By Mubashir Bukhari
Jammu/Srinagar, Apr 09: A group of lawyers on Monday prevented Crime Branch (CB) of Jammu and Kashmir Police from filing charge sheet into rape-and-murder of eight year old girl Asifa Bano at Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Kathua.
According to the reports, when the CB team reached CJM court along with the accused persons, the lawyers of Kathua Bar Association started sloganeering and prevented the team to produce the report.
“Go Back, Go Back, Crime Branch Go Back,” the lawyers shouted slogans asking police not to produce the charge sheet in the case.
When the situation turned ugly, police had to rush reinforcement to facilitate the entry of Crime Branch officials into the court.
Later, after the situation was brought under control, the charge-sheet was produced before the CJM, Kathua against the seven accused persons involved in the crime.
Inspector General of Police crime branch, Syed Ahfadul Mujtaba confirmed the charge sheet was produced against the seven accused,” while that of “eighth one is under process”.
The seven accused against whom charge sheet has been produced under sections 302, 376, 201, 120-B RPC are Sanji Ram, 60, the mastermind behind the crime, special police officers (SPO) Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, Head Constable Tilak Raj and civilian Parvesh Kumar, Sub-inspector, Anand Dutta and son of Sanji, Vishal.
The Jammu High Court Bar Association (JHBA) is on strike since Thursday in support of various demands including handing over the Kathua rape-cum-murder case to CBI, a demand which was also highlighted by women relatives of the accused who are on an indefinite hunger strike since March 31.
Defending its demand for handing over the Kathua rape-and-murder case of a minor girl to the CBI, JHBA president B S Slathia said it only favoured “fair investigation” of the case as the government sidelined the Jammu crime branch and gave responsibility of the investigation to a special team from Kashmir.
“A criminal is a criminal and not linked to any religion. We demand severe punishment to those who have done wrong but we will not hesitate to raise our voice if the investigation is done in a wrong way,” he said, adding the government should have come forward on its own and handed over the case to CBI.
Bar Association Kathua, whose members were protesting on Monday, in a press statement said that their agitation shall continue.
“The Bar has unanimously decided to keep the work under suspension till April 12. An appeal is made to the civil society, private schools association, Vyapar Mandal Kathua, Transporters’ Union etc to observe complete Kathua bandh on April 11. There shall be complete bandh on April 11 in the whole of Jammu province in support of the demands out forth by Jammu High Court Bar Association,” read the statement.
The move by the Jammu lawyers has miffed the valley lawyers who demand strict action against them.
“Under section 186 of RPC, if anybody interferes with the performance of a public servant performing his duty, action against the concerned person can be taken by the concerned officer. They should have arrested them and filed an FIR,” senior advocate, Zaffar Qureshi said.
“The investigating officer according to this provision should have file a case against them and arrested the protesting lawyers. If not arrest, they should produce a challan against these people,” he said.
He questioned the demands of the Jammu High Court Bar Association which is asking for CBI probe in the case.
“Why are they asking for CBI when state government is already probing it,” Qureshi said.
“They didn’t file any Public Interest Litigation, on what basis are they protesting? It is a criminal matter, where a Muslim girl has been raped in a temple and they are giving it another angle,” Qureshi added.
Official sources said that the crime branch, probing the rape-and-murder, had found hair strands from Devistan temple in Hiranagar after one of the accused revealed during interrogation that Asifa was held captive inside the temple.
The crime site was searched and the hair strands were found and sent to Forensic Laboratory (FSL) New Delhi. The report confirmed that they were that of Asifa.
The report was received by the crime branch along with the postmortem report which has also confirmed the seductive medicine (Clonazepam) used to unconscious the girl by the accused.
The investigating agency has so far arrested eight accused persons including the mastermind Sanji Ram and his son Vishal Kumar, a police head constable, two SPOs and a sub-inspector of police in connection with the crime.
Sanji Ram, a retired revenue officer, surrendered before the crime branch on March 20 and the development came a day after his son Vishal Kumar was arrested from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, in connection with the case (FIR No: 10/2018 U/S 363, 320, 376, 302 RPC). Both father and son were evading arrest in connection with the gruesome rape and murder which send shock waves across the state.
The investigations had revealed that it was not a random crime but part of a wider conspiracy to dislodge the Bakarwal community from the Rassana village in Kathua. Sanji Ram has been bent upon to dislodge the nomad community from Rassana village, the probe said.
“The mastermind behind the entire game was bent upon dislodging the Bakarwal community and in order to execute the nefarious design, he hatched conspiracy (with others),” the SIT submitted in a status report before the high court recently.
The minor girl had been missing since January 10 when she failed to return home from watering horses in her native Rassana forests, and her body was found on January 17.
The next day, after protests rocked the area, the Kathua police had said that a SIT, under SDPO border, had been set up to investigate the case.
On January 20, the government transferred the Station House Officer of the Hiranagar police station, ordering a magisterial probe, and three days later, on January 23, handed the case over to the Crime Branch.
Pak must review death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav: ICJ
The Hague, Jul 17: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday announced its verdict on India’s petition challenging the death sentence given to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, ruling that Jadhav be allowed consular access and asking Pakistan to ensure “effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentences”.
The court found by 15 votes to 1 that Pakistan had breached Jadhav’s rights under the Vienna convention on consular relations by not allowing Indian diplomats to visit him in jail.
It said that nothing in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) precludes its applicability to persons accused of espionage.
The provision basically states that when a national of a foreign country is arrested, they must be informed of the right to have their country’s consulate notified and should also have the right to regular consultation with their consulate’s officials during their detention and trial.
Pakistan had argued, unsuccessfully, that Article 36 of the VCCR does not apply to people involved in espionage.
Pakistan has been directed to suspend the execution of the death penalty awarded to Jadhav till it fulfills the new conditions (ensuring consular access and ‘effectively’ reviewing the case).
The ICJ, however, also rejected most of the other remedies sought by India, which included the annulment of the military court decision convicting Jadhav, his release and his return to India. It cited limitations of its jurisdiction in turning down those appeals.
Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India
Reading out the verdict, President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf ordered an “effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav”.
The verdict in the high-profile case comes nearly five months after a 15-member bench of ICJ led by Judge Yusuf had reserved its decision on February 21 after hearing oral submissions by India and Pakistan. The proceedings of the case took two years and two months to complete.
India moved the ICJ in May 8, 2017 for the “egregious violation” of the provisions of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan by repeatedly denying New Delhi consular access to Jadhav.
3 Mar: Pakistan claims arresting Jadhav in Balochistan on charges of espionage. India claims he was kidnapped from Iran.
25 Mar: India is formally informed by Pakistan of Jadhav’s arrest. A confessional statement is released by Pakistan in which Jadhav claims to be a serving Indian Navy officer. India responds by moving the first of several requests for custodial access.
6 Sep: Pak files “supplementary” FIR naming 15 individuals as “accomplices and facilitators” of Jadhav, including NSA Ajit Doval, former RAW chief Alok Joshi, his wife Chetankul Jadhav, and mother Avanti Jadhav.
21 Sep: Military court begins hearing Jadhav case.
6 Jan: Pak ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi presents a dossier to the UN chief alleging India’s involvement in cross-border terrorism in Pakistan and Jadhav’s arrest.
23 Jan: Islamabad writes to New Delhi, seeking assistance in investigating the Jadhav case, and saying its request for consular assistance shall be considered “in the light of the Indian side’s response”.
10 Apr: Jadhav is sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan. India deems the death penalty as “pre-meditated murder”.
27 Apr: India writes to Pakistan, asking it for certified copies of the chargesheet, proceedings of the court of enquiry, the summary of evidence in the case, and the judgment itself. No reply is received.
22 Jun: Pakistan states that a military court has rejected Jadhav’s appeal.
8 May: India moves the International Court of Justice, and receives an interim stay on Jadhav’s execution, pending final orders in the case.
26 Oct: Islamabad writes to New Delhi, offering to discuss extraditing him to India should the government accept he is “considered a criminal under the laws of India.”
25 Dec: Jadhav’s mother and wife are allowed to visit him in prison.
Jan 17: Apr 17 and July 17 fixed as deadlines for India’s Reply and Pak’s Rejoinder respectively.
Feb 18-21: India and Pak make two rounds of oral arguments at The Hague.
Jul 4: ICJ announces that the President of the Court, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, will read the Court’s decision on July 17.
How binding are ICJ judgments?
Srinagar, Jul 17: According to ICJ, judgments delivered by the court (or by one of its chambers) in disputes between states are binding upon the parties concerned. Article 94 of the United Nations Charter provides that “each Member of the United Nations undertakes to comply with the decision of [the court] in any case to which it is a party”. Judgments are final and without appeal.
If there is a dispute about the meaning or scope of a judgment, the only possibility is for one of the parties to make a request to the court for an interpretation. In the event of the discovery of a fact hitherto unknown to the court which might be a decisive factor, either party may apply for revision of the judgment.
However, there have been instances when the ICJ’s rulings have not been followed. The most famous one was in 1986, when the ICJ ruled in a petition by Nicaragua, which alleged that the US had waged a covert war against it by supporting a rebellion.
The ICJ ordered reparations from the US in favour of Nicaragua. The US, in response, cancelled its declaration of the ICJ’s jurisdiction. It then went to the UN Security Council against the ICJ order and succeeded.
So, whatever the ICJ decides, both governments will have to be prepared for a long haul.
Hafiz Saeed arrested by Pak’s counter-terrorism dept
Srinagar, Jul 17: Jamat ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed was arrested Wednesday by Pakistan’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in connection with charges related to terror financing, Dawn and Geo news reported.
The arrest, as per the reports, was made when Saeed was travelling to Gujranwala from Lahore to appear before an anti-terrorism court. The Mumbai 26/11 mastermind has been moved to an undisclosed location, it added.
Quoting CTD spokesperson for Punjab, Dawn reported that Saeed, following his arrest, was sent to prison on judicial remand after the counter-terrorism department presented him before a Gujranwala anti-terrorism court (ATC).
The CTD has been directed to complete its investigation and submit a charge sheet to the court in the stipulated time, the report said.
A JuD spokesperson also confirmed the arrest to Reuters.
The arrest comes in the wake of an ATC in Lahore granting Saeed pre-arrest bail. Along with Saeed, three others were also granted the bail in a case pertaining to JuD’s alleged illegal use of land for its seminary, Dawn reported on July 14.
The CTD had registered 23 cases in July against the leadership of JuD, LeT and FIF (Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation) for gaining assets from “terrorism” financing through non-profit organisations. The move was termed by India as “cosmetic steps against terror groups by Pakistan”.
“Pakistan is trying to hoodwink the international community on taking action against terror groups. Let us not get fooled by cosmetic steps against terror groups by Pakistan,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said.
Pakistan’s push against Saeed came after Financial Action Task Force (FATF), at a plenary session in USA. FATF chair, the US, had told Pakistan it could face blacklisting at its next session in October if it did not adhere to its commitments to stop access to funds for “terror” groups.
Saeed’s arrest comes just ahead of Prime Minister Khan’s maiden visit to the US on July 21 during which he will hold talks with US President Donald Trump. Trump has repeatedly asked Pakistan to abide by its UN Security Council commitments to deny “terrorists” safe haven and block their access to funds.
The Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba which is deemed to be responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated “Global Terrorist”, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.
LeT militant killed in Sopore gunfight
Srinagar, Jun 17: After a brief lull in the encounters in Kashmir, a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant identified as a local, was Wednesday killed in a gunfight at Gund-Brath village of Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Giving details of the encounter, a police official said that Army’s 22 RR, 179 BN CRPF and SOG of J&K police jointly launched a cordon-and-search operation in Gund Brath village of Sopore following specific information about the presence of militants inside a residential house.
During the search operation, the official said, the hiding militant fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter.
In the ensuing encounter, one militant was killed and the body was retrieved from the site of encounter.
The slain militant was identified as Adnan Ali Channa son of Ali Muhammad Channa, a resident of Arampora Azad-Gunj, Baramulla.
As per the police records, the slain was affiliated with militant outfit LeT.
Meanwhile, authorities suspended internet services in Sopore and Baramulla as a precautionary measure in wake of this encounter. Later in the day, thousands of people participated in the funeral prayers of slain militant at his native village Azadgunj.
The encounter was the first one after the commencement of annual pilgrimage of Amarnath on July 1.