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Won’t allow BJP to turn JK into war theatre: Mehbooba

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Srinagar, Mar 9: Disapproving the central government’s repressive policies of criminalizing dissent, bundling people in jails and banning religious outfits, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that BJP’s attempts to turn Jammu and Kashmir into a theatre of war for electoral gains will be fervently opposed and foiled by the PDP.
Chaired by the party president, PDP on Saturday held a meeting of its top leadership in Srinagar to discuss the prevailing political situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
The meeting witnessed participation of all senior party functionaries including parliament members, former ministers and legislators.
In her address, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti expressed serious concern over the prevailing situation in the state and said that the repressive measures and iron fist approach are being rigorously implemented with common masses threatened, intimated and harassed by the government at large.
She said that soon after the Pulwama attack last month, there are attempts being made to intimidate the people of Kashmir with Prime Minister Modi on television declaring air strikes against Pakistan as pilot project and threatening that more is yet to come. “Whom is PM Modi trying to threaten with such war mongering? Due to such a ruthless smear campaign, Kashmiri students outside JK are targeted, traders harassed all across and inside Kashmir religious outfits are banned with clerics bundled in jails like criminals,” Mehbooba said.
Mehbooba also reiterated PDP’s stand vis-a-vis banning the socio-political and religious organization- Jamaat-e-Islami, terming such a measure as undemocratic, unconstitutional and an attempt to hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims all across. “We have been saying this since day one that Jamaat-e-Islami is an idea. Ideas cannot be chained, banned or killed. Ideas are bulletproof and in democracy, ideas are allowed to flourish and not choked. What the BJP is doing at present is nothing but a clear vendetta against anyone who dares to oppose its policies,” Mehbooba said in her address.
The PDP President added that her party will remain in the forefront to oppose any move aimed at harassing, suppressing and targeting the people of state and that the policies being adopted by the central leadership towards the state are turning the already crises ridden region into a veritable inferno.
“Jamat-e-Islami has been credited for running schools and is a socio- religious organization which is totally non- violent and the organization has on many occasions publicly disapproved of violence as a method of political struggle. Banning it will further shrink the space for politics and dialogue and it seems that government of India is now completely depending on force as a measure to subjugate the people of state. However, it has to understand that no muscular policy will work as it has never worked in the past and it will never work in future also,” said the PDP President and added that she will not allow Jammu and Kashmir to turn into a theatre of war for the BJP’s electoral gains.
She also said that the central government is pushing the people of Jammu and Kashmir into a corner while their constitutional rights are being trampled upon. She said that need of the hour is that the Government of India stops this muscular policy and understands that dialogue is the only way forward.


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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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