Government to grant amnesty to youth booked for stone-pelting

The state government Tuesday declared that it has decided to grant amnesty to the youth involved in stone-pelting and protests as it faced all-round attack from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Legislative Assembly. 
“A decision has been taken on the matter (granting amnesty to the youth) and a formal announcement regarding the same would be made by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah soon,” senior cabinet minister Ali Muhammad Sagar said while winding up discussion on demand for withdrawal cases against the youth. The Minister said it would ‘not be wrong to say’ that 2010 unrest was an offshoot of 2008 Amarnath land row. 
“Two ministers of PDP, according to former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, were responsible for transfer of land to Shrine Board,” he said, adding PDP is responsible for 2008 agitation that put state on the edge.
The NC minister said the killing of Tufail Mattoo—the first youth killed in 2010 unrest—was fallout of Machil fake encounter killings. 
Mincing no words in castigating the main opposition, Sagar said: “It (PDP) is the creation of agencies while National Conference is the peoples’ movement.”
Continuing his attacks on PDP, Sagar said, “When Mufti Muhammad Sayeed was Home Minister of India, he is on record to have said that one bullet would be responded with 100 bullets. Mufti showed loyalty to New Delhi at the cost of lives of Kashmiris. ”
He said PDP patron is responsible for bloodletting of Kashmiris as Gaw Kadal, Bijbehara and Handwara massacres took place when he (Mufti) was Home Minister of India.
He also accused PDP lawmakers of blackmailing the officials after their victory in the parliamentary polls.
“You are blackmailers. You have started blackmailing officers on the pretext that you will come to power after assembly elections,” Sagar told PDP legislators.
“Shall I name the officers whom you have called for favors,” he said.
This led to commotion in the House with PDP leaders insisting the minister to reveal the name of officers. Sagar, however, didn’t name any officer.
Initiating the discussion, PDP legislator AR Veeri said over 2400 persons are lodged in different jails and more than 6000 FIRs are registered against Kashmir youth in different police stations.
“Kashmiri youth are being pushed to the wall,” Veeri said. “What does government want to achieve out of the suppressive tactics?”
He said the NC-Congress coalition government has undone all the Confidence Building Measures taken by the Mufti Muhammad Sayeed-led Government.
Today, he said, J&K is divided on the communal lines and is sitting on a volcano. “Look what is happening on the borders,” he said referring to the recent spurt in the skirmishes on the international border and LoC between India and Pakistan.
Recalling the disturbed situation witnessed in Kashmir from 2009 and 2010 Veeri said: “Two women were raped and then killed gruesomely in Shopian followed by the killing of Kashmiris in 2010. Government is not meant for killing people but punishing the killers.”
Senior NC leader Nasir Aslam Wani said PDP has brought the adjournment motion to take credit of the proposed amnesty policy for the youth.
“The CM has decided to grant amnesty to the youth and PDP has come to know about the initiative from somewhere. That is why they have brought adjournment motion on the issue,” Wani said. 
Chairman Peoples Democratic Front and MLA Khansahab Hakim Muhammad Yasin said: “We should rise above the party lines on the issue.” 
“Rather than playing politics, we should look at the root cause of the issue. We have to see the reasons behind the situation of 2008 and 2010,” he said.
Yasin said initiatives taken by the Centre on Kashmir are yet to see light of the day. PDP legislator Peerzada Mansoor accused the ruling NC-Congress dispensation of choking space for dissent in Kashmir. 
“It is a matter of concern that today youth are not joining NC or PDP but are joining militancy,” he said, adding that NC’s promises to do away with the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) have proven to be hoax. 
MLA Langate, Er Rashid said the youth would continue to suffer till Kashmir issue is resolved as per the United Nations resolutions or trilateral talks.
“The state government doesn’t have power to withdraw a single case not to talk of restoring autonomy or self-rule,” he said.  Among others, CPI (M) legislator MY Tarigami, Nizamuddin Bhat and Balwant Singh Mankotia participated in the discussion.

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