Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti announces amnesty to first-time stone pelters

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has announced amnesty to first-time stone pelters, officials said on Thursday.

Published: 23rd November 2017 10:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd November 2017 08:07 PM   |  A+A-

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti | PTI

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: Acting on the recommendations of central government’s interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir and Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday ordered a review of the stone-pelting cases in the Valley state from 2015 onwards.

“It gives me immense satisfaction to restart the process of withdrawing FIRs against first-time offenders of stone pelting,” Mehbooba tweeted.

She ordered the review of cases against the state's youth by an already constituted committee and furnishing of its recommendations within 10 days.

The Chief Minister said that her government had initiated the process in May 2016 but it was unfortunately stalled due to the unrest after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by security forces on July 8, 2016.

“The committee tasked to review the cases shall be the same as was constituted earlier by the Chief Minister to review cases against youth for the 2008-2014 period,” read a government order issued today.

In order to contain the unrest last year, police had registered over 10,000 cases against youth for their alleged involvement in stone pelting.  

Over 8000 youth, along with separatist leaders and activists were arrested during last year's crackdown.

Terming the “amnesty” to first-time offenders as a ray of hope for the young boys and their families, Mufti said that the initiative would provide them an opportunity to rebuild their lives.

She hoped that the initiative would help in creating a positive and conciliatory atmosphere in the state, where the youth would be able to build their lives in a much more constructive way.  

Mehbooba said that interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma had recommended the move to instil confidence among the stakeholders for a sustained dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Sources said after interlocutor Sharma’s first visit to the State, he had presented an interim report to the MHA. Acting on the report, MHA had advised the PDP-BJP coalition government in J&K to consider the release of first-time offenders booked during last year’s unrest and withdraw cases against them.

“The MHA had told the State government that the youth, who became first-time offenders in recent unrest in the Valley need a chance to rebuild their career and participate in job opportunities rather than being labelled as criminals for their entire life,” they said.

Sharma during his first visit to the State had met over 70 delegations.

Majority of the political and apolitical delegations, who met him in Srinagar and Jammu, had urged him to facilitate withdrawal of FIRs against the youth so that they don’t become habitual offenders and are given an opportunity to reform themselves.  

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