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Two Kashmiri traders assaulted in Lucknow

Concerned SSP says all accused arrested; Omar, Mehbooba reacts

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Mar 7: Two dry fruit vendors from Kashmir were assaulted by a group of men belonging to a right-wing group in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow on Wednesday.
The street vendors Mohammed Afzal Naik and Abdul Salaam were sitting on a busy road when they were attacked by the goons, who shared the video of the assault on social media.
The incident took place at around 5 pm on Wednesday in Daliganj in central Lucknow. The men who assaulted the traders can be heard in widely-circulated videos saying that are doing it because they are from Kashmir.
Two men in saffron kurtas can be seen thrashing the two who were sitting on the road with their dry fruits spread out on a sheet, the video footage showed.
One of the attackers beat the men with a wooden stick. In one of the videos, one of the Kashmiri men is seen covering his head and pleading the attackers to stop beating him.
Another video shows the saffron-clad men asking the second dry fruit seller for his identify card as he tried to pack up and leave the spot.
A local resident of Lucknow intervened and asked the men to stop further assault of the two vendors. “Don’t take law into your own hands. Call the police,” the local can be seen saying.
Later Afzal told police and media that two to four people came and started abusing and thrashing them. “They said us that we do business here and stone pelting in Kashmir and we are terrorists. After showing our Aadhar card to them they accused us of fake identity,” Afzal said.
However, Utter Pradesh police has registered a case and the accused are charged with sections 147,323,504,153A, and 7 CLAA of IPC.
“All the four accused have been arrested and are in police custody,” SSP Lucknow, Kalanidhi Naithani, told The Kashmir Monitor over the phone.
“We ensure safety of the Kashmiris here and initiate crackdown on such incidents with the entire force of the law to avoid such incidents in future. Nobody is above the law and nobody can target innocent citizens like this,” the officer said.
Social Media reacts: Meanwhile, the video evoked sharp reactions on social media. Many politicians, intellectuals, journalists, netizens were seen criticising the incident on Twitter.
Senior National conference leader, Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Dear PM @narendramodi Sahib, this is what you had spoken against & yet it continues unabated. This is the state governed by your handpicked Chief Minister. Can we expect action in this case or do we file your concern & assurances as a jumla, meant to placate but nothing more?”
In a series of tweets, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, wrote, “You humiliate & assault Kashmiris. Make them feel like criminals & that they don’t belong to this country. Why are you surprised then when young pliable men are taken under the wings of terror groups & indoctrinated?”
“Kashmiris are being hounded & punished. The culprits here were clad in saffron kurtas & are from VHD. They have no fear & in fact uploaded the video on SM. GoIs conspicuous silence is actually a political tactic to encourage such elements & communalise the atmosphere until polls,” Mehbooba’s tweet read.
Senior journalist with CNN News 18, Mufti Islah also tweeted, “Lucknow, stand up to this goondaism. Your city is about Tahzeeb and Tamadun. Is this what you want to be remembered for. Isolate the goons. There is one place for them. Jail. Don’t let them loose. They are spoiling the name of your great city.”


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

Global News Service

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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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