News Notes

Incarcerated, AGAIN

masrat-alam-.-(2)Hurriyat Conference (G) leader and deputy president Muslim League, Masrat Alam Bhat was rearrested in the Central Jail Srinagar premises and was shifted to Joint Interrogation Centre (JIC) Humhama after bailed out by Baramulla district Court on Friday.

One of the famous faces of  2010 uprising, Alam was facing charges under the case FIR No 215/2010, registered in police station Pattan under sections 148, 149, 332, 336, 307, 427 and 188 RPC.

Alam emerged one of the prime successors to Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s political mantle during 2010 protests.

While condemning Alam’s detention, a Muslim League spokesman told Kashmir Life that a police party shifted him to JIC Humhama after detaining him again.

Alam has been detained under PSA for the first time on October 2, 1990 and  was released in November 1991. He was detained for second time in 1993 and released in February 1997. On September 1997, he was detained third time for nearly three years and released in May 2000. He was detained for the fourth time in January 2001 and released in August 2003. He was detained for the fifth time and was in detention till July 2005.  Since January 16, 2008 he has been detained on nine occasions under the PSA. On October 30, 2012 he was again booked under provisions of PSA, after being arrested on October 18, 2010. Since then, Alam is undergoing continuous detention.

In the beginning of the current year, Supreme Court had quashed PSA against him.




Communique SNAPPED

It didn’t happen for the first time in the state of J&K when state curbed virtual world. Over 30 lakh mobile subscribers in state were put at ‘hostage’ when state jammed mobile internet services to tame ‘threatening’ situation emerging after clashes broke out in Kishtwar.

The services were snapped on Sunday as rumours about death and destruction in Kishtwar and other riot-hit areas in Jammu region started doing rounds on social networking sites.

Mobile internet services were restored in Kashmir valley on Thursday, but not before putting people at inconvenience.

Police officials said the services were suspended as mobile internet was misused by miscreants to fan trouble in the valley in the past.

Earlier this year, the mobile services were snapped in the wake of hanging of Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru and in the aftermath of Gool firing incident in which four persons were killed.

Many subscribers recharged their number with internet packs for few days or for a week only depending upon their requirements. However, without making use of the net, they have lost the packs due to the internet gag.

Enforced hiatus over mobile internet services hit tourism in Kashmir very badly, besides other activities in state. “The internet blockade is further complicating matters for us,” Faiz Bakhshi, President Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owned Federation (KHAROF), said. “How can the government be so illogical? This means huge business losses for us in the immediate future.”

On India’s 67 I-day, mobile phones were jammed in order to ensure incident free parade ceremony at Bakhshi Stadium. The restrictions continued till late afternoon. The authorities apprehended that militants might use mobile phones to trigger explosions to disrupt the celebrations. Chief minister Omar Abdullah unfurled the tricolor at 9.55 am at Bakhshi Stadium while his cabinet coulleagues did the same at other district headquarters.




Hindered JUSTICE

The case of Zahid Farooq took a new twist this week when BSF filed an application before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Srinagar seeking court martial of its accused men. The application was filed following extension in the time granted to it by the Supreme Court to decide whether it wanted court martial or trail through a civil court in this case.

Earlier the Apex Court on April 25 disallowed the trial of accused Birdi and Kumar through BSF’s General Security Force Court (GSFC). On July 12, after over two months the Supreme Court disallowed trial of Birdi and Singh through GSFC, the BSF authorities had transmitted records related to the matter to the court of CJM Srinagar.

Later the BSF prayed before the Supreme Court that it may be granted more time to decide on the option of court martial of two of its accused men. However, on July 15, the Apex Court had said, “As the review petitions have already been dismissed, Criminal Misc. Petition Nos. 14412 and 14413 of 2013, seeking extension of time till the disposal of the review petitions, have become infructuous, hence, dismissed.”

BSF had again applied for extension of time in its favour which has been granted. “The Supreme Court has as a last chance granted extension till August 15 to BSF to decide on the option of court martial of two of its accused men.”

Zahid Farooq, a teenager was shot dead near his home in Nishat on February 5, 2010, allegedly by BSF personnel led by commandant R K Birdi. Birdi, the Commandant 68 battalion of BSF and Constable Kumar presently under BSF custody were later accused of having opened unprovoked fire at 16-year-old boy Zahid who died on spot.

The state government and the family of the victim had appealed against the High Court and Lower Court order in the Supreme Court. On February 27, 2012 the Supreme Court had allowed the BSF court to go on with its trial in the matter, but had barred it from passing any final orders till the outcome of a SLP filed by the state government seeking trial if Birdi and Kumar through a civil court.

With the case slipping out from the civil court, the family fears that the chances of getting the justice are becoming less.




Flood FEAR

There was no respite from heat in Kashmir when escalated mercury soaked everybody wet. After sun went into hiding, it is incessant downpour which has now triggered flood apprehensions in valley as water bodies have surged at an alarming level. 

Till Thursday morning, authorities had already asked the people living near rivers to move to the safer places, though weather showed some improvement in the late Thursday afternoon and the water level was receding.

Mir Javid Jaffer, Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control had said that the water level in River Jhelum at Ram Munshi Bagh was 19.50 feet and it was 21 at the Sangam gauge when the danger mark was at 23.

But still water level created havoc when some of the villages in Islamabad district got submerged. Officials said that many areas of Lidder valley of Pahalgam including Yanner, Amad, Wagad, Amad Zoo, Karshangam, Srangsoo, Akhoora, Sakhras and Adkher were submerged.

One boy was feared to be dead from the Pahalgam area. Four more were rescued from Movera village and six from Yanneer village.

In the industrial area of Lasjan, most flood prone area, everybody was seen busy in shifting the machineries to safer places on Thursday. But as the water level receded at Sangam gauge it brought much relief to the people in this area.

But every time there is incessant rain all the roads, lane and by lanes change their shape and they get converted into small rivers. Even the roads in main city center Lal chowk get inundated with water. The water-logging of main roads was reported from including Regal Chowk, M A Road, Residency Road,  Natipora, Chanapora, Rambagh, Solina, Magarmal Bagh, Bemina and other localities.

The parts of old city including Safa Kadal, Eidgah, Nowshehra, Soura and Ali Jan Road were inundated with water. Similar reports were received from Gulshan Nagar, Mehjoor Nagar, Kursu, Gogji Bagh, Wazir Bagh, Jawahar Nagar, Sarai Bala, Soiteng and Rajbagh areas of Srinagar.

As per the officials, the incessant rains were due to the precipitation caused by the interactions between the monsoon currents and western disturbances prevalent over the region, Kashmir and Jammu division witnessed heavy rainfall since Monday morning.

In Jammu, at least ten people died in flash floods including four children.




The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has admitted a petition on Gool firing incident in which four people were killed and 44 others injured in BSF firing.

The petition seeking an independent investigation in the incident to book the culprits and compensate the injured persons and the family of those killed was filed by a NGO, Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) immediately after the incident on July 18.

The petition requested NHRC to direct the Jammu and Kashmir government to put an end to the civilian killings and imposition of frequent curfews after such incidents.

Sources said that NHRC admitted the petition on August 12 under Case File Number 296/9/0/2013-pf to consider it for investigation. The petition has been filed by Social Activists Inam-un-Nabi and Khair-un-Nisa, on behalf of HRLN.

“Though the Union Home Ministry has ordered a probe in the incident but a partial sense prevails among the civilian population due to repeated incidents of the civilian killings and failure of different official probes in them. So this complaint is forwarded for conducting an Independent/ Impartial investigation of the instant civilian killings and to recommend exemplary punishment of the culprits/perpetrators of the said civilian killing incident,” reads the petition.

Earlier, NHRC had taken a suo moto cognizance of the incident asking the Union Home Secretary and the Director General of J&K Police to file the report within four weeks.

The commission had observed that the reports of incident, if true, were a “serious case of human rights violation”.

On July 18, four people were killed and 44 others injured when BSF fired on people in Gool, Ramban, who were protesting over highhandedness by the border guards.

Soon after the incident, various religious, separatists, traders groups and bar association had called for shutdown against the killing. The authorities imposed curfew in different many parts of Kashmir and Jammu.





Mehbooba-MuftiPeoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti Monday said that a dangerous game is going on between National Conference and Bhartiya Janata Party and both the parties are hell bent to put the state on fire on communal lines.

“Both these parties are hand in glove. Reaction and over-reaction on Kishtwar violence by the top leaders of these both parties makes their game plan clear. National Conference is going to lose nothing in Chenab Valley but it is the Congress which would suffer as this party is dominant in Chenab,” she said.

Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, Mehbooba condemned the statement made by Chief Minister that two Muslims and one Hindu were killed in communal violence.

“This statement on part of CM makes it clear that he wants to divide the people on communal lines. Why Muslims were not being compensated and why killers are being allowed to roam freely. Kishtwar people especially the people living in Paddar area are suffering and there are reports that most of them have been migrated from their villages,” she said.

Criticizing Omar Abdullah for his tall claims, Mehbooba said that “there is no curfew on ground. Protests are going on in Kishtwar and no security agency is there to control them. This is selective justice. People from a particular community are being made to suffer,” she said adding that if Omar is accusing Modi today then why he was silent when his father supported Modi over Ghodra killings.

“Now Omar has sought resignation from one of his Ministers, people want to know what action Omar Abdullah took in 2010 when more than 100 innocent people were butchered,” she said.

Mufti said she was surprised the way BJP members behaved in Parliament on Kishtwar incident. “Why these members were silent when more than 100 people were killed in Kashmir in 2010 and now they are raised hue and cry,” she said adding that Village Defence Committees and Police Task Force was the brain child of Farooq Abdullah.

She said Omar Abdullah is not serious in diffusing the situation. “If he had been serious and wanted us to take on board then he should called us in time to attend in that all parties meeting. Divisional Commissioner Jammu called me at 11 informing me to attend the meeting at 1:30 pm. What is this that I was being informed about the meeting just before two hours? Was I possessing a Government Chopper which could have helped me to reached in Jammu in one hour,” she said.


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