Online news channel!

Tag: handwara

J&K: Militants open fire in Handwara, cop killed

Sat, 31 Dec 2016-11:00pm , Srinagar , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A policeman was killed in firing on Saturday by militants on a naka party in Handwara area of Kupwara district of Kashmir, officials said.The militants, who were traveling in a load carrier, opened fire on police personnel at a barricade at Chogul in Handwara this evening, a police official said.Constable Abdul Karim was injured in the firing, he said, adding he succumbed at a hospital.The militants managed to escape in the load carrier, the official added.

Encounter between militants, security forces in Kashmir’s Kupwara district

Srinagar: An encounter broke out between security forces and militants in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Monday, but the ultras managed to flee, police said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Security forces launched a search operation in Langate area of Handwara in Kupwara following intelligence inputs about the presence of militants there, a police officer said. He said that as the forces were conducting search, the militants fired upon them, prompting retaliation.

“As a cordon was being laid, the militants fired upon the forces, which was retaliated, but the militants managed to escape,” the officer said.

He said the search operation to trace the ultras was on.

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 14:43 IST

Kashmir unrest: Curfew imposed in Handwara; parts of Srinagar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Curfew was on Saturday imposed in Handwara town of north Kashmir, while the curbs were in force in three police station areas of Srinagar, even as normal life remained affected in the Valley for the 78th consecutive day.”Curfew has been imposed in Handwara town of Kupwara district, while it remains in force in three police station areas of downtown (interior city) Srinagar,” a police official said.He said the curbs on the movement of people remained in force in Nowhatta, Khanyar and M R Gunj police station areas of the summer capital of the state. “Curfew has been imposed in view of the apprehensions of law and order problems,” the official said.He said the curbs have been lifted from four police station areas of the city, where they were imposed on Friday in view of the apprehensions of law and order problems after Friday congregational prayers.The official said restrictions on the assembly of people under Section 144 CrPc would remain in force in the rest of the Valley.The separatists, who are spearheading the current agitation in the Valley, have extended the protest programme till September 29, but have announced periods of relaxation in the strike on some days, unlike the previous week’s protest programme where there was no relaxation.They have called for marches to various tehsil headquarters across the Valley on Saturday and have announced a 12-hour relaxation from 6 pm.Meanwhile, normal life continued to remain disturbed in Kashmir for the 78th straight day due to restrictions and separatist sponsored strike.Shops, business establishments and petrol pumps continued to remain shut in Srinagar and elsewhere in the Valley, while public transport was off the roads. Schools, colleges and other educational institutions also continued to remain shut.Mobile Internet services also remained suspended, while the outgoing calls on prepaid numbers continued to remain barred across the Valley.As many as 82 people, including two cops, have been killed in the unrest that broke out a day after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces in South Kashmir on July 8.

Kashmir unrest: Handful of ‘vested interests’ inciting trouble in Valley, says Mehbooba Mufti

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said a handful of people opposed to peace were inciting youth to violence in the Kashmir Valley.

She said she was unable to understand why such madness has gripped the Valley, this time around though there have been deaths in shootouts before.

“There have been encounters before, people have been killed before but why so much madness this time around,” she wondered while addressing a gathering here, referring to the cycle of violence in the Kashmir valley following the 8 July killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

Speaking at an official function in the Bhagwati Nagar area of the city, Mehbooba, who visited Jammu for the first time since the violence began in the valley last month, said some elements “who do not want peace in Kashmir” are inciting youths to violence “for their vested interests”.

Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti. AFP

Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti. AFP

Coming down heavily on such elements Mehbooba said that 95 per cent of Kashmiris should not be held to ransom for the misdeeds of just five per cent of bad elements.

“Why should 95 per cent people of Kashmir suffer for the misdeeds of five per cent,” she said.

“Whenever they see that some constructive work is being done, some progress is being made, they try to hinder it,” Mehbooba said as she urged the central government to look at the plight of the “majority of peace-loving people”.

She asserted that the predominant majority of Kashmiris were peace loving and want “dignity and development”.

Mehbooba said the security forces have been exercising restraint and it was people “who use children and women as shields while attacking police stations and security forces’ camps” who are responsible for the large number of casualties.

“A large number of security personnel have been injured ever since the unrest began. This shows the level of restraint they have been exercising.”

The real culprits are those who use children and women as shields while attacking police stations, and when tempers rise they just disappear from the scene, Mehbooba said.

“These people started trouble in 2008. They started trouble again in 2010 following a fake encounter in Machil. After I took over, they tried to start trouble on the pretext of Handwara (alleged rape) incident which they failed to do.”

She said these elements also tried to raise the issues of separate colonies for retired soldiers and Kashmiri Pandits but “failed”.

At least 68 people have been killed and thousands injured in the recent unrest in the valley.

Mehbooba said violence was no means to achieve anything.

The fact that students from Kashmir studying outside the state did not face any problems because of the unrest proves the fact that people in other parts of the county love Kashmiris, said the chief minister.

She welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s statement that dialogue is important for a lasting solution.

“We welcome Prime Minister’s statement. We also want a lasting solution. Wherever needed, we will cooperate,” she said.

Mehbooba thanked the people of Jammu for maintaining peace and harmony at a time the valley was scarred by violence.

Jammu and Kashmir: Seven militant killed in Kupwara, IED detected in Srinagar

An unidentified militant was killed in a gunbattle with security forces in north Kashmir’s Kupwara today, the seventh ultra to be killed in three encounters in the district since Thursday.The fresh encounter broke out in Petha Wadar forest area of Handwara this morning, an army official said.A search operation was launched by a joint team of police and army after receiving specific inputs about the presence of militants in the area. The hiding militants fired upon them, triggering an encounter in which the militant was killed.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the operation was on when reports last came in.Today s encounter is the third in Kupwara district since yesterday in which a total of seven militants have been killed so far.Yesterday, three militants were killed in an encounter in Dobwan forests of Lolab area of the district.In another gunfight last evening in Waterkhani forests of Drugmulla area of the district, another three militants were killed by the security forces.Meanwhile, security forces today averted a tragedy after detecting and defusing an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) here.An IED weighing five kgs, planted in a rice cooker, was detected by police near a flyover at Hyderpora in Srinagar this morning, a police official said.He said the IED was destroyed by a bomb disposal squad.

Handwara files molestion case returns to haunt army and police

Handwara ‘molestation’ row has returned to haunt the army and Mehbooba Mufti-led government in Jammu and Kashmir.Father of the schoolgirl on Wednesday approached the local court in Handwara praying for lodging an FIR against the personnel of 21 Rashtriya Rifles and the police.”Father of the minor girl submitted an application to the Judicial Magistrate, Handwara for registering an FIR over molestation by the soldiers of 21 RR, the police misconduct, illegal detention, intimidation and the recording and circulation of the video,” said a spokesman of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a human rights group, which had filed the case in the high court on behalf of the girl’s mother<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After hearing the arguments of the JKCCS legal team, the spokesman said the judicial magistrate issued the notice to station house officer, Handwara asking him to submit the status report of the case by June 15.Earlier on May 16, the family of the Handwara minor girl had moved a formal application to the special investigation team (SIT) of Jammu and Kashmir Police and the SHO Handwara for registering the two separate FIRs.”One FIR was sought to be filed against the army personnel of 21 RR who molested the minor girl outside the public toilet at Handwara market. Another FIR was sought to be filed against the SP Handwara and others who recorded and circulated the video statement of the minor girl without the consent of her parents and for the misconduct, intimidation and the illegal police custody of the girl,” he said.JKCCS spokesman noted after police did not file FIR for more than 20 days the family of the minor girl decided to petition the Handwara district court as per the established procedures under section 156(3) Cr PC.The 16-year-old girl was freed on May 10 after spending 27 days in the police custody. Handwara girl was taken under the “police protection” on April 12 when violent protests rocked Handwara township after rumours spread that she was molested by the army trooper when she entered into a public washroom. Five people were later killed in the security forces firing on the protestors across the Kupwara district of north Kashmir.”As experienced so far, the police are making every effort to scuttle the process of justice for the Handwara minor girl. They have also used rumours as a medium for tarnishing the credibility of the girl and her family. Despite all the intimidation the family is undeterred and will continue to strive to ensure that truth about this case is not buried by the oppressive state machinery,” said the JKCCS spokesman.Deputy inspector general of police, North Kashmir Range, Uttam Chand, told dna that there is already an FIR registered and investigation is going on in the case. “We have not received any direction from the judicial magistrate so far,” he said.

Terror revisits Kashmir, two dead

Terror revisited the Kashmir valley on Wednesday when militants launched two attacks leaving two people, including a cop, dead at two different places in Kupwara and Pulwama districts.Police said militants attacked the security escort of the National Conference (NC) district Pulwama president Ghulam Mohidin Mir when he was attending a marriage party in Manhama village this afternoon.A cop, who was attended the marriage, was killed while a personal security officer of the leader suffered wounds in the attack. Militants later decamped with the assault rifle of the PSO.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Giving details, superintendent of police, Pulwama, Mohammad Rayees Bhat told dna that Mir was safe and a cop, who was attending the marriage of his cousin, was hit by the bullet and later succumbed to his wounds.”Reportedly two to three militants attacked the PSO and snatched his weapon. Another PSO fired back in which a militant was injured. A PSO has got a minor bruises,” said Bhat.The SP said the cop who died was not part of the security escort of the NC leader. “He was attending the marriage of his cousin. By profession, he is a cop but he was not a part of the escort of the leader,” he saidFormer chief minister and National Conference working president Omar Abdullah however tweeted that the PSO (personal security officer of his district president has been injured in a militant attack. “Hope he makes a complete and swift recovery,” he saidMassive cordon and search operation has been launched in the area to track down the militants responsible for the incident. Police have also intensified the search in neighbouring areas since one of the militants has suffered wounds after he was hit by the bullet.Earlier in the morning, police recovered a bullet riddled body of a 20 year old Liyaqat Ali from the Waderbala forests of Handwara in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district. Ali was kidnapped by the unknown militants on Tuesday evening and later shot dead in cold blood.Police said Ali was abducted from his sister’s home in Watsar village and taken to the forests where he was shot dead. Massive search operation has been launched to nab the militants responsible for the killing of Ali.The attacks comes just two days after militants carried out twin shoot and scoot attacks in summer capital city of Srinagar leaving three cops including an assistant sub inspector dead.The attack also comes two days after police killed two top Jaish-e-Mohommad commanders who were posing as students in Srinagar’s Saraibala locality.

Suspected militants kill a 28-year-old in Kupwara

Srinagar: A 28-year-old youth was shot dead on Wednesday by suspected militants in Kupwara district of north Kashmir, police said.

Bullet-riddled body of Liyaqat Joo was recovered from the forest area of Wadder Payeen in Handwara, 85 kms from Srinagar, a police officer said.

Joo who is a resident of Wadder Payeen, was suspected to have been killed by militants, the officer said.

Police has registered a case and started investigations, the officer said adding a hunt has been launched to nab the culprits behind his murder.

Representational Image. ReutersRepresentational Image. Reuters

Representational Image. Reuters

Meanwhile, the officer said a huge cache of arms and ammunition were recovered from the possession of the two militants who were shot dead in a brief gun battle at Sarai Bala locality in the heart of Srinagar on late Monday evening.

The recoveries included two AK assault rifles, four magazines, 86 rounds, a pistol with a magazine and two rounds, three hand grenades, a grenade thrower and a pouch, he said.

The two militants including Jaish-e-Mohammad commander Saifullah were killed by police during a raid at Sarai Bala on Monday, sparking protests by locals who contested the police version and claimed that the duo were killed in a “fake encounter”.

Shops and business establishments in the area and adjoining business centres including Maharaj Bazar, Hari Singh High Street and Gonikhan remained closed for the second day today to protest the killings.

Handwara molestation case: I was abused, coerced in police custody, says school girl

The Handwara schoolgirl, who was released from police custody on May 10, on Monday alleged that she was abused, threatened and coerced by cops during her 27 days in custody.The 16-year-old girl was taken into protective custody on April 12, the day she alleged she was molested by asoldier in a public washroom. This sparked violence in the township and five people were killed in the resultant police firing.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Monday, she said that her subsequent statement to a chief judicial magistrate, giving a clean chit to the trooper, was made under duress.
ALSO READ Handwara molestation: Focus shifts on two youth named by girl in her statement“Since the washrooms of my school were locked on April 12, I went to a public washroom. A soldier came and grabbed my hand. I somehow managed to free myselfand stormed out. There were two to three boys outside. One of them asked me what happened. I cried and told him I want to go home. He consoled me and said I will accompany you,” she told reporters.The video, in which she gave a clean chit to the Army, was shot by SP Jeelani on his mobile phone, she said. She also rubbished police claim that she was taken into protective custody after she sought protection.
ALSO READ Handwara molestation: Jammu & Kashmir police arrest one of the accused Hilal Ahmed BandeyThe police and the Army refuted her allegations. “No, there was nothing of that sort (abuse and coercion in custody). I do not know under whose pressure she has given the press conference… she has already deposed before the court”, Uttam Chand, deputy inspector general of police, north Kashmir, told dna.Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman, said the case is sub-judice and hence the Army would not comment.

Handwara molestation | ‘Policemen slapped me’: Victim makes a u-turn, says cops forced to give wrong statement

In a major twist in the Handwara molestation case, a girl whose complaint of molestation led to protests and firing in the region, said on Monday that she had been forced to record a false statement while in custody and had also been abused.”They (policemen) spoke to me nicely so I narrated the whole incident to them. After which they told me not to tell the real story to anyone. And added that if I divulged anything, then my family and me might land in trouble. They threatened our lives. I told them that to lie is wrong and I won’t lie. There and then, one of the three policemen got up and slapped me and forced me to lie. I retaliated for a while and then I succumbed to their pressure and changed my statement,” said the victim.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The police misbehaved with me, nobody came forward to help. While I was sitting at the police station, several policemen abused me and went away. After a long time, a woman police constable took me to a room and left after a while. The three policemen came into the room with their faces covered,” she added.Handwara witnessed massive clashes between the police and locals on April 12 after the news of a girl being molested by an army soldier spread. The area was under curfew for a week.Five people were killed in firing by security forces during the protests. But in a controversial video shot inside a police station, the girl had denied the molestation allegation. The girl has now changed her statement saying she was under pressure.

Kashmir: Gunbattle between security forces and militants erupt in Kupwara forest

An encounter broke out between militants and security forces in a forest area of Kupwara district in north Kashmir on Tuesday night, police said. No casualties have been reported on either side so far in the operation, a police official said.Security forces launched an anti-militancy operation in Watsar forests in Handwara area of the district on Tuesday following information about the presence of militants there, the official said. He said the gunbattle raged when reports last came in late on Tuesday evening. Further details are awaited.

Mehbooba Mufti bypassed by not being invited to meet on Jammu and Kashmir chaired by Rajnath Singh: NC

Opposition National Conference on Friday said only the Jammu and Kashmir Governor being invited to attend the high-level meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi to discuss various issues pertaining to the state, amounted to “bypassing” of the elected chief minister.”Instead of the elected chief minister, New Delhi invited the state’s Governor for the high-level meeting to discuss various key issues pertaining to it. This is yet another sign of how Mehbooba Mufti has bartered the constitutional mandate and sanctity of the Chief Minister’s Office to remain in her chair. This brazen disempowerment of the chief minister is an alarming development,” NC chief spokesperson Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi alleged.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The fact that the central government has “sidelined” the elected chief minister in dealing with vital issues of the state and the subsequent “conspicuous silence” of the chief minister does not auger well for the state, he said here. “The Union Home minister chaired the meeting to discuss various key issues pertaining to the state including the issues of rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandit migrants, return of civilian land by the army, the security situation in the state post the Handwara and Kupwara tragedy and the situation along the Line of Control. While the meeting was attended among others by Defence Minister Manohar Parikar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, the state was represented by Governor NN Vohra and not the chief minister,” he said.
ALSO READ Will protect special status of Jammu & Kashmir: Mehbooba MuftiThe NC chief spokesperson alleged Mehbooba had now been “officially relegated to the status of an ad hoc chief minister” who had been placed in the chief minister’s office by the BJP for “specific and limited purposes of furthering BJP’s agenda in the State”.”If the chief minister has no say in these issues that pertain to the state, one wonders why she has been placed in the chief minister’s chair in the first place. It is evident that the state is being “run from New Delhi” and the state government has been “divested of all its rights and roles”, he alleged.
ALSO READ Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti to meet Rajnath Singh today”Even law and order, which is a state subject in exclusivity, is now being supervised directly by New Delhi as was proven in the NIT issue and more recently the Handwara incident,” he said.Mehdi said the chief minister’s “omission” from these meetings indicates a “continued erosion of the state’s democratic institutions” under the PDP-BJP Alliance and these developments have created “widespread disillusionment and resentment” in the state.

Police should withdraw protective custody to Handwara ‘victim’ now: J&K women’s panel chief

Five people were killed and dozens injured when security forces opened fire on protesters at Handwara in North Kashmir in the middle of April. The protest was against the alleged molestation of a girl by a soldier on 12 April. The killings and the subsequent flare-up across the Valley brought the state on the brink. Although a deceptive calm has returned to the town, 20 days after the incident the 16-year-old girl continues to remain in “protective custody” of police. On Sunday, Nayeema Ahmad Mehjoor, Chairperson of State Commission for Women (SCW) in Jammu and Kashmir, who has been under criticism over the issue, spoke to Firstpost at her residence in Rajbagh locality of Srinagar. Excerpts from the interview:

Firstpost: You have been saying that you will get this girl out of police “protection”. What are the impediments?

Nayeema Mahjoor: There are no impediments. When I met her and her father in my office I asked both whether they wanted police protection. Her father said they needed it until they felt safe. He said they would inform me when the police can withdraw the protection. That is why I told the police to keep a few personnel [outside] her house where she lives with her uncle or some relatives.

FP: Was that after you said she was facing a security threat?

Nayeema Ahmad Mehjoor. Image courtesy: FacebookNayeema Ahmad Mehjoor. Image courtesy: Facebook

Nayeema Ahmad Mehjoor. Image courtesy: Facebook

NM: She had said that earlier and asked for police protection. After that the girl gave me an application in Handwara, saying she didn’t want police protection anymore, and that it should be taken off. So I took up the matter with police, and I wrote to the DG police. I spoke to the police officials concerned in Handwara, and they said they would do it.

FP: How do you see the role of the police in this case? They have come under criticism for allegedly releasing a video and revealing the identity of the girl.

NM: That is true. I think the police are definitely involved in this, because at that time (when the video was made) she was in police station. She was in police custody and her identity should have been protected. I have also asked the police to explain this, but have not got any answer yet.

FP: Do you think the police should act against people who were involved in making the video?

NM: They have to. People who are involved in this should be punished. This is a crime. When the girl was in the police station she was asking for help and not for a video of her which would be circulated.

FP: Is police creating more trouble for the girl by keeping her in their “protective custody”?

NM: That is true. I agree with it completely. Police should not keep her under their custody. If her parents are asking (because they are her guardians) for the withdrawal of protection, then the police should do it.

FP: Is there hostility towards this girl in her own town now? How do you see her life after she gets out of this?

NM: I don’t think there is hostility. But, you know, five lives have been lost because of this incident. What really happened in that place? There is anger and resentment. I could sense it after speaking to a wide range of people there. But it is not that the anger is directed at the girl. Most of them say she is a minor and they don’t know what actually transpired on that day.
I asked the parents of the girl whether they would feel safe if they go back to the same house, and the same place along with their daughter. They said yes because the neighbours wanted them back. The girl also wrote that she wanted to go back to the same school because she won’t feel threatened there. But we all have to understand that there are other elements in Kashmir. My priority is she should feel safe.

FP: Does she leave the house? Is she confined to one room?
NM: No, she is not confined to one room. She lives in a big house. They have got a huge garden. This house is fenced and she moves around freely. But I don’t think she can go out because the police won’t allow her.

FP: In all these days, has Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti ever spoken to you about this girl?

NM: Yes, two times, and the only issue was this girl. She was also worried and she said our priority was to save this girl and make her safe, no matter who has played a dirty role in the entire issue.

FP: Is it true the girl has asked for accommodation to be provided to her outside her town?
NM: She said she would feel safe if the government provided her accommodation in Srinagar. I told her that I will take up the matter. But her father said she is safe when she is with them and in their village. He wants to resettle in their village with his relatives. I had asked her parents whether we could put this girl in some school in Srinagar, but her father said no.

FP: A local human rights group has said that you should be investigated for your “prejudicial role” in the case. What do you have to say about that?

NM: I don’t mind whatever they say. They have the right to say whatever they want to. I gave them access when they wanted to meet this girl. This human rights lawyer said they were not being allowed to meet the girl by the police. I said she was in my office. They met her for fifteen minutes. When the girl was telling me stories, they were with us. The lawyers and this human rights activist were in contact with me all the time. I was getting information from the police as well as these human rights activists. It is not that I was relying only on the police’s version. I spoke to schools mates of the girl, journalists and common people. I needed the whole perspective.

FP: Have you come to any conclusion on what actually happened?

NM: No yet. We are still corroborating information and evidences and we will come to conclusion very soon.

Kashmir: Security officials concerned about cricket teams being named after militants

Srinagar: Militant sympathisers in Kashmir Valley have named cricket teams participating in certain tournaments after militants, a trend security officials say should be nipped in the bud to avoid “huge problems”.

A cricket tournament was recently played in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district which had few participating teams named after militants like Aabid Khan Qalandars, Khalid Aryans and Burhan Lions.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

While Burhan has emerged as one of the most wanted commander of Hizbul Mujahideen over the past one year, Khalid was his brother who was killed in a security forces’ operation.

Burhan had shot into prominence late last year after he uploaded pictures of his and his comrades on a social networking site.

Several of 11 militants featuring in those pictures have been eliminated but Burhan remains elusive for the security forces.

Many sports events, named after slain militants and separatist leaders, have been held over the past 20 years in different parts of Kashmir.

Shaheed-e-Millat cricket tournament, organised in memory of Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq — slain father of Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, has not become a regular feature of the cricketing calendar in Srinagar.

However, this time the security forces seem to be concerned over the latest move.

“If this practice is not nipped in the bud, it can create a huge problem in coming months and years. The psyche of the impressionable minds is sought to be influenced,” a security official said.

He said before the onset of militancy in the state, a football club was formed in the memory of JKLF founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat following his hanging in Tihar Jail in 1984.

“This club would take part in tournaments within and outside Kashmir and seemingly there was nothing wrong with it. However, when militancy erupted several players joined the ranks,” the official said.

National Conference working president Omar Abdullah saw a link between the trend of naming cricket teams after militants and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti representing south Kashmir in Lok Sabha.

“Lest we forget this South Kashmir being mentioned is Mehbooba Mufti’s Lok Sabha constituency,” Omar said.

Ruling PDP leaders chose not to comment on the issue.

NIT Srinagar row: Non-local students hold protest in Jammu for second consecutive day

Jammu: Non-local students of National Institute of Technology (NIT), Srinagar held a protest in Jammu for the second consecutive day on Tuesday.

They were joined by students of Jammu University.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The NIT students have been demanding action against police officials involved in baton charging non-local students and permanent deployment of CRPF on the campus.

The NIT students, supported by the National Students Union of India (NSUI), held a protest rally in Jammu and raised slogans criticising Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani.

The protest rally started from the central library of Jammu University and ended at Bikram Chowk.

A group of non-local students also boycotted classes which started on Tuesday, saying they will continue their protest till their demands are met.

“We will accept nothing less than action against the police officials involved in baton charging the non local students for raising the national tricolour. The police resorted to baton charging on non-local students who were raising slogans like Bharat Mata Ki Jai,” said an agitating student.

Another student claimed police failed to act when the non local students were threatened to death by the locals.

On Saturday, over 300 students including NIT students had carried out a protest march from Press Club to Science College here in support of their demands.

The students had held a similar protest on Monday.

Funds from Gulf being used for radicalisation of youth in Jammu and Kashmir: Officials

Srinagar: The flow of suspected hawala funds from Gulf countries is adding to the woes of security agencies in Kashmir Valley as the illegal money is reported to be mainly used for creating infrastructure for radicalisation of youths in a bid to wean them away from centuries old Sufi tradition.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

As new religious institutions dot several parts of the Kashmir Valley, they have been attracting youths more where, according to the security assessments, the young men are indoctrinated with the type of religion being followed by likes of banned Islamic State and al-Qaeda terror groups.

The new trend has left many religious heads, who refused to come on record, worrying as they believe that the new generation of youth is being weaned away from Sufi tradition that has been followed in the Valley for centuries.

A senior security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said while older generation families offer prayers at their traditional mosques, the youth prefer to pray at the new religious places which have been built in the last couple of years.

As questions crop up over the funding for new mosques, the Army, Police and central security agencies believe that large amount of illegal funds are been pumped into the Valley from Gulf countries and they apparently go unchecked.

“The funds come in small amounts to avoid detection. Besides we believe that certain business houses having their establishment in these countries, overinvoice their products and pass on the surplus funds,” a senior police official said.

During various stone-pelting incidents in the Valley, the security agencies have seen “ISIS-JK” flags coming soon being waved by miscreants. “While we hope this is a publicity stunt but at the same time, we are closely watching it,” a senior police official said.

The recent spurt in growth of large number of local militants can be attributed to this new trend and change in mindset of sections of the younger generation who have become more hostile, is also a general observation across the board among all wings of security agencies.

This large inflow of hawala funds from Gulf countries and more Kashmiri youths getting sucked into militancy are dangerously stoking terrorism in the Valley in a fresh test for security forces in their anti-militancy operations.

An axis from Tral, Batapora, Panjgaon and Yaripora in South Kashmir is witnessing a dominance of terror group Hizbul Mujahideen, while in the other axis from Palhalan to Sopore this group and few militants of Jaish-e-Mohammed are calling the shots, according to officials.

Since January this year, nearly seven boys have reportedly vanished from the Valley with Kulgam and Anantnag in South Kashmir accounting for them. Last year, according to a reply in the Parliament, 82 boys had been sucked into militancy.

While terming it as a dangerous trend, security officials said the difference between today’s militancy and that during early 1990’s is the ideological conviction of the present lot is far more superior than that of the terror groups during the previous years. Kashmir is witnessing a trend of ‘Pan-Islamisation’ where the young boys are opting for the path of terrorism knowing fully well that they are at the risk of being killed, the official said.

On the funding part, the security agencies feel that organisations like Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax need to focus more on flow of funds into Kashmir. The previous regime of National Conference and Congress had pushed the Enforcement Directorate to open their offices in the Valley but in last three years, only a few attachments have taken place.

If US, Iran can end hostilities, why not India, Pakistan: Mehbooba Mufti

Pitching strongly for Indo-Pak reconciliation, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday said India and Pakistan should begin a new era of peace and prosperity in the region similar to how the US and Iran recently ended hostilities and stitched a new phase of engagement.”If US and Iran can join hands, I see no reason why India and Pakistan cannot come together to restore stability and begin a new era of peace and prosperity in the region,” Mehbooba said while interacting with media-persons on the sidelines of her marathon tour in Jammu on Saturday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chief Minister invoked the legacy of former Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, by sending a strong message of peace and reconciliation to both India and Pakistan. She cited the example of US and Iran, two sworn enemies, who have recently ended hostilities and stitched a new phase of engagement.Giving wings to her father s dream of making Suchetgarh JK s Wagah, the Chief Minister said she will be delighted if the border town is promoted as a people-to-people meeting point with Sialkot, in Pakistan, across the International Border (IB).She urged media to highlight the cultural camaraderie that exists between the people of India and Pakistan. “I wonder if hostilities can become news between the two neighbours, why can’t cultural bonhomie,” she asked, while touring border areas of Suchetgarh and shrine of Baba Chamliyal, revered by people on both sides of the IB.Mehbooba described as most unfortunate the recent incident at Handwara, but hoped that peace will be firmly entrenched in the valley, where years of turbulence has brought untold miseries upon the people.Favouring more transit points for people-to-people contact, the Chief Minister said cultural affinity across the two regions is too strong to resist. “I hope our good intentions are reciprocated by our neighbour,” she added.The Chief Minister, who also holds the charge of the Tourism Department, said Jammu has all the makings of an ideal tourist destination, provided the right strategy is framed to showcase Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex in the City of Temples, Mughal Sarais in Rajouri, Ranjit Sagar Dam in Basohli, border tourism in Suchetgarh and R S Pura and nature destinations like Patnitop, Bhadarwah and Warwan valley. “I promise to take tourism to all corners of Jammu, for which a proposal for a separate Tourist Circuit will be shortly finalized,” she stated.

Handwara molestation: Focus shifts on two youth named by girl in her statement

Focus has now shifted on the two youths, who are at the center of storm for allegedly ‘assaulting and dragging’ the Handwara schoolgirl after she came out of the washroom on April 12.Police have arrested 25-year-old Hilal Ahmad Banday aka Mohammad Iqbal Banday after he surrendered before the police on April 18, days after he was named by the school girl in a video released by the army.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Massive manhunt has been launched to track down the second unidentified youth in school uniform who instigated the crowd against the army.Police have booked Hilal under section 509 and 354 of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC). The girl had identified Hilal as the person who allegedly slapped her when she was confronted by a mob after rumors spread that she was molested allegedly by an army trooperLater, in her statement before the Judicial Magistrate she stated she was confronted, assaulted and dragged by two boys and her bag snatched as soon as she came out of lavatory.Violent protests had rocked Handwara Township on April 12 after locals alleged that a girl was molested by the army trooper when she entered into a public washroom. Five people were later killed in the security forces firing on the protestors at different places across Kupwara district.The family of Hilal however has denied his role in the molestation row that rocked the north Kashmir township.Hailing from a well-off family, Hilal is youngest of the three brothers who own the biggest showroom of hardware and plywood in the Handwara Township.”On the day of the incident Hilal was busy at the shop as usual. He reached to the spot after 10 minutes of the incident and that too when crowds had gathered. Since they (girl and her family) are our neighbours, he intervened to save her and send her home. There was no question of slapping the girl. She is like our sister,”Bilal Ahmad Banday, brother of Hilal, told dna.Bilal said his brother went to the police station on his own after they came calling. “Hilal is innocent. Police came to our home. But our brother went on his own to the police station because he knows he is innocent and has nothing to hide,” he said.The family is now hoping that Hilal will be granted bail in couple of days. “We have moved a bail application and hopefully he will be free soon. In fact the father of the girl is a very good man and we have very good relations with him”, said Bilal.Police said efforts are on to track down the unidentified boy in school uniform to unravel the conspiracy behind the Handwara unrest.”The boy (Hilal) must be in custody. I have no idea (about the second boy) because I am in Jammu”, said Uttam Chand, deputy inspector general of police, north Kashmir range.Meanwhile, the Handwara schoolgirl and her father was presented before the J&K State Women’s Commission (SWC) at Srinagar on Friday.

Paradise bursts at seams with tourists again

Forget Handwara, the Kashmir Valley is bursting at the seams with tourists. Official figures reveal that the daily tourist arrivals from different parts of the country have touched 8,000. Officials said tourist bookings are at their peak this season as scorching heat wave sweeps most parts of the country.National Institute of Technology (NIT) crisis and Handwara unrest had sent shivers down the tourism operators as prolonging of imbroglio could have sounded a death knell for the sector.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Yes it has so far survived the brunt (of Handwara and NIT crisis). Cancellations There have been not much cancellations. Since we have survived Handwara and NIT, bookings have started pouring in again”, GM Dag, president Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHROF), told dna.Sensing trouble, Jammu and Kashmir government too acted fast to allay fears and restore confidence among the visitors in different parts of the country. “We gave advertisements in different states. Thankfully we had no cancellations. There is a huge rush of tourists in the valley”, Peerzada Zahoor, deputy director tourism, told dna.Official figures reveal that 2, 16,252 tourists arrived in Jammu and Kashmir from January 1 to March 18 this year against 82,376 in the corresponding period last year. The arrivals include 5,524 foreigners against 4,494 in corresponding period last year.What has been the icing on the cake is the two-day Shikara festival that kicked off on Wednesday at the famed Dal Lake. The festival will showcase not only our the Shikaras and houseboats but rich cultural heritage of Kashmir.”Shikara and houseboat is our USP. We conduct this festival every year. It is a regular activity. The basic aim of organising the festival is to provide some entertainment and involve tourists,” said Zahoor.On day first, Bandpather (Kashmiri folk theatre) and Chakri (Kashimiri folk songs) were presented which enthralled the tourists. Shikara race, Canoe polo match, dragon boat race and cultural show are all planned for the second day of the festival. “The response was very good. Tourists were also given a free joy ride in Shikaras on day first, said Zahoor.This year the Jammu and Kashmir government has gone into an overdrive to sell Kashmir as an ideal tourist destination for the visitors. From holding road shows in different states to organizing familiar tours, the government is trying to create a feel good factor and overcome negative propaganda which hampers the arrivals.Last year tourism arrivals witnessed a sharp decline after the rumours about another deluge spread across the country. Official figures reveal that 9.5 lakh tourist arrived in the valley in entire 2015.”We have proposed that tourist promptional shows should be held in Gujarat, Maharashtra and West Bengal from where we get bulk of the tourists. And it should not be a one day affair but it should held for at least one-week to woo tourists to Kashmir,” said Dag.

Your letter on Kashmiri youth lacks humanism: Barkha Dutt to Chetan Bhagat

Ask the men who really have to go to battle and they might tell you that if you genuinely care about the well-being of our soldiers, if you want to stop this senseless cycle of violence, you need a sustainable peace process in the Valley. And what you need above all is the imagination and gentleness of an Atal Behari Vajpayee who famously offered the Kashmiri people whatever was possible within the bounds of “Insaniyat”.

This is an excerpt from consulting editor of NDTV Barkha Dutt’s open letter to author Chetan Bhagat, who in his open letter titled ‘Letter to Kashmiri youth: Even if you don’t like India, here’s why your best bet is to integrate J&K with it’ said, “The terrain is rugged and the area is completely landlocked. Even if we were to indulge the argument that India is a terrible country and so Kashmir Valley should be on its own, can you really build a sustainable country out of it? It will be a tiny stub in a troubled area, abused by both India and Pakistan.”

Barkha Dutt and Chetan Bhagat. GettyBarkha Dutt and Chetan Bhagat. Getty

Barkha Dutt and Chetan Bhagat. Getty

The two letters, not to anyone’s surprise, started quite a war on Twitter and other social media. Dutt’s letter, a mildly-worded, yet sending a stern message, told Bhagat that his letter lacked the humanism it required “because when you play with fire, you sometimes end up burning down the whole house.”

Chetan Bhagat in his letter, which was published on 16 April, addressed his “Kashmiri friends (the ones who don’t like India),” and said that it was most practical for them if Kashmir was assimilated in India. Furthering his point, Bhagat argues that if Kashmir (India occupied) was left alone it would be “a tiny stub in a troubled area, abused by both India and Pakistan. With no real economy and extreme dependence on its giant neighbours, it risks becoming a cesspool of terrorism, drugs and smuggling.”

In her point-by-point rebuttal, Dutt said the “complexity” of the situation demanded reconciliation and “not for shrill bombast by prime-time anchors who are modern-day hash tag warriors.” Taking offence to Chetan Bhagat calling budding cricketer Nayeem’s death ‘collateral damage’, she suggested that his phrasing dehumanised Nayeem and other civilians who were killed in the clashes last week.

It is this humanism, Chetan, that I had hoped your letter would have reflected – and didn’t. Because without it, we are in danger of pushing a state already on the edge right over the precipice. And because when you play with fire, you sometimes end up burning down the whole house.

However, it was just not Barkha who was disappointed with Bhagat’s letter. Sheikh Usman, in his reply to Chetan Bhagat in his letter ‘Thanks, but no thanks’, quite bluntly told the author that people like him who “easily become experts on the Kashmir issue sitting back in your comfortable Delhi or Mumbai homes- enjoying cups of coffee and believing what the state-sponsored Indian media wants you to believe. And then have the audacity to address us as our “sympathisers” and well-wishers.”

Of course, Usman’s letter lacked the linguistic niceties of Barkha’s letter.

Chetan Bhagat is not new to such controversies. The author of several bestsellers in India, has often ventured into debates surrounding sensitive issues and received severe backlash from all corners. In October 2015, when the issue of ‘award-wapsi’ was raging and being debated across the nation, Bhagat had posted a number of tweets, a day after 53 historians, including leading names like Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, KN Pannikar and Mridula Mukherjee, expressed serious concerns over recent developments in a joint statement released by ‘Sahmat’.

On the issue of several writers returning their prestigious awards, Bhagat said, “Return your award. Go for it. But be clear what you are returning it for. Are Indians intolerant? Or is the govt intolerant?”

Bhagat put up an article titled Anatomy of an internet troll, early in July where he talked about “self-claiming Modi loyalists” or “bhakts”, referring to them as “sexually frustrated” among other things:
“They are generally not good at talking to women. As a result they are unlikely to know how to behave with them or woo them… In other words, if I may say so, they are sexually frustrated with no way of getting it.” His statements in the post ended up being trolled on Twitter.

In August 2013, Bhagat had used the term ‘rape’ in one of his tweets as a metaphor, but that did not please people quite as much. His tweet went like:

“The rupee is asking, is there no punishment for my rapists?”

When a wave of criticism hit the author for his ‘poor joke’, Bhagat deleted the tweet and responded:

You can read more of his controversies here, because this article will be longer than intended if we start listing out all the goof-ups by Mr Bhagat.

Kashmir separatists being pushed to defeatist mindset: RSS

New Delhi: Dubbing separatists in Jammu and Kashmir as “defeatists”, a pro-RSS journal on Tuesday said they are fuelling “anti-India sentiment” by raking up “minor incidents” to reinvigorate their “lost battle” against the country.

The editorial in pro-RSS publication Organiser said it has been the “old strategy of separatists to fuel anti-India sentiment, malign armed forces and disturb peace in Jammu and Kashmir by using minor incidents”, but good, participatory and transparent governance is the best solution to defeat such mindset.

The journal cited the joining of 143 youths in Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JKLI) of the army after successful completion of year-long training as a “classic example of this transformation” and said this is pushing the separatists into a “defeatist” mindset.

A file photo of NIT Srinagar. IBN LiveA file photo of NIT Srinagar. IBN Live

A file photo of NIT Srinagar. IBN Live

“This ground reality is pushing the separatist to the defeatist mindset. As some intellectuals and media personnel, who are losing their safe cocoons within the power corridors, are being ‘intolerant’ to the rising aspirations of Bharat, some self-proclaimed leaders of Kashmiri people are attempting to reinvigorate their lost battle.

“The path of good governance with participatory and transparent approach and increased mingling of other states in Jammu and Kashmir and vice versa is the best solution to defeat the mindset of these defeatists,” the editorial said.

The editorial “Defeating the Defeatists” said the two incidents in the Valley involving the wrath against non-Kashmiri students in NIT Srinagar and another attempt to target Indian Army in Handwara “may look distant but they
reflect the same mindset”.

The article also hit out at separatist leaders like SAS Geelani, saying they have “nothing to offer to the people of Kashmir except imposition of ‘Islamic nizam’ and youth are not taking to weapons in the state for that.”

“The likes of Geelani who have nothing to offer except imposition of Islamic nizam (jurisprudence) in the state and aspiring youth are not going to take weapons for that. The self-inflicted Pakistan is glaring enough for them to desist from such path, the editorial said.

The editorial said, “The economic, technological, cultural and educational achievements of Bharat are attractive and heartening enough for the Kashmiris as well.”

Attacking the separatists, it said, “Using minor incidents to fuel anti-Bharat sentiments, malign Bharatiya (Indian) armed forces and disturb the atmosphere of peace has been an old strategy of separatist tendencies in the Valley.”

“This renewed vigour for vitiating the atmosphere is rooted in the process of transformation taking place in the state,” it said.

In the case of NIT, the editorial said, an incident of clash between two students group should not have disturbed “the so-called Kashmiri leadership, as it was just a matter of a campus and issue was pertaining to winning or losing a cricket match.”

The journal said separatist leaders did not have much stake in the campus still factions of the Hurriyat-led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik gave a call for the shutdown alleging harassment of Kashmiri students studying outside the state.

“Unfortunately, National Conference leader towed the line of these leaders. The reality is, it was the non-Kashmiri students who have been facing the brunt of some separatist elements in NIT Srinagar, this time decided to fight back bravely,” it said.

On the Handwara incident, the editorial said the “incident was again used to negate the democratic dividend to common people of the state.”

“Both these incidents were on the background of reinstating of the PDP-BJP government in the state,” it said, lauding the Centre and the state government for their “matured response”.

The journal said Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is well aware that to ensure transparency and governance as envisaged by her late father, “the institutions like NIT and foundation of peace created by the army, are very critical to her.”

Unrest in Handwara indicates that Pakistan will go to any extent to claim Kashmir

The Srinagar Valley is smoldering. There was the violence at NIT, Srinagar, with media reporting that 2,000 non-Kashmiri students had left NIT, and another 1,000 non-Kashmiri students proceeded on leave. The Centre was forced to rush in CAPF units, with some students alleging that the local police beat up non-Kashmiri students who actually were the very victims of the student violence. The issue has not died down. There were calls to move the NIT out of Srinagar which the CM refused. Now student unrest is being reported in Rajouri as well.
The fires in Handwara are still burning after the violence erupted post allegations that a local minor girl was molested by army soldiers. It is a sad commentary that some Kashmiri radicals will even molest and rape local girls in order to please their masters from Pakistan’s ISI. The allegation of molestation created unprecedented violence including a mob of frenzied youth attacking an army camp. The army opened fire in self-defence which resulted in the deaths of five youths. The girl, accompanied by her father, was produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Handwara, where she revealed that after school hours on 12 April, she entered a public toilet on way back home but as she came out, she was confronted, assaulted and dragged by two boys and her bag was snatched. One of the boys was in school uniform. Significantly, a video shot right after the alleged Handwara molestation is on the social media, where the girl clearly says that no soldier tried to molest her, and that local boys had already planned to create disturbance and just wanted an excuse for it. The girl from Handwara was exceptionally brave and persisted with the truth, despite threats to her and her family from terrorists and their sympathizers. Otherwise, the situation could have been uglier.

Security personnel in Handwara. File photo. PTISecurity personnel in Handwara. File photo. PTI

Security personnel in Handwara. File photo. PTI

The separatist Hurriyat Conference questioned the credibility of the girl’s statement before the CJM and raised the issue of the youth killed because of army firing. Yes, innocent lives were lost, but it is not the army which is responsible for killing people in Kashmir. The Pakistan’s ISI and their Indian protégés (Hurriyat included) behind the violence want the world to focus its attention on Kashmir while the ISI and the Pakistan Army is slaughtering Baloch people into silence and targeting the Shia population of Gilgit-Baltistan (already reduced from 70% to 50%) through demographic invasion, institutionalized killings and military courts steamrolling valid descent. A former CISF officer, veteran of the 1st CISF Course, wrote on social media, “If you are surrounded by 1000 people who want to kill you…They are trying to burn you to death and pelting stones at you and the ones next to you, what will you do? Army men in Handwara were in the same situation. If they hadn’t fired, the mob would have lynched them. Is that what you want? If not, please support your Jawans. They did what they did to save the lives of their colleagues. Jai Hind”.
Now a blog (not any national daily) has reported that the state government is quietly shifting art treasures (including oil paintings, acrylic paintings, sculptures, artifacts wooden works, modern Art, Basohli paintings and a collection of the works of top artists of the country – collected over 58 years) on display at Kala Kendra, Jammu under pretext of ‘inadequate storage capacity’ and ‘suitable weather conditions in the Valley’. Significantly, the J&K Academy of Art Culture and Languages (JKAACL) is the custodian of these art works. Shifting these 300 paintings, 91 miniatures, 34 artifacts, 80 sculptors and a number of rare photographs has already commenced. The State Minister of State for Culture and Education was not even aware of the shifting having commenced till recently because the move was apparently ordered during the fag end of Governor’s rule. It is possible that even the Governor not aware of it. Significantly, it is being reported these art works are being shifted to the Academy’s strong room at Lal Mandi Srinagar, which was flooded with water in September 2014 causing immense damage to historic manuscripts and other art works. It is difficult to decipher whether this is an attempt to destroy old art, akin to what the Taliban and IS did elsewhere. If these art works are on display in Jammu, why can’t they remain on display to the public? The authorities can install air-conditioners and add additional accommodation, as required. Is this not better than locking them up in a strong room in Lal Mandi, awaiting the next deluge?
During 2013, the media, quoting the NIA had reported: one, Kashmiri terrorist groups had received US$ 100 million for terror operations in past two years; two, over the past 10 years. some Rs 600 crores were diverted to terrorism in J&K from within India; three, Rs 98 crores were diverted in one single year from the J&K Affectees Fund; four, the J&K Affectees Relief Trust (JAKART) has been facilitating Pakistani infiltration into J&K and; five, goods sent through trucks to POK were intentionally overpriced two-three times and additional money received was being diverted to terrorist operations. Syed Salahuddin, HuM chief has been involved in exploiting JAKART for funneling more than Rs 100 crore in J&K; manipulating funds meant for relief to finance terrorism in the state. The ISI has also been pumping in fake Indian currency, narcotics and drug money into J&K, drug proceeds being significant amount obtained through Taliban links.

With 42 terrorist training camps running full steam in PoK, the main branches of terror financing from Pakistan at Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Muzzafarabad service collection points at Pulwama, Kupwara, Sopore, Budgam, Doda, Baramula and Srinagar. It is unthinkable that with all the illegal funding coming in to finance terror, the politicians of J&K are not getting their pie. For example, how is it that the State Government is not aware of such a large diversion of funds from JAKART? Rackets like overpricing of goods transported by trucks, narcotics and fake Indian currency rackets would obviously have political connections including through the state intelligence. The irony of J&K is that none of the state governments have tried to focus on improving administration leave aside correcting the anti-national narrative, because retaining status quo implies enormous funds from all directions. So, while successful panchayat level elections are lauded, panchayats per se have little powers and hardly any finances. That is why no government in J&K has released data of the massive number of AIDS cases in the Valley courtesy Pakistani infiltrators. That is why, Pakistani and IS flags can be waved without fear. Ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pundits was successfully orchestrated by one political party. A subsequent attempt in Doda was made during the last regime.
Pakistan knows well that no matter what they do, including attempts to masquerade PLA Troops on posts along the LoC, it cannot get them J&K. Radical politicians and rabble rousers in J&K know this too. The more Pakistan implodes; the more ISI will attempt to destabilize India, J&K in particular. Nawaz Sharif being caught in the Panama web is an indication that the Pakistani military is holding all aces. It appears that, aided by China and cajoled by the US, the proxy war levels will be raised by Pakistan. The elder Bhutto had announced we will get the bomb even if we have to eat grass.

The present mantra of the ISI appears to be we will get J&K even if we have to sell our sovereignty to China. Only difference is that Bhutto succeeded in getting the bomb (not that he did not want J&K as well), but ISI can continue to destroy Pakistan until infinity in the vain hope of getting J&K. The Modi government and BJP as a coalition partner in J&K need to work within this paradigm.

The author is a veteran of Indian Army.

Curfew lifted in Handwara: Markets reopen, normalcy returns

Srinagar: Restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Handwara town were completely lifted after six days after the four-hour curfew relaxation on Tuesday remained peaceful.

Life returned to normal as markets opened when curfew was relaxed in the morning from 8 am to noon.

“Life has returned to normal in Handwara town after six days today. It was decided to lift curfew restrictions completely from the town,” a senior police officer told IANS in Srinagar.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The civil administration also removed an army bunker from the town after 20 years, using an earthmover machine to demolish the concrete bunker in Handwara Chowk.

Counter-insurgency Rashtriya Rifles soldiers had vacated the bunker last Tuesday when a mob attacked the bunker and set it ablaze partially.

Trouble had erupted in the town after wild rumours spread there last Tuesday that a school girl had been molested by a soldier while she was using a public convenience facility, near the bunker in the town square.

Five people were killed in firing by security forces in the widespread violence that engulfed Handwara and adjacent areas in Kupwara district after the molestation allegation.

The girl later deposed before the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) of Handwara that she had not been molested by anybody and that some local youth were responsible for accusing her and spreading the molestation rumour in the town.

Based on her statement, police on Monday arrested a local youth named Hilal Ahmad Bandey who the girl said had spread the rumour in the town.

Kupwara district magistrate Rajeev Rajan has suspended five lower-rung government employees in the district for stoking passions during the Handwara flare up.

Force against fury: Using troops to quell student rage in Handwara is a bad idea

Additional troops have been dispatched to Kashmir in the wake of the enraged demonstrations that shook Kupwara district last week. This is a depressing repeat of what happened in 2010, the last time stone-pelting demonstrations by young Kashmiris put the state on the back foot. Additional troops are likely to be as ineffective – indeed, counterproductive – as they were that year.

The tragic fact is that troop deployment seems to be the state’s reflexive response. When lathicharges do not work, they fire teargas shells. When that does not work, and those new troops provoke more anger, they try a water cannon. Then, they fire bullets. To the communities on which these tactics are used, these can come across as a killing spree animated by hatred and repression of that community – as it does to many Kashmiris.

The essential theme of these state responses is ‘law and order’. In fact, they have little to do with the law in terms of the Constitution’s objectives, only with the aim of imposing perceivable order – that is, lack of public disturbance. These responses were developed by the British, who set up India’s modern policing system. They set it up for colonial objectives. That is how Kashmiris now perceive and project them – as attempts to maintain colonisation.

A policeman uses a slingshot to hurl stones towards Kashmiri demonstrators during a protest in Srinagar in February. ReutersA policeman uses a slingshot to hurl stones towards Kashmiri demonstrators during a protest in Srinagar in February. Reuters

A policeman uses a slingshot to hurl stones towards Kashmiri demonstrators during a protest in Srinagar in February. Reuters

Handling this sort of eruption of rebellion effectively requires responsiveness before the eruption. But that is something the state does not seem equipped, or willing, to engage in. Riot control is what it does. So, things must reach riot point before the state responds.

I am reminded of a telephone call in the late summer of 2008. There were almost daily demonstrations by irate youth in Srinagar. I was taking a walk in a Srinagar park when my mobile phone rang. It was a senior officer at the Centre whose job it was to handle Kashmir. I had met him during a discussion of my book on Kashmir, when he had said it had given him several important new perspectives. ‘What is happening,’ he asked plaintively over the phone. ‘What do we do?’

I replied that I could offer no advice while the place was burning. ‘Call me in the winter,’ I said, ‘and we can talk in detail about what needs to be done.’ I actually expected him to call in winter. He did not.

He did call again in the summer of 2010, when the place was burning again. Youth were being killed in police and CRPF firing on an almost daily basis as the state struggled to control the situation and restore order. I realised with a sinking feeling that policymakers don’t actually make policy. Nobody does. There is no policy, only those terms: ‘control’, ‘situation’ and ‘order’.

If someone were trying to formulate policy, the key point to understand would be that young Kashmiris view themselves as innocent victims. They resent being viewed as ‘terrorists’ more than almost anything. It does not help that the state sees Kashmir as ‘terrorism-affected’ and so kept the apparatus of counterinsurgency, and repressive special laws, in place even after the previous militancy ended around 2006.

Young people who had nothing to do with that militancy resent being treated with suspicion and not being given the rights which they think Indians beyond Kashmir have. The fact to keep in mind is that the majority of Kashmir’s population was born in a time of violence. Throughout their lives, they have only known violence and instability. There is a great deal of trauma and stress among them.

Given the skewed child sex ratio (CSR) in the new century, a significant majority of today’s traumatised young are male. The 2011 census indicates a greater increase in the CSR in Jammu and Kashmir than in any other state. By and large, violence has inured these young men to fear – including of death. Also, this generation has been bombarded with exclusionary ideas regarding religion and society.

Since they resent the apparatus of counterinsurgency, which has given them a siege mentality since their childhood, deploying additional troops is a bad idea. It will increase their anger.

Of course, while the place is bubbling with rebellion, troop deployment appears like the only appropriate emergency response. As in 2008 and 2010, this is not the moment to engage in more appropriate ways. Those opportunities have gone. Hopefully, they will come again. That will be the time to engage, to sort out bottlenecks, ease resentment.

Handwara molestation: Jammu & Kashmir police arrest one of the accused Hilal Ahmed Bandey

One person was arrested in connection with an alleged molestation case of a girl in Handwara, an incident that triggered a cycle of violence for past one week in North Kashmir.Hilal Ahmed Bandey, one of the two accused identified, was arrested from Handwara by Jammu and Kashmir Police last night, official sources said, adding he is being questioned.Bandey was among the two persons named by the girl in her statement before Chief Judicial Magistrate. He is accused of manhandling the girl on April 12 while she was stepping out of a public restroom in Handwara town.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The girl had also denied the allegation by local people that an armyman had tried to molest her.In her statement before the Judicial Magistrate, “she said that on April 12 after school hours, while proceeding to her home with her friend, she entered in a public lavatory near main chowk in Handwara for answering the call of nature.(Women protest against police firing in the region.- PTI)”As soon as she came out of lavatory she was confronted, assaulted and dragged by two boys and her bag was snatched.One of the boys was in school uniform. The production of the girl along with her father before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Handwara was to comply with the order of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court,” police had said.The sources said that a manhunt had been launched to arrest the other accused named by the girl in her statement to unravel the entire conspiracy. Initial investigation indicate that the girl was spurning offers for a relationship from one of the two boys.However, the entire case will be solved once the second accused is also arrested, the sources said.(File photo of protest that had started over alleged molestation of a girl by Army man.-PTI)Immediately, after the locals dragged the girl from the public restroom, angry mob started pelting stones and ransacked the Army bunker in Handwara town.Incidentally, the locals had been demanding withdrawal of the bunker for quite sometime but the army had put its foot down, saying it was strategically important for the troops.Now the state government is likely to hand over the bunker to civil administration for development.Meanwhile, curfew-like restrictions continued in Handwara and its adjoining areas. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has appealed to the people to help restore peace and promised severe punishment to those involved in the violence in Handwara and Kupwara that left five people dead.

Jammu and Kashmir: Restrictions re-imposed in Handwara protests after 3-hour relaxation

Handwara, the epicentre of ongoing unrest in Kashmir, and its adjoining areas continued to witness trouble on Monday, prompting re-imposition of curfew-like restrictions after a three-hour relaxation even though mobile internet services were restored after four-day suspension.As the cycle of violence showed no signs of stopping, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti appealed to the people to help restore peace, promising severe punishment to those found guilty in Handwara and Kupwara incidents during which five civilians were killed in firing by security forces.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Authorities today gave a three-hour relaxation from curfew-like restrictions in Handwara town in Kupwara district and adjoining areas from 8 am to 11 am with an intention of extending it if the period passed off peacefully. However, the relaxation period saw around 150 youth pelting stones in Handwara town, a police official said. “The protestors were chased away and there was no damage,” he said, adding that the curbs were then re-imposed. “Restrictions were imposed again in Handwara, Trehgam and Kralgund areas of Kupwara district following violent protests,” the official said.In Srinagar, a group of students at Kashmir University staged a protest inside the Hazratbal campus against the killings in Handwara and Kupwara towns, the official said. He said a handful of students also organised a similar protest at Islamic University of Science and Technology in Awantipora area of Pulwama district.At both the varsities, the students dispersed peacefully. The authorities also restored mobile internet services across Kashmir valley at the stroke of midnight after keeping the services suspended for four days. The decision to restore the mobile internet services was taken as there was no major incident of protest or violence across Kashmir valley yesterday. Handwara town in north Kashmir and some adjoining areas have been under curfew-like restrictions since Tuesday last following allegations of molestation of a girl which triggered violence.Three persons including a woman were killed in firing by security forces on protestors on Tuesday while two more persons were killed in separate security forces’s action against protestors on Wednesday at Drugmulla and on Friday at Nathnusa. The Chief Minister, who was in Jammu, underlined the need for peace and tranquility in the state, saying these are a prerequisite for development and if they are absent, it is the common people who bear the burden. “I appeal to my people especially to the youth that wherever there is injustice, strict action would be taken and severe punishment would be given,” she said while talking to reporters on the sidelines of an event.She was asked about the action taken against those involved in the violence in Handwara and Kupwara that left five persons dead.

Handwara tense again, curfew re-imposed after fresh violence

Srinagar: Authorities on Monday re-imposed curfew soon after fresh protests erupted during curfew relaxation in the tense town of Handwara in Jammu and Kashmir.

Curfew in Handwara was lifted for three hours on Monday. PTI

Curfew in Handwara was lifted for three hours on Monday. PTI

The curfew was to be relaxed from 8 to 11 am in the northern town after days of uninterrupted curfew.

As soon as the curfew was relaxed, miscreants took to the streets and began stoning police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), a senior police officer told IANS.

“Security forces used batons and tear smoke to quell the protests after which curfew was re-imposed,” the officer said.

The officer said the situation would be reviewed on Monday afternoon to decide on further curfew relaxation.

Curfew was imposed in Handwara town last week following violent protests after locals alleged that a soldier had molested a school girl.

The girl told the chief judicial magistrate on Sunday that the allegation was baseless.

Jammu and Kashmir: Fresh protests in Handwara as restrictions lifted briefly

Fresh protests broke out on Monday in Handwara and neighbouring areas of Kupwara district in north Kashmir, prompting authorities to reimpose curfew-like restrictions which were relaxed for a few hours this morning, while mobile internet services have been restored in the Valley.Authorities lifted the restrictions on movement of people for three hours in Kupwara town in the district and the relaxation was further extended as there was no report of any untoward incident there, a police official said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The twin towns of Handwara and Kupwara had been rocked by violent protests that left five persons dead since last Tuesday. After a lull yesterday, fresh protests broke out today in Handwara, Kralgund and Trehgam areas.”Restrictions have been imposed again in Handwara, Kralgund and Trehgam areas of Kupwara district following violent protests,” a police official said.Around 150 youths started pelting stones in Handwara town as authorities relaxed the restrictions for three hours from 8.00 am to 11. 00 am, the official said.”The protesters were chased away and there was no damage done in the incident,” he added.Mobile internet services, which were snapped in the Valley following violent protests over the alleged molestation of a girl by an army soldier on Tuesday, were restored a little past midnight as there was no major incident of protest or violence yesterday, an official said today.Three persons including a woman were killed in firing by security forces on protesters on Tuesday while two more persons were killed in separate security forces action against violent protestors on Wednesday at Drugmulla and on Friday at Nathnusa.

Mobile internet services restored in Kashmir, curfew restrictions lifted for three hours

Srinagar: Mobile internet services were restored in Kashmir on Monday and authorities lifted restrictions
for three hours on movement of people in Handwara and Kupwara towns, which had been rocked by violent protests that left five persons dead since last Tuesday.

Internet services on mobile phones were snapped following violent protests in Kashmir. AP

Internet services on mobile phones were snapped following violent protests in Kashmir. AP

Mobile internet services were restored a little past midnight as there was no major incident of protest or violence across Kashmir Valley yesterday, a police official said.

Internet services on mobile phones were snapped following violent protests against the alleged molestation of a girl in Handwara last Tuesday. Five persons were killed in security forces action against protesters in Handwara and nearby Kupwara towns in the days to follow.

Authorities have lifted the curfew-like restrictions in the twin towns of north Kashmir from 8.00 am to 11.00 am, the official said.

He said if the relaxation period passed off peacefully, it will be eased for rest of the day. “So far, the situation is peaceful and there are no reports of any untoward incident from anywhere in the Valley including north Kashmir towns of Handwara and Kupwara,” the official said.

Life in most parts of Kashmir has started limping back to normalcy after remaining paralysed for almost a week due to strikes and protests.

Train services between Baramulla in Kashmir and Banihal, across the Pir Panjal mountain range, resumed
yesterday morning after remaining off the tracks for four days.

After five days, mobile internet services restored in Kashmir Valley

Srinagar: Mobile internet services were restored across the Kashmir Valley on Monday after the minor girl told the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) that she was not molested by any Army soldier.

Internet services from various service providers were suspended since Wednesday after rumours of the girl having molested by an Army jawan spread across the valley, leading to violence in Kashmir’s Handwara town.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

S J M Gilani, inspector general of police (IGP) Kashmir, told reporters that the mobile internet services had been suspended to prevent anti-social elements from spreading rumours.

Meanwhile, the minor girl allegedly molested by a soldier in Handwara town on Tuesday, was produced before the CJM Handwara by police in compliance with the high court directions.

A police statement issued late on Sunday said the girl had repeated her earlier statement before the magistrate.

“The girl accompanied by her father was produced before CJM Handwara. She said that she had entered a public toilet in the town on Tuesday to answer the call of nature. No soldier or anyone entered the toilet when she was inside. But when she came out, two local boys, one of whom was wearing a school uniform created a scene by snatching her bag and shouting at her. After this the girl said she was taken to the Handwara police station”, the police statement said.

Five civilians were killed in Kashmir’s Kupwara district following violent protests after rumours of the girl having molested by an Army soldier spread across the Valley.

Handwara incident: Girl records statement before CJM, says was molested by two boys, not army man

The girl, who is at the centre of the Handwara molestation storm, has recorded her statement before the Chief Judicial Magistrate in which she stood by her earlier statement that she was not molested by any army soldier on Tuesday.The girl along with her father was presented before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Handwara last evening and her statement was recorded, police said in a statement. “In her statement before the Judicial Magistrate she reveals that on 12-04-2-16, after school hours while proceeding to her home along with her friends she entered in a public lavatory near main chowk Handwara for answering the call of nature.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”As soon as she came out of the lavatory, she was confronted, assaulted and dragged by two boys and her bag was snatched among whom one boy was in school uniform,” the police said.The cops presented the girl before the Chief Judicial Magistrate following orders by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Saturday on a petition filed by the mother of the girl. The petition was seeking release of the girl, her father and aunt who are in police custody since the day when the allegations of molestation resulted in violent protests in Handwara town.The mother yesterday claimed that her daughter, who is 16 years old, was pressurised into making the statement that had exonerated the army personnel of the molestation charge. “The production of the girl along with her father before the learned CJM also complies with the order of the Honourable High Court,” the police statement said.Three persons were killed in security forces firing on protestors in Handwara town on Tuesday. Another youth was killed in Drugmulla area of Kupwara during protests against the Handwara incident a day later. In fresh violence on Friday, 18-year-old Arif Hussain Dar was killed while three others sustained bullet injuries when army opened fire to disperse stone-pelting protestors outside a camp in Nathnusa area of Kupwara, 100 kms from here.

Handwara incident: HC queries Jammu and Kashmir police on ‘detention’ of girl

Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Saturday directed the police to cite the law under which they have detained the girl, who was allegedly molested by a soldier in Handwara on Tuesday which led to violent protests resulting in the death of five persons.The mother of the 16-year-old girl, filed a petition before the High Court seeking release of her daughter and two other relatives from “illegal detention” of police, counsel for petitioner Parvaiz Imroz said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Besides issuing notice to the state, Justice M H Attar directed the superintendent of police Handwara and SHO of the police station concerned to tell the court under which law they have detained the minor girl, her father and aunt since the incident on April 12, Imroz said.He said the court also directed the police to present the girl before the chief judicial magistrate of Handwara for recording of statement.”The court has also said that father and aunt of the girl cannot be forced to appear before print or electronic media,” Imroz said.He said the case has been listed for next hearing on April 20.Meawhile, the mother of the girl claimed that her daughter was forced to give a statement. “My daughter is just 16-year-old and class XII student. She was forced by police to give the statement. Her father and aunt have also been detained.We have no information about them,” she told reporters.

Handwara incident: Two youth injured in clashes in Jammu and Kashmir

Two youth were injured as violent clashes between stone-pelting mobs and security forces rocked Kashmir on Saturday, police said. Yawar Rashid and Gowhar Majid sustained injuries when security forces fired pellet guns to disperse stone-pelting protestors in Trehgam area of Kupwara district, a police official said. He said both the injured were shifted to a hospital in Srinagar for specialised treatment. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Protestors resorted to stone-pelting on security forces at Nathnusa soon after police stopped and turned back MLA Langate Sheikh Abdul Rashid, who wanted to visit Drugmulla, the official said. Protests were also reported from Barsoo area of Ganderbal district where a group of youth blocked the road and resorted to stone-pelting, he said adding, the protestors were chased away.
ALSO READ Handwara incident: Family says girl pressurised into giving statement, demands independent probeIn Naidkhai in Bandipora, protestors set ablaze an abandoned barrack of police, he said. The tin-shed barrack had been abandoned following the recent floods. While most of Srinagar city remained peaceful, a minor incident of stone-pelting was reported from Natipora area, the official said. Kashmir has been witnessing violent protests since Tuesday following alleged molestation of the girl in Handwara town of Kupwara district. Five civilians have died in the clashes so far and nearly 50 people, including over 40 security personnel, have been injured.

High Court queries Jammu and Kashmir police on ‘detention’ of girl, kin in Handwara

Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Saturday directed the police to cite the law under which they have detained the girl, who was allegedly molested by a soldier in Handwara on Tuesday which led to violent protests resulting in the death of five persons.The mother of the 16-year-old girl, filed a petition before the High Court today seeking release of her daughter and two other relatives from “illegal detention” of police, counsel for petitioner Parvaiz Imroz said. Besides issuing notice to the state, Justice MH Attar directed the Superintendent of Police Handwara and SHO of the concerned police station to tell the court under which law they have detained the minor girl, her father and aunt since the incident on April 12, Imroz said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the court also directed the police to present the girl before the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Handwara for recording of statement. “The court has also said that father and aunt of the girl cannot be forced to appear before print or electronic media,” Imroz said. He said the case has been listed for next hearing on April 20.In her petition, through the counsel, the woman pleaded that her daughter, husband and sister have been kept in illegal detention in violation of the constitutional rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.Imroz also submitted before the court that the petitioner apprehends that the life of her minor daughter, husband and sister is in jeopardy. Violent protests rocked north Kashmir Handwara town on Tuesday following alleged molestation of the girl by a soldier. Three persons were killed in security forces firing on protesters that day. Another youth was killed on Wednesday at Drugmulla during protests against the earlier killings while another youth was killed during similar protests in Nathnusa area of Kupwara yesterday.The girl, however, denied that she was molested. The Army released a video of her purported statement in theis regard. The mother of the girl today claimed that she was pressurised into giving the video statement.

Deliberate attempt to destabilise Kashmir’s economy: PDP leader

Srinagar: With Kashmir witnessing fresh unrest, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday said there seems to be a deliberate and sinister attempt by vested interests to destabilise and subvert the local economy by fuelling violence.

PDP youth president Waheed Para, who was advisor to former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, said all right-thinking people must close their ranks to prevent such vested interests from carrying out their nefarious designs.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

There seems to be a deliberate and sinister attempt by certain vested interests to keep the vicious cycle of violence going on in Kashmir and destabilise and subvert the local economy, he said in a statement.

“We as Kashmiris have to ponder over the pattern of similar violent incidents that have always take place in almost in an akin manner whenever a new government assumes office in the State and at the onset of the tourist season in Kashmir,” the PDP leader said.

Para has been at the centre of a controversy as he reportedly blamed the youth for attacking an army camp that led to death of one person and injuries to three others in Nathnusa area of Kupwara yesterday.

Para, however, denied the statement attributed to him.

“I only said that nothing could justify killing of civilians and we should expect justice to the families as the Army has already ordered a probe which needs to be taken to the logical conclusion to restore people’s confidence,” he said.

Para urged youth to maintain calm and not to get provoked into such actions which only lead to a vicious cycle of death and destruction.

“We have already lost a generation of our youth to the conflict and can’t afford another generation to fall prey to this vicious circle of violence,” he said.

Para said such tragic incidents only undermine the government’s efforts to restore peace in the State which has undergone a “gory era of death and destruction” for the past more than two decades.

Five persons were killed in the unrest that began on Tuesday following allegations of molestation of a girl in Handwara.

Handwara unrest: Restrictions remain in force in Kashmir, mobile Internet services snapped

Curfew-like restrictions continued for the fourth day in parts of Kashmir following the killing of five persons in security forces action since Tuesday, even as mobile Internet services have been snapped across the Valley.Strict restrictions have been imposed in some areas in north Kashmir, including Kupwara and Handwara towns, to maintain law and order, a police official said.He said restrictions also continued in some police station areas of Srinagar city as a precautionary measure.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The affected police station areas include Maharajgunj, Khanyar, Nowhatta, Rainawari, Safakadal and Maisuma, he said.
ALSO READ When does lathicharge in Kashmir become news?The restrictions were imposed following the death of three persons during protests against alleged molestation of a girl by a soldier in Handwara town on Tuesday.Another youth was killed in Drugmulla area of Kupwara during protests against the Handwara incident a day after.
ALSO READ Kashmir singes as another youth dies in army firingIn the fresh spate of violence yesterday, 18-year-old Arif Hussain Dar was killed while three others sustained bullet injuries when the army opened fire to disperse stone-pelting protestors outside a camp in Nathnusa area of Kupwara, 100 kms from here, the official said.Mobile Internet services across Kashmir have been completely snapped to curb rumour mongering, the official said.More than 40 security forces men were injured in the clashes yesterday, the official said.Despite severe provocations, the deployment on ground exercised maximum restraint, he said.He said incidents of stone-pelting were reported from Mir Mohalla, Hyhama Chowk, Kralpora in Kupwara, Kralgund, Magam in Handwara and Cement Bridge, Baramulla yesterday.Police have appealed to the public to maintain calm and not to resort to violence.Meanwhile, normal life remained affected elsewhere in the Valley due to strike called by separatist groups to protest the killing of the youth yesterday.Shops, business establishments, private educational institutions and petrol pumps in most district headquarters of the Valley were shut, the official said.Police and paramilitary CRPF have been deployed in strength in sensitive areas to foil any attempt to hold protests.Most of the separatist leaders have either been arrested or kept under house arrest.Kashmir University has postponed all examinations scheduled for Saturday. A spokesman of the varsity said fresh dates for these examinations would be notified later.

Kashmir singes as another youth dies in army firing

Kashmir is on a boil after another youth was killed and three others injured when army allegedly opened fire on the protesters at the remote Natnusa village of North Kashmir Kupwara district on Friday.Arif Dar, a class XI student, was killed when security forces opened fire on the protesting mob outside the camp of 47 Rashtriya Rifles (RR). “Arif succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. All other injured are out of danger,” said Dr GN Lone, chief medical officer ofKupwara<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Arif’s killing, the death toll in the firing by security forces has reached five since Tuesday when protests broke out in Handwara Township over alleged molestation of a school girl by a trooper.Police said protestors pelted stones and tried to storm into the camp of 47 RR in the village. Security forces immediately swung into action and fired on the protesters injuring four of them. They were immediately shifted to hospital where Arif succumbed to his wounds.”Despite severe provocations the deployment on ground exercised maximum restraint. However, at Natnusa in Kupwara, the mob tried to enter the security forces’ camp and thearmy had to resort to firing in which one person lost his life,” said a police spokesman.Police said massive violent protests rocked Handwara and Kupwara on Friday and mobs attacked police and security force establishments and deployments. “More than 40 police men and security force personnel were injured,” he said.”The army exercised maximum restraint in spite of stone-pelting by a large crowd. Only when the mob stormed the army post, were they forced to open controlled fire in which some miscreants were injured,” Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar, told dna.The incident occurred a day after J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti chaired a security meeting and passed strict directions to all security agencies to adhere to the standard operating procedure (SOP) and exercise restraint while dealing with protestors.”I am extremely distressed as the cycle of violence has consumed yet-another life of a young boy. My heart goes out to the bereaved family of the boy who died in the prime of his youth,” Mehbooba said. “I appeal to general public to remain vigilant and maintain calm to defeat the nefarious designs of those who want to disturb peace in the state”.The incident came despite the strict curfew imposed by the authorities in different parts of Srinagar and North Kashmir. Protests demonstrations were held at several places post Friday prayers in Kashmir.For the second day, the mobile Internet services were suspended in Kashmir. Strict restrictions were imposed on the people’s movement and nobody was allowed to enter the sensitive Handwara Township.Kashmir observed the spontaneous strike on Friday against the killings. There was no call for strike though the separatists had called for protests after Friday.Almost all the separatists have called for bandh on Saturday against the fresh killing at Natnusa village of Kupwara.

One killed and 47 injured in volatile situation in Kashmir valley

Srinagar: Volatile situation prevailed in Kashmir on Friday with one more youth getting killed and 47 others, including over 40 security personnel, being injured in clashes which rocked many parts of the valley, spreading beyond Kupwara, the epicentre of the four-day unrest.

18-year-old Arif Hussain Dar was killed while three others sustained bullet injuries when army opened fire to disperse stone-pelting mobs outside a camp in Nathnusa area of Kupwara, 100 kms from Srinagar, a police official said.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed deep anguish over the death and appealed to the general public to remain vigilant against nefarious designs of elements who want to disturb peace in the state.

The local residents were protesting against the killing of four persons — three in Handwara on Tuesday and one in Drugmulla on Wednesday — in action by security forces against protestors who were demonstrating against alleged molestation of a girl.

The three injured persons were referred to SMHS hospital for specialised treatment, the official said.

An army official said the forces opened fire only after the mobs tried to storm the camp.

“A group of protesters were pelting stones at the (army) camp but the soldiers exercised restraint. However, the situation started going out of hand as a large number of them tried to storm the camp from all directions,” he said.

With Friday’s casualty, the death toll has risen to five in the unrest that began on Tuesday following allegations of molestation of a girl in Handwara.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

While Kupwara district has been witnessing trouble since Tuesday, protests spread on Friday to other parts of the Valley including Sopore town in Baramulla district, Tral in Pulwama district, Bijbehara in Anantnag district, Srinagar city and Kangan area in Ganderbal district.

Zachaldara, Kralgund, Kralpora, Mir Mohalla, Drugmulla and Magam were the other areas in Kupwara district where violent protests were witnessed.

Two civilians were injured in action by security forces in Heeri area of Trehgam and Kupwara town during the protests.

Showkat Ahmad Ganai was hit by a teargas shell in the head at Heeri and has been referred to a hospital here while Sajad Ahmad Bhat of Poshpora sustained bullet injury in the leg in Kupwara town during protests, the official said.

A police spokesman said over 40 of its personnel had been injured in the clashes.

Among the cops, one sustained injuries after being hit by a stone at Magam while a Head Constable of Jammu and Kashmir police was injured in clashes in Kangan town.

In Sopore, a small group of 40 people indulged in stone-pelting after Friday prayers, a police official said.

In Tral town, the protestors pelted stones on a CRPF camp but they were chased away, the official said.

Incidents of stone-pelting were reported from Goriwan in Bijbehara area of Anantnag district as well, he added.

An official spokesman said the Chief Minister has expressed deep anguish over the “unfortunate death” of a youth at Natnusa in Kupwara district on Friday.

Sharing the grief of the victim s family over the inconsolable loss, Mehbooba said, “she is extremely distressed as the circle of violence has consumed yet-another life of a young boy. My heart goes out to the bereaved family of the boy who died in the prime of his youth.”

The Chief Minister appealed to general public to remain vigilant and maintain calm to defeat the nefarious designs of those who want to disturb peace in the state.

Separatist groups including JKLF and Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq tried to stage separate protest demonstrations against the killings in Srinagar but their attempts were scuttled by the police and several of their activists were detained.

Mirwaiz and chairman of hardline Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani are under house detention while and JKLF chief Mohammad Yasin Malik is in preventive custody.

Separatist groups including hardline Hurriyat Conference have called for a shutdown tomorrow to protest against the fresh deaths.

Kashmir University has announced postponing of all examinations scheduled for Saturday.

A spokesman of the varsity said fresh dates for these examinations would be notified later.

Jammu & Kashmir: One dead, three injured in firing by security forces in Kupwara

Four persons were injured, one of them critically, as security forces opened fire on Friday in Kupwara district of Kashmir to disperse protesters who were pelting stones on an army camp during a demonstration.Protests rocked many places in Kupwara and its adjoining areas to mark the fourth day of death of three persons who were killed in firing by security forces in Handwara town on Tuesday following allegations of molestation of a girl.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A police official said four persons were injured when security forces opened fire on a group of protestors who were pelting stones on an army camp at Kupwara’s Nathnusa area, about 100 kms from Srinagar. Among the injured, condition of one youth Arif Ahmad was stated to be critical, he said.The situation in the north Kashmir district has worsened following fresh casualties as more people are taking to streets against the killings. Reports of protests were also received from parts of south Kashmir and Srinagar city but there were no casualties in these incidents, the official said.So far four persons have been killed in Kashmir in the unrest that began on Tuesday following allegations of molestation of a girl in Handwara.

Handwara firing: Kashmir remains tense, mobile internet suspended

Curfew-like restrictions continued for the second day in parts of Kashmir and mobile internet services were Wednesday suspended in some areas as tension prevailed in the Valley following killing of four persons in action by security forces during violent protests since Tuesday.Strict restrictions have been imposed in Kupwara town, Kralgund, Handwara, Magam and Langate areas in north Kashmir to maintain law and order, a police official said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the restrictions were imposed following death of three persons during protests against alleged molestation of a girl by a soldier in Handwara town on Tuesday. Another youth was killed in Drugmulla area of Kupwara during protests against the Handwara incident yesterday.
ALSO READ Bring back my Gavaskar: Mother grieves for her cricketer son who died in Handwara firing Restrictions also continue in six police station areas of Srinagar city where sporadic incidents of stone-pelting were reported through the day yesterday, the official said.He said the affected police station areas include Safakadal, Maharajgunj, Khanyar, Nowhatta, Rainawari and Maisuma.
ALSO READ Watch | Handwara firing: Kashmiri girl denies soldier molested her, claims local youth harassed herNormal life remained affected in the Valley due to a strike call by separatist groups. Markets remained closed while public transport was off the roads due to the strike.Authorities have suspended mobile internet services in north Kashmir areas to curb the menace of rumour mongering, the official said.Although the situation in most of the Valley has been peaceful so far, isolated cases of stone-pelting have been reported from some parts including south Kashmir’s Kulgam town, he said.A cab driver was injured in a stone-pelting incident in Kulgam, the official said.

Army rebuts molestation charge with girl’s video as firing death toll reaches 4

The army on Wednesday released a video in which a schoolgirl is seen apparently giving a clean chit to the soldiers in the alleged molestation case and blaming an unidentified boy for inciting people at Handwara town on Tuesday.The video was released on the day the death toll in the firing by army personnel on protestors climbed to four. An elderly woman, who was injured in the firing on Tuesday, succumbed to her injuries. A youth was killed when a tear smoke shell hit him at Dragmulla village of Kupwara district on Wednesday. Police said 110 cops and two CRPF jawans were also injured in different stone-pelting incidents in north Kashmir and old Srinagar city.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Violent protests had rocked Handwara township after local residents alleged that a girl was molested by the army trooper when she entered into a public washroom in the township. Two people had died when security forces fired at the mob which ransacked the bunker of 21 Rashtriya Riffles on Tuesday.On Wednesday Indian army released a 1.14-minute video of the girl with her face blurred claiming that it was clinching evidence to prove that there was no molestation bid and that an attempt was made to malign the troops.In the video, the girl donning white school uniform and wearing hijab said an unidentified boy appeared near the washroom and slapped her before inciting other people who had assembled at the spot.”I handed over the bag to my friend and entered the bathroom. When I came out and received the bag from my friend, a boy suddenly appeared and slapped me. He said, ‘Have all Kashmiris died?’ I screamed why he is saying so. A large number of people assembled at the spot. He (the boy) asked me to come with him to the police station. There was a police uncle nearby and I told him that I will go to police station only with him,” said the girl in chaste Kashmiri.The girl noted that the boy did not hand over bag to her and instead hurled invectives and abuses at her. “I did not see anyone (from forces). Hilal Bayia was also present there. He too slapped me. He asked me what I was doing there. I told him that you visit our home and know the atmosphere. I also exclaimed, are you saying the same thing’ (what the boy was saying),” she said.The girl averred that it seemed it was pre-planned because they were not listening to me. “The boy accompanied and thrashed me en route. He was not even handing over the bag to me. But then Shafi uncle asked him to leave and got the bag back. This boy was provoking the other people,” she said.Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar, told dna that the video proves that the whole act was an attempt to malign the army.”The video was recorded by the local media yesterday. We were waiting for authentication. It was released by us only after it was authenticated. The whole action had a malifide intent to malign the army. Investigation will cover all aspects,” he said.Video evidence notwithstanding, heads have started rolling in the Handwara firing case. District magistrate Kupwara suspended assistant sub inspector of J&K Police for negligence of duties. “Disciplinary action would be taken against erring officials under law,” the district magistrate said in the order.This followed the meeting of district administration with the civil society of Kupwara to defuse tension. “A magisterial enquiry would be completed in one month’s time. I will write to the army authorities for removal of the bunker situated in the Main Chowk Handwara within one month,” the district magistrate said.The government has also agreed to provide ex-gratia for the next of kin of all deceased persons. “A lenient view will be taken in general FIR as nobody has been nominated in general FIR,” the order said.The agreement comes despite the strict curfew imposed in the Kupwara district. Curfew-like restrictions was imposed in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of six police stations of Srinagar city.Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti met defence minister Manohar Parrikar and called for a time-bound inquiry into the incident so that those responsible for the deaths are handed exemplary punishment. “This will act as a deterrent against such incidents in future,” she said.Separatists have extended the hartal call by another day and asked people to stage protest demonstration on Friday.

Handwara firing: ASI suspended for ‘mishandling’ situation

A junior police officer was on Tuesday suspended for “mishandling” of the law and order situation in north Kashmir’s Handwara town that led to the killing of three persons and injuries to four others in firing by security forces on Wednesday.”Assistant Sub-Inspector Mohammad Rafiq rpt Mohammad Rafiq has been suspended pending inquiries into yesterday’s incident,” a senior police official said. He said a magisterial probe and a departmental inquiry are being conducted into the incident.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three persons — two youths and a woman — were killed when security forces opened fire to disperse a stone-pelting mob which was protesting against alleged molestation of a girl by some of its personnel.The girl has denied she was molested and accused two local youths of hatching a conspiracy. Kashmir remained tense today as one more youth was killed in fresh clashes between protesters and security forces in the Valley amid curfew-like restrictions imposed in view of the disquiet following the death of three civilians in firing by Army yesterday.An Assistant Sub-Inspector of Jammu and Kashmir Police was today suspended for “mishandling” of the law and order situation in north Kashmir’s Handwara town where two youth and a woman were killed and four injured in firing by Army yesterday after allegations that a girl was molested by a soldier (rpt) by a soldier.Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is in Delhi on her maiden visit after assuming the charge, raised the matter with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who assured her that a probe will be conducted and the culprits punished.Describing the firing incident as “very unfortunate”, she said, “Such incidents should not happen in the future.” She said the families of the victims will be compensated.Northern Army Commander Lt General D S Hooda visited the affected area in Handwara and pushed for early completion of probe into the killing of three civilians yesterday. He termed the incident as “highly regrettable”.

Handwara firing: Congress demands ‘time-bound’ probe into deaths

Srinagar: Congress in Jammu and Kashmir today demanded an impartial and time-bound probe into the death of three civilians in firing by Army in north Kashmir’s Handwara town which triggered fresh clashes between protesters and security forces in the Valley.

Several state Congress leaders, including president G A Mir, were not allowed to visit Handwara town where they wanted to assess the situation after the incident and express solidarity with the bereaved families, a party spokesman claimed.

Angry youths throw stones on police during clashes which erupted after the killing of two youth allegedly in Army on Tuesday. PTI

Angry youths throw stones on police during clashes which erupted after the killing of two youth allegedly in Army on Tuesday. PTI

“The leaders demand a time-bound impartial probe into this firing incident, so that the truth comes to fore and guilty punished,” the spokesman said. Strongly condemning the firing incident, the party leaders said that “killing of innocent people, in any form, cannot be justified by anything.”

They termed the firing on protestors as “most unfortunate”, saying such type of incidents would further alienate the people and vitiate the peaceful atmosphere in the state. The party leaders also questioned the promises made by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to protect innocent people and ensure peaceful atmosphere in the state.

Kashmir remained tense today as one more youth was killed in fresh clashes between protesters and security forces in the Valley amid curfew-like restrictions imposed in view of the disquiet following the death of the three civilians in the firing by Army yesterday.

Watch | Handwara firing: Kashmiri girl denies soldier molested her, claims local youth harassed her

A Kashmiri girl who was reportedly molested by a soldier has denied the incident ever happened and has alleged that local boys harassed her and began the riots that led to the death of two young men when the army fired on protesters in Handwara on Tuesday, the Times of India reported. She was quoted saying in a video: “I went to the (public) washroom and handed my bag to a friend. When I came back, a Kashmiri student heckled me and snatched my bag. The boy in school uniform slapped me and asked ‘if there were no boys in the valley’ (angrily insinuating that the girl was in a relationship with a soldier). I was shocked and confused about what he had said. Suddenly, several boys gathered. The boy asked me to go to the police station with him. There was a police uncle nearby. I told the boy to return my bag so that I could go to police station with the cop. He said he would not return my bag and started abusing me.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There was no soldier there (near or in the washroom). I saw Hilal (an acquaintance). He slapped me and asked me what I was doing there. I asked him how he too could accuse me of any such thing (allegation of an illicit relationship) knowing me and our family. He too started abusing. It seemed that they had conspired in advance. The boy instigated all other boys too to create trouble,” the girls says in the video.Defence spokesman Col Manish Kumar said the the girl’s revelations exposed the malicious intent of perpetrators.Terming the Handwara incident as “highly regrettable”, Northern Army Commander Lt General D S Hooda, who visited the area , favoured early completion of probe into the killing of three persons after security personnel opened fired during a violent protest. “The Army has offered to take care of the expenses for hospital care and subsequent rehabilitation of those injured in the incident,” defence spokesman Lt Colonel N N Joshi said here.”The Northern Army Commander Lt Gen D S Hooda accompanied by Chinar Corps Commander Lt Gen Satish Dua today visited the Handwara area and interacted with officers and soldiers regarding the incident in which three civilians were killed when protesters tried to storm an Army post,” Joshi said. The General Officer Commanding in Chief of Army’s Northern Command termed the incident as “highly regrettable” and asked for an early completion of the inquiry which has been already ordered, the spokesman said. Army had yesterday ordered an inquiry into the incident while police said a magisterial probe and a departmental inquiry are being conducted.Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday sought from Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar a “time-bound inquiry” into the Handwara firing, which left a budding cricketer and two others dead. Mehbooba, who is on her maiden visit here after assuming post of Chief Minister, today met Parrikar and Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu separately.In her meeting with Parrikar, she sought a time bound probe saying it will will act as a deterrent against such incidents in future. Describing the firing incident as “very unfortunate”, the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister said, “I spoke to the Defence Minister. He assured me that a probe will be initiated and the culprits will be punished. “At the same time the family (of the victims) will be compensated. Such incidents should not happen in the future,” she said after meeting Parrikar.With agency inputs

Kashmir firing: Bring back my Gavaskar, says mother of aspiring cricketer shot dead

A narrow road in Banday Mohalla, about 200 metres from the main square of Handwara town in Kashmir Valley, leads to aspiring cricketer Nayeem Qadir Bhat’s home. Late Tuesday evening, a steady trickle of mourners poured into this young cricketer’s house who was killed by the Army in the afternoon, during a protest sparked by allegations of a molestation bid by a soldier.

“His father is with his body in the police station. Can you please tell him to bring my Gavaskar back,” Nayeem’s mother urges a group of mourners, including me, as we enter the house.

Nayeem was killed on Tuesday afternoon along with two other civilians when protests erupted in Handwara town, 69 kilometres  from Srinagar, after the news spread of an alleged molestation bid on a girl student by an Army man, inside a public convenience, located near an Army camp.

Nayeem Qadir Bhat dream was to play for India. Photo courtesy: Facebook

Nayeem Qadir Bhat’s dream was to play for India. Photo courtesy: Facebook

Late Tuesday, a video circulated on social networking websites, showing the girl in her school uniform, telling a group of police officers that she was not molested, but some boys from the town instigated trouble and even assaulted her.

The news of the alleged molestation spread like wildfire as hundreds of protesters hit the streets and attacked an Army bunker in Handwara chowk, assaulted the personnel deployed there, ransacked the bunker and torched it.

Nayeem, one of the four persons who died in the shooting, “was recording a video on his mobile phone, right opposite Kashmir cloth house, a famous landmark in the main chowk when he was shot. He died on the spot, said Abdul Rashid Saraf, a local shopkeeper.

The protesters were angry over the molestation of a school girl. According to another shopkeeper, two girls from a local government school had walked towards the public convenience constructed by the Army near their camp.

“While one girl stayed back, another entered the washroom. The girl waiting outside was soon heckled by a local boy who told her about the presence of an Army soldier inside the washroom. Within a few minutes, the girl inside the washroom also left, but a fight started between the boy and the Army man,” said the shopkeeper.

“Soon, a group of boys gathered and started protesting and attacked the bunker,” a statement by the Jammu Kashmir police said.

It was Iqbal Farooq Pir, 21, who was killed first and minutes later, Nayeem, who was hit by a bullet, also fell on the ground, witnesses said.

Inside Nayeem’s house, pictures of cricketers like Sachin Tendulakar, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kholi, Wasim Akram and Brain Lara, adorn his room. The back of his door has a a life-size poster of Kashmiri cricketer Pervez Rasool, when Nayeem had met him for the first time in south Kashmir’s Bijbehera cricket stadium,

“Cricket was his passion. He would travel to Baramulla Degree College to practice, which is 30 kilometre from here, almost three days a week and played for a local club,” Farooq Ahmad, Bhat’s cousin told Firstpost.

Nayeem was also selected for All India-level coaching camp for cricket three years ago and was a student of first year in Government Degree College, Handwara. He become famous after he showed his extraordinary performance in the state-level Under-19 cricket competition. He was the first cricketer selected for Under-19 cricket coaching camp from the northern district of Kupwara.

“He was a talented batsman and we played cricket together on the grounds of Baramulla Degree College for years. He played for ‘Star Eleven’ Handwara. He was a gifted cricketer,” Amir Nabi, a resident of Baramulla town, who practiced with Bhat, told Firstpost on Tuesday.

“His dream was to play for India,” Amir added.

Protests in Handwara after the firing. Photo courtesy: Facebook

Protests in Handwara. Photo courtesy: Facebook

Gh Qadir Bhat, Nayeem’s father, told Firstpost inside the Handwara police station, that his son could have been saved if the forces had not fired directly at protesters, “They could have chased them away by firing in the air. What was the need to fire at these young boys directly,” he said.

Medical Superintendent of District Hospital Handwara, Dr Rouf said Iqbal had received bullets in face, while bullets hit Nayeem’s abdomen. “Iqbal died on spot,” he said. Dr Rouf said that the hospital treated over 9 injured persons.

Another women, Raja Begum, who was hit by a bullet while working in her field, was declared ‘brain dead’ by doctors in Srinagar SKIMS hospital, late evening, while Rayees Ahmad, who was hit in his chest and is undergoing treatment. His condition is said to be critical.

Director General of Police, K Rajendra, told Firstpost that the police has taken up the investigation. “Anyone found guilty will be punished, I can assure you that,” he said.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was in a meeting with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi, when the killing took place. She expressed “tremendous grief” over the killings and said forces personnel involved in the incident would be handed exemplary punishment.

While in the Opposition, Mehbooba Mufti was known for raising voice against the killings and other human rights violation. She had accused former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah of being ‘incapable to handle the situations’ and accused him to be ‘more invested in Delhi.’ How she will deal with the situation as a Chief Minister only time will tell as Handwara is simmering with anger with protesters ransacking and torching a building late in the night.

Jammu and Kashmir: Army opens fire on mob, kills two youth protesting molestation of class XI student

North Kashmir township of Handwara is on the edge after two youths were killed when Indian Army troops allegedly opened fire on the protesters who were agitating against the alleged molestation of the class XI student allegedly by an army trooper on Tuesday.Eyewitness said security forces opened indiscriminate firing on a large group of people who had assembled outside the bunker of 21 Rashtriya Rifles to protest against the alleged molestation of the girl.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Protestors later pelted stones at the bunker and tore down the flag. Security forces immediately opened fire on the protestors killing two youth — Mohammad Iqbal and Nayeem Qadir Bhat.While Iqbal died on the spot, Nayeem succumbed to his wounds in the hospital. Iqbal was working as a salesman at a local photography shop while Nayeem was a student and a budding cricketer who was recently selected for Under 19 team by J&K Cricket Association.”There was a protest march and people were demanding that the accused trooper should be handed over to them. Army troopers in the bunker fired on the mob killing two youth. Protesters have kept their bodies on the road demanding action against the troopers,” said Farooq Ahmad, one of the eyewitnesses at the spot.Police said they have registered a case and launched investigation to ascertain the facts and unravel the truth.”There was an allegation that the forces deployed there have misbehaved with a girl. Immediately a large crowd assembled and tried to ransack and set ablaze the bunker. Forces deployed there opened fire in which two youth were injured who later succumbed to their injuries,” said SJM Gillani, inspector general of police, Kashmir Zone.Under fire, the army said they regret the incident and assured probe into the matter. “Army deeply regrets the unfortunate loss of life. Matter will be investigated and anybody found guilty will be dealt with as per law,” said Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar.Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti also assured that the soldiers involved in the incident would be handed out exemplary punishment. Mehbooba talked to the Northern Army Commander Lt Gen DS Hooda and raised the demands for shifting of the bunker from the area.”The army commander informed her that they have already ordered an inquiry into the incident and tangible action will be taken once the probe is completed,” said an official spokesman.Tension has gripped the township with hundreds of people taking to streets and pelting stones on the security forces. Forces have resorted to lathi charge and using tear smoke shells to disperse a mob.Reports reaching here said there was a fresh firing in the area and a woman received bullet injuries in her head.Sensing trouble, district authorities have decided to impose curfew like restrictions in the sensitive areas falling under six police stations in the Srinagar city.Meanwhile, separatists have called for Kashmir bandh on Wednesday against the molestation and killing of two youth in the north Kashmir Township.

Budding cricketer among 2 killed in Kashmir firing: CM Mehbooba Mufti says ‘intolerable’ as Army orders probe

Srinagar: Two youth, including a budding cricketer, were killed on Tuesday in Handwara, about 85 kms from Srinagar, when Army opened fire to disperse a stone-pelting mob which was protesting against alleged molestation of a girl by some of its personnel.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said the security personnel involved in the killing of the youth will be given exemplary punishment as such incidents cannot be tolerated since these have a “negative impact” on the state government’s efforts to consolidate peace efforts.

Army ordered an inquiry while Jammu and Kashmir Police registered a criminal case and began investigations into the incident which triggered more protests in Handwara and had an echo in Srinagar and Pulwama districts of Kashmir as well.

Trouble started with protests by locals in Handwara over alleged molestation of the girl student.

Giving details of the incident, the police spokesman said within minutes of alleged incident of molestation by an army man, public in large numbers gathered there and attacked the army bunker in Handwara chowk.

Angry youths throw stones on police during clashes which erupted after the killing of two youth allegedly in Army firing following the molestation bid by a Jawan at Handwara in Kupwara district of north Kashmir at Downtown Srinagar on Tuesday. PTI

Angry youths throw stones on police during clashes which erupted after the killing of two youth allegedly in Army firing following the molestation bid by a Jawan at Handwara in Kupwara district of north Kashmir at Downtown Srinagar on Tuesday. PTI

They assaulted the personnel deployed there, ransacked the bunker and attempted to set fire to the bunker, he said.

“In retaliation, the security forces deployed (there) used force to disperse the violent rampaging mob. In the process, two individuals — Mohammad Iqbal and Nayeem Qadir Bhat sustained fire-arm injuries,” the spokesman said.

“They were evacuated to hospital where they, unfortunately, succumbed to their injuries,” he said, adding police deeply “regrets the loss of life”.

The police spokesman said a criminal case has been registered into the Handwara incident and investigations started to ascertain the facts.

Nayeem, a student of Government Degree College Handwara, was a budding top order batsman, who had attended an Under-19 national level camp three years ago, his friends said.

Several photographs of Nayeem at various cricketing events, including a net session with Jammu and Kashmir’s star all-rounder Parvez Rasool, were being circulated on social networking sites soon after his death.

In one picture, Bhat is seen shaking hands with a senior police officer before the start of a recent cricket tournament in the district.

The incident in Handwara had an echo in Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, as also in Pulwama in south Kashmir, where protests erupted and stone-pelting incidents were reported at some places, the official said.

Additional police personnel have been deployed in sensitive areas of the city to maintain law and order.

The Chief Minister, who was in Delhi, called up Udhampur-based Northern Army Commander Lt Gen D S Hooda over the issue and was told that the Army has ordered an inquiry and that tangible action will be taken once the probe is completed, an official statement said.

Mehbooba said the security personnel involved in the killing of two youths in Handwara will be handed exemplary punishment, saying such incidents “cannot” be tolerated.

She said such tragic incidents have a huge negative impact on the efforts of the government and the political leadership aimed at consolidating the peace efforts in the state.

The security forces must exercise maximum restraint and adhere to the Standing Operating Procedure (SOP) while dealing with the public protests as incidents of innocent killings cannot be tolerated, she said, while expressing solidarity with the families of the two youth.

The Army officer told her that he would look into the demand of the locals in Handwara area for shifting of a bunker.

Political parties, like National Conference and Congress, expressed grief and shock over deaths and demanded that a probe so that the guilty could be punished.

Separatist outfit Hurriyat Conference headed by hardline leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani gave a call for shutdown on Wednesday.

Jammu and Kashmir: Army orders probe into killing of 2 youths in Handwara firing

Army on Tuesday ordered inquiry into the killing of two youths in Handwara in North Kashmir during alleged firing by army men as Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said such incidents have a “negative impact” on the state government’s efforts to consolidate peace efforts.The decision of holding an inquiry was conveyed by Lt Gen D S Hooda, heading the strategic Udhampur-based Northern Command, to the Chief Minister who had called him to ascertain the situation on the ground. Expressing grief over the incident, Mehbooba, who is here on her maiden visit after taking over the reins of the state, called Lt Gen Hooda who informed her that the Army has already ordered an inquiry into the incident and that tangible action will be taken once the probe is completed, an official statement said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mehbooba said that security personnel involved in the killing of two youths in Handwara will be handed exemplary punishment, saying such incidents “cannot” be tolerated. The Army officer informed that he would look into the demand of the locals in Handwara area for shifting of a bunker.
ALSO READ Watch: 2 youths killed in alleged army firing in Handwara in Jammu and KashmirThe Chief Minister said such tragic incidents have a huge negative impact on the efforts of the government and the political leadership aimed at consolidating the peace efforts in the State. She said the security forces must exercise maximum restraint and adhere to the Standing Operating Procedure (SOP) while dealing with the public protests as incidents of innocent killings cannot be tolerated. The Chief Minister has expressed solidarity with the families of the two youth. According to Jammu and Kashmir police, an alleged incident of “misbehaviour/molestation” by an army man took place in Handwara town. “Within minutes public in large numbers gathered there and attacked the army bunker in Handwara chowk. They assaulted the personnel deployed there, ransacked the bunker and attempted to set fire to the bunker,” a police spokesman said.In retaliation the security forces deployed used force to disperse the violent rampaging mob and in the process two individuals namely Mohammad Iqbal and Nayeem Qadir Bhat were killed. A criminal case has been registered in Police Station Handwara and investigation launched to ascertain the facts, the spokesman said.

J&K: Geelani calls for shutdown in state over Handwara firing, other pol parties demand action against guilty

National Conference, Congress and CPI(M) on Tuesday demanded action against those involved in the firing in Handwara in Kashmir Valley in which two youths were killed and said the guilty be brought to book without any delay.NC President Farooq Abdullah and Working President Omar Abdullah said the onus was on Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to ensure that the truth comes to the fore without any delay and the guilty are brought to book. They expressed grief and sorrow over the incident and conveyed their solidarity with the families of the two youths, a party spokesman said here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Condemning the firing by security forces, Congress and CPI(M) demanded a probe into the killing of two youths. “Expressing deep shock and grief over loss of two precious lives in Handwara, JPCC President G A Mir has strongly condemned the firing by army personnel,” a PCC spokesman said.
ALSO READ Watch: 2 youths killed in alleged army firing in Handwara in Jammu and KashmirHe said the “unfortunate incident could have been avoided” and demanded a probe into the incident, “so that the truth comes out and the guilty personnel are punished”. CPI(M) MLA from Kulgam Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami also condemned the firing in Handwara town and demanded a time-bound judicial probe into the incident. “The alleged incident of molestation of a girl and subsequent killing of two youth in firing during protests is highly condemnable and heinous act which cannot be tolerated in any civilised society,” Tarigami said.He demanded that the authorities take action against those involved in the incident. Hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani called for shutdown across Kashmir tomorrow to protest the killing of the two youths.Moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also condemned the firing by security forces.