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Youth engagement in positive activities biggest challenge: DGP Vaid

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Jammu, Jan 15: The engagement of youth in positive activities in Jammu and Kashmir poses biggest challenge to the forces, said Director General of Police S P Vaid, who termed as “worrisome” the development of an AMU scholar from the valley joining militant group Hizbul Mujahideen. However, the DGP commended the forces efforts in successfully pulling back 85 youths from the path of militancy in the state and said that the situation on ground has improved for good. Speaking yesterday at a leadership conclave titled “Bridging Divides”, the DGP while expressing satisfaction over the improvement in situation in the valley claimed there was a drastic decline in stone-pelting incidents. “Not even one incident of stone pelting was reported on last Friday. There used to be 20 to 25 incidents in one day,” Vaid said. According to Vaid, a lot of measures were taken to win over the youths of the troubled region, and that a human face of the forces was projected conveying the message that “you are our own boys and we are ready to help you”. “We were working on the families of some of the boys (local militants) and about 10 boys responded to the appeal of their parents and family and joined their families by leaving the path of violence,” he said, adding that 75 other young boys were also either brought back or prevented from joining terrorism. But, then he also agreed about the huge efforts being made from across the border to instigate the youth.
The DGP noted two major disturbing developments too –joining of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) scholar from Kashmir into the ranks of Hizbul Mujahideen and suicide attack by the son of a policeman in Pulwama district. “It is not a very healthy development and we are worried,” he said.
Arguing that government employment is not the answer for the rising frustration among the youth, he said India as a nation and J-K as a state need to engage with them. “There is no outing, nothing for entertainment. There was one mainstay of tourism but due to present situation it has gone down drastically. “We should come up with measures and multi-pronged strategy to deal with this as it is a big challenge for us,” he added. Special Director General of CRPF (Jammu and Kashmir zone) N Shrivastava and former State DGP Kuldeep Khoda were also part of the discussion panel.


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Kashmir

No Friday prayers at Jamia, Mirwaiz put under house arrest

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Srinagar, Mar 22: The authorities put under house arrest the Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday and barred the congregational prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid in here.
Reports said that the authorities placed restrictions at several parts of Old City including Nowhatta where authorities did not allow people to offer the Friday prayers.
An official said restrictions were imposed in view of call for protests issued by the Joint Hurriyat Leadership comprising of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik.
Joint Hurriyat had called for peaceful protests after the prayers against the “custodial death” of Awantipora school teacher Rizwan Assad Pandith.
Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who addresses the faithful at the mosque every Friday was put under house arrest. He termed the disallowing of Friday prayers as “religious assault”.
“While repression, killings and arbitrary arrests continue unabated, for the 3rd time this month #JamaMasjid put under lockdown and Friday prayers disallowed. Condemn the authorities for this religious assault,” Mirwaiz wrote on Twitter. This was on the third time in this month that authorities barred the Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid.

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IUST, KU faculty groups condemn teacher’s custodial killing

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Srinagar, Mar 22: Islamic University Faculty Association (IUFA) Friday condemned the alleged custodial killing of a teacher Rizwan Assad Pandith and has termed it outrageous and a tremendous loss to education while demanding immediate justice for him.
In a statement, the IUFA said Pandith worked as a guest faculty in the Polytechnic College, Islamic University of Science and Technology in 2018.
“He was not just a competent academician, but a thorough gentleman as well. His untimely death is a huge loss to education in South Kashmir where he was heading a school and a coaching center as well,” the statement of the Association said.
The association has demanded that the perpetrators of such crimes be brought to justice at an earliest as there is no place for such horrific crimes in civilized and responsible societies.
The Association has once again expressed dismay and concern over the delay in the dispensation of justice in the custodial killing of another teacher Shabir Ahmad Mango, a college lecturer by Army personnel on August 17, 2016. “Such gory cases of the custodial killings of teachers have caused an immense damage to the intellectual capital of the education sector in the state and we again call for justice to Mango also,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Kashmir University Teachers Association (KUTA) too has strongly condemned the killing and demanded immediate dispensation of justice. “Such treatment to the ‘nation builders’ on sustained basis does not augur well for the peace and stability in the state,” reiterated the KUTA spokesperson.
The two associations have also called for an immediate end to the continued human rights violations in Kashmir.

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MPs of 2014 have been mute spectators in Parl: Altaf Bukhari

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Srinagar, Mar 22: Terming the upcoming parliament and assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir as one of the crucial elections, former Finance Minister Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Friday said these elections would likely pose a serious challenge for the special status of the State and to its inclusive political culture.
Addressing a workers’ convention at his private office here, Bukhari emphasized on the state’s electorate to compare and elect their candidates on promises made versus performance basis.
The former minister observed that people of the state particularly that of the Kashmir valley, have not forgotten that they were asked for votes in lieu of a ‘mandate for a mission’.
“People have not even forgotten being promised to ‘make the parliament a forum for representing the Kashmir issue at the national level’. But what they did in the Parliament later?” Bukhari asked, adding, “Analyze their attendance and performance on internet and you will witness their dismal track record of attending and intervening in the House. They have simply been mute spectators in the Parliament and wasted the mandate of people.”
The former finance minister remarked that people need to elect their representatives after proper application of mind and wisdom. “While we need to show a united face and defeat the nefarious designs of some divisive political forces, at the same time we need to strengthen the hands of the leadership that has the courage to call a spade a spade.”
Bukhari opined that the electorate of Jammu and Kashmir especially in the valley must decide whether they want to go with the forces who berated and bartered their mandate for their petty political gains or the forces who can safeguard their interests and the special identity of the State.
He said a drastic electoral division or fragmented vote will not be in the interests of people as the same can give a hegemonic control over all state institutions, as well as the public discourse in the hands of forces who are inimical to the identity of this state.
The former minister also stressed on a need for creating a conducive and peaceful atmosphere for holding elections saying that political activities cannot fetch a desired change in an atmosphere of mass arrests, raids, civilian harassment and custodial killings.
“Although almost all the mainstream political parties have condemned the recent custodial killing of the school teacher but mere words cannot heal the wounds of that family. The probe in this incident needs to be conducted in a transparent and time bound manner so that the culprits are booked as per law,” Bukhari reiterated his demand.

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