New Delhi: Over three months after the Centre abrogated Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, the Enforcement Directorate took possession of seven properties attached in connection with its probe into a terror-funding case involving Hizb-u Mujahideen (HuM) chief Syed Salahuddin and others.
A senior ED official said all the seven properties were attached by the financial probe agency earlier in the case.
“But this is for the first time that we took possession of the properties in the Valley,” he said, adding “earlier we had to rely on other agencies to take possession”.
He said the said properties are located in Anantnag, Sopore and Bandipora.
The official said the seven properties were earlier provisionally attached. “After confirmation of the orders by the competent authority, ED officials visited the places and put up notices declaring the agency has taken over physical possession of the parcels of land,” he said.
According to senior ED officials, the Central probe agency has issued orders for attachment of 13 properties belonging to Mohammad Shafi Shah and six others of the HuM under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
“The action was taken on the basis of a chargesheet filed by the National Investigation Agency against them,” he said.
He said it became possible to take possession only after Article 370 was abrogated.
The Central government had abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.
According to the National Investigation Agency and ED, the HuM had been raising money through the Jammu and Kashmir Affectees Relief Trust in collusion with Pakistan-based entities to fund terror activities in the Valley.
The ED alleged the funds were sent to India through the ‘hawala’ channel, barter trade and human carriers and also distributed among the kin of terrorists, dead or alive.
The alleged mastermind behind the distribution of funds was identified as Shah. He along with other accused persons, Talib Lali, Muzaffar Ahmad Dar and Mushtaq Ahmad Lone, are currently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail.
Choose wisely – go organic this Holi
With Holi -the festival of colours coming up — everyone is busy buying colours, ‘pichkaris’, and balloons but with increasing environment pollution and severe allergic reactions to synthetic colours, there is a growing awareness among people to opt for organic variants.
“In an approximately Rs 4,500-crore unorganised Holi colour market, the share of the organic variety is miniscule, but growing,” said Madhumita Puri, Founder and Executive Director of Avacayam Naturals, a Delhi-based manufacturer of organic colours.
The adverse effects of synthetic colours was observed in a study titled ‘The Holi Dermatoses’, published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology.
It found a spate in skin diseases following the spring festival in India.
In the study conducted on 42 patients in Kolkata, 11 patients suffered due to activities related to preparation of colors and 12 reported aggravation of pre-existing dermatoses.
Nearly 60 per cent patients reported itching, while others reported to have suffered from a burning sensation, scaling, redness and watering of the eyes, as per the study.
Treading on a eco-friendly and skin-friendly path, Avacayam Naturals employed differently-abled persons to make organic colours by using waste and used flowers and leaves.
This solves three purposes at one go – generates employment for the disabled, manufactures harmless eco-friendly colours, and there is optimal usage of waste flowers.
Speaking to IANS, Puri said: “For making the colours, we collect used flowers — roses, marigolds, and others — and leaves from temples, weddings, and hotels.”
Avacayam Naturals, one of the programs that Puri started under her “Trash to Cash” scheme, makes four colours: Pink from roses, yellow from yellow marigolds, orange from orange marigolds, and green from leaves.
On being asked if the colours are harmless, she said: “Rather than damaging the environment, they are beneficial as each packet of colour is made from waste flowers which otherwise would dirty the place.”
How are the colours made?
“After the flowers are collected, the workers sort them in different baskets according to their colour. Then, the petals and seed pods are separated and cut. These are then spread out to dry in a well ventilated space for all the moisture to evaporate.
“After that, they are ground and processed — without adding any chemicals — to be made into colours for people to enjoy,” Puri said, adding that the process of collection, drying, and grinding continues throughout the year but it is only before festivals that they process them into the final product.
“In a year, we manufacture around 20 tonne of pure organic colour, some of which is sold to Walmart India. One kilo of colour is sold between Rs 600 and Rs 1,000.”
When asked about the expiry date of these colours, Puri said: “The product is a dry one and completely natural. We have been testing them since five years now and have not found any deterioration in the quality, fungal infestations, or weevils. So there is no ‘expiry date’ to them.”
Another such manufacturer is Jaipur-based Red Earth which makes colours “exclusively from edible materials and scent them with pure, traditional attars”.
Speaking to IANS, Himanshu Verma, Director-Owner of Red Earth, said: “Every 2-3 years, we change our colour palette… this year we have four colours — Sunahra Dhamaal, Shvet Abeer, Neem Sanrachna, and Gulabi Nagariya — that are inspired by local materials.”
“The colours are curated on the basis of availability of local materials. We use items like camphor, neem, mehendi, multani-mitti, geru powder, arrowroot, flour, and others,” Verma said, adding that 50-60 per cent materials used are edible so that even if someone ingests them by mistake, they will not be as harmful.