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Drugs continue to find passage into Kashmir

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Nov 13: Banned drugs continue to pour into the valley, with an increasing number of cases being registered by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).

Official figures reveal that in 2016, 873 persons were arrested in the state in 607 cases under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

The number increased by over 40 per cent in 2017, as 1,327 persons have been booked under the Act in 874 cases.

 

Over the last three months, the NCB has seized 161 kg heroin valued at Rs 800 crore from Jammu alone.

The seized consignments have been found originally from Afghanistan and reached Jammu and Kashmir via Pakistan.

Last September, the NCB had seized 60 kg heroin during multiple raids in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, arresting four people, and seizing Rs 22 lakh in cash from one of them in Punjab. While 22.14 kg heroin was seized from a car near Jammu, another 38.07 kg was found in Handwara.

The NCB on Friday seized more than 50 kg heroin on the outskirts of Jammu city from apple boxes in a fruit-laden truck which was headed to Delhi from Kashmir.

The seizure, the third biggest narcotics haul across India this year, was made at Ban Toll Plaza along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Nagrota on Monday, sources said.

A resident of Kupwara district has been arrested, the source in NCB said, adding that they were informed about an apple-laden truck leaving Kashmir with the contraband. The bureau located the truck near Udhampur and followed it, they said, adding that NCB officials intercepted the vehicle at the toll plaza near Nagrota.

Fifty packets of heroin stuffed in three cartons, estimated to be worth Rs 250 crore in the international market, were found during unloading of the wooden apple boxes, sources said. The truck was unloaded in Delhi, the source said.

A police official said that various narcotic drugs particularly heroin has given way to intravenous drug usage, use of sedatives and painkillers.

‘This increases the intensity of addiction and hastens the process of complete subjugation to the narcotic dependence,” the official said.

He said, the state police were adopting a two-pronged strategy to tackle the issue. “On the supply-side, we are carrying out intensive raids. Huge seizure of charas and tobbaco products have been made in the recent months,” he said.

Inspector General of Police Kashmir S P Pani refused to comment over the increasing drug abuse in the state.

“I am not the right person to make a comment in this regard. You better talk to NCB,” he added.

Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had earlier directed senior police officials to use the most draconian laws, including the Public Safety Act (PSA)–a law under which a person can be detained without trial for upto two years–against those involved in the cultivation and smuggling of drugs.


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Lead Stories

Metropolitan Project: Over 94 lakh kanals identified in JK

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Jul 18: Over 94 lakh kanals of land has been identified across Jammu and Kashmir for developing the state under the ambitious Metropolitan Region Development Authorities (MRDA) project.

Under the project, two Metropolitan Region Development Authorities will reduce the deficit on infrastructure – water supply, roads, sewage, drainage, light rails, e-buses and other amenities.

“The authorities will also develop satellite townships in Greater Jammu and Greater Srinagar. Million square feet IT parks will also be developed in these townships,” the document reads.

 

Governor Satya Pal Malik-led administration recently announced creation of Jammu Metropolitan Region Development Authority and Srinagar Metropolitan Region Development Authority — to provide an integrative framework for the purpose of planned development of these regions.

As per the details, the government has identified 94,22,465 kanals of land in 2559 villages of 14 districts in the state.

In Kashmir, 1452 villages comprising of 4989304 kanals of land would be covered under MRDA.

In Srinagar district, 124 villages comprising 514116 kanals of land would be covered. In Pulwama, 922715 kanals of land in 240 villages have been identified for implementation of project under MRDA.

Similarly, 331799, 1049195, 451400, 142461 kanals of land would be covered in Kulgam, Baramulla, Shopian, and Bandipora districts respectively.

Around 44,33,161 kanals of land would be covered in Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi, Udhampur under MRDA.

The MRDAs, as per the document, have been selected on the principles of regional planning and development.

An official of Housing and Urban Development Department said a process has begun for acquisition of land for the project.

“All types of land are being covered under MRDAs. Besides government land, we have also identified private land which ought to be acquired. But some land owners are not willing to provide land saying that government is not paying them commensurate to market value,” the official said.

He said the land owners want promulgation of an ordinance to replace old law “which will enable them fair compensation during acquisition”.

Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department, Dheeraj Gupta said that all types of land were being covered under MRDAs. “We will acquire private land wherever needed,” Gupta added.

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India to Pak: Release, repatriate Jadhav immediately

Agencies

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New Delhi, Jul 18: Describing the detention of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistan as “illegal” and under “fabricated” charges, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Thursday urged Islamabad to release and repatriate him immediately.

Making a statement in Rajya Sabha, he said the verdict of the International Court of Justice is not only a vindication for Jadhav but also for all those who believe in the rule of law.

The International Court of Justice on Wednesday ruled that Pakistan must review the death sentence for Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism”.

 

Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017.

A bench led by President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf ordered an “effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav”.

The bench also ruled by 15 votes to 1 that Pakistan had violated India’s rights to consular visits after Jadhav’s arrest.

Pakistan “deprived the Republic of India of the right to communicate with and have access to Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation”, the judges had said.

Pakistan was under the obligation to inform India about the arrest and detention of Jadhav under the Vienna Convention, Judge Yusuf had ruled.

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Jadhav guilty of crimes against people: Imran

Agencies

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Islamabad, Jul 18: Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan Thursday said that he appreciated the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) decision to “not to acquit, release & return” Kulbhushan Jadhav, day after the world court in The Hague directed Pakistan to review the death penalty given to the former Indian Navy commander.

Holding Jadhav responsible for “crime against” Pakistani people, Khan said Pakistan will proceed per law.

“Appreciate ICJ’s decision not to acquit, release & return Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav to India. He is guilty of crimes against the people of Pakistan. Pakistan shall proceed further as per law,” Imran tweeted.

 

On Wednesday, the ICJ ordered Pakistan to make an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and death sentence of Jadhav.

The world court also rejected all objections raised by Pakistan, granting consular access to Jadhav “without further delay”, in a verdict that was hailed in India as a “big victory” for the country. It agreed with India’s stand that Pakistan had violated the Vienna Convention by denying access.

In a reprieve for Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017, a 16-member bench by a 15:1 vote continued the stay on the execution.

A Chinese judge was part of the majority verdict while the ad hoc judge from Pakistan on the bench headed by President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf of Somalia gave a dissenting opinion.

Rejecting Pakistan’s objection to admissibility of the Indian application in the case, the court in its 42-page order held that “a continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review” of the sentence of Jadhav that had strained relations between the two neighbouring countries.

The bench, however, rejected some remedies sought by India, including annulment of the military court’s decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the verdict, saying “truth and justice” have prevailed while Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj described it as a “big victory” for India.

Despite the order backing India, Pakistan claimed victory. The country’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi tweeted: “Jadhav shall remain in Pakistan. He shall be treated in accordance with the laws of Pakistan.” Jadhav was arrested in Balochistan on 3 March, 2016, by Pakistani security agencies and was convicted of being a spy. In April 2017, Pakistan had announced that Jadhav was given death sentence by a military court.

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