104 Cases Against 634 Stone Pelters to be Withdrawn
SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government Tuesday cleared decks for withdrawing 104 cases of stone-pelting involving 634 persons, a day after the chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti called for expediting review of such cases.
A three-member committee constituted by the government last month has recommended to the chief minister, who also holds the charge of Home Department, that 104 cases between 2008 and 2009 involving 634 persons can be withdrawn in the first phase.
According to officials, the recommendations have been sent to the J&K Police for follow up action which will pave way for release of youths, if any, who are lying in police custody.
The committee, headed by Director General of Police, K Rajendra with ADGP CID and Special Secretary Home as its members, has recommended that the cases filed against protesters between 2008 and 2014, should be withdrawn in a phased manner.
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.
The committee has, however, made it clear that the persons involved in heinous crimes and offences will be excluded from the review. According to officials, the recommendations of the committee have been forwarded to the police for immediate follow-up action.