In an attempt to reach out, Government of India (GoI) has rolled out ‘additional measures’ for the state of Jammu and Kashmir, a top official in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told Kashmir Life.
The measures include recently announced amnesty for first time offenders in the recent law and order situations, additional power supply, hike in compensation of Jammu & Kashmir police personnel, increase in ex-gratia of Special Police Officers (SPOs) and reimbursement of relief to victims of cross border firing.
Explaining the initiatives, official said, the amnesty to first time stone pelters is “consideration of human aspect by MHA so that the misguided youth get a chance to rebuild their career and participate in job opportunities rather than being labelled as criminals for their entire life” and added that “this is for the youth who became first time offenders in the recent law and order situations.”
MHA, he said has advised the J&K government to consider releasing first time offenders involved in recent law and order situations and withdraw cases against them.
The amnesty was announced Wednesday night by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on twitter.
“My government had initiated the process in May 2016 but it was unfortunately stalled due to the unrest later that year,” tweeted Mehbooba.
“It is a ray of hope for these young boys and their families. This initiative will provide them an opportunity to rebuild their lives,” she said in another tweet.
In GoI’s other announcement, power ministry considering the huge power shortage in the state of Jammu & Kashmir will allocate additional power to the tune of 800 megawatt during the winter.
Taking note of the concern of personnel of Jammu & Kashmir police, MHA has decided to made relief of JKP personnel at par with Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) by having its share in the ex-gratia relief. This, the official said was long pending demand of JKP.
“Jammu & Kashmir police (JKP) personnel have been in the forefront of anti-terrorist activities along with the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs). There has been a demand to make their Ex-gratia relief art par, with CAPF. GOI has decided to step up its share of ex-gratia relief so that the ex-gratia relief to JKP personnel will now be enhanced and made at par with CAPF Personnel,” said official.
The amount he said would now be Rs 30 lakhs. Giving bifurcation details, he said “Rs 18 lakhs will be given from the state budget of J&K and additional 12 lakhs will be reimbursed by MHA in cases where death occurs in course of performing duties attributed to act of violence by terrorists, anti-social elements etc.”
Similarly considering the active role being played by the Special police officers (SPOs) in combating militancy, MHA has enhanced their ex-gratia relief from Rs two lakhs to Rs five lakhs. The entire amount, official said will be reimbursed to the state government by MHA.
The discrepancy in the relief of police personnel was seen as major bone of contention and many times the men from police showed displeasure, latest was after the killing of SHO Feroz Ahmad Dar, for whom his colleagues contributed to help his family.
Making the compensation of cross borders victims at rates that equal NDRF guidelines, MHA, as per document lying with Kashmir Life has decided to reimburse the amount incurred by the state government for providing relief to people living in border areas and have been suffering unexpected losses in terms of damaged houses, agriculture, livestock, etc, affecting their livelihood.
The initiatives are beings seen in line with the appointment of new Kashmir point-man, Dineshwar Sharma.
Pertinently, Sharma is reported to have rooted for the release of political prisoners as a confidence building measure and said it is a “step by step process.”
“It is a step by step process. The first CBM is about revoking cases of stone pelters and this was something which every delegation suggested to me during my first visit to Srinagar,” he said and added “Yes, the cases of political prisoners are also into consideration.”
Sharma’s second visit to state would begin on November 24, 2017.
Interestingly an order vide no. 1673-Home of 2017 by the state government on Thursday asked committee to furnish its recommendations only for the period of 2015-2017 (till date) to the home department within a period of 10 days.
However as per the previous order no. 355-Home of 2016 dated June 26, 2016 read with the government order no 1300-Home of 2017 dated September 9, 2017, the committee constituted was asked to “review the cases registered against the persons/ youth during the period of 2008-14” and order reads “also shall review the cases registered against the persons/ youth during the period 2015-2017.”