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Kathua rape-and-murder case: Sanji Ram’s family wants CBI probe

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Rasana (Kathua), April 15: The family members of Sanji Ram, the conspirator of the Kathua rape and murder case, have said that he should be hanged publicly but only if a CBI probe into the case finds him guilty.
The family members also criticised the national media for portraying their agitation for a CBI probe into the case as “pro-rapists” and “pro-culprits”, and said the scribes were “delivering judgments without investigation”.
Huddled together under a tree in a nondescript hamlet in their village in Jammu and Kashmirs Kathua district, Rams family members have been demanding an “impartial investigation by a credible agency”. Sixteen women, who were on a fast demanding a CBI probe into the case, have been hospitalised in past 15 days.
“My father (Sanji Ram) and brother (Vishal) should be hanged to death if they are found guilty, provided the investigation is conducted by a credible agency. We want justice for the girl by a probe through credible agency and only such probe can ensure our fathers and brothers innocence,” one of Rams daughters said.
“Media should have heard us, our side and our fears on the probe by the Crime Branch. Wanting a CBI probe to give justice to 8-year girl, meant to media that we were shielding culprits or creating hurdle in the probe. It was wrong. We always batted for justice for the girl,” she said.
She expressed doubt about the credibility of the probe by the Crime Branch.
“Being a girl, I am pained over the treatment meted out to the victim but I am doubtful over the probe being conducted by the Crime Branch,” she said.
“We have doubts over the investigation and there are reasons for it. We strongly demand a CBI inquiry to ensure justice to the victim as well as the local people,” she added.
Her younger sister also questioned the Crime Branchs investigation asking how could a father call his son for raping a minor girl — as claimed in the chargesheet.
“Can you imagine what this (statement in charge-sheet of Crime Branch) means? It is shameful that someone says an old man called his young son from his college in UP to rape a little girl,” she said.
The issue was being politicised, she said, and claimed that their voice had been muzzled in political war.
The family said that the chargesheet had not only given bad name to the hamlet but also “discredited” all the Dogras of the area.
The body of the girl, from the Bakherwal community, was recovered from Rassana forest on January 17, a week after she went missing while grazing horses in the forest area.
On January 23, the government had handed over the case to the crime branch of the state police which formed a Special Investigation Team and arrested eight people including two Special Police Officers (SPOs) and a head constable, who was charged with destruction of evidence.
The crime branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police filed a main charge sheet against the seven accused on Monday last and one separate charge sheet against another accused, who was earlier said to be a juvenile, at a court in Kathua district on Tuesday last.


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Kashmir

No decision yet on resumption of Cross LOC trade

Govt working on installing truck scanners on trade routes

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Srinagar, May 18: Though they are unlikely to resume the cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade soon, the authorities are working on installing truck scanners at both the trade centres Salamabad in the Kashmir valley and Chakan Da Bagh in Poonch in Jammu.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on April 18 had suspended the cross-LoC trade in J&K, saying that it was being used for “funneling of illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”.
“As such there is no order to resume the LOC trade but yes work had started on installing truck scanners at both the trade centres Salamabad in Kashmir and Chakan Da Bagh in Poonch in Jammu,” said one of the top government officials.
He said if the trade resumed, the truck scanners will enable the customs department and other agencies to see what is being imported from the other side.
After suspending the LOC trade, the MHA had said that the issue will be “revisited” after a “stricter regulatory & enforcement mechanism” that is being worked out is “put in place in consultation with various agencies”.
Cross-LoC traders and others associated with the trade are demanding the resumption of the business.
Traders has said that they support the government’s every move to put strict and transparent regulatory measure but suspension of trade that took a decade to establish itself is no answer.
“Over the past decade, cross-LoC trade has been our only source of income. Suspension of trade has affected our families. We request government to implement strict regulatory measures and continue trade simultaneously,” said one of the LOC traders.
In October 2008, as a confidence building measure, India and Pakistan agreed to carry out trade along the Line of Control through the Uri-Muzaffarabad route in Kashmir and the Poonch-Rawalakot route in Jammu.
The two countries agreed on a Standard Operating Procedure.
The defining feature of the initiative was that there would be no exchange of money between traders – it would involve the barter system. If a trader in Pakistan sent across goods worth five lakh Indian rupees to a trader on the Indian side, that trader would send back goods of the same value as payment.
It is to mention here that the initiative was launched during the tenure of the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance government, its seed was planted in 2004, in the peace process initiated by the late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan president General Pervez Musharraf.
Cross-LoC trade was the second confidence-building measure between India and Pakistan after a cross-LoC bus service, which was launched in 2005.
For security agencies, cross-LoC trade has always attracted strict surveillance. They have, over the years maintained that they seized weapons, fake currency and narcotics being transported from the other side.

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B’pora teacher still missing; family protests for whereabouts

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Srinagar, May 18: The family members and relatives of the missing Bandipora government teacher on Saturday held a demonstration here in Mantrigam Bandipora area of north Kashmir’s district seeking his whereabouts.
Eye witnesses said that family members and relatives of Mushtaq Ahmad lone a government teacher assembled here in Mantrigam area of Bandipora and blocked the Bandipora-Gurez road.
They staged a demonstration seeking Mushtaq’s whereabouts, who went missing on May 13 after he left home for duty to Government Higher Secondary School Chuntimulla and has not returned home till date.
Family sources said that they tried to locate him everywhere but couldn’t find any clue despite lodging missing report in Pathkoot Police station.
“We have called relatives and friends, however, there has been no trace of him so far,” the family members said adding “his phone has been switched off for a long time.”
The family members and relatives of Mushtaq urged deputy commissioner Bandipora and SSP Bandipora to help in locating their missing son.
Meanwhile, a senior police officer said a missing report in this matter has been lodged in police station Pathkoot and investigation has been taken up.

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Unabated killings even during Ramadan worrisome: PDP

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Srinagar, May 18: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday said it’s worrisome to witness that there is no letup in killings and bloodshed in Kashmir even during the holy month of Ramadan.
In a statement, PDP General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura said the unabated killings of civilians, militants and security forces in Kashmir has once again made peace elusive even during the ongoing sacred month of Ramadan.
He said the way in which precious human lives are lost in Kashmir, there are apprehensions that the government is in no mood to shun the muscular policy that so far has yielded no positive results.
Hanjura said that it has been the cardinal Principe of the PDP that muscular and iron fist approach is bound to fail in Kashmir as such measures have in the past only wreaked havoc and in the future also wouldn’t bring any positive change on ground.
He said keeping the sanctity of the holy month of Ramadan in view, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti as the Chief Minister last year played a vital role in making GOI declare unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir. This year also, said Hanjura, the PDP President made a fervent appeal to both militants as well to the security grid to declare truce and respect the ongoing holy month. “It is hoped that good sense will prevail and the vicious cycle of violence and bloodshed is stopped at an earliest so that the people of Kashmir yearning for peace could heave a sigh of relief,” said Hanjura.

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