Jammu, Feb 03: Jammu and Kashmir government has approved withdrawal of cases registered against 9,730 people ‘involved’ in stone-pelting incidents, including first-time offenders, between 2008 and 2017, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Saturday.
The government action to withdraw 1,745 cases is subject to “certain conditions” and is based on recommendations of a committee constituted to look into the matter, Mufti said.
She said her government has also recommended giving amnesty to more than 4,000 people, who are said to be involved in minor incidents of stone pelting over the past two years.
In a written reply to a question in the Assembly, Mufti did not disclose the particulars of first-time offenders due to security considerations for them and their families.
However, she said 3,773 cases were registered in 2016 and 2017, leading to the arrest of 11,290 people, of whom 233 remained untraced.
Seven cases were not admitted and 1,692 were chargesheeted, while 1,841 cases were under investigation, Mufti, who hold the home department portfolio, said.
Intense clashes had rocked Kashmir Valley in 2016 following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July that year, resulting in the death of over 85 people.
The chief minister said while 2,904 cases were registered and 8,570 people were arrested in connection with stone-pelting incidents in 2016, the number of such cases in 2017 dropped to 869 in which 2,720 people were arrested.
The highest 2,330 people were arrested in Srinagar followed by 2,046 in Baramulla, 1,385 in Pulwama, 1,123 in Kupwara, 1,118 in Anantnag, 783 in Budgam, 714 in Ganderbal, 694 in Shopian, 548 in Bandipora, 547 in Kulgam and two in Doda districts during 2016 and 2017, she said.
She said 56 government employees and 16 Hurriyat Conference activists were among the 4,949 people found involved in stone-pelting incidents, while 4,074 were not affiliated with any separatist or militant group.
‘No proposal to probe civilian killings in 2016 unrest’
Jammu, Feb 3: The Jammu and Kashmir government today said there is no proposal under consideration to constitute a judicial commission to probe the death of 106 people during the 2016 unrest in the valley.
“No such proposal is under consideration of the government,” Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who holds the portfolio of home department, said in a written reply in the Legislative Assembly to a question by CPI(M) MLA MY Tarigami.
The CPI(M) legislator had asked the government whether it intended to constitute a judicial commission to probe the killings.
Mehbooba said 85 people were killed in the Kashmir Valley and one life was lost in the Jammu region in law and order incidents in 2016, following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces.She said 20 people were killed in incidents of violence in 2017.The chief minister said 9,042 people were injured between July 2016 and February 27, 2017.The injured included 6,221 who were hit by pellets and 368 who received bullet injuries.
Mehbooba said a committee headed by the principal secretary, home, was constituted on January 27, 2017 to determine the eligibility of the families or next of kins of those killed in “law and order disturbances” in Kashmir from July 8 2016 to November 2, 2016 for consideration and payment of exgratia.
On the recommendations of the committee, an ex-gratia relief of Rs five lakhs each was sanctioned in favour of the families or next of kins of 77 civilians killed in law and order disturbances in the valley, the chief minister said.
Another committee was constituted under the chairmanship of the divisional commissioner, Kashmir, to identify people who have been permanently or partially disabled in the valley from July 8 2016 to November 2, 2016, she said.
The committee in the first phase recommended 54 victims for grant of exgratia which was sanctioned by the government on January 5, 2018, she said.
In the second phase, Mehbooba said, the committee recommended 10 more cases in December 2017 for grant of exgratia relief. The recommendations are being examined.
She said 13 people have been appointed in various departments by the general administration department on extreme compassionate grounds.
The chief minister said all the injured were treated with due care and specialized treatment was provided whenever required.
She said 936 people were detained under the provisions of the Public Safety Act from July 2016 to December 28 2017.
“Detention cases are being reviewed by the government from time to time in consultation with the criminal investigation department… And a good number of persons have also been released from time to time,” she said.
At present, Mehbooba said, there are only 167 people in preventive detention including 16 detenues under the provisions of the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
On pellet guns, Mehbooba said these are used sparingly, strictly as per the standard operational procedure for graded response in law and order situation, particularly when all the other means and methods of controlling the agitating mobs, like teargas, oleoresin grenades and stun grenades fail.
“The pellets are fired, as and when required, below the waist line so as to cause minimum damage to the member of the agitating mobs and the violent protesters. The pellet guns are not being used against any peaceful protest,” she said.
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Srinagar, had filed a PIL before the court seeking ban on pellet guns as means of crowd control in 2016.
The court, its its order on September 21, 2016, had declined to prohibit the use of 12 bore pellet gun, she said.
The high court order has been challenged in the Supreme court and the matter is currently sub-judice, Mehbooba said.
Phones to buzz again tomorrow
Govt announces restoration of postpaid services; internet shutdown to continue
Srinagar, Oct 12: Two days after lifting security advisory for tourists, Jammu and Kashmir government Saturday announced to restore postpaid mobile telephony in all the 10 districts of the valley from Monday noon.
However, internet services will continue to remain suspended though government has decided to restore the service at tourist places to facilitate the visitors.
“After reviewing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, a decision was taken to restore mobile phone facilities in all the remaining areas of the state. More specifically, all post-paid mobile phones, irrespective of the telecom service provider, will stand restored and be functional from 12 noon on October 14. This will cover all 10 districts of Kashmir province,” Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary and J&K government spokesperson, told reporters here on Saturday.
Jammu and Kashmir government had imposed a communication blockade on August 5 when Centre abrogated Article 370 and divided the state into two union territories.
“A number of restrictions were imposed on August 5 to prevent externally aided militants from disturbing peace and inflicting causalities on innocent citizens. It is a well-established fact that there have been sustained attempts from across the border, both in the past and more in the last two months to promote militancy in J&K in order to create a sense of fear among the people and keep the place in a disturbed condition,” said Kansal.
There are more than 70 lakh mobile phone subscribers in the valley of which 40 lakh alone are postpaid users. Kashmir is the only place in the country where postpaid phone subscribers outnumber prepaid subscribers.
The decision to restore postpaid mobile phone service in Kashmir comes two days after the government lifted August 2 travel advisory for tourists.
“With this step, tourists will be able to visit the state without being handicapped by the lack of phone connectivity. Students can be in touch with parents while attending schools, businessmen can be in touch with customers, transporters can contact clients and contractors can be in touch with staff,” he said.
Kansal said travel advisory for tourists has been lifted and visitors are welcome to visit the state. “They will be facilitated for their visit. Internet facilities are being opened at tourist places to assist tourists wanting to access internet,” he said.
Government also urged businessmen, industrialists, traders, transporters, shopkeepers, hoteliers and contractors “not to be frightened by militant threats and separatists and go about their normal activities”.
“Credible inputs continue to be received of the likelihood of large scale damage of life and property but also create an atmosphere of fear and among the people. Banned organizations such as Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Hizbul Mujahideen continue to make attempts to instill fear of J&K,” he said.
Kansal said there was no “unnecessary” loss of life because of measures of security forces and the people. “This is remarkable, given the history of events in 2008, 2010 and 2016. Some killings and injuries have been inflicted by militants including on a baby to prevent traders, businessmen and transporters from doing their normal business,” he said.
Principal Secretary noted since August 16, there has been a gradual removal of the restrictions that were imposed and by the first week of September most of the restrictions were removed.
“Barring 8-10 police stations, movement restrictions have been completely removed. Over 99% of the area of Jammu and Kashmir has no restrictions on movement. Landlines have been fully restored and are functioning for over six weeks. Besides, mobile phone facilities were restored in Jammu and Ladakh, and subsequently in Kupwara district”, he said.
Kansal emphasized that the media was facilitated through the Media Facilitation Centre equipped with all facilities. “Schools were gradually reopened since August and universities, colleges and secondary schools were reopened in the last 10 days. Examination schedules have been announced. Air services are operating normally and air booking has been facilitated in Srinagar with new counters in the city,” he said.
Principal Secretary said 25 Internet kiosks are operating in each district in the district development commissioner offices to help students, contractors, and government departments to carry out their functions. Students have been using this facility to apply for exams, download admission cards, he said.
To help apple growers, he stated that an ambitious Market Intervention Scheme has been launched by the Central Government through NAFED and the Horticulture department. “Prices for apples have been revised last week”, he said.
‘Detentions being reviewed’
Srinagar, Oct 12: Breaking silence, Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday said some people were detained as a preventive measures post August 5.
“There has been a lot of development post August 5 and that was required a certain kind of action including detentions. Decisions were taken at the local level by law enforcing agencies after taking all facts into consideration. All these detentions are being reviewed. Security situation is continuously being accessed. People continue to be released and this process will go on,” said Rohit Kansal, J&K government spokesperson.
Grenade blast in Srinagar market, 9 injured
Srinagar, Oct 12: At least nine people were injured in a grenade attack by suspected militants in a busy market area in summer capital Srinagar on Saturday, the 69th day of the ongoing situation in Kashmir.
Militants hurled a grenade in Hari Singh High Street market area, a police official said.
The grenade exploded on the roadside in the market, injuring nine people, he said, adding that the wounded were rushed to SMHS hospital here.
According to the official, the explosion also damaged windows of a vehicle parked nearby.
He said the shops in the market were shut but a few vendors had set up stalls in the area.
The grenade exploded with a bang when a large number of people were busy in buying items from road side vendors.
The area was immediately put under cordon and a search operation was underway at Hari Singh High Street in Srinagar following the grenade attack, the official added.
Police rushed to spot after the incident and shifted the injured to hospital. The injured have been identified as Farooq Ahmed Kadla of Lal Bazar, Basit Sheikh from Batamaloo, Muhammad Younis of Bemina, Shahid Ahmed of Padshahi Bagh, Sabah Malik of Zoonimar, Suhail Mir from Pampore, Bilal Ahmed of Uri, Saifullah of Zaldagar and Abdul Rahim Wani of Central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
The injured are in a stable condition, the police said in the tweet.
Meanwhile, the situation across Kashmir remained unchanged on the 69th day as well. Business, educational activities remained suspended while public transport continued to remain off the roads.
A lot of private vehicles were seen plying on the roads while scores of roadside vendors too were seen doing business at key city areas.
The ongoing turmoil was triggered on August 5 when the government of India abrogated Article 370 and divided the state into two union territories – J&K, and Ladakh (With inputs from KNT)
Govt kicks off process to vacate forces from schools, colleges
Srinagar, Oct 12: Jammu and Kashmir government has kicked off the process to vacate the security forces from educational institutes in the valley.
Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel have been stationed in different schools and colleges of the valley since August 5 when the government of India revoked Article 370 and divided the state into two union territories.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a press conference by government spokesman, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, SP Pani said the process of evacuating forces from educational institutes has begun.
Secretary Higher Education Department, Talat Parvez Rohella said: “The forces will be removed from all the educational institutes by the time classwork begins.”
Presently, paramilitary troops are deployed in SP Higher Secondary School, National Institute of Technology (NIT) and Government Polytechnic College, Gogjibagh. Besides, forces are deployed in educational institutions at Khan Sahab, Handwara and other areas.
“Schools have been gradually reopened since August. Also universities, colleges and higher secondary schools were reopened in the last ten days,” said Rohit Kansal, J&K government spokesman.
Earlier on August 19, authorities had ordered reopening of primary schools followed by middle schools from August 21. Later on October 3, the directives regarding the opening of high and higher secondary schools were announced, yet the students continued to stay away from educational institutes.