New Delhi, Apr 16: The Supreme Court of India Monday asked J&K government to file a reply by April 27 on whether a plea to transfer the Kathua rape and murder case from the state’s courts to Chandigarh should be allowed.
The apex court was hearing a petition filed by the father of the victim, an 8-year-old-girl, who was abducted, gang-raped and murdered between January 10 and 17 in Rassana, a village in Kathua district.
The father of the victim, through his counsels, pleaded that he was not expecting a fair in Kathua given the protests by the lawyers there in support of the accused.
He also raised the issues relating to witness protection, protection for the victim’s family as well as the lawyer and the social activist who have been helping the family get justice.
Shoeb Alam, the counsel for J&K, told the apex court that the state has “provided adequate protection to the family members of the victim, and has no objection to provide security to the counsel appearing for the victim.”
“As far as transfer of the case is concerned, he intends to file a reply,” the SC said.
The Supreme Court directed the State to keep the security, as provided to the family members of the victim, in continuity.
It also directed the state to provide security to Deepika Singh Rajawat the lawyer representing the victim, and her (lawyer’s) family members.
“Protection shall be provided to Talib Hussain, who is assisting the victim’s family in prosecution of the grievance by remaining present in the Court or engaging counsel to assist the public prosecutor,” read the proceedings of the case on Monday.
During the hearing, the victim’s father expressed satisfaction with the probe so far, conducted by Jammu and Kashmir Police and opposed the plea for CBI investigation demanded by others.
The bench said those policemen providing security to the victim’s family and others will be in plain clothes.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud was also critical of the Jammu High Court Bar Association, which had passed a resolution not to attend the courts saying “it is the duty of the bar association as a collective body and they cannot obstruct the process of law”.
According to the charge sheets filed by the crime branch, the abduction, rape and killing of the Bakerwal girl was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area.
It lists the caretaker of ‘Devisthan’, a small temple, in a village in Kathua, as the main conspirator behind the crime.
Sanji Ram was allegedly joined by special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, Ram’s nephew, a juvenile, and his son Vishal Jangotra alias “Shamma”.
The charge sheet also names investigating officers head constable Tilak Raj and Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Ram and destroyed crucial evidence.
All eight are under arrest.
The crime branch will also be handing over the notices issued to the Jammu Bar Council as well as Kathua Bar Council for appearing before the Supreme Court on April 19.
The Bar Association of Kathua has already retracted from its earlier statement of providing legal assistance free of cost to the accused and said after going through the charge sheet presented by the crime branch (against the accused in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate on April 9) it is revealed that the allegations against the accused persons are very grave and as such this case is to be dealt with in a professional way.
Members of the same association had blocked the way of crime branch personnel from submitting the charge sheet before the chief judicial magistrate for six hours forcing the police to present it at the house of the magistrate.
Police have already registered a case against lawyers for obstructing public servants from performing their duty.
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.
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