Srinagar, Mar 12: In the wake of the Pulwama attack last month, the government forces halt all civilian traffic movement, including ambulances and school buses, on the highway to let the convoys of armed forced pass unhindered.
The move is frustrating the daily commuters on the highway and other roads, who say, the forces stop every vehicle including school buses and ambulances without any concern for the patients’ lives or the young kids.
In the wake of February 14 attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama killing 49 personnel, the government of India decided to tweak the standard operating procedures (SOPs) framed to secure its convoys.
As per the new safeguards, the civil traffic is stopped for ‘short’ intervals during the movement of convoys. In addition to this, more barricading is done to ensure vehicles don’t get close to the convoys.
However, the curbs aimed to segregate the civil traffic and military movement is distressing thousands of commuters.
In the last few days, several videos showing government forces stopping civilian vehicles have surfaced on social media.
In one of the videos, a bunch of CRPF troopers and several government employees were seen engaged in a tussle after the former stopped them.
One CRPF man tried to snatch the phone of a man capturing the video while the other man pleaded him to let them go as they were already late to their workplaces.
Another female protester in video can be seen shouting: “Why should I back off? Why wouldn’t you let us go? There are patients in the ambulances and people waiting to report to their offices. This is not acceptable. Please let us go.”
Salim beigh, who studies in a different state, was returning home after six months. He had left airport around 9 in the morning and reached his home in Anantnag at half past 1 in the afternoon.
“My mother and sisters had been eagerly waiting for this day. But their excitement was marred by my late arrival. The inordinate delay was caused by the convoy movement,” he said.
“We were halted near Pampore for nearly three hours. Around 200-300 vehicles were stuck there and that too for a convoy comprising of just 5-6 security vehicles. Those who tried to intervene got abuses and rebuffs as a response from the forces.”
Umar, a resident of Pattan Baramulla complained that it took him two hours to reach home which normally would take just 35minutes.
“We had to make halt on highway twice as a convoy was passing through. One halt was at Narbal and then another one at Pattan. Both were for nearly 25 minutes each,” he said.
On Tuesday, Private Schools Association of Jammu and Kashmir too expressed its concern over halting of school buses during plying of convoys and said the practice has created a chaotic situation in educational institutes.
The Association, in a handout, said that the schools have been opened only for two days but the situation has become so chaotic that nobody is able to understand what to do.
“Our entire transport plan and plying of school buses has been disrupted. The schools particularly on National Highway and even those schools where buses have to simply cross a road have seen their time tables going down the drain,” said G N Var chairman of the amalgam.
“Our classes are starting late and sometimes even we do not know when will children or staff reach home,” he said.
The Association said that Kashmir already has limited working days and now the waste of time is compounding the problems.
“At times our buses have to wait for anywhere from half an hour to even more than one hour. Add to it the associated traffic jams and our buses arrive hours late after the prescribed school opening time,” said Var.
“Some of our buses have small children, who have to unnecessarily wait and suffer on roads. Our morning prayers, classes and examinations are being disrupted,” he added.
The Association said that government should exempt school buses and ambulances from the restrictive orders.
“World over there is a norm that school buses and ambulances are given preference over any other traffic. In western countries even Prime Minister and President of that nation makes way for school buses and ambulances,” said Var.
“School buses and ambulances should be exempted from such an order. There is no harm if these vehicles ply alongside the convoy,” he said.
“Since 90s we have seen almost every leader of government employees starting his career in the name of employee welfare, supporting peoples cause. As soon as they get an opportunity, they take no time in switching over their loyalty.”
SHO injured in Anantnag attack succumbs at AIIMS
Srinagar, Jun 16: The Station House Officer of the police station Sadr in Anantnag succumbed on Sunday, four days after he had received critical injuries in a militant attack in the town.
The slain officer Arshad Ahmad Khan was critically injured after militants attacked a joint party of CRPF and police at a bus stand in Anantnag on June 12.
In the attack, five paramilitary troopers and a militant were killed and four other security forces personnel including the Station House Officer were injured in the attack. Besides, a girl Snober (18) daughter of Ashraf Malik of Danter also sustained a bullet wound in her leg.
Khan according to reports was being operated in Srinagar’s SKIMS hospital. However, he was flown to Delhi’s AIIMS hospital on Sunday where he succumbed to injuries.
Malik instrumental in bringing JRL together: NIA
Claims Aalam revealed ‘rift between separatists on funds’
New Delhi, Jun 16: National Investigating Agency (NIA) Sunday said that the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik was instrumental in bringing the Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani and Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq together to spearhead the 2016 agitation in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Yasin Malik was instrumental in bringing together the disparate factions of Hurriyat and formed Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) which spear headed the 2016 agitation in Kashmir,” NIA said in a press statement.
It said that the JRL issued protest calendars leading to economic shutdown for over four months and also caused death/injuries to civilians and security forces in the valley.
“Yasin Malik admitted that the JRL and Hurriyat Conference Geelani Group collected funds from business community as well as certain other sources and ensured that economic shut down and violent protests continue to disrupt the daily life of common citizens in the valley,” the NIA said in the statement.
It said that Muslim League chairman Masarat Aalam Bhat revealed in the investigation that Pakistan based agents route funds through hawala operators which were transferred to the separatists including Syed Ali Geelani.
“Aalam said there are rifts in the Hurriyat regarding collection/use of funds,” it said.
The NIA said leader of Duktaran-e-Milat, Asiya Andrabi, was grilled by it about the educational expenses of her son in Malaysia incurred by Zahoor Watali, who was arrested in the alleged funding case.
“During interrogation, Asiya Andrabi admitted that she had been collecting funds and donations from foreign sources and Duktaran-e-Milat had been organising protests by Muslim women in the valley,” it claimed.
The NIA has already approached the relevant authorities for providing evidence relating to certain bank accounts used by Asiya Andrabi’s son Mohammad bin Qasim while he was in the university, it said.
Another separatist leader, Shabbir Shah, had to face some tough time when he was confronted about his businesses, including a hotel in Pahalgam which is allegedly funded through foreign funds received by him from Pakistan, the statement said.
“During the custodial interrogation, Shabir Shah was confronted with evidence relating to transfer of money by Pakistan-based agents and representatives of APHC (All Parties Hurriyat Conference) factions to parties affiliated to Hurriyat in J and K. He was also confronted about his investments in various hotels and businesses in Pahalgam, properties in Jammu, Srinagar and Anantnag,” the NIA said.
The NIA had registered a case in May, 2017 against belonging to Jammat ud Dawah, Duktaran-e-Millat, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and other separatist leaders in the state for raising, receiving and collecting funds to fuel separatist and terrorist activities and entering into a larger conspiracy for causing disruption in Kashmir Valley and for waging war against India.
The agency has so far charge-sheeted 13 accused, including leader of Jammat-ud Dawah Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, head of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen Syed Salahuddin, seven separatist leaders, two hawala conduits and some stone-pelters.
Have busted ‘Shuara-e-Zindan’ inside jails: Police
Srinagar, Jun 16: The Jammu and Kashmir Police has busted ‘Shuara-e-Zindan’ (supreme council for jail), a term used by militants for governance inside prisons, and restored the prison manual completely, officials said here.
After the escape of Naveed Jatt, a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant, last February, the Jammu and Kashmir prison department under the leadership of Dilbagh Singh took a series of measures to “sanitise” prisons, including shifting all hardcore militants from the Srinagar Central Jail.
“A complete analysis of the prisoners was carried out and the message was loud and clear that the hold of terrorists inside the prison needs to be broken and rule of law needs to be implemented,” says Singh, who recently relinquished the post of Director General of Prisons, said.
However, he did not elaborate further on the measures carried out and said “we have only ensured that hardened militants and separatists are segregated from those who are first-timers and have a scope of improvement.”
However, the officials in the state prison department said after Singh took charge, raids and searches were carried out regularly and militants were shifted to other jails in Jammu and Udhampur.
Two cases were registered at Rainawari police station which includes the one where militants were operating “Shaura-e-Zindan” inside the jail which used to decide allotment of barracks and other amenities to the prisoners, the officials said.
The ‘Shaura-e-Zindan’ used to provide facilities to the prisoners based on their experience in the field of militancy, which includes food of their choice and other facilities, they said, adding Ashiq Hussain Faktoo, serving life sentence, was the supreme commander of this group.
Now, after the crackdown and repeated searches, all private kitchens operating inside the jail premises, have been shut and all inmates queue up to the common ‘langar’ where they are served food, they said.
There was a report in December 2017 that “sermons are given on Jehad…The basic tenets of religion are overlooked and emphasis is laid on radical aspects. Such religious sermons have a deep psychological impact on inmates and youths in particular who develop inclination towards joining militancy or getting recruited as overground workers (for militants).”
It said the jail, which is expected to act as a correctional facility, is “instead being used as a place of religious indoctrination and militant recruitment”.
“It is being observed that even petty criminal who spend some time in jails are today coming out as highly indoctrinated individuals with religious motivation to support or even join militant ranks,” it said. However, Singh ensured that there is a segregation of prisoners and people arrested for charges under terrorism or separatism are treated with higher degree of caution and separated from inmates arrested for petty crimes.