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BJP to revive Pandit settlements plan: Report

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Srinagar, Jul 12: The Bharatiya Janata Party will revive a plan to build secured camps to resettle scores of migrant Kashmiri Pandits in the Muslim-dominated Valley, senior leader Ram Madhav said in an interview with international new agency Reuters published on Friday.
Madhav, who is the BJP national general secretary, said “his party was committed to helping bring back some of the estimated 200,000-300,000 Pandits who fled the Kashmir Valley in the aftermath of an armed revolt that began in 1989.”
“Their fundamental rights of returning to the valley have to be respected. At the same time, we have to provide them proper security,” Madhav said in the interview.
Madhav, as per the Reuters report, said that a previous BJP-backed government in J&K had considered building either separate or mixed resettlement townships, but had been unable to make headway. “No consensus could be built around any one view,” he said.
The construction of segregated enclaves has little or no support from the Kashmir’s local political parties, Muslim leadership and groups representing the Pandits.
A blueprint unveiled by the state government in 2015 had proposed self-contained, heavily guarded colonies for returning Pandits, complete with schools, shopping malls, hospitals and playgrounds.
Separatist groups in the region had opposed the project, with some likening it to Israeli settlements within Palestinian territories.
The plan eventually stalled, particularly after the BJP’s alliance with a major regional party collapsed in June 2018, leading to the state coming under New Delhi’s direct rule. New state elections are likely before the end of the year.
The BJP is confident that it will win the upcoming state poll, Madhav said, adding that the resettlement plan would be back in play.
“I am sure when we come back to power, we will again take it up and try and see if a solution can be found,” he said.
Unlike the last time, the BJP isn’t looking to come to power through alliances, Madhav said, freeing itself of major regional parties that represent the region’s Muslims.

Can’t set deadline but their return our priority: BJP
Srinagar, Jul 12: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National Vice-President and Jammu and Kashmir in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna Friday said that the return of Kashmiri Pandits is party’s priority.
Khanna told news agency Kashmir News Service that the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits is BJP’s agenda and they will be rehabilitated soon.
He added that their security will be taken into consideration.
“Return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley is our priority and at present, the steps in this regard are being taken. I cannot set any deadline but it is our priority and BJP will ensure their return,” he said.
BJP’s state general secretary (organization), Ashok Koul reacting to the statement of Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that party would welcome in case separatists play their role in return of the Pandits.
“Let they show anything on the ground and BJP will welcome it,” he said.
Earlier, Mirwaiz had said that a panel comprising Ulemas, Traders, civil Society members and Kashmir Pandits will be constituted to take steps unitedly for the return of Kashmiri Pandits.
In an exclusive chat with Kashmir News Service, Mirwaiz had said that the members of Kashmiri Pandit community on the occasion of Mela Khirbhawani met him and urged him to play a role as Mirwaiz with regard to ensuring their return.
“The return of Kashmiri Pandits is a human issue and there must a start in this regard. We don’t see return of Kashmiri Pandits through the prism of Kashmir issue but it is a human issue,” he had said. (KNS)

 
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Police seeks adjournment of Kathua rape, murder trial, says ‘accused being major or minor still undecided’

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Jammu, Jul 15: Jammu and Kashmir police’s crime branch Monday moved a plea before a juvenile justice board hearing the case of an accused in the gangrape and murder of a young girl in Kathua, seeking deferment of the trial as the state high court is yet to decide whether he is a minor or not.
Appearing before the board, the special public prosecutor of the crime branch submitted that the high court is yet to pronounce its decision on an application moved against the decision of a Kathua court which accepted the accused’s claim that he is a minor, officials said.
The board, after framing charges against the accused who played a key role in kidnapping, rape and murder of the eight-year-old nomadic girl, had fixed Monday for examining prosecution witnesses and commencing of trial.
The board, after examining the plea of the crime branch, however, made it clear that there was no stay by the high court on holding the trial and gave prosecution two weeks to produce evidence and its witnesses in the case.
The crime branch had filed a petition in the high court against the accused’s claim of being a juvenile and said that the then chief judicial magistrate in Kathua had erred in accepting it.
The crime branch had also annexed a report of the medical board of Government Medical College, Jammu, which said the accused was “not less than 19 and not more than 21” years of age
However, the case has seen repeated adjournments last year.
The juvenile justice board had framed charges on July 8 following which it issued a notice to the crime branch, asking them to bring in their prosecution evidence and witnesses for the trial.
According to the notice, “the next date of hearing has been fixed on July 15”.
“The case has been fixed for prosecution evidence… Kindly arrange the presence of public prosecutor appointed in the case so as to examine the prosecution evidence/ witnesses,” it said.
The trial in this case was shifted to the Pathankot Sessions Court on the directions of the Supreme Court last year.
The Pathankot Sessions Court had on June 10 this year sentenced Sanji Ram, dismissed special police officer Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar to life imprisonment, while sacked policemen Anand Dutta, Tilak Raj and Surender Verma were handed five years in jail.
The verdict came 17 months after the girl was brutally gang-raped inside a ‘devisathan’ (local temple) and later killed. She was kidnapped on January 10 and her body was found on January 17.

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Four arrested for thrashing teachers, students in Budgam

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Jul 15: Under pressure, Jammu and Kashmir police have arrested four people involved in the attack on school picnickers at Raiyar village in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Saturday evening.
Six people including two girls and a teacher were injured when a group of youth armed with rods and canes attacked school picnickers at Raiyar village. The incident occurred on Saturday evening when the students and teachers of Hanfiya Model Higher Secondary School (HMHSS), Kreeri in Baramulla district, were returning from Doodpathri after a daylong picnic.
Police swung into action immediately and registered a case of attempt to murder under section 307 Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) against the unknown attackers.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Budgam, Amod Nagpuri told The Kashmir Monitor that four persons have been arrested and further investigation was going on.
“Yes, four persons have been arrested from Raiyar, where the incident took place. They have been booked under section 307 RPC,” Nagpuri said.
Jehangir Ahmad, a teacher at HMHSS, said photographs of eight people were sent (by police) to school authorities for identification.
“After going through the photographs, we identified four persons,” he said.
Ahmad said the injured physical teacher continues to be under observation in Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS).
“Patient was referred from SDH Khan Sahib as a case of assault with head injury. NCCT head showing parietooccipital EDH with parietotemporal contusions,”read the SKIMS report issued on Sunday.
Police sources said that during investigation statements of the injured were also recorded and on that basis four attackers were later arrested

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470 militant attacks took place in 2017, 2018: Goel tells RS

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New Delhi, Jul 15: As many as 470 militant attacks took place in the country in 2017 and 2018, the government informed Rajya Sabha on Monday.
In a written reply to a question by BJP MP Vijay Goel, Minister of State for Defence said in 2017, 131 militant attacks occurred in Jammu and Kashmir, eight in Manipur and one in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh each
In 2018, 318 militant attacks took place in Jammu and Kashmir, eight in Manipur and three in Nagaland.
The minister told the House that 235 militants were killed in various counter-insurgency and counter-infiltration operations in 2017. In 2018, the number of militants killed stood at 265.
The Army lost 85 soldiers in these two years – 42 in 2017 and 43 in 2018.

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