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Pulwama attack aftermath: SC instructs Centre, 11 states to prevent assault on Kashmiris

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Feb 22: The Supreme Court Friday directed chief secretaries and DGPs of 11 states to take “prompt” and “necessary” action to prevent incidents of threat, social boycott and violence against Kashmiris following the Pulwama attack.
It also sought responses from the Centre and the states where incidents of threat and violence against Kashmiris have taken place after the February 14 bombing in which over 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
“The chief secretaries, the DGPs and the Delhi Police Commissioner are directed to take prompt and necessary action to prevent all the incidents of threat, assault, social boycott and other coercive acts against Kahsmiris and other minorities in the aftermath of the attack of February 14,” said a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna.
The bench perused the advisories issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to the chief secretaries and DGPs of states from time to time and said that they “shall be reiterated from time to time”.
The court also directed that the police officers, who were earlier appointed as nodal officers to deal with cow vigilantism and lynching incidents, would now be responsible for dealing with the cases of assaults on Kashmiris as well.
The bench asked the MHA to give wide publicity to the details regarding the nodal officers so that Kashmiri people can approach such officials in case of “assault, intimidation, social boycott and threat”.
Besides the Centre, top officials of Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Meghalaya, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Delhi have been directed to prevent incidents of “threat, assault and social boycott” of Kashmiris, including students.
The court was hearing the plea of Tariq Adeeb, a lawyer, alleging that students from Kashmir Valley are being attacked at different educational institutions across the country after the Pulwama attack and authorities concerned should be directed to take action to stop such assaults.
At the outset, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for Adeeb, claimed that 10 more incidents of assaults have taken place in various states after filing of the petition and necessary directions be issued urgently to stop them.
He said that some fresh incidents against Kashmiris have taken place in Punjab and Maharashtra and urged the court to make these two states also parties to the petition, which was allowed by the court.
“The petition was filed in respect of nine states. But since I mentioned it yesterday and until today, 10 additional incidents have come to light, some in two new states of Punjab and Maharashtra,” Gonsalves said.
On being asked as to what relief was being sought for, the senior lawyer said that he wanted a similar order which was passed in mob lynching cases and senior police officers be appointed as nodal officers to deal with such incidents against Kashmiris.
Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre said the ministry has issued the requisite advisory to states and Union territories (UTs) on this issue on February 17 and earlier also, such advisories had been issued.
“Nodal officers have been appointed in all states and UTs and their names and numbers are available. This list was last updated in 2018. The Centre has already issued advisory to all states and UTs on February 17 but we can’t tell the states about their specific actions that can be taken in such cases because law and order is a state subject,” he said.
Taking note of the submission, the bench referred to its earlier decisions in the cases of cow vigilantism and mob violence by which it had asked the states and union territories to appoint a senior police officer as nodal officer in each district to deal with such cases. The bench has now listed the matter for further hearing on next Wednesday.
The PIL has sought a direction to the Centre and other authorities for prosecuting people engaging in hate speech, and to appoint a nodal officer in every state and union territory, including politically-sensitive districts, to prevent acts of violence, discrimination and vigilantism.
It had also sought immediate setting up of a nationwide helpline number and web-site containing contact details of the nodal officers appointed in politically-sensitive districts.
“There is a sudden rise in the incidents of crimes against Muslims and Kashmiris after the Pulwama attack on February 14 in which over 40 soldiers were killed. Immediately after the attack, mobs and vigilante groups engaged in vitriolic hate speech and began attacking, and threatening Muslims and Kashmiris throughout the country,” the petition said.
“These incidents are a part of organised hate campaign against Muslims and Kashmiri, most cases which are fabricated and the hysteria that now surrounds India has been engineered to gain political mileage “The extremist groups have led vigilante mob attacks across the country to enforce nationalism by leaders of various groups who claim to promote and instigated hate crimes,” it added.


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Jaish almost wiped out, no one willing to head it: Army

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Army on Wednesday claimed the government forces have “severely targeted” the militants for the last few months and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant outfit was “almost wiped out with no one willing to take over it”.

Addressing a press conference here, GOC 15 Corps, KJS Dhillon, who was accompanied by Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh, IGP Kashmir SP Pani, and IG CRPF Zulfikar Hassan, said that 69 militants have been killed and 12 of them arrested so far this year.

“Post Pulwama incident, 41 militants have been killed and out of them 25 belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed, 13 of them were Pakistanis while 13 were A+ category,” Dhillon said.

 

The GOC 15 Corps claimed that they have targeted JeM leadership.

“The situation now is so that no one is coming forward to take over the leadership of JeM in the valley,” he said.

“Even after Pakistan’s best efforts, we will continue to suppress JeM. The operations against the militants will continue with full vigour and we will not let militancy rise up,” he said, while appealing the local militants to surrender.

“Recruitment of local militants has gone down. In addition, those who surrender, we will take care of their security,” he said.

Dhillon also advised civilians not to rush to the encounter sites.

Asked about the bi-weekly restrictions on civilian traffic on the Highway, he replied, “This is just a temporary measure. There are now relaxations on the civilian traffic.”

On the occasion, the DGP said 272 militants were killed in the state during 2018 and a “large number was apprehended.”

He too claimed that the local recruitment in militant outfits had declined.

“2018 was generally a successful year. There has been less ‘law and order’ problem. We brought many youth (who had joined militancy) back to their homes,” the DGP claimed.

“Elections have been conducted peacefully in the state because of a well-planned security grid. Voter turnover at 13 percent in Anantnag district is not less. People voted despite threats, no one can be forced to vote,” he said.

Asked there were reports that 11 youth had gone missing in south Kashmir during the last one month, the IGP Kashmir said, “Few had gone missing but returned. They had gone missing for other reasons, not to join militancy.”

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Held Pak militant paraded before media

‘Chota Dujana was active in Srinagar for over a year’

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Police on Wednesday presented a Pakistani militant Mohammad Waqar, alias Chota Dujana before the media, who, they claimed, was arrested from Pattan area in Baramulla on Monday.

During a press conference here, the militant was briefly allowed to respond to media.

“My name is Mohammad Waqar, resident of Miana Mohalla Punjab in Pakistan. I underwent a four-month militant training there,” he said.

 

 “I was told that Kashmiris are harassed, women are assaulted and Muslims are not allowed to offer prayers in Masjids. But I did not find any such thing here,” he replied when asked why had he picked up arms.

The militant was soon moved away.

SSP Baramulla, Abdul Wahid, said Waqar was affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba and had arrived in Kashmir in July 2017.

“He was operating in Srinagar for over a year now,” the officer said.

He added that the militant was travelling in a vehicle along with a Kashmiri when they were intercepted by the police near Mirgund, Pattan.

“They were chased and arrested near Chainabal Pattan,” he said.

The SSP said that as per their preliminary investigations, the militant was given shelter in old city as well as uptown areas of Srinagar.

“His plan was to resurrect militancy in Baramulla,” Wahid said.

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Malik sent to judicial custody till May 24

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New Delhi, Apr 24: A Delhi court Wednesday sent the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik, arrested in connection with the alleged funding case, to judicial custody till May 24.

The Tihar jail authorities have also moved an application seeking direction to produce Malik through video conferencing due to security concerns.

The family of Yasin Malik, said on Saturday, that the JKLF chief had fallen ill and was shifted to a Delhi hospital after he went on a hunger strike to protest against his “illegal” detention.

 

Earlier this month, Malik was brought to Delhi from Jammu and was later arrested by NIA in connection with an alleged case related to the funding of militant and separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. He was produced in a special court which remanded him in NIA’s custody till April 22.

Malik was shifted to Delhi’s Tihar Jail after NIA secured his production remand.  The JKLF chief was taken into preventive custody in February by the J&K police and lodged in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.

Malik organisation JKLF was banned last month by the Centre.

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