Pathankot, Jun 11: A senior officer of Jammu and Kashmir’s Crime Branch Monday assured the district and sessions court, conducting the trial in the Kathua rape and murder case, that the police would ensure the presence of prosecution witnesses during the hearing, lawyers said.
The court, which has started recording the statements of witnesses in the case of the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua district, last week expressed dismay over the absence of witnesses despite 17 summons being issued.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, Ramesh Kumar Jalla, who headed the investigation, appeared in the court soon after the days in-camera proceedings started and assured Judge Tajwinder Singh that the police would ensure the presence of witnesses from here on.
The court had issued directions for the SSP’s personal appearance.
The officer assured the court that all the witnesses would depose in the court and record their statements on time in future, defence lawyer Aseem Sawhney told reporters when the court broke for lunch.
According to other lawyers and officials, a prosecution witness today started reconstruction of the entire crime scene before the court and his statement was being recorded.
“Because it is an in-camera trial, we will not be able to disclose anything and are restricting ourselves. What we can say only is that the witnesses have appeared and the proceedings are going on,” Sawhney, flanked by other members of his team, said.
He said the public prosecution had filed their objections and an inquiry was in progress on an application moved by the defence counsel about one of the seven accused – Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu – being a juvenile.
Last week, the court, which is hearing the case on directions of the Supreme Court, had framed charges of rape and murder against seven of the eight accused, paving the way for the beginning of the trial against them.
The eighth accused in the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl at Kathua in January this year is a juvenile, facing trial in a juvenile court in Jammu and Kashmir.
His fate is yet to be decided after the Crime Branch contested his claim that he was a minor.
The accused against whom charges were framed were Sanji Ram, his son Vishal, special police officers Deepak Khajuria alias Deepu and Surinder Verma, Mannu, head constable Tilak Raj, and sub-inspector Arvind Datta, officials had said.
Sanji Ram is the main accused who is alleged to have hatched the conspiracy with the other accused to abduct the girl, part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area, the Crime Branch charge sheet has alleged.
The district and sessions court has framed charges under various sections of the Ranbir Penal Code (applicable in Jammu and Kashmir). These include Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder) and 376-D (gang rape).
The court had also framed charges for destruction of evidence and under section 328 (causing hurt by poisoning with an intent to hurt) of the RPC.
According to the charge sheet, the victim was held in captivity at a small village temple in Kathua district where she was kept sedated and sexually assaulted before she was bludgeoned to death.
On January 23, about a week after the body was discovered, the government handed over the case to the crime branch, which formed a Special Investigation Team.
The trial in the case began on May 31 with the seven accused being produced before the district and sessions judge after the Supreme Court transferred the case from Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot for a fair trial following a plea by the victim’s family.
While transferring the case from Kathua to Pathankot, about 30 km away, the apex court directed day-to-day in-camera trial in the case.
Faesal launches new party, promises utopia
Aims to wipe corruption, resolve K-issue, research robotics and nanotechnology…
Srinagar, Mar 17: Shah Faesal, the doctor-turned-bureaucrat-turned-politician, Sunday launched his political party ‘Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM)’ amid a crowd of around 3,000, mostly comprising of people from Bakerwal community, at ‘Gindun’ park here in Raj Bagh.
Faesal was accompanied by the former Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Shehla Rashid, businessmen Feroze Peerzada and Baldev Singh Raina and other scholars, as they all announced their joining the party.
Faesal, who arrived almost two hours late to his own show, began his speech reciting Surah Asr and said the holy verses “summed up” his life.
He spoke for around 24 minutes, during which he mostly talked about his decision to switch careers and the challenges he has faced since then.
In a typical politician’s avatar, Faesal, who once was the IAS poster boy of India, made tall promises including resolving the complex geo-political issues of Kashmir if voted to power.
Faesal was also carrying his party’s ‘vision document’ which listed 29 objectives, most of which are similar to boilerplate clauses in manifestos of Kashmir based political parties.
For instance, the first objective says the party “shall pursue peaceful resolution of the Kashmir problem as per the will and aspirations of the people of J&K.”
The vision document’s second objective is “Look-Up North”, which aims at reviving of the traditional silk route to revive centrality of Jammu and Kashmir, a demand lingering for the last many decades.
The document mostly focuses on involvement of youth, women, Kashmir diaspora and endeavor to campaign against “evil influence of money power and muscle power”.
Apart from the social issues, the objectives talk about “re-orienting education and research towards the demands of fourth industrial revolution and arrival of artificial Intelligence, robotics and nanotechnology.”
After speeches by party’s new entrants, which too began with holy verses, Faesal spoke about the alternatives he shuffled through after quitting civil services and his decision to float a new political party in Jammu and Kashmir.
“After quitting IAS, many political parties approached me and even offered a mandate for parliamentary seat. During that course of time, people badmouthed me, which opened my eyes and forced me to take a right decision. Youth came to me and said that joining hands with political parties whose hands are bloodstained was wrong,” he said.
After spending 10 years in civil services, Faesal said, his “diagnosis” of restoring peace in Kashmir through development was wrong.
“I was of an opinion that being a doctor I had better chances to serve people. Later, I qualified IAS examination and spent my 10 years in the system. But I realised that being a doctor, my diagnosis of peace only through development was wrong.” he said.
“Peace is not possible until problems of youth are solved. The motive cannot be achieved till the bloodshed is ended and modesty of our mothers and sisters is safeguarded,” he said.
Faesal, who claimed his party will function in accordance to humanitarian politics, said they will work to end corruption if voted to power.
“A decision was taken 170 years ago when our entire nation was sold for 75 lakhs Nanak Shahi rupees. Since then we have been treated like animals and the indignation we experienced is still with us. The first thing that you will see is that we will end the corrupt system here and restore our dignity in public services and offices,” he said.
“The intention is to give a new politics to the state which has seen only miseries for the last 70 years. This party is not a region or religion specific. I want to send to everyone a message of friendship. Our politics is incomplete without the dignified return of Kashmiri Pandits,” Faesal said.
On harsh reactions from state based political parties, the former IAS officer said “new ideas always face criticism.”
“We have created a platform for youth and now those who offered me a mandate are blaming me as an agent of RSS and BJP. I often cite example of Imran Khan and Arvind Kejriwal because their faith never shook. Imran Khan won election after 22 years and he is still being called as military’s man,” he said.
On the occasion, former JNU student leader Shehla Rashid said the prevalence of different laws for Kashmir forced her to take a political path.
“We have no problem with laws but they should be uniform for all. We need roads, electricity and water but with dignity,” she said.
Calling women to join the party, she said the party will pave way for resolution of Kashmir issue.
‘Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement’
Separatist questions: Faesal copied my party name
Monitor News Bureau
Srinagar, Mar 17: The Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM) has strongly objected to the launching of a new political outfit under the identical name and style by the former bureaucrat Shah Faisal and urged him to make a modification in the name of his party which he launched on Sunday.
In a statement, senior APHC leader and chairman of the JKPM Mir Shahid Saleem said that a political outfit under the name and style of “Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement” (JKPM) has been functioning “for the past 20 years” in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said that the party was launched on April 4, 2000 at press club Jammu.
“After being launched, the JKPM became a constituent member of the APHC and presently is a member its executive body,” the statement said.
Saleem, as per the statement, took a strong exception to the party name being used by Faesal and called upon him to make necessary modification in the name of his newly launched political party to avoid unnecessary confusion.
He claimed that during a conversation, Faesal had agreed to make a change in the party name.
Saleem said that this was “unbecoming and against the basic ethics for a man like Faisal to commit a sort of plagiarism, who has always been talking of moral high grounds in the public life”.
“I wondered why a tech-savvy Faesal could not Google out the name of Jammu Kashmir People’s Movement which has been in use for the past over twenty years.
Alliance with Cong only after seat sharing agreement: Omar
Says top bureaucrats, couple of parties ‘conspired’ to defer assembly polls
Srinagar, Mar 17: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and Vice President of the National Conference (NC) Omar Abdullah said on Sunday that his party was open to a pre-poll alliance with the Congress if the latter agreed to NC’s seat sharing formula for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a party function in Anantnag district, Abdullah said: “We have received an offer from the Congress, but we are very clear about taking forward any alliance plan only if our candidates are to contest all the Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir.”
J&K has six Lok Sabha seats, three in the Valley, two in the Jammu division and one in the Ladakh division.
Omar also criticised the Central government for not holding the state Assembly elections simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls.
“It amounts to denying the people of the state their democratic right to form an elected government,” he said.
Omar said that some top officers of the Governor’s administration and a couple of political parties are responsible for deferment of assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and declared that National Conference won’t give up claim in case of pre-poll alliance with Congress for Lok Sabha elections.
“Some top bureaucrats and a couple of political parties have hatched a conspiracy for deferment of assembly elections,” Omar said.
Reiterating that his party would revoke PSA if voted to power, Omar said, “The parliamentary board meeting of NC is scheduled to be held tomorrow after which, we will announce the names for all the Lok Sabha constituencies.
Commenting on the launch of a new political party by former IAS officer Shah Faesal, Omar said it remains to be seen whether the new party would have something new to offer to the people.
He said it was pointless to expect any forward movement towards the resolution of the Kashmir problem till the Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections were over.
Commenting on the ban and the subsequent crackdown on the cadres of the Jamaat-e-Islami in the state, Omar said that he never felt the need to ban the Jamaat when he was the Chief Minister of J&K.
Mehbooba calls PDP workers ‘real mujahideen’
Srinagar, Mar 17: PDP chief and former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti Sunday extolled her party workers as “real mujahideen.”
Addressing a large gathering in Kupwara district, Mehbooba said even though a PDP worker “may not have a gun or stone in his hands, you are the real mujahid.”
“Your contribution to the society is far greater than the contribution of workers of other parties that have been around for decades,” she said.
Mehbooba said every Kashmiri should feel proud of PDP as every single worker of the party is an ” asli mujahid.”
She said the PDP was only the party which gave “relief to Kashmiris from POTA, task force, and set up universities and colleges.”
The party also realised the “dream of opening Muzaffarabad- Srinagar route,” she said.
She said the PDP believed in acting as “a bridge between Pakistan and Kashmir so that every Kashmiri will have excess to anywhere he wants to go whether it is Afghanistan or Iran.”
She said her father Mufti Saeed’s tenure as chief minister was a “success due to opening of traditional routes linking Kashmir to rest of the world.”
PDP finalizes panel of candidates
Srinagar, Mar 17: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is holding consultations among the party leadership about fielding candidates for upcoming parliamentary elections in Jammu and Kashmir and will announce names of the candidates in coming days.
Quoting top sources in PDP, news agency Kashmir News Service said that the party is considering former legislator of Sonawar Ashraf Mir, Dr Mehboob Beg and Aga Mohsin for Srinagar Parliamentary seat.
Sources said that on Anantnag parliamentary segment the names of PDP President and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, vice President Abdul Rehman Veeri and Party chief spokesman Rafi Ahmad Mir are being discussed for the poll fray.
For Jammu region seat, Choudhary Zulfkar Ali, Abdul Qayoom Dar and Choudhary Qamar for Jammu-Poonch, while Firdous Tak and Arshad Malik for Udhampur-Doda seat being discussed.
One of the top leaders confirmed about these developments and said: “All these names are in the panel for these seats. Final names will be out in coming days.”
Sources said the name of former trade union leader Abdul Qayoom Wani has been finalised for Baramulla parliamentary constituency where he will lock horns with NC senior leader Akbar Lone and Raja Aijaz Ali of Peoples Conference.
For the seat of Ladakh, Kashmir News Service has learnt that NC, Congress and PDP will field a joint candidate so that the BJP does not win the seat again.
“Such an arrangement has been done in the past also,” sources said. (KNS)