News Notes

Court Warrant

Wamiq-Farooqs-father-protestingAfter eventful course, the Wamiq Farooq case seems heading towards its final conclusion after judiciary shot the latest verdict.   The decision was pronounced by Parvez Hussain Kachroo, the 2nd additional sessions judge Srinagar, when he dismissed the revision petition filed in Wamiq Farooq’s killing case by police. He upholded the decision taken by CJM passed on August 22, 2013 that issued arrest warrants against the accused cops.

Justice Kachroo directed the police to get accused cops before the trail court scheduled to hear the case on March 3, 2014.

Wamiq, 13, was killed in January 2010 after he was hit by a tear gas smoke shell at point-blank range at Rajouri Kadal in Srinagar. ASI Abdul Khaliq and constable Akram are two main accused in the case.

Wamiq’s killing was the first death of 2010 and reportedly FIR was not lodged in the case. Thereafter, the family approached a local court here. Then it was struggle of first advocate GN Shaheen and then Ajaz Ahmad Dar that the case was registered and  pleaded in different courts.

As per the family of the victim, it took them around 465 days to get the CJM’s decision passed in August 2013. The case has been heard from the lower court, chief judicial magistrate, high court and Supreme Court.

The family also says that they were offered compensation and job if they would take the case back but they refused, family was threatened as well.

Combatant Census

With a surge in militancy related attacks and deaths, a recently released census by the J&K police has revealed that 104 militants are active across Kashmir and out of these militants 62 are foreigners.

As per the data compiled by the police, the presence of 59 active cadres of Pakistan based Lashkar e Toiba, which is double than the number of Hizbul Mujahideen militants, who are 30 in number. Besides, a total of 62 foreign militants are also present in the valley.

It also reveals that these militants are operating in various districts of north Kashmir. Out of the seven militants of Lashkar who are operating in Srinagar, are all foreigners except one. In district Budgam, there is no resident militant while as Ganderbal has one local active militant.

As per the same report, 35 militants are active in Kupwara district, out of which, 16 operate from Handwara. There are 15 militants of three outfits operating in Sopore and Baramulla districts.

In the once hot bed of militants, Bandipora district there is no resident militant. While as,Pulwama districthas 29 active militants at present. In Shopian district 8 militants are active and 6 are active in Kulgam.

As per police the only Hizbul militant in Islamabad has been arrested.

Stalled Permits

passportbgChief Minister Omar Abdullah said in the ongoing assembly session that as on February 3, 2014, 14,284 passports and 5,244 LoC permit verifications are pending disposal for various reasons like non-receipt of reports from field formations, incomplete residential address, re-verifications of adverse cases, applicants staying out of state

Omar in a written reply to a question of Mehbooba Mufti (PDP) said, that during 2013, out of 64,586 cases received for verifications of passports, 446 cases have not been recommended. “Similarly, out of 1,400 cases of LoC permits of Indian applicant received during 2013, 77 cases have not been recommended,” he said. “The non-recommended cases do not fall under the ambit of the present policy of the government.”

In another reply, Omar said the government had issued the revised guidelines for issuance of passports.

According to the guidelines, Omar said, the cases of relatives of a militant who has died ten years ago should be cleared unless there is any adverse report against the passport applicants regarding his involvement in militancy or disruptive activities.

Consideration shall be given on case basis and after thorough verification of their present activities, he said.

“Passport applicants can also be considered for clearance of passport, whose militant relatives have surrendered before 12 years and have joined mainstream and are silent,” Omar said.

Giving further details, Omar said passport applicants or close relatives of a militant can also be considered for performing Hajj after clearance from CID headquarters.

However, he said, full clearance could also be considered on case to case basis if “they have no adverse report from concerned quarters.”

Female passport applicants whose father or husband or son had been reported to be involved in militancy should be considered for clearance of Hajj, Omar said about the revised government guidelines.

The verification of passports has been brought under the purview of the Public Services Guarantee Act, 2011, Omar said.

Omar also said that under normal circumstances, the grant of passports, visas, by the central government to relatives or family members of militants is not objected provided the state government is convinced that the the applicant is travelling  abroad  purely for personal purpose and for any political or activities the interest of the state and the country.

“The grant of passport, visas to relatives of family members of militants may not be recommended by the state government, if on investigation it is found that they are planning to or are likely to utilize the visit to the foreign country for anti-national activity or for any activities related to the furtherance of militancy or subversive activities in the state,” he said.

Kupwara Confrontation

7-bodies-at-Kupwara-Police-StationOn February 24, army claimed that seven unidentified militants were gunned down in a ‘fierce encounter’ in the dense forests of Lolab area of Kupwara district.

Army’s Srinagar-based spokesman, Lt Col Nitin Narhar Joshi while sharing the details of the operation revealed that 28 RR and Special Operation Group (SOG) came under heavy fire from the militants in the Madkulla Behak Forests of  Dardpora Lolab area after they had laid a cordon in the area. “Reinforcements were called in and the firing was retaliated resulting in the killing of the seven foreign militants,” he said.

But the next day, hundreds of people assembled at the Lalpora police station demanding that they should be shown the bodies of the killed militants. The people were demanding the bodies for identification and their burial as per Islamic rituals.

As the authorities did not respond to their demands, the gathering turned violent and clashed with the police. A dozen people including some policeman and some photojournalists sustained injuries.

Since the incident there have been protests, restrictions and shutdowns in Kupwara district with reports of stone pelting and clashes between the people and the armed forces. The army and the government have maintained that the killed persons were “foreign” millitans who had infiltrated recently into the area.

And soon the separatist camp turned into reaction mode. Hurriyat leaders, Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq demanded investigation into the death of the seven purported militants in the encounter.

The leaders said in separate statements that the seven young men needed to be identified by an “independent and time-bound investigation.”

They said that in past, the government forces had claimed to have conducted genuine encounters in Pathribal, Brakpora, Ganderbal and Machil. But all the four and many others were later proved as “fake encounters” in which innocent civilians had been killed and labeled as militants.

Geelani called for a shutdown in Kashmir on February 28 and stressed on a probe by “an independent foreign agency”.

Meanwhile, the ruling NC-INC coalition government in the state ridiculed the strike call given by Geelani, saying that it is satisfied with the version of the police and the army, that the persons killed were “foreign” militants belonging to Lashker-i- Toiba.

However, the opposition People’s Democratic Party demanded that the government must come up with facts and the same be made public saying that the coalition government suffers from credibility deficit.

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