SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government has announced a velvet glove approach to review cases against those accused of throwing stones and violence during the five-month long unrest in Kashmir this year. Officials say cases against young men who are not involved in serious offences will be reviewed, in a move seen as an effort to reach out to the protesters.
“I never want the career of our children and youth who have been involved in unrest to be spoiled. I’m asking IGP (Inspector General of Police) who is here to look into cases against them. I already had discussions with him,” said Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party or PDP say the party fully backs the government move. “PDP as a party welcomes the government decision and Chief Minister’s resolve to see the youth engaged in positive activities,” said Nizamudin Bhat, General Secretary of PDP.
The police has registered more than 2,500 cases for stone throwing, arson and disruptive activities during the unrest. Around 10,000 people were arrested, most of them are now out on bail.
Around 100 people were killed and over 12,000 injured in the unrest that flared in July after Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani was killed by security forces.
But the BJP, which rules the state in alliance with the PDP, however said letting off stone pelters can be counter-productive. “Every time we have left these stone-pelters, they have become more hardened. With more force, they create more problems,” said BJP spokesperson Arun Gupta.
Human rights activist Khuram Parvez who was arrested under the Public Safety Act during the unrest said the government’s decision is welcome but police rarely review such cases even after a government directive.
“These people were booked for protests. They were protesting against the killing of 100 people. What about those who killed them, the armed forces and police personnel?” said Mr Parvez.