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PCI team visits Shujaat’s residence, offers condolence

Council sets up 5-member team to assess JK’s media scenario

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Srinagar, July 1: A three-member team of Press Council of India (PCI) on Sunday visited ancestral house of slain noted journalist and Rising Kashmir editor-in-chief, Syed Shujaat Bukhari to offer their condolences and expressed their solidarity with the bereaving family.

During the visit, the PCI team members, included Pravat Kumar Dash, Ashok Upadyay and Professor Sushma Yadav, interacted and offered condolences to the bereaving family, especially to late Shujaat’s elderly father, Syed Rafiudin Bukhari, his brother and legislator Basharat Bukhari, and to his wife and his two children.

The PCI team termed Shujaat as a thorough journalist who never compromised on his work ethics and gave his life to uphold the same.

 

The team conveyed that Shujaat’s killing was condemned across the country, including by print and electronic media.

Attributing his killing as a cowardly act, the PCI members said the assassins did manage to kill Shujaat, but will never be able to kill his ideology.

The visiting members urged that people need to understand that a journalist is only a messenger and killing him is only unethical, but also in humane.

They assured the bereaving family of all possible support.

Shujaat and two of his Special Police Officers (SPOs) were killed on June 14 when he was leaving his office at Partap Park in Srinagar shortly before breaking fast in the holy month of Ramzan.

Police claimed that Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) militant planned the killing of Shujaat in Pakistan and later executed in Srinagar. Police has identified four militants, including a Pak national and a Kashmiri presently in Pakistan.

However, the militant outfit denied to have killed Shujaat.

The PCI chairman Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad set up a committee comprising United News of India (UNI) Editor Ashok Upadhyay arrived here on Sunday to visit Jammu and Kashmir from July 1 to 5 to assess the media scenario in the state.

Other members of the committee include special correspondent of Pratidin, Parvat Kumar Dash and Vice Chancellor of the BPS Mahila Vishwavidyalaya, Sonepat Prof Sushma Yadav.

The team will be visiting the state and make thorough study into the present state of press in Jammu and  Kashmir by holding discussions with media persons and public at large and other concerned authorities to collect such information as is deemed necessary.

Following increasing outcry over the killing of Shujaat Bukhari and concern expressed by various media bodies, Justice Prasad, on June 27 set up a three-member Sub-Committee.  Following the killing of Shujaat  the editor-in-chief of ‘Rising Kashmir’, various media bodies urged the Jammu and Kashmir government to bring the killers of the senior journalist to book at the earliest, and institute an inquiry into the malicious campaign launched against the scribe before his murder.

In  a joint statement-cum-resolution, Press Club of India, Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Association, Editors’ Guild, South Asian Free Media Association, South Asian Women in Media, Indian Journalists’ Union, National Union of Journalists, Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Working News Camerapersons Association and All India Urdu Editors Conference said the “senseless murder” of Shujaat demanded accountability at various levels.

They said everyone in the country has a sovereign right to freedom of speech and expression and “increasing intolerance” to such freedoms has the potential of “undermining the character and nature of democracy”.

“We demand that the government of Jammu and Kashmir bring the perpetrators of this dastardly crime to book at the earliest. We demand that the government institute a separate inquiry into those who had launched a malicious campaign against Shujaat,” they said.


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SHO injured in Anantnag attack succumbs at AIIMS

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Srinagar, Jun 16: The Station House Officer of the police station Sadr in Anantnag succumbed on Sunday, four days after he had received critical injuries in a militant attack in the town.

The slain officer Arshad Ahmad Khan was critically injured after militants attacked a joint party of CRPF and police at a bus stand in Anantnag on June 12.

In the attack, five paramilitary troopers and a militant were killed and four other security forces personnel including the Station House Officer were injured in the attack. Besides, a girl Snober (18) daughter of Ashraf Malik of Danter also sustained a bullet wound in her leg.

 

Khan according to reports was being operated in Srinagar’s SKIMS hospital. However, he was flown to Delhi’s AIIMS hospital on Sunday where he succumbed to injuries.

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Malik instrumental in bringing JRL together: NIA

Claims Aalam revealed ‘rift between separatists on funds’

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New Delhi, Jun 16: National Investigating Agency (NIA) Sunday said that the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik was instrumental in bringing the Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani and Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq together to spearhead the 2016 agitation in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Yasin Malik was instrumental in bringing together the disparate factions of Hurriyat and formed Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) which spear headed the 2016 agitation in Kashmir,” NIA said in a press statement.

It said that the JRL issued protest calendars leading to economic shutdown for over four months and also caused death/injuries to civilians and security forces in the valley.

 

“Yasin Malik admitted that the JRL and Hurriyat Conference Geelani Group collected funds from business community as well as certain other sources and ensured that economic shut down and violent protests continue to disrupt the daily life of common citizens in the valley,” the NIA said in the statement.

It said that Muslim League chairman Masarat Aalam Bhat revealed in the investigation that Pakistan based agents route funds through hawala operators which were transferred to the separatists including Syed Ali Geelani.

“Aalam said there are rifts in the Hurriyat regarding collection/use of funds,” it said.

The NIA said leader of Duktaran-e-Milat, Asiya Andrabi, was grilled by it about the educational expenses of her son in Malaysia incurred by Zahoor Watali, who was arrested in the alleged funding case.

“During interrogation, Asiya Andrabi admitted that she had been collecting funds and donations from foreign sources and Duktaran-e-Milat had been organising protests by Muslim women in the valley,” it claimed.

The NIA has already approached the relevant authorities for providing evidence relating to certain bank accounts used by Asiya Andrabi’s son Mohammad bin Qasim while he was in the university, it said.

Another separatist leader, Shabbir Shah, had to face some tough time when he was confronted about his businesses, including a hotel in Pahalgam which is allegedly funded through foreign funds received by him from Pakistan, the statement said.

“During the custodial interrogation, Shabir Shah was confronted with evidence relating to transfer of money by Pakistan-based agents and representatives of APHC (All Parties Hurriyat Conference) factions to parties affiliated to Hurriyat in J and K. He was also confronted about his investments in various hotels and businesses in Pahalgam, properties in Jammu, Srinagar and Anantnag,” the NIA said.

The NIA had registered a case in May, 2017 against belonging to Jammat ud Dawah, Duktaran-e-Millat, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and other separatist leaders in the state for raising, receiving and collecting funds to fuel separatist and terrorist activities and entering into a larger conspiracy for causing disruption in Kashmir Valley and for waging war against India.

The agency has so far charge-sheeted 13 accused, including leader of Jammat-ud Dawah Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, head of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen Syed Salahuddin, seven separatist leaders, two hawala conduits and some stone-pelters.

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Have busted ‘Shuara-e-Zindan’ inside jails: Police

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Srinagar, Jun 16: The Jammu and Kashmir Police has busted ‘Shuara-e-Zindan’ (supreme council for jail), a term used by militants for governance inside prisons, and restored the prison manual completely, officials said here.

After the escape of Naveed Jatt, a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant, last February, the Jammu and Kashmir prison department under the leadership of Dilbagh Singh took a series of measures to “sanitise” prisons, including shifting all hardcore militants from the Srinagar Central Jail.

“A complete analysis of the prisoners was carried out and the message was loud and clear that the hold of terrorists inside the prison needs to be broken and rule of law needs to be implemented,” says Singh, who recently relinquished the post of Director General of Prisons, said.

 

However, he did not elaborate further on the measures carried out and said “we have only ensured that hardened militants and separatists are segregated from those who are first-timers and have a scope of improvement.”

However, the officials in the state prison department said after Singh took charge, raids and searches were carried out regularly and militants were shifted to other jails in Jammu and Udhampur.

Two cases were registered at Rainawari police station which includes the one where militants were operating “Shaura-e-Zindan” inside the jail which used to decide allotment of barracks and other amenities to the prisoners, the officials said.

The ‘Shaura-e-Zindan’ used to provide facilities to the prisoners based on their experience in the field of militancy, which includes food of their choice and other facilities, they said, adding Ashiq Hussain Faktoo, serving life sentence, was the supreme commander of this group.

Now, after the crackdown and repeated searches, all private kitchens operating inside the jail premises, have been shut and all inmates queue up to the common ‘langar’ where they are served food, they said.

There was a report in December 2017 that “sermons are given on Jehad…The basic tenets of religion are overlooked and emphasis is laid on radical aspects. Such religious sermons have a deep psychological impact on inmates and youths in particular who develop inclination towards joining militancy or getting recruited as overground workers (for militants).”

It said the jail, which is expected to act as a correctional facility, is “instead being used as a place of religious indoctrination and militant recruitment”.

“It is being observed that even petty criminal who spend some time in jails are today coming out as highly indoctrinated individuals with religious motivation to support or even join militant ranks,” it said. However, Singh ensured that there is a segregation of prisoners and people arrested for charges under terrorism or separatism are treated with higher degree of caution and separated from inmates arrested for petty crimes.

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