SRINAGAR: In what could be termed as a “healing touch”, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday ordered withdrawal of cases against 4327 youth allegedly involved in stone pelting incidents in the Valley.
“Mehbooba approved the withdrawal of cases against 4327 youth involved in 744 cases of law and order nature following the recommendation of a high powered committee headed by State Director General of Police S P Vaid,” an official spokesman said.
Vaid-led committee had submitted its report to the Chief Minister today.
After the recommendation from centre’s interlocutor on Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma and advice from union Ministry Home Affair to the State government to grant amnesty to first time offenders during the unrest last year, Mehbooba had directed the high powered committee to review of cases of youth booked by police in Valley for stone pelting incidents from 2015-2017.
Mehbooba had set in process of review of cases against youth booked for stone pelting in the Valley from 2008 to 2014 and in the first instance 104 cases involving 634 youth were withdrawn within two months of her assuming power, the spokesman said.
He said the process got disrupted due to the continued violence and unrest in Valley last year.
After the unrest in the Valley last year following killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8, 2016, authorities launched a major crackdown against youth and separatist leaders to end the unrest and restore peace.
Thousands of youth and separatist leaders were arrested by police for their alleged involvement in participating in stone pelting and fomenting trouble in Valley.
The state police chief has also been asked by the State’s home department to regularly monitor the progress in the cases of youth booked under stone pelting and furnish a fortnightly report to the government in this regard.
The separatists leaders, mainstream politicians and civil society members in Kashmir had been demanding release of all the arrested youth and separatist leaders and withdrawal of cases against them.
Mehbooba should visit Tihar jall: Farooq
Amid media reports about torture of at least 18 separatist leaders including son of Hizb chief Syed Salah-u-Din in Tihar jail, opposition National Conference president and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah today asked Mehbooba to visit the Tihar jail in New Delhi to assess the prisoners plight.
“The reports of assaults on Kashmiri prisoners in Tihar jail are extremely condemnable and unacceptable. Irrespective of their political affiliations and ideologies or nature of cases against them, the detainees have human rights that are detailed under the jail manuals and there should be strict adherence to these procedures and regulations and there should be no deviation,” Abdullah told reporters here.
He said instead of talking to Union Home Secretary, CM Mehbooba should herself visit the Tihar jail to have on spot assessment of the prisoners plight there.
“She should ensure safety of prisoners and also initiate a process of shifting them back to jails within the State while the cases against them are processed. The rule of law is supreme and under the same rule of law every detainee has unquestionable and non-negotiable rights. These rights have to be upheld at all costs,” he added.
Mehbooba had also yesterday expressed concern over plight of prisoners in Tihar jail.
She had talked to Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba yesterday and asked him to intervene into the make and take corrective measures.
Gauba had assured her of a thorough probe into the incident.
The photographs of some Kashmiri prisoners beaten in Tihar Jail were released to media by separatist leaders on Tuesday.
The separatist leaders have alleged that 18 separatist leaders including Syed Shahid Yousuf, son of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salah-ud-Din were injured in merciless beating by Tamil Nadu Police.
On the call of separatists, Kashmir observed shutdown on November 27 to protest against the plight of prisoners in jails within and outside State.