Jammu, Nov 18: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is likely to take over investigation into the killing of senior BJP leader Anil Parihar and his brother Ajeet Parihar by suspected militants in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir earlier this month, officials said Sunday.
A team of NIA experts visited Kishtwar town, 230 kms from here, last week to assist the state police in the ongoing probe. It later sought permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs for taking over the case for a thorough investigation, the officials said.
The Parihar brothers were shot at point-blank range outside their house on November 1 when they were returning home after closing their shop in the town.
The officials said the Home Ministry was likely to give its nod to the NIA for taking over the probe from the special investigation team (SIT) set up by the government.
The SIT has arrested some people, including sister of a local militant who along with his Kashmiri associate is believed to have carried out the target killing in an attempt to revive militancy in the district bordering south Kashmir.
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav visited the bereaved family last week and said, “Right now our main challenge is to track down the ‘terrorists’ (behind the killings) and neutralize them. That will be done very soon.”
“That is the important thing here. Of course, we will not allow these kinds of activities to create instability and violence in Kishtwar or Doda, the peaceful areas of Jammu region. That is our priority and we are focusing on that,” Madhav had said.
On November 5, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik had said the accused involved in the killing of Parihar brothers have been identified and will be brought to book soon.
“It has been proved that it was an incident of militancy,” he had said, adding that it “was an act of frustration on the part of militants and Pakistan”.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has constituted an SIT to probe the killings and directed it to submit its report as early as possible.
The SIT has detained some persons in connection with the killings after questioning over 30 people including the personal security officers of the BJP leader.
The police investigation has so far revealed that the killings were carried out by a two-member squad of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit.
Spontaneous shutdown, clashes in Kashmir parts
Srinagar, Feb 23: Spontaneous protests and shutdown was observed in parts of Kashmir against the detention of
hundreds of Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) and Hurriyat leaders during dozens of nocturnal raids.
National Conference too took out a protest march from the party headquarters against the harassment to Kashmiris in various Indian states.
They were shouting slogans against the attacks on Kashmiris.
The march was led by party’s General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, who said that Kashmiris were being targeted across the country.
“The harassment to Kashmiris seems to be a part of political conspiracy,” he said.
“They don’t treat us as citizens of India. Is it being done to help some win the elections as Jammu and Kashmir is the only Muslim-majority state in the country?” he asked.
He claimed that Centre can’t suppress the sentiments of Kashmiris.
He also criticized the government for stopping advertisements to two local dailies. He also took on the government for arresting Jamaat-e-Islami leaders.
“We might have ideological differences but government can’t suppress their voices,” he said.
The police on late night Friday also detained JKLF chief Yasin Malik.
Nearly 150 people, mainly from the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir including its chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz, were detained during the intervening night of Saturday as tension gripped the Valley ahead of a hearing by the Supreme Court on Article 35-A. Maisuma, and its adjoining areas observed a complete shutdown.
Most shops in Srinagar’s Lalchowk remained closed.
There was a heavy deployment of forces on the streets. The old city Srinagar also observed a shutdown.
Clashes were witnessed in Soura, Zaldagar, and Karanagar areas of Srinagar, and south Kashmir’s Anantnag district against the detentions and harassment to Kashmiris.
In a statement, a JeI spokesman said the police and other forces launched a “mass arrest drive” during the intervening night of February 22 and 23 and arrested dozens of its central and district-level leaders.
“Those detained include Ameer Jama’at Dr Abdul Hamid Fayaz, Advocate Zahid Ali (Spokesperson), Ghulam Qadir Lone (Former Secretary General), Abdur Rouf (Ameer Zila Islamabad), Mudasir Ahmad (Ameer Tehsil Pahalgam), Abdul Salam (Dialgam), Bakhtawar Ahmad (Dialgam), Mohammad Amin Wani (Tral), Bilal Ahmad (Chadoora), Ghulam Mohammad Dar (Chak Sangran) and dozens more,” said the spokesman.
Condemning the detentions, he said the move seems a “well designed ploy and that there was something fishy when the state’s special position is listed in Supreme Court.
“Article 35(A) which grants special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is being heard within days and the way forces personnel unleashed the spree of mass arrest and detained dozens of Jama’at members prior to the hearing seems something is hatching behind the curtains,” said the spokesman, adding: “Any attempt of eroding or tempering Article 35(A) is unacceptable for people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Interestingly, 100 companies of paramilitary forces including CRPF, ITP SSB, and BSF have been airlifted to Srinagar.
The overall security drill in Kashmir has resulted in a tremendous panic in the Valley with people trying hard to inquire about the exact situation.
Meanwhile, non-local labourers who are living and earning in Kashmir also staged a protest demonstration at Srinagar’s press enclave against the mob attacks on Kashmiris outside the valley.
They were holding placards and banners “Stop harassment of Kashmiris in India”.
The protesting non locals requested the governments of all the states to provide protection to all Kashmiris who are studying or doing their business outside the Valley.
While SMC Mayor Junaid Azim Matoo and his Deputy Sheikh Imran along with corporations also held a protests at the premises of Srinagar Municipal Corporation against any tampering with Article 35-A.
Joint Hurriyat calls for shutdown today
Srinagar, Feb 23: The Joint Hurriyat Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik has called for shutdown on Sunday (today) to protest the mass arrest, censorship and any tampering with Article 35-A.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Joint Hurriyat said the “arbitrary” arrest of JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and the “mass crackdown and illegal detention” of more than 150 Jamat-e-Islami cadre and leadership including its Ameer Abdul Hamid Fayaz in nocturnal raids across the valley looks to be not only part of the continued policy of “suppression of pro-self-determination leadership and narrative, but in the case of hearing of 35A in Supreme Court most likely on Monday, an indication of what may be expected.”
Joint Hurriyat strongly condemns this “dictatorial policy” of cracking the whip and arbitrary arrests against Kashmiris by those calling the shots in J&K, the statement said.
The leadership said that deployment of additional 100 companies of paramilitary forces on an urgent basis also indicates that “something is cooking in this regard.”
The leadership said that challenge to heredity state subject law is an extremely important issue for the people as it is akin to our very existence as a people and directly linked to the Kashmir dispute.
“Leadership said the spontaneous shutdown and protests across the valley against even the thought of tempering with the law should leave no doubt in the minds of those who have left no stone unturned to choke and muzzle the voice of Kashmir and are breaking records in repression, that the people of Kashmir will never allow it. Joint Hurriyat said entire people and pro people leadership of J&K are one on this,” the statement said.
The Joint Hurriyat also denounced the “pressure tactics” being used by the authorities on certain media houses reporting in Kashmir.
“The standard of factual reporting maintained by our journalist is highly commendable,” it added.
Arrests, addt’l forces ‘part of poll exercise’: Police
Srinagar, Feb 23: Arrival of more forces and arrests of leaders and activists of separatist groups including those of Jamaat-e-Islami is purely part of an election exercise undertaken to ensure free and fair elections along with other parts of country, reports quoting police officials said on Saturday.
News agency KNS quoted a top police official said that “the arrival of Central forces and arrests of leaders and activists of separatist groups including Jamat-e-Islami is part of election exercise undertaken to ensure free and fair elections in the state along with other parts of the country,” adding that “anti-election campaign won’t be allowed and all such people including separatists will be detained to ensure incident free fair and transparent elections in the state.”
He also said that the central forces deployed for Amarnath Yatra and municipal and panchayat elections last year are also returning which is a routine practice.”
The rumours panicked the people in valley after news about the deployment of hundred companies of central forces including 45 companies of CRPF, 35 companies of BSF, 10 companies of SSB and 10 companies of ITBP spread on social networking sites as union home ministry in a communication to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary and Jammu and Kashmir Home Secretary informed them about the additional deployment of the central forces for coordination with operational wings of all the state and central forces in the state.
He regretted that rumour mongering on several issues is panicking the people while there is nothing new in the deployment of central forces and arrests of separatists in connection with the election exercise for the ensuing General elections.
Crackdown ‘arbitrary’: Mehbooba
Srinagar, Feb 23: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday questioned the legality of the crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir leaders, saying the “arbitrary” move would only “precipitate matters” in the state.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister was reacting to the government crackdown on separatists and Jamaat-e-Islami which began on Friday night.
JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and dozens of Jamaat leaders, including its chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz, have already been detained.
“In the past 24 hours, Hurriyat leaders & workers of Jamaat organisation have been arrested. Fail to understand such an arbitrary move which will only precipitate matters in J&K,” Mehbooba tweeted.
“Under what legal grounds are their arrests justified? You can imprison a person but not his ideas,” she said.
The Centre has rushed 100 additional companies of paramilitary forces to Kashmir without assigning any reason for the heavy deployment.
Shabir Shah’s bail plea deferred till Apr 2
New Delhi, Feb 23: A Delhi court on Saturday deferred the hearing on the bail plea of Hurriyat leader Shabir Shah, arrested in a decade-old alleged money-laundering case, till April 2.
Shah’s bail plea came up for hearing before Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora.
The court had on February 18 sought response from the Enforcement Directorate on Shah’s bail plea.
The application was moved before the court on the ground of parity after the Delhi High Court recently granted bail to co-accused and alleged hawala dealer Mohammad Aslam Wani in the case.
The application submitted that the accused was wrongly and falsely implicated in the case, which was registered in 2007 for the alleged offence committed in 2005.
Shah was arrested on July 25, 2017, in the case in which the Special Cell of Delhi Police had also arrested Wani. It claimed that Rs 63 lakh was recovered from Wani, out of which Rs 52 lakh was allegedly to be delivered to Shah.
Shah is in judicial custody and lodged in Tihar Central Jail.