the center of the gathering. And trust me ,not one of whom was from JNU! I was present during the event for some time, and I could not recognize a single face from that group as being from JNU.

This group of students, who belonged to Kashmir, and had faced the wrath of the AFSPA for decades, were angered to see ABVP disrupt their meeting, and started shouting the slogans against India, like:

"Bharat ki barbaadi tak, jung rahegi, jung rahegi!"
"India, Go Back"

In my almost 2.5 years of stay in JNU, I have never heard these slogans shouted anywhere. These are nowhere even close to the ideology of any left parties, let alone DSU.

To make things clearer, here is what a Kashmiri student who is not a JNU student and who was not present in the meeting, has written about the slogans on his facebook wall, after hearing them on youtube:

"Let me do the “DECONSTRUCTION” not Derridian but ‘Kashmiri deconstruction’ of the slogans that have become so controversial.

1. BHARAT KEE BARBADI TAK JANG RAHEY GEE

Bharat for a Kashmiri young men and women who were born in 1990s and after means Indian Military Establishment. The representative image of Indian state is always, Men-in-uniform-with-weapons.

BARBADI is used in the same lexicon as it’s used by different organizations in India. It means end to the military occupation of Kashmir.

JANG means struggle, whether peaceful, Gandhian, Marxian, Gramscian or violent depends on your interpretation of the word.

I hope it leads to some clarity. Anyways it might be a ‘fringe’ slogan in spaces like JNU but it’s a ‘mass’ slogan in Kashmir.

2. AZADI: The word AZADI, which is the most confusing word for ‘Indians’. Let me simplify it for you. It’s not a seditious slogan nor is it secessionist. AZADI as a slogan is historically, socially, culturally, conceptually and principally rooted in the principle of Right to Self Determination of people belonging to a region occupied by two nation-states identified as Kashmir.

Let me add more, Azadi is a synonym of Resistance and has a very deep aspirational value attached to it."

About the slogans of 'Pakistan Zindabad', it is disputed. I did not hear any such slogan while I was present there. There is a slogan in a video, but it's not clear as to who shouted it - the Kashmiri students or the ABVP as a conspiracy, as this video below explains:

Now, that it's been clear that no JNU student was involved in shouting anti-India slogans, let's come to the way the government responded to this:

The police on the orders of Home Minister Rajnath Singh raid our univeristy and then hostels. They pick up the JNUSU President from within the campus with no substantial evidence and the court remands him for a 3 day police custody. He did not shout the slogans. He is a member of the All India Students Federation(AISF) which is the student wing of the Communist Party of India(CPI) which has no Maoist or secessionist ideology and is the mildest of all left parties.

Yesterday too, seven more students were picked up by the police from the campus.

I say, if you are hell bent on arresting, arrest those Kashmiri students at the most. But ruthlessly witch-hunting students is outrageous and clearly not what you would expect from a democratic government!

And finally, I am going to touch a raw nerve here, but I think it's become important that someone does -

"Why are we so volatile regarding our ideas of nationalism? Why do we treat it like religion? Somebody shouts few slogans and it becomes absolute blasphemy! A university is a place for debate, discussion and dissent! Slogans should be answered by slogans, and not by sedition charges!"

Elaborating on this, I would like to quote the first prime minister of India 'Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, whose name the university bears:

A University stands for humanism. For tolerance, for reason, for the adventure of ideas and for the search of truth. It stands for the onward march of the human race towards ever higher objectives. If the Universities discharge their duties adequately, then it is well with the Nation and the People."

At such a crucial time, when JNU is facing all kinds of fabricated lies and flak from media, I would urge all of you to stand with JNU. It is one of a kind of university and it's absolutely beautiful, both in it's spirit and geography.

I urge you all to visit my university sometime. It welcomes everyone, accommodates everyone...:)

An AIMIM worker has updated that MLA Waris Pathan and the MIM workers team took murdered Yakub Abdul Hasan's family to the offices of Toyota and met the General Manager to submit a memorandum with several demands. Specifically stating that Yakub being murdered while on duty and by employees of the company, in a conspiracy and cover up, the company should compensate his family who have lost a bread winner. The AIMIM political activists also raised slogans with their demands and condemning the crime. They demanded that all the participants to conspire in his murder be arrested (currently only one Santosh Arekar has been arrested, while it is obvious that one person could not have overpowered him to commit the act).

ACP Sankhe to the scene and a bandobast of about a hundred policemen arrived on the scene and ACP Madhukar Sankhe personally assured MLA Waris Pathan that all the accused would be arrested and an inquiry would be conducted again. Copies of the memorandum were also submitted to the Kala Chowki Police station and Police Commissioner Ahmed Javed with a demand for a proper investigation to be carried out and culprits to be brought to book.

The text of the memorandum which is on the official letterhead of MLA Waris Pathan, is as follows:

Ref No: BAWP/10/15/229
Date: 13th October 2015

To,
The General manager,
Shinrai Toyota
Sewree, Mumbai

Subject :- Murder Of Yakub Abdul Hassan Shaikh

Dear Sir,

It has been brought to our notice that Mr. Yakub Abdul Hasan Shaikh, one of your employees was murdered by his colleagues in your premises while he was on duty. This is very unfortunate.

Even after such a serious and unfortunate incidence in your premises, it has been noted that you have not taken the matter seriously and no enquiries have been initiated from your side nor have you taken any action against the main culprits for reasons best known to you.

The family of the diseased has approached us for justice and we demand strong action against the main culprits. Since you have CCTV installed in the premises, you definitely would be in the position to find the people involved in the heinous crime and also how actually it was committed. It si very obvious from the nature of the crime that no person can commit this type of act single handedly, but so far only one person has been arrested and a case has been filed against him but why is the company shielding other culprits? Why are others not being charged or arrested? These are certain questions which remain unanswered. The answer to these questions are very important for the family and for all humanity. As only after complete enquiry and action would the family be satisfied and they would feel that justice has been given to them.

Hence, we demand that a complete enquiry should be initiated by you to find the actual cause of the crime, nail all the culprits involved and take strong action against them besides being removed from service, you must file a strong police complaint against them, so that other employees would never think of indulging uin such acts.

Since the deceased was the only earning member of the family and now with his sudden demise the family is left with nothing but poverty, hence we demand full compensation for the family as the deceased was on duty when he was brutally murdered by his colleagues in the company premises.

Hope you will do the needful and oblige.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,

Adv. Waris Pathan
C.C.
1. Commissioner of Police Mumbai
2. Sr. Police Inspector, Kalachowky Police Station

All extremely reasonable and necessary demands, which I hope the police carry out with full responsibility and are endorsed by other politicians and citizens alike for a safe Mumbai.

AIMIM Memorandum to the General Manager of Toyota
AIMIM Memorandum to the General Manager of Toyota
AIMIM Memorandum to the General Manager of Toyota
AIMIM Memorandum to the General Manager of Toyota

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This article stating that Ved Pratap Vaidik was participating in the TrackII dialogue representing RSS and Modi (Ved Pratap Vaidik met Hafiz Saeed in same trip, confirming my suspicions about his interview) was apparently originally published in Manorama but isn't accessible anymore. Only copy seems to be in Kashmir Watch, which some people couldn't access. Duplicating it here for the sake of record.

Money matters

By Kallol Bhattacherjee

Focus on trade likely to be the defining feature of Modi's foreign policy

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi touched down in Bhutan on June 15, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was hosting a special Indian guest and his companions in Islamabad, who had come for a Track II dialogue. While the Prime Minister's Office is tight-lipped about editor and columnist Ved Pratap Vaidik's visit to Islamabad, he is believed to have gone to Pakistan as the representative of the RSS, tasked with dispelling misunderstandings about the Sangh Parivar and its south Asian agenda.

Vaidik had travelled to Lahore on his own to meet Sharif in May last year after the Pakistani leader won the elections. In return, Sharif, reportedly, rewarded him with rare access and contacts, which he used extensively during a trip to Pakistan early this year to convince its leaders that Pakistan can do business with India under Modi.

Najam Rafique of the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, which is hosting the Track II dialogue, told THE WEEK that Vaidik represented not just the RSS, but also Modi. “Vaidik is visiting us as an emissary of the Indian prime minister. On June 23, he is addressing an in-house meeting at ISSI. The agenda is how to revive the Pakistan-India dialogue process and what issues are to be taken up. The Indian side is resisting to discuss Kashmir,” he said. Sources in Islamabad said the Modi government's focus was on trade, especially getting the non-discriminatory trade agreement ratified by Pakistan. Rafique, however, said it might not be easy and would require some arm-twisting by India. “The Pakistani side is insisting that Kashmir should be on the table during the Track II dialogue. But, there is a widespread understanding that trade has to come first,” he said.

Given the sensitivities involved, not all details are on public domain, but Union Minister Arun Jaitley's comment about a possible dialogue with separatists in Kashmir has added to the sentiment that the Modi government will manage south Asia unconventionally, with a surprise cast of characters, if necessary. Darakhshan Andrabi, leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Socialist Democratic Party, who is lobbying Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for creating an alternative political platform in Kashmiri politics, said the Track II dialogue with Pakistan was aimed at attempting an enabling condition for going ahead with other aspects of life, like trade and development.

Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran said the Modi government's emphasis on trade with Pakistan, the rest of south Asia and the major world powers could well be the defining feature of Indian foreign policy under Modi. “Allowing Pakistani banks in India and the State Bank of India to operate in Pakistan and granting non-discriminatory market access to India by Pakistan will add to India's growth economy status. Much of our diplomatic stalling of the last five years happened because the world, after celebrating our economic growth for some time, suddenly started perceiving us as a low-potential economy hobbled by a weak political structure. India's diplomacy will change dramatically if Modi can create an impression by his initial deals in south Asia and Japan that India will prioritise trade over other differences, whether big or small,” he said.

These priorities will be reflected in External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's foreign trips as well. Swaraj, fresh from her tour to Bhutan, accompanying Modi, is expected to leave for a meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on June 26, carrying forward the Look East dynamic of Modi's foreign policy. Already, the Bhutan visit of Modi is being interpreted as a message to China not to snatch away India's partners in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

Saran said the September session of the UN General Assembly, which Modi was likely to attend, would give his team another major opportunity in perfecting its trade diplomacy. In Washington, DC, the United States India Political Action Committee, the organisation that facilitated the pre-election US visit of Rajnath Singh and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, is doing unofficial groundwork for Modi's visit. “We are excited about the defence IT sector as a new area, as India plans new investment zones in defence production,” said Sanjay Puri of USINPAC.

An immediate challenge for Modi will be in breaking ice with Italy, which is taking advantage of the football season by selling T-shirts with the names of the Italian marines charged for killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast. “The European Parliament will be headed by Italy from September and there is a possibility that tough Italy-India ties might hurt India-EU ties,” said a European ambassador.

The Modi-Swaraj-Doval team has begun with an intense plan of action. But, given the uncertainties in the world of diplomacy, it may also need some luck to succeed.

The gambit

Modi's tenure has begun with a bang:

* Neighbouring heads of state at the swearing-in ceremony
* First foreign visit to Bhutan, emphasising its significance
* Back-channel talks on with Pakistan
* Hosted Chinese foreign minister and Russian deputy PM
* Talks scheduled with Bangladesh PM
* Interactions being worked on with leaders of the US and Japan
* Renewed focus on trade diplomacy

-Source: The Week, India-
Print Version

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Denis Giles of The Andaman Chronicles had, on the 1st of February broken news of shocking sexual exploitation of the Jarawa in the Andaman Islands by outsiders and fishermen. While the sexual exploitation of the Jarawa is nothing new, this time it was a Jarawa man on tape describing the suffering of the Jarawa girls at the hands of intoxicated local poachers and fishermen who violate them and their homes.

The vulnerability of the Jarawa is stark as he knows and names the villains from Junglighat, Wandoor, Herbertabad and Tirur. He accuses them of introducing alcohol and drugs among the Jarawa, chasing Jarawa girls under the influence of alcohol and ganja (marijuana) and sleeping in their huts. They torture the girls.

In the audio clip, the Jarawa man says that poachers regularly visits the Reserve and in the influence of alcohol and ganja chase and hurt the girls and sleep with them in the Jarawa Chadda (hut). He also complains that the girls are physically tortured.

He names almost 20 poachers. They are Chotu, Lamba ka Ladka, Bablu, Sujoy, Deva s/o Neelu, Raja alias Tapas (man with moustache), Haran, Natia, Kishore from Tirur area. Udu (short statured ‘Nata’), Sameer, Pintu, Nitai from Guptapara area. Robin, Neen ka Ladka Mandal, Lalu, Ada ka Bhai rom Wandoor and Thata Rao, his father and other persons in his group from Junglighat, Port Blair.

Poachers trade with the Jarawa and arrests for entering the reserve mean little as they come out on bail and continue. Sexual exploitation is not proved as Jarawa girls won't testify against poachers in court.

Last month on 16th and 17th two teams of poachers were apprehended by a Joint team of AAJVS, Police and Forest from Jarawa Tribal Reserve in the West Coast and Hiren Tikrey. The poachers had taken about 8 Jarawa girls along with them. One of the team stayed in the Reserve for three days along with the girls. The girls were rescued and brought back and all the poachers were arrested under various sections of ANPATR and SC/ST POA Act.

In another incident, a local poacher Nitai Mondal, resident of Guptapara whose name repeatedly appears in the audio clip, went to Chotagoja Jarawa Camp, a Jarawa Reserve on the West Coast on 3rd November with ration articles - rice, vegetable oil, sugar and tea and camped with a group of Jarawas.

On the next day he took two Jarawas - Dawa and Lekhte to Bambu Nallah, where other Jarawas were camping. He stayed with them for a day and later took 5 Jarawas - Anijamu (43), Illy (25), Anjale (27), Achehane (25), and Tahe (22) to Tarmugli Island. Nitai Mondal, who is a habitual offender, is already booked in two cases of exploitation of Jarawas. But, he too was let off on bail.

From the transcript of the audio clip of the Jarawa man

The girls say...

The outsider (in’en) boys press them... lots.

They press them using hands and nails, when the girls get angry.

They chase them under the influence of alcohol, the girls...

They do (yoha) sex (pelta) with the girls.

All the girls, (and he names around 10 girls)

Sujoy and Chotu come to the girls

and Bablu and Nitai and another one Kaushik...

they drink alcohol in the house of girls.

They also sleep in Jarawa’s house (Chadda).

They chase the girls after smoking Ganja (Marijuana). smoking Ganja...

All the outside boys... the boys I named earlier.

Sujoy and one Chotu and one Kaushik and one old man from Guptapara, Nitai and one Sameer and I missed one outsider, no two outsiders... There are two more ... That Mamu from Guptapara... there is a boy you know... his name is Mamu... He is known as Mamu... he is also there...

*************

There are increasing conflicts between the Jarawa and the surrounding areas due insensitive violations of their reserve and exploitation of their women. Video clips of the naked Jarawa women made to dance for food by tour operators have been exposed before.

The strange thing is that when the UK news covers it, like the Guardian expose, our media latches on to it. When a local Andaman paper breaks the story, there is no hope of backup from Indian media. Or perhaps naked women dancing sell better even if blurred than men reporting serious wrongs, but no eye candy for our "sex sells" media?

This is fairly shocking, but what is more bizarre is that the police have filed six notices against Denis who broke the story.

And this still is not National News.

So now one has to wonder why.

While Jammu and Kashmir has always had among the lowest suicide rates (0.3% of all suicides) in India, statistics show a rising trend (44.3% more in 2012 than 2011) as opposed to a slight decline (0.1% less in 2012 than 2011) in the overall national figures. The dramatic increase is concerning in a state where the ongiong conflict creates a volatile situation or the youth.

Suicide - warning signsDr. Raminder Jit Singh knows loss personally. Every decade of his life had been dotted with people he cared about logging out of life, leaving behind bewildered families. His cousin's suicide left behind a wife and three children, and it was the impetus that led him to start The - Sara.

'The - Sara' is the first Registered Non - Profit Organization  working in the field of Suicide Prevention & providing Emotional Support in the State of J&K. 'The - Sara' is a non-religious, non-political and non-sectarian Organization formed by a group of like minded professionals, Health Care Givers, Business people, Artists, Homemakers, Engineers, Teachers and Retired Government Employees dedicated to the cause of Suicide Free Society.

 Recent Activity - 'The - Sara' in March 2013 carried out a Pamphlet Campaign on an issue "How to deal with Exam Stress". This initiative was supported by Companies/Brands like AOC India, Jammu & Kashmir Bank Ltd., Vodafone and Simula Infra Development. (Pamphlet attached)

Present Activity 
- at present we are working on a Project "Epidemiological Study of Suicides in Jammu" in co-ordination with J&K Police. (Permission Proof attached)Upcoming Activity - Continuing with our commitment towards our cause and Society 'The - Sara' is planning to carry out Pamphlet Campaign with the Theme "Learn Suicide Warning Signs". These Pamphlets will be distributed in various parts of Jammu & Kashmir.
Future Activity - we have moved Proposal with IGP Jammu Zone for establishment of "Suicide Prevention & Emotional Support Center". DGP of J&K Police has agreed to take up this Project under Civic Action Programme. This S.P.E.S Center shall provide On-line, Telephonic and Face - to - Face Counseling Services. This proposal is facing numerous glitches. (Proposal Proof attached)
https://aamjanata.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Proposal-to-PHQ.pdf

Since Suicide Prevention is accorded little priority in India therefore is no 'Grant in Aid' Scheme of Govt.of India to support Suicide Prevention Organizations/NGO's. Henceforth, we are carrying out our activities through donations of few well wishers including some Police Officials & through sponsorships of our campaigns. "I am fighting a lost battle." says Raminder Jit Singh. "Jub Tak Hai Jaan the show must go on."

If you think this is an important cause, do contact @abdullah_omar, the CM of J&K and ask him to explain what is goingr. Why would the state not support an NGO wrking on a subject of concern?

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