Qaimoh (Kulgam), Apr 29: The road leading to Qaimoh village was devoid of traffic. Hundreds of government forces were stationed on the streets compared to the almost non-existent civilian movement. Armored vehicles blocked entrances to villages deemed volatile.
The Government Girls Higher Secondary in the village, which housed as many as 12 polling booths, was swarming with a huge deployment of armed personnel of CRPF, police, and BSF.
By 1pm, however, only 13 voters out of a total electorate of 10,771 had turned up in all the 12 booths.
“Over sixty officials have been deputed for polling here. Besides, hundreds of security personnel have been guarding the booths but only few have turned up to cast their votes,” a polling official told this reporter.
An elderly man right outside the polling station explained why people stayed away.
“The Jamaat-e-Islami has a large support base here. Scores of youth including JeI supporters have been arrested. Who will vote when our socio-religious organization has been banned?” the elderly said not revealing his name.
Sameer Ahmad, a local resident, said they chose to boycott the elections “like other people of the valley”.
“This area has a large cadre of Jamaat. We have always stayed away from elections but complete poll boycott is witnessed for the first time. This is a sign of our aggression towards ban on JeI, harassment and killings of Kashmiris at the hands of government forces,” he said.
The scenes were no different at Tarigam Devsar, the native village of CPI (M) leader M Y Tarigami. Like other areas, here too government forces appeared to outnumber civilians.
In three polling booths set up at a local school in the village, only 31 voters out of 2,265 had turned up by 12:30 pm.
“There is a huge influence of Jamaat in areas like Khudwani, Arwani, and Devsar. People have been facing continuous harassment at the hands of authorities. Who will vote when our children have been blinded by pellets?” said Javid Ahmad, a local.
A police official said the polling staff could not be shifted Sunday evening in these areas. “The polling staff had to be moved at midnight under heavy security. It is a challenging task to hold polls here,” he said.
Pertinently, the Union Home Ministry earlier this year declared Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) an unlawful organisation for five years for allegedly “indulging in activities, which are prejudicial to internal security and public order, and have the potential of disrupting the unity and integrity of the country”.
Metropolitan Project: Over 94 lakh kanals identified in JK
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.
India to Pak: Release, repatriate Jadhav immediately
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.
Jadhav guilty of crimes against people: Imran
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.