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Trials in Kathua rape-murder case to begin today

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Jammu:The trials in the gruesome Kathua rape and murder case begin on Monday against eight accused who allegedly held an 8-year-old girl in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district for a week in January this year during which she was kept sedated and sexually assaulted before being bludgeoned to death.
The accused include a juvenile.
The chief judicial magistrate of Kathua will be committing one of the charge sheets, in which seven people have been named, to the sessions court for trial as mandated under the law. The chief judicial magistrate will, however, hold the trial for the juvenile as it is the designated court under the juvenile act, according to officials.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has appointed two special public prosecutors, both Sikhs, for the trial in the sensitive case, a move being seen as made to ensure “neutrality” in view of Hindu-Muslim polarisation over the case.
The trial is expected to go smoothly after the Jammu Bar Association as well as the Kathua Bar received a rap on the kuckles by the Supreme Court on April 13 as the apex court took a strong note of some lawyers obstructing the judicial process in the case.
The Supreme Court initiated a case on its own record saying such impediment “affects the dispensation of justice and would amount to obstruction of access to justice”.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud was also critical of the Jammu High Court Bar Association, which had passed a resolution not to attend the courts saying “it is the duty of the bar association as a collective body and they cannot obstruct the process of law”.
According to the charge sheets filed by the crime branch, the abduction, rape and killing of the Bakerwal girl was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area.
It lists the caretaker of ‘Devisthan’, a small temple, in a village in Kathua, about 90 km from here, as the main conspirator behind the crime.
Sanji Ram was allegedly joined by special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, Ram’s nephew, a juvenile, and his son Vishal Jangotra alias “Shamma”.
The charge sheet also names investigating officers head constable Tilak Raj and Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Ram and destroyed crucial evidence.
All eight are under arrest.
The crime branch will also be handing over the notices issued to the Jammu Bar Council as well as Kathua Bar Council for appearing before the Supreme Court on April 19.
The Bar Association of Kathua has already retracted from its earlier statement of providing legal assistance free of cost to the accused and said “after going through the charge sheet presented by the crime branch (against the accused in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate on April 9) it is revealed that the allegations against the accused persons are very grave and as such this case is to be dealt with in a professional way.
“As such, we have withdrawn our offer to contest the case free of cost. Accused are free to engage any individual advocate and exercise their respective rights of defence in the court. It is for any individual advocate to accept the brief and the bar association will not come in the way of defence nor the bar association will hamper the prosecution,” President of BAK Kirty Bhushan Mahajan had said in a seven-page statement yesterday.
Members of the same association had blocked the way of crime branch personnel from submitting the charge sheet before the chief judicial magistrate for six hours forcing the police to present it at the house of the magistrate.
Police have already registered a case against lawyers for obstructing public servants from performing their duty.
The Jammu Bar association, which was left red-faced after the Supreme Court’s observation, attempted to put a brave face saying they had full faith in the apex court and said their main demand was for shifting of illegally settled Rohingyas.
It denounced the attempts made by certain quarters for making wrongful attempts to project the association as “pro-rapist” or “anti-national”.
The association today fielded a senior woman advocate Surinder Kour who said “we are now satisfied that the case has reached the Supreme Court and we are satisfied that justice will be delivered to the minor girl”.
JHCBA is on strike since April 4 and sponsored a general strike on April 11 in Jammu to press for its demands, including for according district status to Nowshera sub-division in Rajouri district.
“We included the demand for CBI probe into the Kathua rape and murder at the request of civil society,” Kour said and accused the state government of forcing them into agitation by “giving no response to our concerns despite repeated memorandums and statements.”


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Joint Hurriyat hails Pak SC’s ruling on Kashmir, GB

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Srinagar, Jan 20: Joint Hurriyat Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Yasin Malik Sunday held a meeting at the octogenarian leader Geelani’s residence.
At the meeting, the leadership, as per a statement, expressed satisfaction over the verdict announced by the seven judge-bench of Pakistan Supreme Court that upheld the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir and directed the Pakistan government to provide more citizenship, legal and social rights to the people of Gilgit and Baltistan (GB) besides stating that the lingering dispute of J&K be resolved by means of plebiscite.
“Pakistan Supreme Court in its fresh verdict has laid stress on the fact that till the issue of Kashmir stands unresolved, Pakistan and India must ensure that the people of this region enjoy maximum rights for areas within each country’s control,” the statement read.
At the meeting, the leadership expressed serious concern over the “perpetual incarceration” of many political prisoners languishing in Indian jails and the ill plight and inhuman treatment meted out to Kashmiri political prisoners lodged in various jails including Tihar Jail ,Kathua, Udhampur, Kotbalwal, Samba, Haryana, Rajasthan, Jodhpur and other prisons stating that world organizations should take strong note of the condition of Kashmiri prisoners lodged in these prisons and how legal processes and procedures are misused to detain them and prolong their detentions.

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JK Bank quarterly results: Market experts predict 65% long-term upside potential

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Srinagar, Jan 20: J&K Bank results for the third quarter have come up with numbers having enough indicators to tell the market pundits that the bank is bound to see a positive growth in the coming days, starting the current quarter.
The bank has exceeded expectations according to the market experts who say the numbers are quite assuring and the script is being strongly recommended for buying with upside potential of 65% in the long term.
As per recommendations by major broking houses like Prabhudas Leeladhar, ICICI Direct, Anand Rathi and Elara Securities, the bank looks strong in long term perspective. At the current price the stock is a great investment opportunity to those interested in the stock market.
Commenting upon the expected move of J&K Bank, Rakesh Kumar, Analyst at Elara Securities said in a written statement: “Jammu & Kashmir Bank’s operating performance was above market estimates as margin improved by 22bp QoQ (basis points Quarter-on-Quarter) due to higher credit yield.”
Kumar, as per the statement, said that lower-than-expected provisions and higher operating profit beat “led to significantly higher net profit of Rs 1.07bn versus our estimates of Rs 0.17bn.”
He added on the balance sheet front, credit grew by 12 per cent YoY while deposits witnessed growth of 18 per cent YoY.
“Within deposits, the rest of India’s (RoI) term deposits grew at an average 48% over the past two quarters, and we believe that such a continued phenomenon will result in increased cost of funds over the long term,” Kumar said.
He said that JKBK has exposure worth Rs 13.5 bn to stress-laden IL&FS Group, of this, the bank has reclassified exposure as sub-standard in Q3FY19, and this resulted in higher slippages at Rs 10.3bn (past two quarters average at Rs 5.1bn), and, as a consequence, both GNPA and NNPA saw a sharp uptick. However, despite higher credit cost, coverage ratio at 66 per cent was close to its past four-quarters average at 68 per cent.
In sync with Elara Securities views, Simi Bhaumik, Technical Equity Analyst (Offficially registered with SEBI) told Zee Business online: “Technically the J&K Bank strip looks strong in long-term perspective. In short-term, the stock has moved from Rs 39 levels to Rs 41 levels. If it breaks the Rs 41-42 levels, it can move for its another resistance at Rs 48. After breaking this level and sustaining above that, one can expect the Rs 65 target.”

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Khyber Gulmarg wins best destination hotel award 2018, again

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Srinagar, Jan 20: The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, Gulmarg’s first luxury resort, has once again been awarded by Outlook Traveller, India’s prestigious travel magazine.
At the recently held Outlook Traveller Boutique Hotels Awards 2018, the resort was conferred with the Best Destination Hotel Award.
The 3rd edition of the Outlook Traveller Boutique Hotel Awards was held in Haridwar recently where the best boutique properties around the country were awarded for their contribution to the hospitality industry.
The chief guest for the night was Satpal Maharaj, the Minister of Tourism, Government of Uttarakhand.
“We are truly overwhelmed with the response from both guests and traveller writers and of course the eminent jury. This honour is testimony to the hard work by the team at The Khyber ensuring a superlative, international class guest experience and a memorable time in Gulmarg enjoying the natural beauty and activities available all year round,” said Umar Tramboo, MD, Pinnacle Resorts Pvt. Ltd, promoter of The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, Gulmarg.
In a short span, since it opened six years ago, The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa has been hugely appreciated for its impeccable service, warm hospitality, and facilities at par with international standards.
The Khyber has consistently received recognition from several hospitality and travel awards including Condé Nast Traveller India, the Last Word in Travel, as Favourite Boutique Hotel –India, for six consecutive years.
In addition to luxurious guest rooms, The Khyber has a Wellness Block, which houses the world-class international spa, The Khyber Spa by L’OCCITANE along with a state of the art gym with the latest equipment, separate steam and sauna chambers for men and women. It also offers an impressive heated indoor pool offering dramatic views of the mountain ranges.
About the Outlook Traveller Boutique Hotel Awards
Outlook Traveller Boutique Hotel Awards 2018 are meant to celebrate an industry that is well in its prime and will remain so long as people seek new experiences and retain their wanderlust.
These are much coveted travel awards, which are given to brands that have left an everlasting impression on their guests through their hospitality and services.
The esteemed jury members along with EY, the process advisors for the event, made the celebrations on the banks of the holy Ganga a great success.
The jury for the 2018 edition was: Aman Nath, chairman, Neemrana Hotels; Dilip Puri, founder & CEO, Indian School of Hospitality; fashion designer Anupamaa Dayal; Anurag Mallick & Priya Ganapathy of Red Scarab Media; and Charukesi Ramadurai, travel writer and blogger.

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