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Petitions filed against highway ban; HC issues notice to Govt

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Apr 8:Jammu and Kashmir High Court Monday issued a notice to the state government after several pleas were filed seeking striking down of the two-days-a-week ban on civilian traffic on the highway.

Two of the pleas were filed by bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal and Peoples Democratic Party leader Naeem Akhtar.

Akhtar filed a plea against the highway closure ban in the court through senior advocate and former Advocate General of the state, Jehangir Iqbal Ganai.
Faesal, who heads Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement, too filed a petition seeking revocation of the ban.

 

He, in the plea, has termed the ban as a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19 and 21 of Indian constitution.   

Faesal’s PIL is argued by advocates Tasaduk Khuwaja and senior council of Supreme Court advocate Ehsan Javed.

Two more petitions against the ban were filed by Raja Faisal Zahoor and Shafqat Nazir.

 “The (Principal Secretary to government), Home Department, Civil Secretariat has issued an arbitrary and capricious order dated 03.04.2019 in terms whereof two dedicated days in a week viz. Wednesday and Sunday have been kept for movement of security forces’ convoys, when there would be no civilian traffic on highway from Baramulla through Srinagar, Qazigund, Jawahar Tunnel, Banihal to Ramban till Udhampur from 4.00 A.M. to 5.00 P.M,” Shafqat submits in the petition.

“The order is illegal and unconstitutional having been issued in violation of the rights guaranteed to the petitioner under Article 14, 19 and 21 of the constitution,” he said.

Shafqat said that under Section 144 CrPC, only an executive magistrate can place restrictions on the movement of people in urgent cases of apprehended danger etc.

“(Principal Secretary to government, Home) has no power or authority to pass an order placing restrictions over the movement of people. The impugned order deserves to be quashed,” he said.

Following the petitions, the division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan issued a notice to the state government through directed the Additional Advocate General of the state to come up with instructions by Tuesday.

The state government last week announced that the highway from Baramulla till Udhampur would be left open for convoy movement and no civilian traffic would be allowed to ply on it every Sunday and Wednesday until May 31.

On Sunday, the civilian traffic was not allowed to ply on the highway bringing immense inconvenience to the people.

The move has been widely criticized by political parties, civil society groups.

Although the authorities have claimed that it won’t be a blanket ban, the move is impacting an entire population living and working in south, central and north Kashmir.

There are at least two universities, 700 educational institutes and 90 crossing points located on the highway. 


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Fresh restrictions in Kashmir in view of Friday prayers

Press Trust of India

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Fresh restrictions were imposed in parts of Kashmir on Friday as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order in view of congregational prayers, officials said.

Normal life continued to remain affected across the valley for the 47th consecutive day with markets closed and public transport off the roads, the officials said.

Restrictions under Section 144 CrPc have been imposed in few areas of the valley to maintain law and order, the officials said.

They said the curbs have been imposed in Nowhatta and adjoining areas in downtown (interior city) and Anchar area of Soura police station in Srinagar.

The restrictions have also been imposed in Kupwara and Handwara police districts and the main towns of Ganderbal, Anantnag and Bijbehara, the officials added.

Security forces have been deployed in strength in vulnerable areas in the rest of the valley, they said.

The officials said the curbs were a precautionary measure to maintain law and order in view of apprehensions that vested interests might exploit the large Friday prayer gatherings at big mosques and shrines to fuel protests.

Friday prayers have not been allowed at any of the major mosques or shrines – including Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta or Dargah Sharief in Hazratbal – in the valley for the past over a month now.

Restrictions were first imposed across Kashmir on August 5 when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate the state into two Union territories. The restrictions were lifted in phases from many parts of the valley.

Internet services have remained suspended across all platforms, they said. While landlines across the valley were functional, voice calls on mobile devices were working only in Kupwara and Handwara police districts of north Kashmir, they added.

The efforts of the state government to open schools have not borne fruit as parents continued to keep children at home due to apprehensions about their safety.

Most of the top-level and second rung mainstream politicians, including three former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, continued to be in detention or under house arrest.

While NC president Farooq Abdullah was first placed under house arrest, he was on Tuesday booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

His son Omar and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti were detained on the night of August 4 — hours before the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and to bifurcate the state into two Union territories.

Most of the mainstream leaders, including former ministers and legislators, were also either detained or kept under house arrest, the officials said.

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Ignoring protests, Gates Foundation to give Narendra Modi global award

Agencies

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New York: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be awarding the Global Gatekeepers Award to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his leadership in India’s achievement sanitation, the organisation has announced.

“Modi is receiving an award at the Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the progress India is making in improving sanitation, as part of its drive toward achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” the Foundation said in a statement to IANS on Wednesday.

“Sanitation is a key factor in improving the health and well-being of millions of people, especially women and children,” it added.

Modi is being recognised by the foundation in New York on September 24 for the Swachh Bharat Mission of which the constructions of toilets is a key element.

A motley collection of Indian secularists, Pakistanis, activists and entertainers have opposed the award to Modi alleging he was responsible for human rights violations and for India rescinding the special status for Kashmir.

Some influential US media also published articles demanding that the Foundation cancel the award.

The publications include Foreign Policy magazine’s website, and Washington Post that is owned by Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, which has disputes with the Indian government. The Post published an opinion article by two Indian-origin lawyers.

An organisation called S Asian Philanthropy published in the Medium a letter signed by people of Indian origin and others representing various foundations and NGOs.

National Public Radio reported that a dozen demonstrators with “Stop Genocide, a project of the American human rights group Justice For All”, delivered a petition with 100,000 signatures to the Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle protesting the award for Modi.

The radio also said that three Nobel Peace Prize winners – Shirin Ebadi of Iran, Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman of Yemen and Mairead Maguire of Britain – had also sent the Gates a protest letter.

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Army nabs Gurdaspur man on charges of spying for Pakistan

Press Trust of India

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Gurdaspur, September 19: A resident of Tibri village here was nabbed by Army officials for allegedly providing photographs of the cantonment area and the under-construction Kartarpur corridor to someone in Pakistan, police said on Thursday.

Vipan Singh was held by Army personnel on Wednesday, said Kulwinder Singh, Station House Officer (SHO), Purana Shalla police station in Gurdaspur.Officers of the military intelligence were still questioning Singh, the police said, adding that he was yet to be handed over to them.

The suspect was allegedly offered Rs 10 lakh for providing sensitive information, though it was yet be verified, the police said.Pakistan is building the corridor from the Indian border to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur up to the border is being built by India.

 

The Kartarpur corridor will connect Darbar Sahib–the final resting place of Guru Nanak in Pakistan’s Kartarpur–with the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib

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