JAMMU, JANUARY 10: In yet another major decision of far reaching significance, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today announced grant of amnesty against youth involved in various cases during the unrest of 2016 even as she appealed all shades of opinion in the State and the country to come forward and help in the getting the State out of present uncertainties and bloodshed.
Replying to the discussion on Motion of Thanks on Governor’s Address in the legislative Assembly, the Chief Minister said she directed the withdrawal of cases against 4327 youth recently and even constituted a committee to review the cases against youth registered during the unrest of 2016. “I am happy that we have decided to grant amnesty to them also, roughly making it to around nine thousand youth”, she announced in the House amidst applauses.
Mehbooba Mufti said she has asked the Police to ensure that the local boys who have joined militant ranks should be helped to come back to their families and friends. “It’s my endeavour to bring them back and ensure no harassment to them. Many have come back but I regret the glorification of violence by some people on social media”, she told the House.
Terming dialogue as the only way ahead, the Chief Minister said appointment of Mr. Dineshwar Sharma, with the rank of Cabinet Secretary, as interlocutor last year was a major decision to undertake sustained dialogue in the State. She hoped that people from different shades of opinion would join the consultation process initiated by Mr. Sharma and it moves ahead with positivity.
Clarifying some points raised by some opposition members in this regard, Mehbooba Mufti said the mandate given to him is clear and categorical. “He has been appointed to carry forward the dialogue process in the State in a sustained manner”, she said adding that the need of the hour is to get the State out of the vicious cycle of violence. She appealed all shades of opinion in the State and the Country to come forward and play their role in getting Jammu & Kashmir out of uncertainties and bloodshed.
Welcoming the reports of recent meeting of National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan, Mehbooba Mufti said she wishes normalisation of relations between the two countries adding that she wants the State to become a bridge of faith and trust between the two countries. She said Jammu & Kashmir has a strategic location which should be exploited for positive and gainful results. “Why can’t we be gateway to Central Asia. We should be part of the Silk Route. Let us explore the opportunities of Tashkant, Kashgar, Iran etc. which have been the historic routes through which Islam came to Kashmir”, she said. “It was this tolerant Islam which groomed us to think on rational and humanitarian lines while deciding our fate in 1947. Let us go back to our routes”, she said.
For their social inclusion and integration, the Chief Minister said the pellet victims whose vision got impaired were given financial assistance and even the jobs. “Unfortunate, it should have not happened. We tried to rehabilitate them. We are still on it. Pellet victim Insha was given Gas agency to stand up on her feet”, she informed the House adding that these persons would be given special training in collaboration with a local institution so that they don’t have to depend on anybody for rest of their life.
The Chief Minister said to empower people at grass root levels, her Government intends to hold elections to panchayats and urban local local bodies and put in place a three tier governance apparatus in the State.
Rebutting strongly the charge of the opposition, the Chief Minister said a lot was done during the last three years by the Government but could not be highlighted because political scenario always dominates the scene in the State and the country. She said regularising the services of 60 thousand daily wagers was the largest public welfare step taken by any Government in recent times. “I am happy that they won’t have to go from pillar to post now onwards for releasing their remunerations. We have given them an honourable position, dignity and security though they were engaged by previous regimes”, the Chief Minister said while terming their regularisation as the mother of all welfare measures.
Mehbooba Mufti said she was happy to see that Leader of opposition praised the good work done by her Party during its rule from 2002-2005.
On the novel initiative of her conducting public outreach programmes at district headquarters, the Chief Minister said the aim was to know the difficulties of people of far flung areas on spot and fix the same instantly. She clarified that the local legislators were part of these programmes and many of the decisions she took were in response to the demands put forth by them. “No discrimination was made on political lines”, she clarified.
Mehbooba Mufti said, equally, the aim of her public outreaches was to spread the developmental initiative to far flung and difficult areas rather than concentrating them in cities. “If a villager of Bounjwa, Marmat or Paddar does not get his half a kilometre road constructed or a health centre improved, I don’t think we are doing justice to them”, she asserted.
The Chief Minister said during these outreach programmes, she has noticed that though many field officers have a ready knowledge of activities in the field but some officers do not visit their areas so frequently as should be. “We, the political executives, come and go but you (the officers) remain in the system for long”, she said while asking the field officers, particularly the DCs, to regularly visit their areas and get direct feedback from the people.
Sensing the requirements of labour class, who don’t have any job or life security, Mehbooba Mufti said the Government conceived a welfare scheme for around 3 lakh workers in unorganised sector in terms of accidental deaths, injuries or normal deaths. Also the scheme envisages scholarships and educational incentives to the wards of these workers, she added. Similarly, she said, the widow pension was enhanced and even the scooty scheme for college girls has so picked up that the demand is coming from all across the State.
The Chief Minister said J&K Police which is on the fore front of managing the situation in the State had issues pending for long. The cadre review of Kashmir Police Service was undertaken, ex gratia amount for the cops was increased by three times, backlog of SRO-43 of around 1000 cases was cleared and quotas for promotions in constabulary were earmarked for their timely career progression, she informed the House.
In education sector, Mehbooba Mufti said, around 400 schools are being upgraded and Government schools are performing better which, she said, got displayed yesterday in the results of 10th class examination. Government schools not only got more of their students passed but also in good percentages, she added.
The Chief Minister said Government is taking steps to provide as much jobs as possible to youth. She said more than 10 thousand vacancies were filled last year by the PSC and SSRB, 3000 positions of Rehbar i Khel have been carved out, 500 Rehbar i Janglats are being recruited besides the routine recruitments in the police. The major takeaway, the Chief Minister said, has been the transparency in these selections. “There has been no interference in these selections. All I have been impressing upon the recruiting agencies is to speed up the process and conclude the selections in time”, she said.
During her 55 minute address, the Chief Minister enumerated several developmental initiatives taken by her Government. She said two AIIMS and two Smart cities are being developed in the State, 87 model hospitals are being constructed, work is apace on five medical colleges for which staff of around 3500 has already been sanctioned.
The Chief Minister also dwelt in detail the major initiatives taken by Government in the fields of Agriculture, Horticulture, Health, Public Works, water supply, health and other areas.
Earlier, 30 members participated in the discussion on Motion of Thanks which was returned after the reply of the Chief Minister.
Legislators who took part in the discussion on Motion of Thanks on Governor’s address included Omar Abdullah, Muhammad Yousuf Bhat, Daleep Parihar, Choudhary Qamar Hussain, Sat Paul Sharma, Hakeem Muhammad Yaseen, Bashir Ahmad Dar, Shah Muhammad Tantray, Rajeev Jasrotia, Raja Manzoor Ahmad, Nawan Rigzin Jora, Dina Nath Bhagat, Mubarak Gul, Abdul Rahim Rather, Usman Abdul Majid, Jeevan Lal, Firdous Shamim, Abdul Majid Padder, Main Altaf Ahmad, Vikar Rasool Wani, M Y Tarigami, Aijaz Ahmad Mir, Shakti Raj Parihar, Javid Hassan Beigh, Pawan Kumar Gupta, Er Abdul Rasheed, Yawar Ahmad Mir, Ravinder Raina, Anjum Fazili and R S Pathania.
Later, the House passed the motion of Thanks on Governor’s Address.
Hajin gunfight ends, 12-year old killed by militants:Police
Srinagar, Mar 22: Two militants, one of them a top commander of Lashker-e-Taiba, and a 12 minor boy were killed in a gunfight in north Kashmir’s Hajin area of Bandipora district on Friday.
Reports said a joint team of Army’s 13RR, CRPF and SOG launched a cordon and search operation (CASO) at Mir Mohalla of Hajin on Thursday afternoon.
It soon turned into a gunfight which ended Friday morning with the death of two militants.
A 12-year-old boy, Atif Mir, who, the government forces claimed, was made “hostage” by the militants was also killed during the encounter.
Addressing a joint press conference called by army, police, and CRPF, SSP Bandipora, Rahul Malik said they had inputs about presence of militants in the Hajin area for some time and launched several cordon and search operations.
He said this was the third CASO in which a “chance encounter” ensued. He claimed the police rescued the six civilians in the first two hours of gunfight.
“After that we came to know that two more civilians were trapped inside who were taken hostage by the two militants. Among the measures we took was to make announcements through megaphones, we also used local Auqaf committees, and family for releasing of hostages,” the SSP said.
The SSP said that police also involved a team specialized in room to room intervention.
“By the time they reached the third floor, fire came out. We also tried to send the mother, who went inside to make appeals but again militants opened fire at them. In this situation, we were able to rescue one hostage: the old uncle of the trapped boy,” Rahul said.
The SSP claimed they also called the Magistrate at the spot who appealed that the boy should be released.
There are also few videos apparently recorded by government forces in which old parents of the minor are seen pleading before the trapped militants, asking them to release their son.
“Unfortunately, those efforts didn’t materialize. When the firing from the other end intensified, we also retaliated. In this process, two militants with pseudonyms, Ali and Hubaib got killed. In this process, we received information from the rescued civilian. He told us that the minor boy was being held hostage by Ali. The militant didn’t allow the boy to go out, and killed him before our team stormed the building,” he claimed.
Reports said the house belonging to one Abdul Hamid Mir was razed to rubble during the gunfight and all the three bodied were completely charred. Police and army also recovered two Ak-47 rifles.
The government forces, the SSP said, tried to adopt various methods to rescue the boy. The SSP claimed that one of the militants Ali wanted to marry a girl from the family whose members were held hostage.
“The family members of the girl had sent her to some other place. Ali demanded that girl should be brought back and then only he would allow the hostages to go out. This is what had been transpiring in their house. By the time we received the input, the cordon and encounter had already started,” he said.
The police said both the slain were foreign militants and affiliated with LeT.
“Ali has been involved in many civilian killings. He had a trademark of keeping a long knife which we have also recovered. Besides, foreign militants don’t operate from one area. They keep on moving from one district to another. For the last five to six months, their presence has increased in this area. They keep on changing their name, identity and area of operation,” he said.
He claimed that Ali had been operating for the last two years. “We can’t say how many foreign militants are active presently but whosoever is there we are behind them,” he added.
SOPORE RESIDENT AMONG TWO MILITANTS SLAIN IN BARAMULLA: Thousands of people on Friday attended the funeral prayers of Aamir Rasool Kaboo who was among two militants slain in a gunfight with the government forces in Kalantra Kandi Kreeri area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla Thursday night.
Witnesses said that thousands of people assembled at Aamir’s home at Arampora Friday morning to take part in his last rites. Amir’s body was handed over to the family shortly before midnight.
The mourners raised pro-freedom slogans as they marched with his body to the martyrs’ graveyard where he was laid to rest.
Amir and his associate, believed to be a non-local, were killed in a gunfight with the forces in Kalantra on Thursday. Three soldiers, including an officer, were wounded in the firefight.
A complete shutdown was also observed across the Sopore town and its adjacent areas.
Two JeM militants killed in Shopian gunfight it
Srinagar, Mar 22: Two Jaish militants, including a former SPO who had joined the outfit in 2018, were killed in an encounter in Ratnipora area of South Kashmir’s Shopian district on Friday.
Reports said that a joint team of army’s 34 RR, SOG and CRPF laid a cordon and search operation in Ratnipora village late last night.
Quoting a police officer, news agency GNS said that the CASO was launched following inputs about the presence of some militants.
“The joint team in the meantime fired some warning shots towards the suspected spot which was responded by militants and it was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight”.
“During the course of gunfight, two militants have been killed and their bodies along with two weapons were recovered from the site late this afternoon,” the officer said, adding that both the slain militants were affiliated with JeM outfit.
SSP Shopian Sandeep Choudhary identified the slain militants as Showkat Ahmad of Heramain and Yasir Ahmad Shah of Aarhama.
The SSP added that Showkat was an SPO-turned-militant and had joined the militant outfit last year.
Meanwhile, massive protest erupted near encounter site and its adjoining villages including Gadapora as protesters tried to march closer to the gunfight spot. The forces used pellets and tear smoke shells to disperse the protesting youth. The stone pelting clashes amid a shutdown was also received from neighbouring Pulwama district
At least fifteen youth were injured in the clashes near encounter site. Among the fifteen injured, ten of them were taken to district hospital Shopian for treatment. A policeman namely Tariq Ahmad also sustained serious head injuries after being hit by a stone during clashes in adjoining Ratnipora village of the district, the official sources said.
A doctor who operated upon them said that five youth suffered pellet injuries in their eyes while one of them had been shot in the neck.
“All the ten injured were later referred to different hospitals in Srinagar for advanced treatment,” he said.
Meanwhile, in wake of the gunfight, the internet services were suspended in Shopian for precautionary measures. (With inputs from GNS)
Centre bans JKLF under ‘anti-terror’ law
New Delhi, Mar 22: The Yasin Malik-led Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) was banned by the Centre under ‘anti-terror’ law on Friday, officials said.
The outfit has been banned for alleged promotion of secessionist activities in Jammu and Kashmir, they said.
They said the organisation has been banned under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Its chief Yasin Malik is under arrest and at present lodged in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.
This is the second organisation in Jammu and Kashmir which has been banned this month. Earlier, the Centre had banned the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir.
Reacting to banning of JKLF, PDP president and former J&K CM, Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “Yasin Malik renounced violence as a way of resolving J&K issue a long time ago. He was treated as a stakeholder in a dialogue initiated by then PM Vajpayee ji. What will a ban on his organisation achieve? Detrimental steps like these will only turn Kashmir into an open air prison.”
National Conference Vice President and another former CM of the state, Omar Abdullah, too expressed his thoughts over the decision.
“For 4 1/2 years (four and a half years) Yasin Malik isn’t a threat, Jamaat Islami isn’t a threat, Pakistan National Day is a function that must be attended. Now suddenly once an election is announced an immediate u-turn is executed,” he wrote on Twitter.
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