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Women’s groups raise concerns over rights violations in Kashmir, demand restoration of Art 370

Press Trust of India

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Srinagar, Sep 24: A team of women’s rights activists on Tuesday raised concerns over alleged human rights violations in Kashmir after a visit to the Valley, and demanded that Article 370 be restored and the Army as well as paramilitary forces be withdrawn with immediate effect.

Presenting a fact-finding report, the five-member team also called for the immediate restoration of all communication lines, including internet and mobile networks.

The group, comprising Annie Raja, Kawaljit Kaur and Pankhuri Zaheer from the National Federation of Indian Women, Poonam Kaushik from the Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan and Syeda Hameed from the Muslim Women’s Forum, visited Kashmir from September 17-21.

 

The group, which addressed a press conference here on their findings, visited several villages in the districts of Shopian, Pulwama and Bandipora.

“We wanted to see with our own eyes how this 43-day lockdown had affected the people, particularly women and children,” the report stated.

The team demanded that the Army and paramilitary forces be withdrawn with immediate effect from the Valley in order to achieve normalcy.

“Restore Article 370 and 35A. All future decisions about the political future of Jammu and Kashmir must be taken through a process of dialogue with the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” the activists said in their report.

All army personnel must be removed from the civilian areas of Jammu and Kashmir, they demanded.

“For confidence building, immediately cancel all cases/FIRs and release all those, especially the youth who are under custody and in jail since the Abrogation of Article 370,” the team demanded.

Alleging excesses by the Army and other security personnel, the women activists said a time-bound inquiry should be conducted to ensure justice.

“The Army cannot remain a holy cow,” Raja told reporters.

The activists also demanded compensation for all families who they claimed lost lives because of non-availability of transportation and absence of communication.

“We went to hospitals, schools, homes, market places, spoke to people in the rural as well as urban areas, to men, women, youth and children. This report is our eyewitness account of ordinary people who have lived for 43 days under an iron siege,” Raja said.

She said the team now intends to submit its demands to Home Minister Amit Shah and urge action on them.

Narrating their experiences in the Kashmir Valley, the women said several local people said they feel they “have been caged”.

“Shops, hotels, schools, colleges, institutes and universities were all closed, and streets were deserted as we drove out from the airport,” they said in the report.

They also raised concerns over the arrest and detention of young persons.

“One estimate given to us was 13,000 boys lifted during this lockdown,” the activists claimed.

The women’s rights activists claimed that nothing about the situation is normal.

All those claiming that the situation is slowly returning to normalcy are making false claims based on distorted facts, they said.

“Article 370 has united the people of Jammu and Kashmir and all of them feel that it is a blow to their dignity. They will not forgive and forget,” Raja said.

On August 5, the Centre announced the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 and the bifurcation of the state into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.


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Kashmir

Court directs registration of FIR against members of SIT that probed 2018 Kathua gangrape-murder case

Press Trust of India

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Jammu, Oct 22: A court in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday directed the police to register an FIR against six members of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) that probed the 2018 rape and murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in a Kathua village for allegedly torturing and coercing witnesses to give false statements.

Judicial Magistrate Prem Sagar gave the direction to senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Jammu on an application by Sachin Sharma, Neeraj Sharma and Sahil Sharma, who were witnesses in the case, saying cognizable offences are made out against the six.

 The court directed registration of FIR against the then SSP R K Jalla (now retired), ASP Peerzada Naveed, Deputy Superintendents of Police Shetmbari Sharma and Nissar Hussain, Sub-Inspector Urfan Wani and Kewal Kishore of crime branch of police and asked the SSP Jammu to report compliance by next date of hearing on November 11.

 

“From the gist of the complaint cognizable offences are made out against the non-applicants herein. Therefore, application of the applicant under section 153 (3) CrPc is allowed with the direction to SSP Jammu to register FIR against the non-applicants under relevant provisions of law and report compliance by next date of hearing on November 11,” it said.

In June this year, District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh sentenced to life imprisonment the three main accused, while awarding five years in jail to three others for destruction of evidence in the case that had sparked nationwide outrage.

The trial was shifted to Pathankot on orders of the Supreme Court after some cabinet ministers of the then PDP-BJP government in the state came out in open support of the accused while lawyers in Kathua attempted to prevent submission of the charge sheet in court.

Advocate Ankur Sharma pleaded the case for the applicants.

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CAMPA recommends mitigation plan for Kishtwar High Altitude National Park

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Oct 21: A meeting of executive committee of Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) under the chairmanship of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, J&K, Dr. Mohit Gera was held here today.

Chief Conservator of Forests, Jammu Sameer Bharti informed that 9.39 Lakh plants have been planted in monsoon areas of Jammu region during the current financial year.

Preparations for winter planting in Chenab Valley and Kashmir Region were also discussed. PCCF directed both the Chief Conservators of Forests Jammu / Kashmir Region  to ensure that targets for winter planting of the current financial year are fully achieved.

 

Chief Wildlife Warden, Suresh Gupta made a detailed presentation on the proposed mitigation plan for Kishtwar High Altitude National Park in respect of which money has been received from Chenab valley power project for Pakaldul Hydro Electric Project.

The activities proposed in the Action Plan include boundary delineation, habitat improvement, strengthening of wildlife protection and eco-development activities. The DPR shall be prepared on the basis of studies conducted by specialized institutions.

Conservator of Forests, Chenab Circle presented the biodiversity conservation plan for conservation of rare, endangered and threatened plants of Marwa and Kishtwar Divisions.

CF Chenab also presented a comprehensive compensatory afforestation plan in the catchment of Pakaldul, Kiru and Kewar Hydro electric Projects.

After approval of steering committee all the projects discussed shall be executed in a project mode in five years time. DPR of Biodiversity Park at Harran Shallbugh, Ganderbal was also discussed. NGO Nazir Benazir urged early completion of the works of biodiversity park at Ganderbal.

In addition modalities for preparation of Annual Plan of Operations of 2020-21 were also discussed and the implementing agencies were asked to prepare the APOs as per the prescribed guidelines within a stipulated timeline.

Among others the meeting was attended by Dr. Neelu Gera Director Social Forestry, Suresh Kumar Gupta Chief Wildlife Warden, Sarvesh Rai CEO CAMPA, Sameer Bharti CCF Jammu, Farooq Gillani CCF Kashmir, T. Rabi Kumar CCF Working Plan, Praveen Raghav CCF Projects & Planning and other senior officers of the Forest Department.

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‘Bridges in Srinagar being facade lighted to enhance their appearance’

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Oct 21: Bridges in the capital city of Srinagar are being facade lighted aimed at their beautification and enhancement of their overall appearance.

Of the three bridges being taken up for facade lighting in the ongoing first phase of the project the work on the Abdullah Bridge has been completed and that on the remaining two including Lal Mandi Footbridge and Budshah Bridge which is in progress will be completed in about a month’s time.

The facade lighting of bridges involves facade formation through light that falls on them and its direction and colour with the appearance of a facade altering with changing components of diffused and direct light.

 

It uses programmable luminaries to enhance facades in a creative manner using seamless linear panels on the sides of bridges to create golden scene and RGB lights which wash on pillars to create different kinds of scenes.

It was informed that a 21 KV power backup which lasts for up to 10 hours will keep the lighting up and running during power outages.

The project is being taken up under the Srinagar Smart City project.

Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said another nine bridges in the city are being taken up for facade lighting in the second phase of the project which he said will start soon after inauguration of facade lighting of three bridges being done in this current phase.

Facade lighting is designed to highlight special features of a structure’s architecture enhancing its aesthetic appeal and overall appearance. It is aimed at beautification of historic structures such as monuments and bridges.

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