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Kathua rape, murder: Disclosing witnesses’ names in advance a security concern: Police to court

Press Trust of India

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Jammu, July 24: The Jammu and Kashmir Crime Branch Tuesday told the district and sessions judge at Pathankot in Punjab, where trial is being held in a case of rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl, that the names of witnesses should not be disclosed in advance as it was a security concern.

The crime branch was asked to submit its reply after the lawyers of the accused had filed a plea before the court, saying that they should be informed in advance about the witnesses by the prosecution.

“We submitted the application on behalf of the crime branch in which we have highlighted why the names of witnesses cannot be disclosed in advance. This includes intimidation of witnesses, their security.

 

“We have highlighted how the defence lawyers were misleading about the trial as well. We plan to move another application tomorrow to inform the court how the defence lawyers were misleading the public by giving out wrong information,” Special Public Prosecutor J K Chopra told PTI.

He said the trial court would soon be taking a decision on the application submitted by the crime branch.

The prosecution highlighted that some vested groups in Hiranagar and Kathua area had started a well-organised campaign against the investigating agency by large-scale propaganda on electronic, print and social media to “mislead the masses”.

The prosecution also brought to notice that a targeted campaign to intimidate witnesses had come to fore.

“One such instance where a material witness in the case was influenced by some groups has already been brought to the notice of honourable trial court,” the application said.

The application also said that the case had taken “communal overtones” with some political leaders backing the accused in the case.

Chopra said the role of state MLA Choudhary Lal Singh had also been brought before the judge along with the newspaper cuttings.

“…former minister and BJP MLA from Basohli assembly constituency, Choudhary Lal Singh, who hails from Kathua district has reportedly floated an organisation namely ‘Dogra Swabhiman Sanghathan’ on July 22. The purpose of this organisation has, among other objectives, been formulated to defend the accused in the case as well as discredit the investigating agency.”

“A number of rallies have already been held to mobilise and unite a particular community,” the application said.

The crime branch also said that there is every apprehension of intimidation, security threat as well as creation of hurdles for production of material witnesses, in case, the names of the witnesses were disclosed in advance.

“Therefore…it is humbly prayed that the names of the witnesses may not be disclosed in advance in the interest of fairness of trial,” the application said.

The trial of Kathua rape and killing case was assigned to district and sessions court at Pathankot by the Supreme Court earlier this year after the victim’s family approached with a plea to transfer the case from Kathua.

The eight-year-old girl, belonging to nomadic tribe, was allegedly kidnapped on January 10 and her body was found on January 17. It is alleged that she was gangraped and later murdered. The crime branch has arrested eight people, including a juvenile in the case.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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After Noori, Kashmir scientists planning to clone Hangul

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Apr 25: After successfully cloning Pashmina goat in 2012, the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry at SKUAST-K is now contemplating to make clone of Kashmir Stag (Hangul).

Realising that the Hangul was gradually getting extinct from the valley, the scientists at Department of Biotechnology SKUAST-K Shuhama came up with this idea.

“This project is in infancy as we require permission from Wild Life department, local government and Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA),” said Dr Riyaz Ahmad Shah, a veterinarian in the animal biotechnology center of SKUAST.

 

Shah said the execution of the project would require heavy funding and creation of the advanced infrastructure in the research centre.

“First of all a Deer park in needed where there these animals must have been already reared. Then advanced infrastructure is need as we currently have some basic machinery here. So overall this project can be only executed when the government is serious in accomplishing it,” he said.

He said the cloning could be achieved by using the body cells of some other inter-species including a goat or a sheep.

While the initial work including the framing of paper has been done, Shah said the tracing and catching this rare animal was becoming equally challenging for the concerned department.

“They usually die on being caught by the people. Still it could be managed but they are not being currently traced in abundance in the forests here,” he said.

 Shah believed that cloning of the deer can be an equally effective process like breeding procedure done to improve their population.

Official data reveals that population of Hangul has reduced to from 5,000 to 182 in last 118 years.

Department of Wildlife’s data shows the population of Kashmiri Hangul in 1900 was 5,000, spread over 65 miles from north to east of the Jhelum and lower Chenab valley.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is also all set to declare it a ‘critically endangered’ species to protect this beautiful animal from disappearing from earth.

In 2012, scientists at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) successfully cloned the first Pashmina goat. The healthy female goat was born using a foster mother and it took two years for standardisation of the technique.

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Assembly polls in JK: EC to convene meeting today

Agencies

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New Delhi, Apr 25: Election Commission of India (ECI) officials will meet on Friday to discuss assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Officials of the Jammu and Kashmir government are also expected to attend the meeting to assess whether the state assembly elections can be conducted in June this year.

While announcing the seven-phase Lok Sabha election schedule on March 10, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had said that elections for the Jammu and Kashmir assembly would not be conducted along with the Lok Sabha elections. In June 2018, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had withdrawn support to the PDP, led by Mehbooba Mufti in the 87-member state assembly.

 

Since the fallout of the coalition government, the state has been under President’s rule.

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IT Dept searches premises of kin of ex-minister

Press Trust of India

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Srinagar, Apr 25: The Income Tax Department Thursday carried out searches at two premises of a kin of Imran Reza Ansari, a former minister in the PDP-BJP coalition, for alleged tax evasion, officials said here.

They said the income tax officials, assisted by the Jammu and Kashmir police and the CRPF, carried out the searches at a business complex in the upmarket Karan Nagar where locations of North Point Complex were searched by the tax personnel.

Later, a team was sent to search another premises of the family at Alamgiri Bazar in the downtown Srinagar.

 

The income tax officials maintained that Thursday’s raids were carried out on a business family and were in no way connected to Ansari, a politician who switched over to People’s Conference led by Sajad Lone.

Ansari’s sister is married to the family whose premises have been raided.

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