Restrictions likely to continue today
Srinagar, Mar 6: Following protests at scores of places in valley against the killing of youth in Baramulla, the authorities to keep the old city, Baramulla and Sopore under curfew on Thursday.
An assessment meeting was held here Wednesday evening. “During the meeting the fall out of the killing was discussed. It was decided to keep curfew continue on Thursday,” an official source said.
Government assures action
PDP Moves Adjournment Motion In LA, LC
Jammu, Mar 6: Amid walkouts and heated exchange of words, the state legislature Wednesday discussed the situation arising out of the killing of a Baramulla youth allegedly in Army firing.
Accusing National Conference (NC) of poisoning the minds of people of Kashmir for the sake of power, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and leader of opposition Mehbooba Mufti said NC wants unrest and violence in Kashmir so that it can project in Delhi that it is the only party that can hold Jammu and Kashmir for the country and is fighting a lone battle.
The House started discussion over the issue, as soon as it met here today. On the adjournment motion moved by PDP the Speaker, Mubarak Gul, suspended the routine business and allowed the members to speak on the issue.
However, replying to the adjournment motion, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Ali Muhammad Sagar said FIR has been lodged into Tuesday’s firing incident at Ganaie Hamam, Baramulla in which one youth Tariq Rasool Sofi was killed by Army and another injured.
The Minister said culprits responsible for the incident would be brought to book. He said government has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh for the family of the deceased.
Appealing opposition to desist from “cheap politicking”, Sagar said such incidents draw our collective attention to think about the safety and security of people rather than scoring brownie points. “Let them come with suggestions to improve the security situation in the State rather than raising the pitch and accusations,” he said.
However, when the minister rose to speak on the issue, PDP members staged walkout alleging that the government was not “sincere in securing the lives of innocents.”
This evoked a strong reaction from Sagar, who alleged that PDP and its leaders were only targeting “single family of Kashmir. “They have one time agenda – to target Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah’s family and defame it for their own vested interests”, Sagar shouted.
Earlier, speaking on the adjournment motion, Mehbooba said NC is responsible for growing alienation among the people of Kashmir and it is ruling through the barrel of the gun. “More the people of Kashmir move away from India, more they try to score points in Delhi. People get killed and your father says that my son is fighting a lone battle for India in Kashmir”, she said while referring to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
While focusing her verbal attack on the CM, she also said that due to CM’s inability to defend the people of the state, space of the mainstream parties is shrinking as killing of innocent people is going unabated and common masses have lost faith in this government. “Space for us is shrinking in view of such incidents”, she said and added, “What locus standi you have to talk on AFSPA, you are ruling through the barrel of the gun”. She also dubbed National Conference as Kaffan and Daffan party and added that in case of Muhammad Afzal Guru, the party (National Conference) even did not do that.
Taking a dig at National Conference for raking up the issue of Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), she said that except dishing out rhetorical statements this government, during the last more than four years, has done nothing towards revocation of this draconian law. She added that had PDP been in power it would have removed AFSPA like it removed POTA from the state. “Unfortunately NC is using this law to deflect attention of the people from failure of the state government on all fronts”, she said and added that it has failed to give justice to 120 Kashmiri youth who were brutally killed during 2010 unrest.
Mehbooba said that instead of bringing the culprits involved in killings to book, the government is trying to project the deceased as culprits. “You said that you are helpless. If you, as Chief Minister are helpless, where the people of state will go for justice?” she asked.
Participating in the debate, many of the members while condemning yesterday’s incident also condemned killings of 2 IRP cops at Handwara. They also said that the Baramulla incident should be viewed in isolation and entire Army should not be blamed for the same.
Harsh Dev Singh said that the killing of IRP cops is also a violation of Human Rights and regretted that the issue was unfortunately not raised in the house. He said that even the government’s response was not positive over the matter.
Chaman Lal Gupta also condemned youth’s killing at Baramulla. He said that the incident should be looked in isolation and entire Army should not be blamed and added that Army has done a commendable job in the state. “We didn’t call Army and neither did it come on its own. It was called only when civil administration failed to control the situation.
MY Tarigami also expressed concern over the recurrence of such unfortunate incidents time and again. He suggested that a resolution be brought in the House for revocation of AFSPA and bringing accountability within the ranks of security agencies.
Ashok Khajuria while expressing sympathies with the bereaved family also demanded thorough inquiry into the incident. He said death of innocents is a crime and should be condemned by all. He also raised the issue of killing of two policemen in Handwara and urged the government to take measures to thwart such incidents in the state.
Muhammad Sharief Niaz also expressed concern over the killings and said that today we are living in a peaceful atmosphere because of the efforts and sacrifices of security forces and we should not undermine their role. However, if anybody from the Army or security forces is found involved in the human rights violations be must be punished after thorough probe. “We Expressing anguish over the killing of Baramulla youth Er Rasheed said that unless the basic issues are addressed, such incidents will continue to happen. He blamed central and state governments for the present situation.
Ashwani Kumar Sharma advocated identifying the elements who instigate youth to create law and order situation for their personal gains, which leads to such incidents.
Rachpal Singh also expressed anguish over the incident and pleaded for concrete steps to curb such incidents. He suggested identifying the elements, responsible for vitiating the peaceful atmosphere of the state.
The Legislative Council also discussed the killing and expressed sympathies with the bereaved family.
Chairman Amrit Malhotra cancelled the routine business and allowed to hold the discussion on the motion moved by PDP members.
Speaking on the Adjournment Motion, Syed Rafiq Shah demanded stern action against the culprits and said that social media and private channels have been gagged and closed by the government.
Syed Asgar Ali and Muhammad Ashraf Mir asked the Government to take concrete steps to stop such gruesome killings by security forces.
Khalid Najeeb Suharwardi termed the incident ill-fated one and said that some inimical forces are behind such incidents that hate peace and deliberately through such incidents incite violence, adding that the House has to condemn such incidents.
Expressing shock and sorrow over the incident, Ravinder Kumar Sharma appealed all the political parties to condemn such incidents and not to play politics over the issue.
Jahangir Mir pleaded to work collectively for peace, development and prosperity of the State.
Javid Rana stressed the need for upholding unity and integrity of the country. He called for establishing Truth and Reconciliation Commission so that truth can come to fore.
Devender Singh Rana while expressing sorrow over the incident said that a precious life was lost in unnatural circumstances and it pains every heart. He said while the whole house should condemn the incident, no politics should be played over spilling of innocent blood and unanimously we need to send a message that only a sensitive and humane approach can win the hearts of people rather than gun approach. Advocating for revoking AFSPA , he said that gun, no matter in whose hand it is, only instills fear and such killings should stop, he added.
Sheikh Ghulam Rasool, Ghulam Nabi Monga and Bashir Ahmad Veeri also spoke on the motion.
Dozens of youth arrested
Srinagar, Mar 6: Police have arrested dozens of youth in different parts of valley since Tuesday evening and many boys have gone into hiding following police raids. The youth have been arrested in Srinagar, Baramulla, Pulwama, Budgam, Islamabad (Anantnag) and Kulgam districts.
Most of the youth who have been arrested were allegedly involved in stone throwing during mass protests of 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Sources said that joint contingents of police and CRPF are carrying nocturnal raids since Tuesday evening and detaining the youth.
Sources said that several youth have been arrested from Batamaloo, Khanyar, Nowhatta, Soura, Barzulla, Safakadal, Qamarwari and many other localities of Srinagar.
Sources said that at some places the youth were called to police stations and detained.
The residents of most areas of old Srinagar said they are unable to understand the frequent police raids. They alleged that police was arresting the youth without any provocation.
They further said that most of the youth have gone into hiding and the police action has created panic among the locals of Srinagar.
A report from Ganderbal said that at least half a dozen youth suspected to be involved in stone pelting were rounded up for questioning in Kangan. However they were released after elders of the town assured their non-involvement in stone throwing.
Reports from Pulwama said that at least two dozen youth were arrested from different parts of south Kashmir during last four days. However, DIG South Kashmir told Greater Kashmir that nobody has been arrested.
Reports of arrests of youth were also received from Budgam district of central Kashmir.
A report said that at least two dozen youth have been arrested from Sopore and Baramulla areas of north Kashmir.
Despite repeated attempts, no senior police official was available for comment.
No change in protest calendar: Majlis
‘Omar Should Apologize For Remarks On Muddasir’
Srinagar, Mar 6: Stating that there is no change in its already announced protest calendar, Muttahida Majlis-e-Mashawarat (MMM), a united front of separatists, Wednesday asked Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to apologize to the people for indulging in “character assassination” of Mudasir Kamran Malla, a Kashmiri student who died mysteriously in Hyderabad on March 2.
MMM spokesman said the representatives of the amalgam met in Srinagar and strongly condemned the statement dished out by Chief Minister over Muddasir’s death. “He was a pious man and a practicing Muslim. His character assassination is unacceptable to us. He was tortured to death,” MMM spokesman said in a statement. “The people of Kashmir won’t stop protests, untill Chief Minister would apologise for his statement.”
He said MMM also termed the army’s response over the killing of Tahir Rasool Sofi of Baramulla a “big lie.” “He was killed by army. Eye-witnesses have made it clear that Tahir was killed by the army,” statement said. It said MMM after discussing the prevailing situation has asked the people to follow its already issued calendar which calls for protests tomorrow outside Indian embassies by Kashmiris settled across the globe. “At the same time, protests will be held in Kashmir valley as well against the anti-people policy and imposition of strict curfews. People should reiterate their demand for the return of mortal remains of Muhammad Maqbool Bhat and Muhammad Afzal Guru,” the spokesman said.
He said on Friday protests would be held after congregational prayers while on Saturday people should upload the photographs of Bhat and Guru on their Facebook and Twitter pages with a “message from martyrs”— “Laho hamara bulana dena.”
“If internet services won’t be available, people should take to the streets to stage protests,” the spokesman said. He said MMM would meet on Sunday to devise the future strategy.