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Repressive measures by BJP won’t prove effective: Farooq

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Srinagar, Mar 8: National Conference President Farooq Abdullah on Friday said that the ruling BJP is trying to polarize the electorate in India in view of forthcoming Lok Sabha elections due to which the Muslims and other minorities were feeling threatened.
Farooq was speaking on the sidelines of a function here to formally welcome former IGP Shafkat Ali Watali into National Conference.
Farooq asked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come clear on whether the country belonged to any particular sect.
“Today Muslims and other minorities feel threatened, which actually is very unfortunate for the country. I think Prime Minister should make it clear whether this country belongs to a particular sect or religion,” he said
“We all have to live in peace and harmony with each other, otherwise this nation is doomed,” Farooq added.
Regarding the current situation in the valley in wake of hostilities between India and Pakistan, the NC president said Kashmir has been made a battleground by both the countries.
“I think we are facing tragedies now, which is also unfortunate. We have a situation where war is looming over our heads. We only want peace and understanding between people,” he said.
“On one hand General Rawat is directing army to remain alert for war, Imran Khan too is saying that anything can happen. Farooq Abdullah is not creating this situation, it is done by heads of both these countries,” he added.
On arresting of separatist and Jamaat-i-Islami leaders, the former Chief Minister said such “repressive measures” won’t solve issues “but will have repercussions which will disturb peace in the valley.”
“NC had cleared its stand that jailing of people is not going to solve issues. We need to hold talks with them. Do you think arresting Yasin Malik will calm down the situation? Are people from Maisuma going to stay calm?” he asked.
Farooq claimed that earlier as well, the arresting of Jamaat leaders had proved unproductive for the government.
“During Jagmohan’s regime Jamaat leaders were arrested and their schools and offices were closed down. Ultimately president had to consider them and hold talks with them,” he said.
Asked whether the Jamaat leaders have been arrested in wake of hearing on contentious Article 35-A, he said the Centre will also have to arrest NC and Congress leaders who support the protection of special status of J&K.
Regarding the tense situation in Jammu after Thursday’s grenade blast, Farooq said his party will fight against extremist right wing Hindu outfits politically to save Muslims in the region.
“Similar situations were created earlier also when highway remained closed for a long time. Right wing groups attacked Muslims in Jammu. We have to fight them politically and if we come to power we will prefer talks with them. They will be brought on right path,” he said.
On Supreme Court’s decision to solve Ayodhya case through mediation, Farooq said he will support the Supreme Court’s verdict.
“It is fine that both the parties agreed for mediation through Supreme Court. We too accept it and the decision will be final,” he said.


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Principal’s ‘custodial killing’: Probe officer meets family, locals

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Srinagar, Mar 23: Assistant Commissioner Revenue (ACR) Pulwama Qazi Masood probing the “custodial killing” of a school principal Saturday met the victim’s family in Awantipora area of Pulwama district.
Rizwan Asad Pandit, the Principal of Sabir Abdullah Public School Tral, was picked up by the police from his home late on March 17 during a raid and was killed in police custody at the Cargo Building two days later, according to his family.
Although the police had initially admitted that Rizwan had “died” in custody and that the matter was being probed under “procedure laid down in Section 176 of CRPC,” it later filed an FIR against him for “escape or attempts to escape from custody”, lending a new twist to the case.
The magisterial inquiry that was ordered in Srinagar was also closed and a fresh probe ordered in Pulwama district and a report sought in “four weeks.”
“Government has appointed me as an inquiry officer, I assured the family that I will conduct the fair investigation into the case,” the inquiry officer Qazi Masood told GNS after meeting Rizwan’s family members and local residents.
Masood said he has sought a report from SP Awantipora on why and how Rizwan was detained and the circumstances that led to his death.
“I have also sought a postmortem report from the SP,” the officer said.
Meanwhile, reports said that soon after the inquiry officer arrived in the area and met the family members, locals held a protest demonstration demanding stern action against the guilty.

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Civil society, traders, Bar demand special inquiry commission

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Mar 23: Kashmir business community, civil society, and High Court Bar Association on Saturday asked Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Paul Malik to set-up an independent Special Commission of inquiry in the custodial killing of Awantipora school teacher Rizwan Asad Pandit.
Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, they said that there have been countless instances of inquiries being ordered in killings without any results.
“To deter future violations, we appeal to the Governor for setting up of a time-bound Independent Special Commission of Inquiry,” they said.
The members said that till the time the commission submits its report, it would serve justice if the case is treated to be one of custodial killing and all persons associated with it are put behind bars and kept away from active duty.
“Such inquiries, suffering from institutional bias and state interference, have rarely served the interests of justice,” they said.
“We have a reason to believe that this killing would also suffer the same fate and the killers would again roam free to kill, more confident in the fact that their crimes will never be brought to account,” they said.
They said that the repeated perpetration of serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law needs in-depth fact-finding and investigation.
On Tuesday, Rizwan Asad Pandit, a 29-year-old school teacher, died inside the Jammu and Kashmir’s CARGO camp in Srinagar.
He was picked up for questioning from his home in Awantipora on Sunday.
The family had said that his body bore evidence of being subjected to extreme physical violence.
The press conference was jointly held by KCC&I, High Court Bar Association, KTMF, KEA, KTMF (R), FCIK(A), FCIK(M), JKSECC, KCSDS, KHARA, CCIK, All Transport Welfare Association, Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Dealers Association, Houseboat Owners Association, KHAROF, Pvt School Association, Kashmir Bakers Association, All Kashmir Chemist & Distributors Association, Hoteliers Club, All Traders & Transporters Coordination Committee, All J&K Taxi Owners Association, Association Of Kashmir Tour, Environmental Protection Group, Shehr E Khaas Coordination, Beopar Mandal S R Gunj, Rehabilitation Alliance, and Batamaloo Traders Association.

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ED imposes Rs 14.4 lakh penalty on Geelani

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Srinagar, Mar 22: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Friday imposed Rs 14.4 lakh penalty, on Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani for “illegally” possessing foreign exchange of around $10,000, news agency PTI reported.
After completion of the probe and adjudication proceeding, the ED an order on Wednesday under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), levying the penalty and confiscating forex of $10,000 that was allegedly recovered from Geelani, they said.
The ED will also impose a penalty on Yasin Malik, Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and confiscate foreign exchange recovered from him. The adjudication proceedings against Malik are in progress.
On Wednesday, a Delhi court also allowed ED to quiz Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Shah and others in connection with an alleged funding case.

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