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Minor’s ‘rape’ in Bandipora: Public outrage intensifies

Spree of clashes, road blockades in north Kashmir; at least 20 injured, youth with critical head injury admitted at SKIMS Soura; protests, shutdown in various parts

Firdous Hassan

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Written by Nisar Dharma / Firdous Hassan

Srinagar/Baramulla, May 13:  Protests against the Sumbal ‘rape’ incident intensified Monday as dozens of people were grievously injured in clashes with government forces in several parts of north Kashmir.

People in huge numbers came out on roads demanding capital punishment for the accused arrested for allegedly raping a three-year old girl in Sumbal area of Bandipora earlier this week.

 

On the evening of 8 May, a 3-year-old girl was allegedly raped by his neighbour after luring her to a nearby school.

Though the accused was arrested on the same day, the outrage against the incident gathered pace after a photo of the date of birth certificate issued to the accused by a local school declaring him as a minor went viral on social media.

While police declared the certificate as “fake” and said the accused was a major, it drew huge criticism from locals in Sumbal, who came out on roads in protest on Saturday. On Sunday, the protests spilled over to other districts as well.

Monday saw the outrage intensifying as multiple episodes of clashes and protests were reported from several areas in Bandipora, Baramulla, Budgam, Srinagar and Pulwama districts.

The townships of most of these districts also witnessed a complete shutdown.

While here in Press Enclave over a dozen rallies were organised throughout the day, people took to streets in other parts of the city including Alamgiri Bazar, Zadibal, Saidakadal, Bemina, Shalimar, and Ashai Bagh.

The highway between Baramulla and Srinagar was blocked throughout the day by protestors who clashed with paramilitary personnel deployed to pacify the situation.

Between Mirgund and Pattan town, at least two dozen protesters were grievously injured by pellet firing and tear gas shells.

At least 20 wounded people, include a female, were reported at SK Institute of Medical Sciences, Bemina, officials at the hospital told The Kashmir Monitor.

The officials said that one of the injured, Arshid Hussain, 25, son of Ghulam Mohammad Dar of Chanabal area in Pattan, had grievous injuries to his face and skull and was shifted from Bemina to SKIMS, Soura in a critical condition.

MS SKIMS Dr Farooq Jan said the youth was put on ventilator and his condition remained critical.

 Sources in the hospital said that the youth had “severe brain injuries” and “had little chances of survival”.

The list of the 20 injured provided by the Bemina hospital showed that most of them were hit by pellets on face and skull.

The area between Pattan town and Narbal witnessed intense clashes throughout the day as protestors –including females – blocked the highway by burning tyres and placing huge logs across the road.

The protest turned violent thereafter as the protestors smashed window panes of two ambulances at Chanabal.

At Hanjiwera Payeen in Pattan, women came out in large number and blocked the road by burning tyres and wooden logs.

Hundreds of the vehicles remained stranded right from Hanjiwera to Narbal, a stretch of nearly 15 kilometres.

Many stranded passengers disembarked from the vehicles and marched on foot as traffic witnessed no movement for hours together.

Firdous Ahmad, a commuter travelling from Baramulla to Srinagar said he was stuck on the highway at Pattan from 9:30 am till 3 pm.

“The road has been blocked and there are intense clashes going on. Some civilian cars too have been damaged,” he said over the phone while being stuck close to Mirgund.

“There is no way I can turn back since there are protests going on at Pattan as well,” he said.

Reports of clashes came from other areas of the district including Baliharan, Hygam, Delina, Sopore town.

The students of higher secondary school and degree college Sopore too held a peaceful protest at Iqbal market area of the town amid a complete shutdown.

In Bandipora, protests and clashes were reported from Sumbal.

The students of Kashmir University and Islamic University Awantipora also held protest rallies against the horrific incident.

Police have constituted a special investigation team to investigate the alleged rape case.

SSP Bandipora, Rahul Malik said the SIT comprising SDPO Sumbal, SHO Sumbal and Senior Prosecuting Officer would investigate the entire case.

He said the police “are treating the accused as major” and the certificate that was uploaded on the social media regarding the age of the accused was “fake”.

He appealed to the people to not pay heed to any rumours and have “faith in the police”.

A police official said the age of the accused will be determined on the basis of “medical test” to be conducted by a team of senior doctors.


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Pak must review death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav: ICJ

Agencies

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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.

TIMELINE

2016

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.

2017

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.

2018

Jan 17: Apr 17 and July 17 fixed as deadlines for India’s Reply and Pak’s Rejoinder respectively.

2019

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.

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Hafiz Saeed arrested by Pak’s counter-terrorism dept

Monitor News Bureau

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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.

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LeT militant killed in Sopore gunfight

Monitor News Bureau

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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.

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