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Kathua child’s murder: Crime Branch takes over; forms 5-member SIT




Srinagar, Jan 23: Government on Tuesday said that it handed over the case of murdering 8-year-old Asifa Bano in Kathua district last week to Crime Branch.

“Minister Parliamentary Affairs Abdul Rehman Veeri informed the house today that in connection with the murder of minor girl, the case has been handed over to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)”

Veeri said that the agency will start fresh probe in to the incident.


Pertinently, Asifa Bano was abducted in Jan 10 and her body was found on Jan 17 near her native village Rassana in Hiranagar.

The legislators blamed the concerned police for hushing up the case and staged massive protests in the state assembly following which Government suspended the concerned SHO.

Soon after, the Crime Branch constituted a five-member team headed by Additional Superintendent of Police of Crime Branch to investigate the minor girl’s murder in Jammu’s Kathua district.

The development came after the government said that it has handed over the case of murder of eight-year-old Asifa Bano in Kathua district last week to the Crime Branch.

“The Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Peerzada Naveed Additional SP Crime Branch Kashmir is hereby constituted for carrying out further investigation of the case. The team should finalize the investigation expeditiously and submit progress reports to this office on regular basis,” said an order issued by Additional Director General of Police, State Crime Branch Headquarters, J&K, Jammu.

The team will comprise Nissar Hussain Dy SP Crime Branch Jammu, Shetambari Sharma Dy Sp Crime Branch Jammu, Urfan Wani SI Crime Branch Jammu and ASI Tariq Ahmed No 118/CR of P/S CBK.

Earlier, Jammu and Kashmir government said that it has handed over the case of murder of eight-year-old Asifa Bano in Kathua district last week to the Crime Branch.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Abdul Rehman Veeri informed the house today that in connection with the murder of minor girl, the case has been handed over to Crime Branch.


Gujjar community threatens agitation

The relatives of eight-year-old Asifa who was allegedly raped and subsequently murdered in Kathua last week held a protest in south Kashmir’s Anantnag on Tuesday, and threatened of an agitation by the Gujjar community in case the authorities fail to book the culprits forthwith.

Carrying placards, the agitated relatives staged a protest outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner Anantnag to demand an independent probe into the incident.

“What had this minor done? She was with her family as part of our nomadic practice,” said the relatives of Asifa.

They added that perpetrators of this ‘heinous’ crime should be arrested forthwith.

Saying that if the government failed to provide them justice, whole Gujjar community would come on roads. “We are more than 26 lakh in population. If they fail to provide us justice, it would be a full-fledged revolt,” threatened the relatives.

Asifa, a nomad girl from Gujjar and Bakerwal community actually hails from Anantnag’s Brari Aangan village in Shangus.

She was abducted on January 10 in Kathua, where her family was camping as part of their nomadic practice. Her body was recovered on the outskirts of her native village on January 17 with marks of violence all over her body.

Her death triggered protests inside and outside the Assembly, with protesters and the opposition seeking action against the police for “not making efforts” to trace her after she was abducted.

In a damage-control move, the government suspended the local SHO for “lax” approach.

On Tuesday, Jammu and Kashmir government said that it has handed over her case to the Crime Branch.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Abdul Rehman Veeri informed the house that the case has been handed over to Crime Branch.

The police, meanwhile, released social activist Advocate Talib Husain, arrested on Sunday evening at Kathua highway.

The activist has been at the forefront of protests seeking justice for 8-year-old Asifa.

Confirming Minister for Relief and Rehabilitation Javid Mustafa Mir said that Talib was released this morning.

Family of the Talib also confirmed that Talib was released by the police.

Talib was arrested when he was leading a protest amid candle light on Kathua highway on Sunday evening.

Subsequently police allegedly resorted to baton charge and fired tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters while arresting Talib.

IGP Jammu has said that there was stone pelting as a result of which four of its personnel where injured.





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5 dead, as many missing as avalanche hits Khardung La pass



Srinagar, Jan 18: Five persons were killed and five others missing after their truck came under an avalanche in the Khardung La area of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, officials said.

The avalanche hit the truck carrying 10 persons at the Khardung La pass in the Ladakh region at 7 am, an official of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) said.

The BRO pressed into service its men and machinery to rescue the passengers of the truck, who were believed to be trapped under the debris, he added.


The police, Army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel had also reached the spot, the BRO official said.

“So far, the bodies of five persons have been recovered from the avalanche site, while a search is on for the other missing persons,” he added.

A bulldozer driver posted at the Khardung La Pass said two tippers and a Scorpio vehicle carrying about 12 persons left towards K-top area early morning to load snow to Leh.

“One tipper was already loaded with snow. However, the mishap occurred when they were loading another vehicle. Suddenly, an avalanche hit them and 10 people in a tipper were buried under the snow,” he said.

A senior police official said, “At least 10-12 people were trapped under the snow and a body of a local resident from Leh has been recovered from the area. Fresh snowfall took place in the area on Thursday and they had gone to collect snow in a vehicle.”

Rescue teams of police, Border Roads Organisation and Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Force reached the spot.

A high alert for avalanche was sounded on Thursday by the administration following adverse weather advisory by the Met department.


Guv expresses grief, announces Rs 5 lakh compensation

Jammu, Jan 18: Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed grief over loss of precious lives due to snow avalanche at Khardung La in Leh district, Friday morning.

In his message, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said, the Governor prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief.

Governor has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh for the next of the kin of those killed in the avalanche.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah too expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives in the avalanche.

The party spokesman in a statement said that the duo has urged the administration to expedite the rescue operation and ensure all support to the families of the deceased.

Both Farooq and Omar urged the governor administration to gear up its men and machinery to meet any eventuality in wake of heavy snowfall as predicted by the local MeT officials.

Impressing upon the administration to ensure that people don’t have to suffer due to the vagaries of weather, the duo urged the administration to ensure all arterial and other routes are kept open to avoid any suffering to people.

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Kashmir braces for heavy snow spell from today



Srinagar, Jan 18: As the meteorological department has predicted another spell of moderate to heavy snowfall in the Kashmir region from Saturday onwards, people in Kashmir are readying themselves by keeping ample stock of food and ensuring proper heating arrangements are put in place.

With the western disturbances likely to affect the region, the officials have also warned of disruption of road, rail and air traffic from Saturday afternoon.

“The western disturbances are most likely to affect the state and its adjoining areas from January 19 to 25, with the main activity between January 20 and 23 and gradual decrease thereafter,” Sonam Lotus, director Meteorological department said.


He said moderate to heavy snowfall and rain was expected at widespread places of the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.

“Some places may receive very heavy rain and snow during this period,” he said, adding that light snowfall would begin at a few places in Kashmir on Saturday morning and increase in intensity and distribution thereafter.

On Friday, Kargil recorded the night’s lowest temperature at minus 19.2 degrees Celsius while neighbouring Leh recorded a minimum temperature of minus 15.6, Met office said.

Drass town was the coldest in the Jammu and Kashmir at minus 27.1.

Srinagar, the summer capital of the state recorded a low of minus 0.7 while the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.

Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 10.0 degrees Celsius while night temperature in Pahalgam – the famous health resort settled at a low of minus 10.3 degrees.

Kokernag town recorded a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius while Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius last night.

Jammu city recorded 5.3  degrees Celsius, Katra 6.3, Batote 2.5, Bannihal 0.7 and Bhaderwah minus 0.8 degree Celsius.

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Twin grenade attacks in city-centre, Shopian



Srinagar, Jan 18: Less than 24 hours after the Rajbagh grenade attack, militants on Friday carried out two more grenade attacks on government forces in Kashmir, including one in the city-centre Lal Chowk here.

Militants lobbed a grenade at a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bunker at Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) in Lal Chowk in the afternoon, a police official said.

The grenade exploded on the roadside, he said, adding that no one was hurt in the attack.


A private car parked on the roadside was partly damaged due to the explosion, the official said.

Window panes of a few shops on either side of the road were also damaged because of the blast.

This was the second such attack on government forces in Srinagar within 24 hours.

Earlier on Thursday, militants had hurled a grenade on police personnel at Zero Bridge here, resulting in injuries to three policemen.

In another incident on Friday, militants lobbed a grenade at a police camp in Gagran village of Shopian district of south Kashmir. However there was no report of loss of life or damage to property.

A police spokesperson came out with the following statement later in the day: Police had to attend two “terror” crime spots today following the reports of grenade attack by militants at Srinagar and Shopian. Officers from the local police units immediately reached to both the crime spot this (Friday) afternoon to initiate the investigation in the matter.

“While attending the crime spot, officers did not receive any report pertaining to the loss of life or property. Police has registered cases for both the incidents. Officers from the local police units are at work to establish the full circumstances which led to these incidents. If you have any information that can assist police in its investigation, you may kindly contact Police,” the spokesperson said.

The three attacks come days ahead of the Republic day and is likely to push government forces for taking even more stringent ‘security’ arrangements, especially in and around the city.

Later in the day, militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the grenade attacks in Srinagar and Shopian.

A spokesperson of JeM Mohammad Hassan in a statement to news agency GNS claimed that three forces personnel were injured in the attack at City Centre Lal Chowk.

He also claimed that several forces personnel were critically injured in the attack at Gagran in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

The Kashmir Monitor also received a phone call from one Hamza Rashid, who said he was the spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front, and claimed the responsibility of the Lal Chowk grenade attack.

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