Srinagar, Apr 27: The highly controversial ‘inquiry’ report of the Bar Council of India, giving clean chit to the rowdy lawyers of Jammu and Kathua, has been torn into pieces by none else than the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, which has told the Supreme Court that the special investigation team of the Crime Branch of the state police was “not allowed” to file the charge sheet in the Kathua gang rape and murder case by protesting lawyers.
In an affidavit filed in the apex court by the registrar General of the state High Court, Sanjay Dhar has affirmed that on April 9, though the police team had arrived in the Kathua Chief Judicial Magistrate court around 3.45 pm to file the charge sheet, “they could not do so due to sloganeering by the lawyers”.
He said that some of the lawyers had barged into the chamber of the CJM and there were attempts to threaten and humiliate the police officers to leave the court.
It may be mentioned here that Jammu and Kashmir is not having any independent bar association and instead the High Court functions as the bar Council for Jammu and Kashmir and registrar general of the High Court discharges the functions of the Secretary of the State Bar Association.
The affidavit said that on April, 9, the court received the reports that ‘some advocates of Kathua Bar Association had caused hindrance at the time of presentation of challan” in the gruesome ape and murder of an eight year old girl of Bakerwaal community.
The state Bar Council (High Court) sought a detailed report of the matter from the principal district and sessions judge Kathua who “confirmed that obstruction was caused by advocates of Bar Association of Kathua at the time of presentation of the challan” before the court of CJM. In view of this, the accused were then produced before the CJM at his residence after 7.45 PM.
The High Court has meanwhile sought the details of advocates including their names “who participated in the massive demonstration protest and raising slogans etc the affidavit said and added that as soon as the identity of protesting lawyers was ascertained , the State Bar Council (High Court) ‘will proceed further in the matter in accordance with the law”.
In support of his statement, Secretary of the State Bar Association produced a copy of the statement submitted by the principal district and sessions judge Kathua, which confirms it beyond any doubt that a group of Kathua lawyers indulged in hooliganism and prevented the Crime Branch team to present the challan against the accused rapists and murders before the CJM court.
In his report, the principal district and sessions judge, Sanjeev Gupta has said that: As soon as the Crime Branch team arrived in the premises outside the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kathua, a groups of lawyers resorted to massive and intense protest demonstration. The lawyers, numbering about 40 to 50 raised slogans against the Crime Branch and in the meanwhile some people from media also reached at court premises and they started giving coverage to the protest demonstration of the lawyers. Other members of the Bar also joined the protest demonstration.
The team of Crime Branch comprising head of the SIT Mr Ramesh Kumar Jalla, senior superintendent of police, another member of the team of the rank of superintendent of police and chief prosecuting officer of Crime Branch, accompanied by two/three ministerial staff members somehow managed to enter in the court of CJM.
The accused seven in number were brought in custody in a police vehicle but they could not be produced before the court because of continued protest demonstration by the lawyers. In the meantime the court time was over but the demonstration of the lawyers continued. The team of Crime Branch made a hasty retreat from the court premises and took accused with them. The learned CJM remained in his office chambers till 6 PM and scrutinized the challan. The lawyers also remained standing outside the court of CJM raising slogans and demonstration.
In view of the sensitive nature of the case the Crime Branch officials were advised to bring the accused to the official residence of the CJM at 8 PM where after accepting the challan, a committal order was passed by him, committing the case to court of principal sessions judge.
It may be pertinent to mention that some lawyers assembles outside the official residence of CJM upto 7.45 PM along with media persons but thereafter left the place.
The district judge Kathua, in his report, categorically stated that “Almost all the members of the Bar Association, Kathua, have assembled in the premises outside the court of CJM and they were protesting vociferously against the production of challan”.
The conduct of Jammu lawyers in the events surrounding the investigation into the Kathua rape and murder case had drawn the ire of one and all, after reports emerged that local advocates had attempted to obstruct justice.
Taking exception to the lawyers’ conduct, the court also issued a notice to the Bar Council of India in the matter, following which the Council had sent a fact-finding committee to Jammu to inquire into the charges against the lawyers.
However, on Thursday, the Bar Council of India in its report submitted to the Supreme Court had given a clean chit to the Kathua lawyers and exonerated them of all the charges of obstructing the Crime Branch team in filing the challan before the court of CJM.
A Committee of the Bar Council of India (BCI) claimed to have found that these reports were false, and that lawyers of the Jammu Bar Association and the Kathua Bar Association did not restrict officials of the Crime Branch from submitting the chargesheet in the case to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, as was reported.
Besides giving clean chit to Jammu lawyers, the committee went a step further expressing the view that the calls for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the case are justified.
Further, the Committee said that lawyers did not restrain Deepika Rajawat from appearing for the victim’s family in the Jammu & Kashmir High Court. This, after noting that Rajawat’s appearance was recorded in every hearing before the Court.
The Committee also came to the conclusion that the media had misreported the entire episode, and that reports stating that lawyers in Kathua and Jammu were siding with the accused were false.
However in view of the affidavit filed by the Registrar General of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, before the Supreme Court, the claims made by the Bar Council of India have fallen apart and same has proved to be a bundle of lies and fabrication to save the rowdy lawyers who made all out attempts to obstruct the justice in the said case.
3 militants killed in Baramulla gunfight
Srinagar, Jan 23: Three militants were killed in an encounter between militants and government forces at Binner village of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Wednesday.
Quoting official sources said that three militants had been killed while searches were still underway.
The slain trio was affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba militants. “They were identified as Shoaib Akhoon of Khanpora, Mosin Mushtaq of Qazihamam and Nissar Darzi of Jamia Mohalla Old Town,” the news agency quoted an anonymous army officer saying.
Earlier, SSP Baramulla Imtiyaz Hussain also confirmed the exchange of firing between militants and joint team of police and other government forces in the area.
A police spokesman said based on a credible input about the presence of militants in Binner, forces launched a cordon and search operation in the area.“As the searches were going on, the search party was fired upon by the militants. The fire was retaliated leading to a gunfight,” the spokesman said.
“In the ensuing encounter, three militants were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. Their identities and affiliations are being ascertained,” he said.
“Incriminating material including arms and ammunition was recovered from the site of encounter. Police have registered a case and initiated investigation in the matter,” he added.
“Citizens are requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials if any,” the spokesman said.
Six militants buried after multiple funerals
Srinagar, Jan 23: Thousands of people on Wednesday participated in the multiple funerals of six militants, including the brother of an IPS officer, in Shopian and Pulwama districts in south Kashmir.
Three Hizbul Mujahideen militants–Shamsul Haq Mengnoo son of Mohammad Rafiq of Dragad Shopian, Aamir Suhail Bhat son of Abdul Aziz of Chidipora Chitragam Shopian, Shoaib Ahmad Shah son of Ghulam Rasool of Shermal Shopian–were killed in a gunfight with government forces in Shirmal area of Zainapora, Wednesday.
Shamsul Haq had left studies at Bachelors of Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS) at government college here in Zakura campus and joined militant ranks in May last year. His elder brother, Inam-ul Haq, is a 2012-batch IPS officer and presently posted in North East.
Eyewitnesses said that a large number of people participated in funeral prayers of the slain militants at their respective villages.
At Chidipora, there were minor clashes between government forces and youth. The government forces fired few rounds in air but there were no reports about any injury to anyone.
Apart from them, funeral prayers were also offered for three militants of Al-Badr militant outfit— Sabzar Ahmad son of Ali Mohammad Mir of Lassipora Pulwama, Syed Rabani son of Mohammad Hussain of Nazneenpora Shopian and Towseef Ahmad Itoo son of Abdul Aziz of Nowpora Payeen Pulwama. The trio from were killed in a gunfight Hapatnar area in Budgam on Monday.
At Shoaib’s and Syed Rabani’s funerals at Shermal and Nazneenpora Shopian, some militants appeared and offered gun salutes to the slain, reports said.
Reports said that multiple funerals were offered to the slain. Later the slain were laid to rest at their respective native places. A spontaneous shutdown continued on the second consecutive day in Shopian and Pulwama to mourn the killings. Shops and other business establishments are closed while traffic was off the road in the twin districts where internet also remained suspended by the authorities. (GNS)
Srinagar grenade attacks:Six arrests made so far: DGP
Srinagar, Jan 23: Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh Wednesday said that six persons have been arrested so far in connection with the recent grenade attacks in summer capital, Srinagar.
Singh was quoted saying so by news agency Kashmir News Service, that “one person was arrested with the help of Delhi police.”
“Militants were planning to hurl more grenades in public places, but the police successfully busted their module,” he told the news agency.
About the January 26 function, the DGP said all the preparations have been done in Srinagar and other districts of the valley. “Militant organisations are hell-bent to disrupt January 26 function. They have been making such attempts in the past as well by throwing grenades to discourage and pressurize people,” he was quoted saying.
R-Day event: Frisking intensified, traffic diversions in city from today
Srinagar, Jan 23: The security has been beefed up across Kashmir valley especially in the summer capital Srinagar in view of the Republic Day (January 26) functioned to be held here. All the entry and exit points under close security vigil while some important roads suspended for vehicular movement.
ADGP Law and Order Muneer Ahmed Khan told KNS that the security arrangements have been finalised for the Republic Day function. “We have made all the arrangements and only the drill is to be followed,” he said.
Asked in wake of the grenade attacks if there is a security concern, Khan said all the necessary arrangements have been done and full-proof security apparatus is in place. “All important entry and exit points across the city are manned by security forces and other security equipments,” he said.
Meanwhile, the traffic police has suspended traffic on some key city roads causing inconvenience to people.
The City Traffic Police said that due to security reasons the traffic movement from Sonawar upto Ram Munshi Bagh Road stretch including Dalgate-Ram Munshi Bagh, Radio Kashmir-Ram Munshi Bagh & Gupkar-Ram Munshi Bagh will remain suspended on 24th and 26th of January-2019 from early morning hours upto 1400 hours.
The motorists intending to travel from South Kashmir-Pantha Chowk towards City Centre shall adopt Bypass road stretch and vice versa. Similarly the motorists intending to travel South Kashmir from City Centre and Down Town areas shall adopt Batamaloo-Tengpora-Bypass or Rambagh-Natipora road stretch to reach Pantha Chowk. Any inconvenience caused is highly regretted.
POLL TACTICS: Parties resort to rhetoric, rejig undone manifestos
Srinagar, Jan 23: With J&K administration gearing up for the elections, the political parties in the state have again resorted to their age-old technique: use unaccomplished manifestos with a new twist to woo the voters.
Before 2014, PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti would visit militants’ families.
In their manifesto then, the party promised that if brought to power, it would initiate dialogue with Pakistan and Hurriyat, and also demand an end to the killings in Kashmir.
The PDP was highly vocal then about revocation of the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).
Mehbooba, during her election campaign in 2014, once said the people of Kashmir will never sell their conscience to support the BJP.
But then she allied with the same party and at one point in time during 2016 uprising tried to justify civilian killings with her infamous ‘toffee or milk remark’.
Fast forward to 2019 and we see Mehbooba trying to weave the same story: visiting militant families, calling for Indo-Pak dialogue, talks with the separatist groups and end to civilian killings.
Recently, she even said that PDP would seek return of power projects, something her party’s manifesto read in 2014 as well.
Ask PDP Chief Spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir, he says their stand about dialogue ‘has not changed’. “Whether in or out of power, our stand is clear. Talks shall be held with Pakistan and Hurriyat to find a peaceful solution to Kashmir,” Mir told The Kashmir Monitor.
Mir said it was during Mufti Sayeed’s tenure “when peace returned to the valley”.
“We even formed the government with the BJP based on an agenda. Unfortunately, it could not finish its term,” he said.
Mehbooba Mufti played to the gallery when scores of civilians were killed during the National Conference-Congress government in 2010.
In 2016, National Conference (NC) leader, Omar Abdullah, returned her the favour.
Take NC as a case in point. Its repeated promise of the restoration of Autonomy is yet again being glossed up and presented to Kashmir electorate these days.
Party president, Farooq Abdullah recently urged Government of India (GoI) to invite Hurriyat and Pakistan for talks and asserted that if voted to power, his government, on very first day, would set up Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to probe the killings in the state.
General Secretary of the NC, Ali Mohammad Sagar, said restoration of Autonomy has always been the party’s agenda.
“We always advocate for talks with Pakistan and Hurriyat. The AFSPA has to be revoked and security forces have to be pulled out from civilian areas,” Sagar said.