CM Continues to Promise "Review" Cases Against Youth
SRINAGAR: Ahead of the upcoming Muslim festival of Eid, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti Monday ordered review of cases filed against youths for participating in anti-India and pro-freedom protests in the Valley.
Earlier, the chief minister had said her government will take a "humanitarian view" of the cases filed against thousands of young boys and adults who have been booked under various charges, including attempt to murder, by state police.
During a high-level meeting on Monday, the chief minister directed the home department to "review" the cases filed against youths who have been booked on charges of stone-pelting between 2008 and 2014 when the state was under the rule of Omar Abdullah.
"Such youths who took to the wrong path inadvertently have to be given an opportunity to restart their lives as productive citizens so that they can rebuild their careers. The Home Department should decide on merits how many of such cases can be withdrawn to give these young boys an opportunity to live as productive citizens,” the chief minister said, according to an official spokesperson.
The treatment of 'stone-pelters' by successive governments has sparked anguish in local population of Kashmir Valley where over 5000 youths have been booked under various crimes, including the draconian Public Safety Act, to "prevent law and order problems", according to separatist leaders.
Sensing the public mood, the then chief minister Omar Abdullah had first announced amnesty for 1811 persons involved in 230 cases of stone pelting incidents in 2010 and 2011 on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr in August 2011.
But the number of such youths grew rapidly over the years as public anger against the elected governments often spilled on the roads in the form of violent protests which were curbed with the use of lethal measures by security forces.
In the recently concluded assembly session, the government revealed that 799 persons were arrested in the state from January 2015 to January 2016 for participating in such protests, with maximum arrests made from the summer capital Srinagar while only one person was held in Jammu region.
(Cover Photo: Biggest Iftar with 3000 Kashmiris breaking the fast in Srinagar. Photograph Basit Zargar)