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No Panchayat poll keeps Rs 1000 cr ULB budget on papers only

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, July 8: While three months have passed of the current fiscal, there has been no utilization of funds sanctioned under panchayat budget in Jammu and Kashmir. Due to non-holding of panchayat elections, all the three regions, Kashmir, Jammu Ladakh have suffered huge losses. On January 11, the then Mehbooba Mufti-led government had presented first ever separate panchayat budget in the state. Government had made a provision to spend Rs 1,000 crore on panchayats and urban civic bodies during 2018-2019 in the state. However, there exist no panchayat bodies in the state as the term of previous local rural bodies completed in July 2016. Three months have passed of the current fiscal, no funds have been released or spent so far. “Government should bring clarity how it is spending the funds when panchayats do not exist in the state,” an official of the rural development said insisting not to be named. “These funds can be utilized only when panchayat system is in place but there is no accountability,” he said. He said that government should clear the confusion whether the panchayat polls are held in this year. “Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had said that panchayat polls will be held from February 15, following which All Party Meeting was also held. Since then, government is not coming up with a statement when the polls will be held,” he added. A BJP leader said that Jammu and Ladakh bear the brunt of non-holding of Panchayat polls. “Funds have been earmarked for all three regions. But polls are not being held due to Kashmir region,” he claimed. An official of the RDD said that government in January announced the funds as it had expected that panchayat polls would be held from February 15. “As the polls are not held, we don’t know how the funds will be spent.” the official added. The last panchayat elections were held in April-May 2011 with 80% turnout. The state is losing huge Centre funding due to non-holding of Panchayat polls. “J&K will lose over Rs 4,000 crore between 2015 and 2020 if Panchayat polls do not take place,” sources said. Elections to Panchayats were last held in April-May 2011 during Omar Abdullah led National Conference-Congress regime after a gap of 37 years. The government postponed these polls for several times in the last few years. Similarly, the Centre has budgeted around Rs 1300 crore to J&K as per the 14th Finance Commission Awards from 2015-2020. “The state civic bodies were to get Rs 350 crore during 2016-2017 which were not released by the Centre,” the official said. These funds are to be spent on water, electricity, road infrastructure, and other civic amenities. The elected civic bodies are mandatory to get these funds. (KNS)


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Police seeks adjournment of Kathua rape, murder trial, says ‘accused being major or minor still undecided’

Press Trust of India

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Jammu, Jul 15: Jammu and Kashmir police’s crime branch Monday moved a plea before a juvenile justice board hearing the case of an accused in the gangrape and murder of a young girl in Kathua, seeking deferment of the trial as the state high court is yet to decide whether he is a minor or not.
Appearing before the board, the special public prosecutor of the crime branch submitted that the high court is yet to pronounce its decision on an application moved against the decision of a Kathua court which accepted the accused’s claim that he is a minor, officials said.
The board, after framing charges against the accused who played a key role in kidnapping, rape and murder of the eight-year-old nomadic girl, had fixed Monday for examining prosecution witnesses and commencing of trial.
The board, after examining the plea of the crime branch, however, made it clear that there was no stay by the high court on holding the trial and gave prosecution two weeks to produce evidence and its witnesses in the case.
The crime branch had filed a petition in the high court against the accused’s claim of being a juvenile and said that the then chief judicial magistrate in Kathua had erred in accepting it.
The crime branch had also annexed a report of the medical board of Government Medical College, Jammu, which said the accused was “not less than 19 and not more than 21” years of age
However, the case has seen repeated adjournments last year.
The juvenile justice board had framed charges on July 8 following which it issued a notice to the crime branch, asking them to bring in their prosecution evidence and witnesses for the trial.
According to the notice, “the next date of hearing has been fixed on July 15”.
“The case has been fixed for prosecution evidence… Kindly arrange the presence of public prosecutor appointed in the case so as to examine the prosecution evidence/ witnesses,” it said.
The trial in this case was shifted to the Pathankot Sessions Court on the directions of the Supreme Court last year.
The Pathankot Sessions Court had on June 10 this year sentenced Sanji Ram, dismissed special police officer Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar to life imprisonment, while sacked policemen Anand Dutta, Tilak Raj and Surender Verma were handed five years in jail.
The verdict came 17 months after the girl was brutally gang-raped inside a ‘devisathan’ (local temple) and later killed. She was kidnapped on January 10 and her body was found on January 17.

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Four arrested for thrashing teachers, students in Budgam

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Jul 15: Under pressure, Jammu and Kashmir police have arrested four people involved in the attack on school picnickers at Raiyar village in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Saturday evening.
Six people including two girls and a teacher were injured when a group of youth armed with rods and canes attacked school picnickers at Raiyar village. The incident occurred on Saturday evening when the students and teachers of Hanfiya Model Higher Secondary School (HMHSS), Kreeri in Baramulla district, were returning from Doodpathri after a daylong picnic.
Police swung into action immediately and registered a case of attempt to murder under section 307 Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) against the unknown attackers.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Budgam, Amod Nagpuri told The Kashmir Monitor that four persons have been arrested and further investigation was going on.
“Yes, four persons have been arrested from Raiyar, where the incident took place. They have been booked under section 307 RPC,” Nagpuri said.
Jehangir Ahmad, a teacher at HMHSS, said photographs of eight people were sent (by police) to school authorities for identification.
“After going through the photographs, we identified four persons,” he said.
Ahmad said the injured physical teacher continues to be under observation in Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS).
“Patient was referred from SDH Khan Sahib as a case of assault with head injury. NCCT head showing parietooccipital EDH with parietotemporal contusions,”read the SKIMS report issued on Sunday.
Police sources said that during investigation statements of the injured were also recorded and on that basis four attackers were later arrested

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470 militant attacks took place in 2017, 2018: Goel tells RS

Agencies

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New Delhi, Jul 15: As many as 470 militant attacks took place in the country in 2017 and 2018, the government informed Rajya Sabha on Monday.
In a written reply to a question by BJP MP Vijay Goel, Minister of State for Defence said in 2017, 131 militant attacks occurred in Jammu and Kashmir, eight in Manipur and one in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh each
In 2018, 318 militant attacks took place in Jammu and Kashmir, eight in Manipur and three in Nagaland.
The minister told the House that 235 militants were killed in various counter-insurgency and counter-infiltration operations in 2017. In 2018, the number of militants killed stood at 265.
The Army lost 85 soldiers in these two years – 42 in 2017 and 43 in 2018.

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