News Notes

Minor ASSAULTED

KishtwarTwo persons including the brother of a Village Defence Committee (VDC) member were arrested after they allegedly kidnapped and raped a 16-year-old girl in Kuntwara, a remote village of Kishtwar district. The local VDC member threatened the protesting family resulting in a strong protest on Srinagar Jammu Highway. Police have arrested one local government teacher while as the other accused is absconding.

Sources told Kashmir Life that the girl (name withheld) was kidnapped while grazing her cattle two days back. Her parents had informed the police immediately when they came to know about the kidnapping of their daughter.

Sources added that the girl was kidnapped by two local persons who are backed by VDC.

The girl was released Thursday evening after which police registered a case and arranged a medical checkup of the girl.

When the news of alleged rape spread in the area, the locals reached the residence of the victim and started protesting against the local VDC. They alleged that the kidnappers were backed and protected by the VDC.

The locals alleged that the VDC members barged the area and threatened the victim family.

Hundreds of locals later gathered on Srinagar Jammu Highway in Hasti area and raised slogans against the VDC. The protesters were later pacified by the Imam of Jamia Masjid Kishtwar, Farooq Ahmad Kitchloo. The Imam demanded immediate disbanding of VDCs and DDCs in the area.

Police sources told Kashmir Life that after the protests one local Rehbar-e-Taleem teacher Sanjeet Kumar son of Manjeet Kumar was arrested while as the brother of VDC member Ranjeet Kumar has gone absconding in order to avoid his arrest. The VDC member, who is alleged of shielding the accused, has been identified as Charo Ram.

Bemina FATALITIES

cleric-Iftikhar-AhmadKashmir woke up to shocking news on Wednesday morning  when two minor children of a local Imam were killed by slitting their throat and his wife critically injured inside their residence in Bemina.

Police officials quoted Imam of Jamia Masjid Noor in Iqbalabad area of Bemina Iftikhar Ahmad Lone as saying that he found his wife, son and daughter lying in pool of blood with slit throats when he reached home after offering the dawn prayers.

Locals immediately shifted the injured trio to SMHS hospital, where Imam’s two children Hashim (2) and Aaliya (3) were declared brought dead, while condition of Imam’s wife Naseema remained critical.

“Her jugular vein was cut and she was unable to speak. She is in surgical ICU and her condition is stable at present,” Dr Nazir Ahmad Chowdhary, medical superintendent SMHS hospital, said. Locals said the Imam after dawn prayers went to see another Imam in the mosque.

“Blood was oozing out from the neck of Imam’s wife, who came to Hammam and informed her husband (Iftikhar) about the incident. Khoon, khoon, khoon were the only words she could murmur and fell unconscious,” local witnesses said.

The victim family belongs to Gurez area of North Kashmir’s Bandipora district and was residing in quarters provided by the locals. The quarter is property of mosque, where Iftikhar was serving as Imam.

A police spokesman said FIR No 68 of 2013 under section 302 has been registered in Batamaloo Police station and investigations started.

“During initial investigation, police picked up few locals including father of the deceased for questioning. Forensic evidence is being collected to nab the attackers,” Police officials informed.

Police sources said wife of Imam is schizophrenic and police is waiting to record her statement. “She is not able to record her statement as she is in critical condition.”

Iftikhar in his statement said that he was sleeping on the “Hamam” of the Al Noor Masjid after the morning prayers, when the incident happened in the quarter he and his family lived.

Nocturnal RAIDS

The haunting memories of 90s are back. In the aftermath of Gool killings, the state police carried out nocturnal raids in different parts of the Valley and Ramban areas to round up hundreds of youth.

The reports from different parts of the Valley and Gool revealed that the police along with the CRPF men entered villages in most of the districts in large numbers, started raiding indiscriminately, roughed up the people and arrested a large number of youngsters.

Though the police claimed to have taken only few dozen youth into custody on the suspicion of their being involved in stone pelting, the locals refused the police claim and alleged that over two hundred youth have been arrested. There are also allegations of police ruthlessly beating the youth and harassing the people during the crackdown.

The killings in Gool when the BSF men resorted to indiscriminate firing, with the state police accompanying them, triggered widespread anger and resentment throughout the state with the angry youngsters coming on the streets and holding protest demonstrations.

Police Tuesday used force to disperse scores of people in Nowshera area of Soura who were protesting against the arrest of more than a dozen youth by the cops during nocturnal raids. The area observed a complete shutdown against the “terror unleashed by police and demanded immediate release of the youth.”

The protesting people alleged that police ransacked their houses during the raids. “Arresting innocents has become a routine for police. Some days back police called a tailor Bashir Ahmad Mir to police station and detained him for no reasons,” the people said.

A police official admitted the raids in Nowshera but said that they arrested only five people. He said all of them are involved in stone pelting adding that police has evidence.

Soon after protests broke out in response to Gool killings, the State government dealt with the situation by imposing declared and undeclared curfew in most parts of Kashmir and Chenab Valley, put up road barricades, placed curbs on the movement of the people and kept a number of political leaders under house arrest.

Akali UNITY

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a Sikh organization from Punjab on Tuesday said that they have no hesitation in saying that Kashmir is an ‘occupied territory’ and its only solution lies in holding plebiscite.

While criticizing the state government for eroding Article 370, SAD said they have turned a blind eye towards the rights of people.

“Kashmir is not an issue between India and Pakistan but an international dispute. We have no hesitation in saying that it is an occupied territory. Its only solution lies in holding a plebiscite in the state to give people their right to self determination,” said SAD President Simranjeet Singh Mann while addressing a news conference here.

SAD earlier met all separatist leaders. However, Jeet desisted from using the word separatist for Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Geelani and others and said they are “freedom fighters.”

“If India talks so proudly of its democracy, then they should allow plebiscite in Kashmir as plebiscite is larger part of democracy. India says Kashmir is a bilateral issue, then why they are taking Indus Water Treaty and other issues to World Bank and other international forums. Their leaders have promised many things to the people but later denied them all. It is illegal to keep Kashmir and Punjab occupied,” he said.

Taking a dig at the state government, he said the government has been left without any powers and only ‘military raj’ is prevailing in the valley.

“Omar Abdullah is only shedding crocodile tears and doing nothing on the ground. He should not cry and instead use his constitutional powers. He is always saying that these things (killings) will not happen again but unfortunate things have been taking place every now and then. Article 370 has been eroded over the years and it only exists on papers now,” he said.

SAD also expressed concern over lack of representation of Sikh community and said a conspiracy was planned after the Chattisinghpora massacre to put the blame on the Muslims.

“The role of India’s intelligence agencies RAW and IB need to be thoroughly investigated in these diabolic sectarian and communal murders,” SAD demanded.

Billowing Budgam!

shia-sunniWhat started with an altercation between two persons at Bemina subsequently took an ugly head in the form of sectarian clashes. This made state to impose curfew to tame the intensity of clashes, but the situation in curfew bound villages of central Kashmir’s Budgam district continues to remain tense.

Army continues to carry out flag marches in 32 villages worst hit by the clashes while as Police and CRPF were out on roads in many other villages to ensure there was no untoward incident.

Following the eruption of clashes, the authorities rushed 15 companies of CRPF, six companies of IRP, four companies of ITBP and one company of BSF and several columns of Rashtriya Rifles from 10th and 12th sector to Budgam to restore situation in the trouble-torn villages.

“Police has also rushed its manpower from District Armed Reserve to assist in restoring the situation. Besides 17 DSPs and two SPs were also called from outside to help control the situation,”reports  said. The situation erupted in scores of villages of the district including Sabdan, Galwanpora and Reshipora last week following which authorities imposed curfew to restore normalcy.

Reports said at least a dozen houses were set on fire, resulting in extensive damages to the structures, but there was no report of any casualty.

Announcements are being continuously made through public address systems asking people not to pay heed to rumors being spread by vested interests.

Separatists as well as mainstream parties, including ruling National Conference and opposition PDP, have condemned the clashes and appealed people to maintain calm.

Deputy Commissioner Budgam Khursheed Ahmad Shah said the situation remained “peaceful” today and the administration distributed relief among the needy people.

“We are hopeful that normalcy will return in a few days,” he hoped.

Meanwhile, on the instructions of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Divisional Commissioner’s office through Red Cross provided aid and assistance to the affected people.

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