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India revokes MFN status granted to Pakistan

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New Delhi, Feb 15: India on Friday announced that it had decided to withdraw the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status granted to Pakistan and would also take all possible steps to isolate the country at the international level after Thursday’s car bomb attack in which at least 49 CRPF men were killed in Kashmir.
Briefing the press after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), Minister Arun Jaitley said outside Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence that the Ministry of External Affairs would announce the diplomatic steps to be taken against Pakistan.
A notification would be issued by the Commerce Ministry withdrawing the MFN status.
Jaitley announced that the government would call for an all-party meeting after Home Minister Rajnath Singh returned from a visit to Kashmir.
Speaking at a public function just after Jaitley’s briefing, Modi assured people that the perpetrators of the attack would be punished.
He said it was important that the country spoke in one voice after the strike.
The CCS meet morning was chaired by the Prime Minister. Rajnath Singh, Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman were present at the meeting.
Top security officials are learnt to have made a presentation on the incident and the overall security situation in the State.
Pakistan rejects any link to CRPF convoy attack: India on Friday summoned Pakistan’s top envoy and lodged strong protest over the killing of 49 CRPF soldiers in the Pulwama militant attack carried out by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
JeM claimed responsibility for the attack that left at least 49 CRPF soldiers dead and many others critically wounded.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale summoned Pakistan High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood and lodged strong protest over the killing of the CRPF soldiers in Pulwama, official sources said.
Pakistan has denied any involvement in the attack that claimed the lives of 49 CRPF troopers in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the attack was a matter of “grave concern” and it had been condemning “heightened acts of violence in the (Kashmir) Valley”.
“We strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian government and media circles that seek to link the attack to the State of Pakistan without investigations,” said the statement.
Reports said that India has called its High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria to New Delhi “for consultations” in the wake of attack on the CRPF convoy.


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Principal’s ‘custodial killing’: Probe officer meets family, locals

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Srinagar, Mar 23: Assistant Commissioner Revenue (ACR) Pulwama Qazi Masood probing the “custodial killing” of a school principal Saturday met the victim’s family in Awantipora area of Pulwama district.
Rizwan Asad Pandit, the Principal of Sabir Abdullah Public School Tral, was picked up by the police from his home late on March 17 during a raid and was killed in police custody at the Cargo Building two days later, according to his family.
Although the police had initially admitted that Rizwan had “died” in custody and that the matter was being probed under “procedure laid down in Section 176 of CRPC,” it later filed an FIR against him for “escape or attempts to escape from custody”, lending a new twist to the case.
The magisterial inquiry that was ordered in Srinagar was also closed and a fresh probe ordered in Pulwama district and a report sought in “four weeks.”
“Government has appointed me as an inquiry officer, I assured the family that I will conduct the fair investigation into the case,” the inquiry officer Qazi Masood told GNS after meeting Rizwan’s family members and local residents.
Masood said he has sought a report from SP Awantipora on why and how Rizwan was detained and the circumstances that led to his death.
“I have also sought a postmortem report from the SP,” the officer said.
Meanwhile, reports said that soon after the inquiry officer arrived in the area and met the family members, locals held a protest demonstration demanding stern action against the guilty.

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Civil society, traders, Bar demand special inquiry commission

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Mar 23: Kashmir business community, civil society, and High Court Bar Association on Saturday asked Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Paul Malik to set-up an independent Special Commission of inquiry in the custodial killing of Awantipora school teacher Rizwan Asad Pandit.
Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, they said that there have been countless instances of inquiries being ordered in killings without any results.
“To deter future violations, we appeal to the Governor for setting up of a time-bound Independent Special Commission of Inquiry,” they said.
The members said that till the time the commission submits its report, it would serve justice if the case is treated to be one of custodial killing and all persons associated with it are put behind bars and kept away from active duty.
“Such inquiries, suffering from institutional bias and state interference, have rarely served the interests of justice,” they said.
“We have a reason to believe that this killing would also suffer the same fate and the killers would again roam free to kill, more confident in the fact that their crimes will never be brought to account,” they said.
They said that the repeated perpetration of serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law needs in-depth fact-finding and investigation.
On Tuesday, Rizwan Asad Pandit, a 29-year-old school teacher, died inside the Jammu and Kashmir’s CARGO camp in Srinagar.
He was picked up for questioning from his home in Awantipora on Sunday.
The family had said that his body bore evidence of being subjected to extreme physical violence.
The press conference was jointly held by KCC&I, High Court Bar Association, KTMF, KEA, KTMF (R), FCIK(A), FCIK(M), JKSECC, KCSDS, KHARA, CCIK, All Transport Welfare Association, Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Dealers Association, Houseboat Owners Association, KHAROF, Pvt School Association, Kashmir Bakers Association, All Kashmir Chemist & Distributors Association, Hoteliers Club, All Traders & Transporters Coordination Committee, All J&K Taxi Owners Association, Association Of Kashmir Tour, Environmental Protection Group, Shehr E Khaas Coordination, Beopar Mandal S R Gunj, Rehabilitation Alliance, and Batamaloo Traders Association.

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ED imposes Rs 14.4 lakh penalty on Geelani

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Srinagar, Mar 22: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Friday imposed Rs 14.4 lakh penalty, on Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani for “illegally” possessing foreign exchange of around $10,000, news agency PTI reported.
After completion of the probe and adjudication proceeding, the ED an order on Wednesday under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), levying the penalty and confiscating forex of $10,000 that was allegedly recovered from Geelani, they said.
The ED will also impose a penalty on Yasin Malik, Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and confiscate foreign exchange recovered from him. The adjudication proceedings against Malik are in progress.
On Wednesday, a Delhi court also allowed ED to quiz Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Shah and others in connection with an alleged funding case.

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