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Govt approves amnesty for 9,730 ‘stone pelters’

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.