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Inquiry ordered: Rhetoric of decades

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Mar 20: As a magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the custodial killing of Awantipora youth, many families whose members have been killed by government forces find such exercises futile.
29-year-old Rizwan Assad Pandith, a school teacher from Awantipora was killed in police custody on Tuesday, following which the District Magistrate Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary ordered an inquiry.
Mohammad Iqbal Bhat, a local from Kupwara never received justice after his son was killed in 2017.
His son Asif, a driver by profession, was killed by government forces in December 2017, which triggered massive protests and clashes in the district.
The family claims that Asif was killed by army while he was on his way to pick up a passenger from the nearby highway in Kupwara.
The then Deputy Commissioner Kupwara Khalid Jehangir had ordered a magisterial probe into the killing and sought the report within three weeks.
More than a year later, the report is yet to reach the family.
“I was once produced before the judge in a local court in March last year where I gave my statement. The police ensured me that action will be taken against army, which has not happened so far,” said Bhat, who works as a forest guard.
He added the family wasn’t informed about the findings of the probe yet.
“When nothing happened in last one year, I left visiting the police station. They often told me that the file was in some other department. I don’t know whether some action was taken against the army or not,” Bhat said.
The family of Javed Ahmad Bhat, a Shopian resident who was killed by government forces in January 2018, too has stopped following the case, in which a probe was ordered by the then Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Aijaz Asad.
“We deliberately didn’t follow the case as we had the experience of their investigation when my younger cousin Aqib Ahmad Bhat was killed by the same army camp in 2008. My uncle had to visit Srinagar every week and still no justice was delivered to us,” Waseem Ahmad Bhat brother of slain Javed told The Kashmir Monitor.
Javed was shot dead along with two other youth in Ganowpora, Shopian by Army after locals resisted army’s move to remove the banners of the slain Hizbul Mujahideen militants.
Waseem said the families of two other youth killed in the incident too have given up hopes of justice.
“It was useless to wait for the government report which was expected to come within 20 days. Neither anyone approached us nor did we seek any investigation,” he said.
Similarly, in case of Handwara killing of 2016, when two youth and a 57-year woman were killed by army is under trial at a local court in Handwara.
“A Special Investigation Team of Police was also constituted to probe the case. The case is currently under trail in Sub District Court Handwara and no action has been taken against the guilty yet,” the family of slain youth Nayeem Qadir said.


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Omar says Kashmiris ‘suspicious’ of new faces

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jul 22: National Conference vice-president and former J&K Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Monday advocated for “participatory democracy” in J&K while claiming that people of J&K are suspicious of “new faces and new alliances.”

Omar was reacting to a news article published by The Hindu on Sunday.

The article ‘Centre’s Jammu and Kashmir playbook goes down to the grassroots’ concluded that the Centre wanted “to move away from the set pieces and put in place different actors on the political chessboard, actors who would be not only new but also devise new moves.”

 

Reacting to it, Omar tweeted: “New Delhi ‘wants to put different actors on the political chessboard’. This is why people in the valley are deeply suspicious of the new faces & new alliances being foisted on them. Why are voters in Kashmir not trusted to know what is good for them?”

“There are a lot of systemic problems in J&K. Participatory democracy & empowered institutions will contribute to solutions being found. The key word here being PARTICIPATORY,” he tweeted.

Omar, like most of his political counterparts in the state, has been demanding conduct of Assembly polls in the J&K, which is under President’ Rule since December last year following six months of Governor’s Rule since June 2018.

Referring to the article, Omar wrote: “Of course Panchayats & Urban Local Bodies have to be empowered but why do these pieces ignore the reality that many seats in the valley are vacant, the ones that were filled either won unopposed or with a negligible participation of voters.”

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JK Bank probe: ACB raids IFFCO TOKIO

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jul 22: The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Mondayraided the Srinagar office of IFFCO TOKIO, the insurance company J&K Bank had partnered with earlier this year.  

The company, ACB claimed, had secured undue benefits after employing a close relative of former chairman J&K Bank Parvez Ahmed Nengroo, who was removed by the government on the charges of ‘misgovernance’ last month.

Giving details, a spokesperson of the Bureau said that a source report received by ACB revealed that an insurance deal in violation of norms was made by J&K Bank with IFFCO TOKIO in which close relative of Parvez was employed resulting into undue benefits to the company.

 

“By resorting to the acts of favoritism and abuse of official position as Chairman J&K Bank in connivance with MD IFFCO TOKIO General Insurance Company, his (Parvez’s) relative Asif Manzoor Beigh was appointed in the said insurance company against annual salary package of Rs 19,28,886 which is approximately 2.5 times higher than that of the package given by Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company where the accused beneficiary was functioning as deputy manager,” said the ACB spokesperson.

The accused beneficiary, as per ACB, is currently serving as Chief Manager in IFFCO TOKIO General Insurance Company Srinagar office.

“In order to affect search of the office premises of IFFCO TOKIO General Insurance Company located at Chinar Complex Residency Road Srinagar Kashmir, a warrant was procured from the competent court of law. The search was conducted to seize incriminatory evidence related to the commission of the offence by the officers/officials of IFFCO TOKIO General Insurance Company Ltd,” the spokesperson added.

A verification conducted into the matter, as per the spokesperson, revealed that J&K Bank had already entered into venture with PNB Metflife Insurance company for sale of its insurance products in the year 2000, followed by similar nature of venture with Bajaj Allianz Insurance Company for sale and distribution of its non-life insurance products including health product in the year 2002.  

The initial ACB probe revealed that in the first quarter of 2018-19 (April to June 2018), J&K Bank received Rs 159 lakh as commission from Bajaj Allianz, whereas the commission received from IFFCO TOKIO General insurance Company Ltd for the first quarter of 2019-20 is to the tune of Rs 88 lakh only.

“It is less by Rs 71 lakh, thereby a loss in the form of commission to J&K Bank Ltd has been caused,” said the ACB spokesperson.

He added: “The aforementioned omissions and commissions on the part of Parvez Ahmed Nengroo, the then Chairman J&K Bank Ltd in furtherance of conspiracy hatched with Officer/officials of IFFCO TOKIO General Insurance Company Ltd while executing an insurance deal with the said company in order to secure appointment of his  close relative Asif Manzoor Beigh in the said company and others at the cost of J&K Bank resources constitute criminal misconduct under J&K P C Act 2006 and thus disclose commission of offences punishable U/S 5(1) (d) read with 5(2) J&K Prevention of Corruption Act and section 120B of the RPC.  Case FIR No 14/2019 stands registered in PS ACB Srinagar into the matter and investigation is going on.”

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Plea against pellet guns: Decide in 6 weeks: SC to JKHC

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Jul 22: The Supreme Court asked the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday to decide within six weeks the plea seeking ban on the use of pellet guns for controlling street protests in the state.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took note of a letter dated July 4 by the Registrar General of the High Court that the matter is listed for hearing on Tuesday before a division bench.

The PIL on the issue was filed before the high court in 2016 by Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association seeking stay on use of pellet guns as a large number of people had been killed or injured due to its use.

 

Taking on record the letter of the Registrar of the High Court, the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, said: “We request the Division Bench of the High Court to expeditiously decide the matter and pass order preferably within six weeks.”

The lawyers association had approached the apex court with an appeal against the interim order of the High Court which on September 22 rejected the plea seeking a ban on use of pellet guns on the ground that the Centre had already constituted a Committee of Experts through its Memorandum dated July 26, 2016 for exploring alternatives to pellet guns.

The apex court on January 18, 2018 had said it would wait for the outcome of the petition pending before the High Court.

In the apex court, the High Court Bar Association challenged the order, contending that High Court should waited or called for the report of the expert committee.

The High Court had also declined to accept the plea to prosecute the officers who ordered use of pellet guns and those who actually fired them.

When the matter came up for hearing on December 14, 2016, the Supreme Court had observed that pellet guns should not be used “indiscriminately” for controlling street protests in Jammu and Kashmir and be resorted to only after “proper application of mind” by the authorities.

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