Newsnotes

UAV Monitored AZAADI

There is a steep rise in ‘fake encounter’ killings but the state Chief Minister claims the situation in valley is serene and fit for the resumption of dialogue. Omar Abdullah gave an open invitation to Kashmir’s Separatist camps for resumption of dialogue on the celebrations of Indian Independence Day in Bakshi Stadium.

Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, inspecting a guard of honor in Bakshi Stadium during Independence Day celebrations

While terming the dialogue as only way forward CM said the Kashmir issue has political genesis and requires political solution for effective addressing through a sustained dialogue process. He claimed there is improvement in the situation since 1990 as his government was successful in vacating all school buildings from the occupation of security forces besides 33 hotels, 256 government buildings and 25 industrial estates. As many as 40 bunkers were removed in Srinagar as 10 CRPF companies and two BSF companies were relived from security duty. And now there are only three hospitals under the occupation of security forces.

Omar also said the militancy related incidents has reduced to 90 from 370; civilian killings from 50 to 8 and security forces casualty reduced from 70 to even. He also assured Valley will soon get rid of AFSPA (partially) as the talks on its removal are going on.

While highlighting the bookmarks of his tenure he said they are positively working on getting the boys back from across the LoC. Last year 60 such people have returned home and this year 70 cases have already been cleared. Outside Stadium it was curfew like situation as the Kashmir observes 15 August, the independence day of India, as black day. On the LoC, situation presented a different look as the Pakistani Rangers didn’t allow the people in border villages to celebrate the day peacefully. Before resorting to firing the Rangers exchanged sweets and fruits with BSF at Octroi Post in RS Pura sector. They opened firing at Rathua and Pansar areas in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district from afternoon and extended it till late evening intermittently. However, there were no casualties or damage. Heavy firing was reported from Kirpan, Kranti and Goda posts also.

Apex Court On AMARNATH

Natural deaths during the just concluded Amarnath Yatra have triggered a lot of debate and certain interventions at different levels. The Supreme Court took note of the deaths in July and appointed a three member committee that visited the cave shrine and interacted with the shrine board and the state government. Last week a division bench of the apex court comprising B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar asked state government to finish construction of roads and widening of passage to the Amarnath shrine before snowfall. Other directions will follow after the committee submits its report.

Meanwhile, there was a high decibel debate over the issue in the Rajya Sabha in which the government said it will take up certain steps in this regard. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the government will implement recommendations of high-powered committee appointed by the Supreme Court that is likely to submit its report by September and Government will take action on its recommendations. Shinde said 621145 pilgrims undertook the yatra in 2012 which saw 93 casualties. Compared to 2011, he said, when 635611 pilgrims visited the cave shrine there were 106 casualties. There were 45 deaths in 2009 from 392653 pilgrims and 77 deaths in 2010 when 451710 pilgrims participated.

Shinde said since the terrain to the cave shrine is very difficult, the Centre will ask the State Government to look into widening of the path and strengthening of medical certification system for pilgrims. MHA is planning an authority for grant of medical certificates to pilgrims, particularly with reference to cardiology. He said the government will consider laying a ropeway that governor N N Vohra who is heading the SASB has suggested. More than 8500 personnel were deployed in the yatra.

A Police NEWSLETTER

Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) alleged that police officers responsible for human rights violations were being awarded by the government despite the crimes they have perpetrated and the

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