Community News

Kashmir: Unrest continues in the Valley depite freezing cold

Jammu and Kashmir High Court on December 16 adjourned hearing in criminal revision petition filed by state government in Zahid Farooq murder case. No arguments could take place following which court adjourned the case.

Hearing in the petition took place on December 15 and the same was scheduled to continue the other day as petitioner had partly completed the contentions in the case. As soon as hearing of the case began on December 15 before Justice JP Singh, Additional Advocate General, Ali Mohammad Magray objected to the objections made by Border Security Force (BSF) and maintained that the accused, BSF commandant R K Birdi and his subordinate Lukhvinder Kumar, should be tried in a local court instead of General Security Force Court (GSFC).

On November 25, CJM Srinagar, Yashpal Bourney had allowed the plea by BSF through Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Brig (Retd) R M Painuly seeking stay in civil proceedings and transfer of case to GSFC under section 80 of BSF Act of 1989. The state subsequently challenged the orders by filing criminal revision petition in the High Court.

Reacting to General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of 16 Corps, J P Nehra’s claim that Army has “zero tolerance” for human right violations, chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani on December 21 said his conglomerate would provide “documentary evidence” to Amnesty International if it sends a team to probe “human rights abuses” by Army in Kashmir.

He also rejected Nehra’s claim that Army orders probes into human rights violation allegations against its men and takes prompt action against guilty. Geelani alleged that Army continues to give third degree “torture” to youth in rural Kashmir.

Separatists, academicians and others in a seminar here on January 2 emphasized to work on a common strategy to find ways to resolve Kashmir issue in accordance with aspirations of people of Kashmir. “It is the responsibility of Kashmiri people to safeguard sacrifices of martyrs and accomplish their mission. Any attempt to malign the liberation movement wouldn’t be allowed to succeed”, says Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) in a seminar organized in connection with death anniversary of Kashmiri expert of constitutional law, Prof Abdul Ahad Wani.

The seminar was also addressed by other separatist leaders including Mohammad Yasin Malik, chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Prof. Abdul Gani Bhat and Bilal Gani Lone and others. Senior separatist leaders, Shabir Ahmad Shah and Nayeem Ahmad Khan, while addressing people at Sopore and Amargarh in north Kashmir urged for withdrawal of security forces, revocation of ‘draconian’ laws and take steps to settle the Kashmir dispute through tripartite talks. They said that resolution of Kashmir dispute according to aspirations of Kashmiri people is vital to peace and stability in south Asian region.

Mirwaiz, while addressing a Friday congregation on December 31 slammed the state government for “failing” to provide basic amenities to people, saying election-time promises of these politicians regarding “bijli, sadak, pani” fall flat during governance time. “They make tall claims of providing roads, water, electricity and other facilities to people during election campaigns while shifting the onus of resolving Kashmir dispute on separatists, India and Pakistan. But they even fail to provide this promised good governance to people”.

State administration and security forces on December 31 evacuated hundreds of people stranded inside Jawahar tunnel near Qazigund on 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu highway, connecting the valley to rest of the country. Air traffic also resumed, here after remaining suspended for a day due to snowfall, here on December 30. Hundreds of trucks loaded with essential commodities too were stranded on either side of the tunnel. Two persons, including a CRPF jawan passed away due to cold in north Kashmirs’ Bandipora on January 1.

Train service resumed here on December 23 after remaining suspended for nearly 5-months. Operations were restored between south Kashmir’s Anantnag and central Kashmir’s Budgam. Complete resumption of operations would take place in two phases. In the next phase, rail services would be resumed from Budgam to north Kashmir’s Baramulla.

Two loud explosions created panic in Batmaloo and adjoining areas on December 23 evening. Eye witnesses said that loud explosions around Tatoo ground made people run for cover. “We thought militants have entered the ground that houses an army camp”. Police however, said “explosions occurred as Army was carrying out de-mining exercise in the area”.

Three civilians and a security force personnel sustained injuries, when militants lobbed a grenade at Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) picket in Sopore on December 24. The blast triggered panic in the area and shopkeepers downed their shutters while pedestrians were seen running towards safer places. Militants also hurled a grenade at a CRPF bunker (157 BN) in Batamaloo on December 30 but it missed the target and exploded on roadside without causing any damage to life or property.

A militant was killed in an encounter in forest area of Phrooltib Gali in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on December 25. A joint party of police and 47 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) launched a search operation in Phrooltib Gali of Kandi forests ridge. During an operation, a militant was killed and arms and ammunition recovered.

At least 36 people were injured when a bus skidded off the road and fell into a ditch at Jawalapora in central Kashmir’s Budgam on December 25. Forty shops and five residential houses were gutted in a major fire that broke out in Bandipora town in north Kashmir on January 3. Fire also broke out in a local mosque at Khotran, Tulail in north Kashmirs’ Gurez area on December 18 engulfing about 28 residential houses.

Police on December 20 recovered bodies of three Bihari masons from an under construction house and a local factory, here. Bodies of Mohammad Anwar and Mohammad Aalam of Bihar were recovered from an under construction house of Tariq Ahmad Sheikh at Gulberg Colony in Hyderpora. Police said that the duo had probably died due to inhalation of carbon monoxide accumulated in the room. Inquest proceedings under section 174 CrPC have been initiated. Suresh Kumar, resident of Gopal Gunj Bihar, working as labourer in a local factory “Civil Cement Products” at Lasjan on outskirts of Srinagar died under suspicious circumstances in the factory. Police Station Nowgam has initiated proceedings under section 174 CrPC in this regard.

A public interest litigation (PIL) was entertained by the High Court here on December 21 asking government to come clear on winter schooling in Kashmir valley. Filing a PIL, noted attorney Ghulam Mohammad Wani sought full heating facilities to be provided to students during this period. Students were attending schools despite intense cold and lack of adequate heating facilities. The student community carried out protests to press upon government to look into their demands. Government had asked all schools to remain open during winter to compensate loss suffered by them during 2010 summer unrest. However, with valley witnessing heavy snowfall on December 30, government ordered closing of all schools till further order.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 January 2011 on page no. 22

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