Cases against 634 stone pelters withdrawn

Cases against 634 stone pelters withdrawn

These cases were registered between 2008 and 2009; rights groups skeptical, say such amnesty granted by Omar Abdullah govt in 2011 was not implemented by police
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday announced that 104 cases registered between the years 2008 and 2009 have been withdrawn against 634 persons allegedly involved in stone-pelting incidents.
An official spokesman said that the amnesty scheme was implemented a day after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti gave instructions to look into these cases during a meeting to review pace of reforms in J&K’s jails.
A three-member committee headed by Director General of Police K Rajendra has reviewed the cases registered against individuals during tumultuous years of 2008 and 2009. However, the committee has sought three weeks’ time to review the cases between the years 20010 and 2014.
The human rights groups have been less impressed by the announcement. They said a similar amnesty scheme announced during Omar Abdullah led NC-Congress coalition failed miserably on the ground. The 1200 alleged stone-throwers who had been given amnesty during Omar Abdullah regime were not let off by the police, the rights groups said.
Mehbooba, who holds the sensitive Home portfolio besides heading the unified command headquarters in the state, had hinted in the last budget session of the assembly that her government would announce amnesty scheme for people booked for stone-pelting. On Monday she issued directions to the home department to review the cases.
An official spokesman said that a three-member committee constituted by the Government vide order No. 355-Home of 2016, dated June 26, 2016 in its recommendations submitted to the Chief Minister has proposed that the cases pertaining to the period between 2008 and 2014 be segregated and recommended for withdrawal in a phased manner.
The DGP headed committee comprises additional director general of police (CID) and Special Secretary Home as its members. The Committee is mandated to review the cases registered against the youth for stone-pelting during the period 2008 and 2014.
The Committee had taken up for review the cases pertaining to the period between 2008 and 2009 in the first phase and has accordingly recommended that 104 cases registered during this period involving 634 persons be withdrawn.
The spokesman said that the parents of the accused persons and the accused youth themselves, against whom the cases are to be withdrawn, shall have to give an undertaking that they will not indulge in such activities in future.
The Committee has, however, made it clear that the persons involved in “heinous crimes and offenses” will be excluded from the review. It has not specified the number of persons involved in “heinous crimes”.
The recommendations of the Committee have been forwarded to the Police for immediate follow-up action.
Meanwhile, the committee has sought three weeks time for review of the cases pertaining to the period between 2010 and 2014.
Mehbooba while chairing a high-level meeting on Monday regarding reforms in J&K’s Prisons had called for expediting the process of taking a holistic review of the cases registered against the youth between 2008 and 2014 for stone-pelting. She had said that the committee constituted for the purpose should decide on merits how many of such cases can be withdrawn to give these young boys an opportunity to begin their lives afresh and carry along as productive citizens.
However, the human rights groups have not shown enthusiasm in the latest amnesty scheme. Spokesman of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) Khuram Parvez said that in 2011, Omar Abdullah ha announced amnesty for stone pelters involved in 1200 cases, just before the Eid-ul-Fir. “Yesterday, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, as an Eid ul Fitr gift announced the amnesty for stone pelters involved in 104 cases. Omar Abdullah’s order was conveniently disobeyed by the Police. Let us wait to hear the truth about Mehbooba Mufti’s announcement, whether it will mean anything for the Kashmiri youth,” Parvez said.

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