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Kathua ‘rape’ and murder: CB probe reveals police tried to destroy evidence

Monitor News Bureau

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Kathua, Mar 07: There were attempts by the local police to destroy evidence in the probe relating to the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua, investigations by the Jammu and Kashmir crime branch have revealed, reports claimed.
A report published by media outlet NDTV said that in a letter written to Director General of Police SP Vaid, the crime branch that took over the probe says Asifa’s clothes that were soaked in blood and mud were washed by the Kathua police before they were sent to a forensic laboratory.
The crime scene was never preserved by the police, the letter written by the crime branch’s additional director general says, adding that no search was carried out in the village even after Asifa’s family filed a missing complaint.
“Action will be taken and it will become part of investigations. Anybody found wanting in his professional job shall be proceeded against departmentally and legally,” NDTVquoted Vaid saying.
Two special police officers from the Hiranagar police station, where initial investigations took place, have already been arrested for their alleged involvement in the case, NDTVreported
Asifa was kidnapped from Rasana village on January 10. According to investigations, she was drugged and held captive for a week before being murdered.
Last week two senior BJP ministers Chandra Prakash Gupta and Lal Singh attended a rally organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch, the group that has been spearheading the protest over the arrests. Mr Ganga termed the crime branch probe as “jungle raj” and directed the police not to make any more arrests.
Addressing a crowd, NDTV quoted Singh saying “What if a girl has died? Many girls have died here”. He also asked people to defy orders that prohibit a gathering of more than four persons.
Police sources say the crime was meant to drive out Muslim nomads from the Hindu-dominated village. They claim that call details and mobile tower data place the accused on the location of the crime, adding that there is evidence that drugs used to sedate Asifa were bought by one of the accused special police officers from a medical shop in Kathua days before the girl was kidnapped.
Adding to the theory of a planned crime, investigators claim links between some protesters and the murder.
Sanji Ram, a retired revenue officer, has been a key driver of the Hindu Ekta Manch protests. Officials say he is the custodian of the premises where Asifa was held captive.
The NDTV report further said that Ram rejects the allegations, claiming that he is being hounded by the crime branch as he has opposed plans by the nomads to build a mosque in the village. Asifa’s family say there was no such plan.
Villagers barred Asifa’s father from burying his daughter’s body in the land he owned. The little girl was finally laid to rest in a forest several kilometres away, reported NDTV.


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Lead Stories

After mysterious threat posters: Shutdown stages comeback in Kashmir

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Nov 21:  Barely a week into normalcy, Kashmir observed an instant shutdown on Thursday after mysterious threat posters appeared in the old city.

Shops and business establishments remained closed.  Slender traffic movement however was observed on the Srinagar roads.

For the last one week, shops and business establishments, which would normally close before noon, remained open till late afternoon. Public transport had also hit roads after three and half month’s hiatus.

 

But on Thursday, shutdown returned to parts of the valley following mysterious threat posters. On Wednesday unknown people had put up posters in old city asking shopkeepers to observe hartal.

What added to the crisis was the mysterious fire that razed four shops to ground at Bohri Kadal on Wednesday. The incident also prompted shopkeepers to down shutters. Unknown people had inscribed “Last Warning” on the shutters of various shops at Zaina Kadal, apparently to enforce shutdown in the old city.

“None of the shops opened today as some warning posters had come up in downtown yesterday,” said a shopkeeper from Bohri Kadal.

Impact of warning posters was also seen in Lal Chowk, Residency Road, Maisuma and Hari Singh High Street, which for the last one week saw huge rush of shoppers.

Traffic which plied normally till noon, thinned later in the day with few passenger vehicles plying in civil line areas. Complete shutdown was also observed in south Kashmir’s Pulwama, Kulgam, Anantnag, and Shopian. Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district too observed shutdown.

Police sources said they are trying to identify the people who put up threat posters in the old city. “We are enquiring. We are looking into the case,” said VK Birdhi, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Central Kashmir Range.

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WPD seeks help to protect migratory birds flocking Kashmir wetlands

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Nov 21: As migratory birds start flocking wetlands in Jammu and Kashmir, the Wildlife Protection Department (WPD) has sought assistance from the forest protection force and the police to prevent hunting, poaching, capturing and selling of the winged visitors.

Lakhs of birds start arriving in the valley from the first week of November as Kashmir provides them a comparatively hospitable alternate habitat compared to the extreme freezing conditions in their natural habitats in Siberia, China, Japan and other countries in the northern hemisphere.

“The general public is informed that hunting, poaching, capturing and selling of migratory birds is punishable under Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Any person venturing to hunt, poach, capture or sell these birds is liable to a jail term of one year along with fine up to Rs 10,000,” WPD said in a statement here.

 

It said the hunting, poaching, capturing or sale of these birds is non-bailable and non-compoundable offences.

“The department seeks assistance from the forest protection force and the local police to prevent hunting, poaching, capturing and selling of these migratory birds in the wetlands of Kashmir,” the statement said.

It said these birds are enlisted in various schedules of Indian Wildlife Protection Act and receive complete protection against hunting, poaching, capturing and selling.

The birds found in the wetlands include migratory ducks and geese which include Brahminy Duck, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Garganey, Greylag Goose, Mallard, Common Merganser, Northern Pintail, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Pochard, Red-Crested Pochard, Ruddy Shelduck, Northern Shoveler, Common Teal, and Eurasian Wigeon.

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Post abrogation of Art 370: Multinationals, manufacturing giants make beeline to set up units in UT

J&K receives `Expression of Interest’ worth Rs 3000 Cr

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Nov 20: Dalmia Bharat Group, Singapore Electric vehicles and Dubai-based Lulu Internationals are among over 40 companies, which have shown interest in investing in Jammu and Kashmir post abrogation of Article 370.  

Jammu and Kashmir, which was a no-go- zone for outside investors, has been opened for all national and international business players after the scrapping of special status on August 5.

A source told The Kashmir Monitor that more than 40 companies have submitted their ‘Expression of Interest’ to invest in 10 different sectors in Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Hospitality, Tourism, Education, Information Technology, Horticulture, Agriculture, Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSME) and manufacturing are some of the sectors which companies have zeroed in on.

“Prominent among these companies include Escott Infrastructure, Dalmia Bharat Group, Shree Cements, Jackson Group, Indian School of Business, Singapore Electric Vehicles and Lulu Group. They have submitted the proposals for setting up their units in Jammu and Kashmir,” the source said.

With an annual turnover of Rs 70, 000 crore, Dalmia Bharat Group is a renowned business house in India, which deals with cement, sugar, thermal power and other businesses.

Similarly, Kolkata-based Shree Cement, which has annual turnover of Rs 58.50 billion, has shown interest in setting up its unit in Jammu and Kashmir.

Singapore based Singapore Electric Vehicles Pvt Ltd, a commercial electric fleet company, has desired to invest in the manufacturing sector.

Founded in 2001, Indian School of Business, a private business college, has expressed readiness to invest in the education sector by setting up its campuses in the union territory.

Helmet manufacturing giant ‘Steelbird’ has also offered to set up a plant in Jammu and Kashmir. Hospitality player ‘Lemon Tree’ has also proposed two new properties with 35-40 beds each in Gulmarg and Sonmarg areas.

An official privy to the development said government has received 60 ‘Expression of Interests’ so far, which is worth approximately Rs 3000 crore.

“Some companies have submitted their Expression of Interests twice. Some wants to build tourism infrastructure and others want to set up industries,” he said.

Managing Director SIDCO, Ravinder Kumar told The Kashmir Monitor that a committee has been constituted to review the ‘Expression of Interest’ by these companies. “We are going to review the Expression of Interests in 10 to 12 days,” he said.

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