Friday, June 4, 2010

Begar - forced labour, human shields

Greater Kashmir June 4, 2010

Delhi must apologize
Er S A Rasheed recounts the horror he and his people have suffered at the hands of men in uniform
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Today when I recall the bitter memories of those days when I along with my villagers had to get up at 4 in the night with kerosene lanterns in our trembling hands to perform the most terrible, inhuman, unjustified and humiliating forced labour (called Begaer in Urdu and Kashmiri) for the army, I shiver. Known locally as “convoy duty” (as we were supposed to provide protection to army convoys), this is the most dreaded form of “national service” being taken from the hapless inhabitants of my area. It was not primarily the forced labour which army forced the villagers into, but people had to face torture, humiliation and a lurking threat of getting killed or maimed. Since army men feared militant attacks, hence we civilians on “convoy duty” were used as human shield. Those villagers who used to be on “convoy duty” on their turn, had to do all sorts of manual labour the whole day, from cutting firewood to washing their clothes and utensils of course without any remuneration. From each hamlet of Mawer area, (a mountainous area comprising of around fifty villages), a group of four or more civilians, depending on the population of village had to reach the main road, assemble at a spot identified by the troops and with the kerosene lantern in their hands had to wait for the army jawans to come. Once the army would reach near the group, civilians had to jump like monkeys to give satisfaction to army that they are not suicide bombers and then army people would come closer and conduct our body searches to ensure that they do not carry bombs. After this process the group of civilians had to start their duty, by taking long sticks in their hands to search the road and its peripheries for any landmines or IED planted by the militants. This search by civilians continued to the next locality where another group of villagers waited to take the “charge” and the process continued till last village of Mawer area.

After performing this hazardous “duty” which normally took two hours, the said group of people had to surrender their identity cards at the nearest army checkpoint which were located at villages of Qalamabad, Maratgam, Choutipora, Langate & Haril. During this tormenting forced labour for the army, it would depend on ones good luck or the mood of the army jawans and the intention of the militants to ensure that how safe villagers remain throughout the day of their tormenting “duty.”

After depositing the identity cards at the army checkpoints at daybreak, the villagers had to report at various posts, camps or at other spots of the area, where army would need their “services.” The villagers were required to construct bunkers, get illicit timber from forests, gather firewood, wash their clothes and clean their kitchens, construct roads for installations and do everything whatever was ordered by the army personnel. However, for maximum time of the day we had to be around the jawans’ bunkers to protect them from attacks from the militants. It was only in the evening that we were returned our identity cards and allowed to go back home.

Skilled laboureres like carpenters, masons, timber sawyers had to work in the army camps regularly without any remuneration. Buses, mini-buses, trucks and even personal vehicles had to be kept available for army whenever they needed them for various purposes.

“Begaer” is the horror that still sends shivers down our spine. And no inhabitant was immune to this barbarity of the men in uniform. Everyday 4 to 5 households from each hamlet would send one member from their family for the day’s “convoy duty.” This was done on a rotational basis. However, whenever army would require additional men for any service, from using them for human shield during encounters with militants to do manual jobs at their camps, they would pick up anybody irrespective of his age and job. If someone was the only male member of his family or a government servant he still had to go for the army duty at all costs. If one would offer a handsome amount to anybody to go for the “duty”, but nobody agreed for this given the humiliation and threat to life.

Like any other villager, I had to perform this begaer as my father was a retired teacher and brother was a student. Hence I had to take this duty for army all these years. Sounds unbelievable, but it is a fact that those houses which were located on roadside were occupied by the army during night time. Army would come and bundle inmates in one or two rooms during the evening time. Family members including children were ordered not to make a sound and they would occupy the remaining house and keep inmates hostage till the morning. This was done to check the moment of the militants during nights. My own house was used for this kind of operation on dozens of occasions. These practices continued from Jan 1990 to 3 February, 2003. It only ended when I along with few youths took the battle to roads when an innocent youth Shabir Ahmad Pir of Shirhama village was killed in custody by 30 Rashtriya Rifles on 3rd February, 2003. People staged a huge protest demonstration and inhabitants of whole Mawer area decided not to do the humiliating “convoy duty” for the army. Though we couldn’t give justice to Pir’s family but under tremendous resistance from the villagers, army and civil authorities declared an end to the dark era of forced labour. For the traumatized villagers, this was no less than freedom.

It was a great day for we the wretched villagers but I had to pay for it. I was expelled out of my home by my parents as they were angry for me taking frequent tussles with the army over their excesses against civilians. I had been earlier expelled by my parents on the same reason, for they feared that army will take revenge from the whole family for their son’s “waywardness.” This was my third expulsion and lasted four and a half months. I had to pay a bigger cost for being the rebel as I was jailed in November 2005 by police who accused me for having sympathy for militants. Even after my release I was being harassed for different reasons. I finally decided to resign from my engineering service and contested 2008 assembly elections as an independent candidate and got through inspite of opposition from various quarters and forces. The primary reason for participating in elections was very simple. I was of the firm faith that it is the only civilized and democratic way to expose the atrocities faced by the Kashmiri people at the hands of security forces, renegades and militants. I after getting elected to state legislative assembly filed some 24 cases before State Human Rights Commission on 10th Dec 2009 on the eve of International Human Rights Day, seeking justice for innocent killings by army, police, renegades and militants. One of the cases was regarding the forced labour which we had to endue for years and I sought compensation for 13 years forced labour, for myself and my people.

It is my firm faith that we must not have double standards. We must respect human right irrespective of religion, class or caste. A violator is a violator weather he is in uniform claiming to fight for the security of country or a militant claiming to be fighting for Azadi. Government claims that militants are terrorists, without a religion, outlaws and have no respect for humanity. If it is assumed to be true then atrocities committed by militants are nothing new and one should not be surprised as their acts should be seen in light of this definition by government. However, when we define security forces, that they are obviously supposed to protect life, property, honour and dignity of the citizens of the country irrespective of their cast, region, religion or political affiliation. Security forces are bound by law of the land hence there should be a difference between them and the militants.

My intention is never to embarrass the security establishment of the country, but I deem it my duty to make my countrymen understand that nobody is above the law that is why I as an MLA had registered the case against the forced labour and I am seeking Prime Minister’s intervention to get myself and my people compensated for the barbarity we have faced. Let PM apologize on behalf of State that he is grieved because his own people were subjected to forced labour and other inhuman acts for 13 years.

If the Government of India is sincere in its claims of reconciliation and bringing Kashmiris closer to country’s mainstream, then there should be public dislike and abhorrence for the humiliation Kashmiris have suffered. And apologizing the people of Mawer will be beginning for that humane approach of Delhi.

Confidence, self respect, dignity and honour of Kashmiris – this all is to be restored and compensating inhabitants of Mawar and its adjoining areas will be a step forward in the process. Now when the CID has established (vide their letter No. CID/HR/SHRC/18/2010 Dt: 23/03/2010) that my complaint regarding forced labour is true, let government compensate and tender an unconditional apology. This will be a encouraging message for the Kashmiris. And it will deter potential criminals from going ahead with their designs.

(Er S A Rasheed is MLA Langate North Kashmir, Ideas expressed are his own)

Friday, February 5, 2010

14-year old boy shot dead by Indian paramilitaries

Troopers kill boy

Day 5: Kashmir Shut Amid Protests, Clashes


Srinagar, Feb 5: Barely five days after cops killed a 14-year boy in old city here, paramilitary BSF troopers allegedly shot dead another teenager at Kralsangri-Brain Nishat in the city outskirts here Friday.
“Sixteen-year old Zahid Farooq son of Farooq Ahmad Sheikh of Sheikh Mohalla Brain was shot in the chest by the troopers near the office of Inspector General of CRPF at Kralsangri-Brain Nishat,” witnesses told Greater Kashmir.
Locals said they rushed the injured Zahid to SK Institute of Medical Sciences Soura where the doctors declared him brought dead. “The boy was hit by a bullet in the chest but he didn’t have the exit wound. He was dead when he was brought to the hospital,” said, Deputy Medical Superintendent SKIMS.
As the word about Zahid’s death spread, massive protests broke out in Brain and adjoining areas with protesters demanding stern action against the erring BSF men.
Mourners, carrying Zahid’s body and raising slogans, tried to march towards Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s residence at Gupkar Road. Police and CRPF men intercepted them and resorted to heavy baton charge and fired tear-smoke canisters to disperse them. Mourners offered stiff resistance and retaliated with kangris (fire pots).
As the pitched battle continued, the ambulance carrying the victim’s body stood still there. After the protests subsided, the ambulance drove back and handed-over Zahid’s body to his family members for last rites.
The mourners, however, demanded that an FIR be registered against BSF before the victim was laid to eternal rest. They took the body to the concerned police station. The last rites of the victim had not been performed when this report was filed. The killing of comes at a time when the valley is on the boil since Sunday following the killing of Wamiq Farooq hit by a teargas shell in old city. An Assistant Sub Inspector of Police was placed under suspension for firing the shell.
Pertinently, the Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Muhammad Sagar, on Thursday said the government had reviewed the situation and such incidents would not recur.

The Inspector General of Police - Kashmir zone - Farooq Ahmad said the accused hadn’t been identified yet.
“It’s a mystery whether it was BSF, CRPF or any other force involved in the killing of Zahid. We have registered a case under 302-RPC and we will investigate to find out the truth,” he said, adding the Government has ordered an independent probe into the killing.

Meanwhile, life in the summer capital remained paralysed for the fifth consecutive day, Friday as authorities imposed “undeclared curfew” in the old city and elsewhere.
Huge contingents of police and paramilitary CRPF were deployed in every nook and corner of the old city and troopers had blocked roads by erecting barricades and laying spools on concertina wires.
Strict restrictions were imposed in the inner areas of old city, including Rainawari, Khanyar, Nowhatta, Gojwara, Rajouri Kadal, Naid Kadal, Gojwara, Nallahmar, Maisuma and Gaw Kadal, which witnessed massive protests and clashes against the killing of 14-year-old Wamiq Farooq Wani, hit by a teargas shell earlier this week.
Residents of these areas said the troopers didn’t allow them to offer Friday prayers in Masjids. “When we tried to move towards Masjids we were asked to stay back and pray indoors. We were restricted from offering prayers in all Masjids on the main roads,” a resident of Nowhatta, Imtiyaz Ahmad said over phone.
People said they were beaten up for moving out in the morning while the police and CRPF didn’t allow them to get the daily commodities. They said the troopers didn’t even allow the newspapers in the area.
Ding dong battles however continued throughout the day between youth and protesters at Lal Bazar, Elahi bagh and other areas in city outskirts.
Restrictions were in place also in the uptown areas mainly in Barzulla, Bemina, Natipora and Batmaloo but the private vehicles could be seen plying at quite a few places.
The troopers went berserk in Tankipora, Batmaloo and adjoining areas in the morning and broke the window panes of houses, residents told Greater Kashmir over phone. The troopers, they said, beat up several people. The vehicle of the daily Kashmir vision editor, Shafaat Kira, was also damaged by troopers.
Total Shutdown was also observed in Ganderbal and Kangan districts amid pro-freedom protests after Friday prayers at Qamariya chowk.

A complete shutdown was observed in Varmul, Bandipore, Sopur, Kupwara, Handwara, and other districts and towns of north Kashmir for the fifth consecutive day amidst restrictions over the civilian movement imposed by the authorities.
Witnesses said the police and paramilitary CRPF had been deployed in strength in main town Varmul and they beat up people for moving out. Owner of the Sheikh news Agency was also beaten up for opening his shop in the morning. Mild protesters were reported from Delina Varmul and Khawaja Bagh.
Total shutdown was also observed in the apple town Sopur while the clashes took place between youth and the troopers at several places.
Complete shutdown was also observed in Kupwara, Handwara and Bandipore areas where shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic remained off the roads.

A complete shutdown was observed in major districts of south Kashmir including Islamabad, Kulgam, Pulwama for fifth running day.
Heavy deployment of police and paramilitary CRPF was maintained in all the districts amid reports of mild protests from several places. After Friday prayers youth tried to stage a protests march but it was intercepted by troopers resulting in mild clashes. Ding-dong battles were reported from Chini chowk and Reshi bazaar in the afternoon.
Mild clashes were also reported from Kulgam, Pulwama and other districts.

Another cricketer brought home dead

‘Teenage Zahid Shot In Chest’


Srinagar, Feb 5: In one more incident of its kind in less than a week, another young boy who had gone to play cricket near his residence at Nishat on Friday, was bought home dead.
16-year-old, Zahid Farooq alias Shoaib of Sheikh Mohalla, Brain, Nishat, according to his friends - also eyewitness to the incident - said they offered Friday prayers in the nearby mosque and then went out to play cricket in a field on the banks of Dal Lake.
“But it started raining heavily and we sat on a parapet beneath a tree. In the meanwhile, a BSF gypsy and a lorry passing by the Boulevard Road stopped near us. The BSF troopers got down from the vehicle and came towards us. They asked us to go home as curfew was in force in the city,” Zahid’s friends, staging protests, said.
“The BSF men abused and chased us away. We started running but Zahid stayed back. Suddenly, we heard gunshots and when we looked back, we saw a BSF trooper firing at Zahid. The trooper fired three shots at him from point blank range,” said his friend with fear writ on his face.
Zahid received a bullet in his chest and he crawled several meters with blood gushing out of his body, before he fell flat on the ground. “We offered him water and in a few minutes he breathed his last,” he stammered. Zahid was shifted to SKIMS where he was declared dead on arrival.
Zahid was the only son of his parents who are now left with two daughters. His father, Farooq Ahmad Sheikh, is a government employee in the Public Health Engineering Department. He was a student of Meerak Shah School, Shalimar and had passed his matriculation examination in December last year.
“Zahid was such a loveable child and was everybody’s darling. My mind fails to fathom why he was killed and for what. There were neither any protests nor any clashes in the area,” said Javaid Ahmad, his neighbour and friend. “This is a cold-blooded murder,” he grumbled.
When Zahid’s body was bought home, many of his friends and neighbours, unable to bear the grief, fell unconscious. Zahid was a cricket freak and despite the rains he went out to play cricket. “Get up Shoaib, Get up, we have to play,” his friends shrieked as they followed the ambulance carrying home his body.
Relatives, neighbours and locals staged massive demonstrations amidst heavy rains and took his body on the Boulevard and tried to march towards CM’s residence. But a large number of police and CRPF men blocked the roads by armoured vehicles and lobbed teargas canisters to quell the funeral procession.
A youth came out of the ambulance with the hospital admission ticket in his hand and went to SSP, Srinagar, Javaid Riyaz Bedar: “Please have mercy on us. Look at this ticket; Zahid was killed by targeted fire, a bullet pierced his chest. Please stop shelling on this procession.”
Earlier this week, another teenager, Wamiq Farooq who had also gone to play cricket in the old city was bought home dead. He was hit by a teargas shell in his head when police were dealing with protesters near Gojwara.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kashmir lecture series at Harvard

" In an attempt to capture the nuances of the conflict and to build an inclusive dialogue, the Carr Center presents the 2009-10 Speaker Series Kashmir: Human Rights Policy for “The World's Most Militarized Dispute."
Read more

How to invesitgate your own war crimes

CBI clears CRPF of rape and murder; charges witnesses and doctors for creating "false evidence"


Greater Kashmir December 15, 2009

‘No rape, no murder’


► Police, Troopers Cleared Of All Charges
► Docs, Advocates, Witnesses Booked For ‘Creating False Evidence’
► ‘Case Was Framed To Defame, Discredit Police, Forces’

Srinagar, Dec 14: Contrary to Justice Jan Commission’s findings that Asiya Jan and Neelofar were raped and murdered, the Central Bureau of Investigation today produced chargesheet of Shopian case before the High Court, saying the victims had died due to drowning and there is no evidence to substantiate the charges of murder and rape. The chargesheet has been already submitted by the CBI to the Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar on December 10.
“The death of Asiya Jan and Neelofar has occurred due to ante-mortem drowning and offences under section 302, 326, 376 and 201 RPC could not be proved,” said the CBI chargesheet.
The Shopian Majlis Mashawarat and the High Court Bar Association rejected the report. The Majlis moved an application before the Court and said it was formally disassociating itself from the case. The Majlis president, Abdul Rashid Dewa, said they were not interested to see the presentation prepared by the CBI about the case. The CBI counsel Anil Bhan was insisting that the power point presentation should be shown in the open court. But the Majlis refused to watch it.
“Now they say it is case of drowning. There is nothing to watch,” said Dewa. The Bench comprising Chief Justice Barin Ghosh, Justice Yaqoob Mir though suggested the Majlis to assist the Court and said the CBI presentation was not sacrosanct and gospel truth, the Majlis however refused to watch it in open court. It submitted to the Court that it should not play the same in open Court, and the request was conceded. The Majlis accused the CBI of preparing ground for today’s report by selective leaks.
Outside the Court, the Majlis expressed its resentment against the chargesheet by burning it in full media glare. Shakeel Ahmad, husband of Neelofar and brother of Asiya Jan, burned the CBI chargesheet outside the Court. He said the CBI today committed another rape by declaring the incident as of drowning. He said it was not the question of two women of Shopian but of all women of Kashmir.
The CBI chargesheet presented before the CJM Srinagar says that during investigation, the allegations of rape and murder couldn’t be substantiated. “At the same time the investigation has established that the concerted efforts were made to create false evidence by creating false post mortem reports, fudged slides of samples taken from dead bodies and by inducing the witnesses to implicate the police, security forces in a false case of rape and murder of the two ladies,” it said.
“The findings of earlier post-mortem examination by the team of Shopian and Pulwama doctors stand negated by the opinion of the Board of Doctors of All India Institute of Medical Sciences,” the chargesheet said.
The CBI said that it was of opinion that the cause of death in Asiya Jan’s case was due to asphyxia as a result of ante-mortem drowning. “The lacerated wound present on forehand could be produced by blunt force striking head against the hard surface or object; and was not sufficient to cause death in ordinary course of nature. There was nothing suggestive of penetration of penis or like object through the hymeaneal opening as the hymen was found intact,” the CBI said.
In Neelofar’s case, the CBI said it is of considered opinion that the cause of death in this case was due to asphyxia as a result of ante-mortem drowning. “There were no external ante-mortem injuries on the body.”
The CBI said clothes worn by the two women on the day have been found intact. “The ornaments worn by Neelofar were intact at the time of discovery of her body, as is apparent from photograph taken by police photographer Nazir Ahmad Rishi which prima facie rules out robbery as motive for her death,” the CBI said.
The CBI said that since the two witnesses had stated that they had seen uniformed persons standing near a 407 police vehicle parked on the Zawoora Bridge from which screams of ladies were heard on May 29, 2009, it made extensive efforts to determine whether the vehicles or personnel were involved in the incident. “In the process the movement of 23 vehicles and their staff at the disposal of C Coy, 14th Bn CRPF; DPL Shopian and SOG camps in Shopian district located at Keller, Gagren were verified but nothing suspicious emerged.” The CBI said that the investigation pertaining to the vehicles belonging to the police and security forces has not revealed anything linking them to the incident so far.
The CBI said that investigation has established that false post mortem reports were prepared by the first team of doctors comprising Dr Bilal Ahmad Dalal, and Dr Nazia Hassan and second team of doctors comprising Dr Nighat Shaheen, Dr Ghulam Qadir Sofi and Dr Maqbool Mir in connivance with Dr Ghulam Muhammad Paul. All the doctors have been arrayed as accused in the case.
“The investigation disclosed that after the falsification of the various postmortem reports and fudging of evidence by the doctors who were involved in the post mortem examination of two deceased ladies, a concerted effort was made by some advocates of Shopian Bar and some private persons to create further false evidence for implicating the police and security forces in a false case of rape and murder of the two accused,” the CBI said.
The CBI has named advocates Abdul Majid Mir, Mushtaq Ahmad Gatoo, Muhammad Yousuf Bhat, Altaf Muhammad and Sheikh Mubarak in the chargesheet along with Ali Muhammad Sheikh and Zahoor Ahmad Ahangar. The CBI said they induced, assaulted and threatened the witnesses to make false statements implicating police and security forces in a false case of rape and murder. The Court said the accused committed offences under section 120-B RPC r/w 167, 193, 194, 195A.
The CBI has accused the doctors of giving provocative statements after they conducted the post mortem on May 30, 2009, in Shopian hospital. The CBI said Dr Nighat after conducting the PV examined of the deceased women came out of the operation theatre in Shopian hospital and made false statement before the Deputy Commissioner Shopian. The CBI said subsequently a crowd gathered there saying that Asiya Jan had been subjected to rape and “that every care should be taken to protect Kashmiri girls.” The CBI said similar statement was made by Dr Ghulam Qadir Sofi. “These statements aggravated the atmosphere as the general public of Shopian was blaming the conduct of police and security forces,” the CBI said. The crowd became furious and resorted to large scale violence which resulted in extensive damage to property.
The CBI said that Dr Nighat has not truthfully revealed the sources of the vaginal smears used for making slides. The CBI accused her of making false statements and of fabricating the slides with active connivance of other doctors.
The CBI report says the flow in Ranbiara was fast enough for Asiya and Neelofar to drown, a claim it has tried to substantiate through noise of water-flow in the stream.
The report also says the water in the stream had receded at the time it was photographed after the bodies were found at its banks. The photographs have shown the flow of water in the stream was too low for anyone to drown, a fact accepted by Justice (retd) Jan Commission also. Pertinently, the shots were taken barely 12 hours after Asiya and Neelofar had gone missing.
“The photographs and videos of the Rambiara Nallah taken a few days after the incident, when the discharge of water had decreased still show a fast moving stream, creating a great deal of noise as it moved amongst a huge number of rocks and boulders,” the report says.
CBI has mentioned the Zawoora bridge on the stream in its report to justify its claim. It says: “It has come to light that due to the high discharge of water during the summer season in order to visit Shopian town. The residents of village Nagbal normally used to cross the Rambiara using the wooden bridges which are slightly upstream of the Chashma into which the deceased were seen descending.”
The report says the post mortem of the bodies has revealed presence of diatoms inside the lungs of the victims which are present in the Ranbiara.
“The diatom test conducted by FSL Madhuban, Haryana, confirmed that the diatoms were detected in the lungs and sternum of Neelofar Jan and Asiya Jan and also in the lung tissues of Asiya Jan. These diatoms were similar to the diatoms found in the water samples collected from the place of recovery of the dead body of Neelofar Jan in the Rambiara Nallah,” it says.
While the earlier probes into the incident have categorically mentioned that the bodies were found in a naked state, CBI says the witnesses had found sand and mud was found from the clothes of the both Asiya and Neelofar.
“Witness Javid Iqbal Malik found sand in the undergarments of Neelofar. Similarly, witness Muhammad Ismail Sheikh noticed sand in Asiya Jan’s bra,” report says, adding witnesses had also found mud accumulated in the nostrils of Neelofar Jan during the initial examination of her body.
“Further, sand and mud like material was also found by the board of doctors in the lung tissues and esophagus of Neelofar. Similarly, during the dissection of the lungs of Asiya Jan, fine material and mud was found lodged in the trachea, bronchi and bronchioles,” it adds.
The report, however, claims that Sajad Ahangar, a neighbour of the victims, has stated before CBI that the water of the Nallah was high. “And it was quite risky for anyone to cross it, especially women.”
“If someone had suffered a fall in the nallah chances of his survival would be remote keeping in view the flow of water,” report has quoted Sajad as saying.
The report says the CBI has witnesses to prove that the family of the victims had taken the incident as a case of drowning at the time of the recovery of the body. “The impression of the family members of Neelofar and Asiya is also reflected from the fact that immediately after the two ladies went missing on the fateful evening, Shakeel and his family members started searching in and around the nallah and in the night also with local PS staff, they searched the Rambiara Nallah only for tracing the then two missing bodies,” it says.

The 66-page chargesheet accuses 13 persons including 6 doctors, 5 advocates and 2 civilians of ‘fabricating the evidence’ in the aftermath of recovery of two bodies in Shopian in May this year.
The CBI informed the High Court that a chargesheet had been filed before Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar against 13 people for allegedly creating false evidence and witnesses.
In its report the CBI has accused Dr Nighat Shaheen, Dr Ghulam Qadir Sofi, Dr Muhammad Maqbool Mir, Dr Ghulam Muhammad Paul, Dr Bilal Ahmad Dalal, Dr Nazia Hassan, Advocate Abdul Majid Mir, Advocate Mushtaq Ahmad Gatoo, Advocate Muhammad Yousuf Bhat, Advocate Muhammad Altaf Mohand, Advocate Sheikh Mubarak and two civilians Ali Muhammad Sheikh and Zahoor Ahmad Ahanger and charged them under section 120-B r/w 167, 193, 194, 195 A of RPC and substantive offences under section 167, 193, 194, 195A RPC.
CBI said the investigation had established that the five doctors conspired to defame, discredit and cause injury to the personnel of the police and security forces and wrongfully convict for a capital offence, by creating false reports and fudging the vaginal slides. The chargesheet said the 6 advocates and 2 civilians induced, assaulted and threatened the witnesses to make the false statements implicating the police and security forces in a false case of rape and murder.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, senior advocate of High Court, Syed Riyaz Khawar said the Section 120-B of RPC pertains to criminal conspiracy for commission of offence of death, life or offence which carries rigorous punishment of more than 2 years, adding that section 167, 193, 194, 195 A of RPC pertain to fabrication of evidence.
He said section 167 of RPC pertains to public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury and imprisonment for 3 years or fine or both. Reyaz said section 193 of RPC pertains to giving or fabricating false evidence in judicial proceedings. It was bailable offence with imprisonment of 7 years and fine.
Section 194 of RPC pertains to giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to cause any person to be convicted of a capital offence. Life or rigorous imprisonment for 10 years and non baliable, Reyaz said. He said section 195 A of RPC pertains to giving or fabricated evidence with intent to procure conviction of an offence punishable with imprisonment for life or for 7 years.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Democracy in action, part II - India bans pre-paid cell phones in Kashmir

Greater Kashmir November 3, 2009
Pre-paid ban hits 20000 jobs


Srinagar, Nov 2: After the Union Home Ministry announced ban on pre-paid mobile connections in Jammu and Kashmir on security grounds, the jobs of 20000 people associated with the retail business of pre-paid SIM cards hangs in balance.
While people have been desperate to know the fate of pre-paid SIM cards, only a few subscribers are turning to retailers for conversion into post-paid.
According to the figures provided by the association, around 10,000 people are running pre-paid recharge and collection centres in the State with an average monthly income of Rs 9000 to 10000. In addition, around 5000 people are associated with the activation and distribution of pre-paid SIM cards.
Besides, the ban would render jobless an estimated 5000 mobile accessory shop owners in the state.
“An average recharge outlet would earn average Rs 300 to Rs 500 a day given the number of telecom operators in the state but they will suffer due to the ban. Similarly, the distributors and activation agents working for petty salaries will be rendered jobless,” the Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir STD Owners Association- amalgam of STD owners and recharge outlets in the state- Bashir Ahmad Dar told Greater Kashmir.
He said the ban would indirectly hit estimated two-lakh people in the state. These include the family members of those associated with the business. “It was our bread and butter but we have to look for a new business due to the ban.”
Lashing at the Government for imposing the ban, Dar said the telecom operators in the State should be held responsible for giving SIMs cards to ‘irresponsible people.’ “They (telecom operators) gave pre-paid SIMs to every Tom, Dick and Harry which is now being portrayed as a security threat. They earn in billions but only the poor retailers are bearing the brunt of the ban,” he said.
The SIM card retailers and company outlets of the telecom operators in the state have barely witnessed any rush of subscribers who want to switch over to post-paid services.
“Since the ban was announced we have received only a few subscribers who want to shift to post-paid services. Subscribers mostly enquire about the modalities of the ban but they are reluctant to switch over to post-paid connections,” Dar said.
He said around 90 per cent active SIM cards in the state were pre-paid connections as the service was both affordable and convenient. He said only 20 per cent subscribers could afford post-paid services. “Post-paid service is expensive even if people opt for the cheapest monthly plan. Majority of the pre-paid subscribers are students and people from lower strata of the society and they can’t afford post-paid services,” he said.
The Centre has imposed ban on pre-paid connectivity in the state since November 1. The telecommunication companies have already been asked to halt issuing new pre-paid SIM cards while the validity of the mobiles would not be renewed. Around 38 lakh active pre-paid SIMs need to be converted into post-paid or they would be rendered useless.
The acting President, Kashmir Traders Federation, Muhammad Yasin Khan said the ban would thousands of shopkeepers in the Valley. “They are completely dependent on cellular service and their business will come to halt due to the ban,” he said, adding they support STD owners association in their stand against the ban.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Democracy in action: India prevents Kashmiri professor from travelling to China to receive international award

Valley academic stopped from flying to China

Greater Kashmir November 3, 2009

Srinagar, Nov 2: A Kashmiri professor became the fresh victim of the row between China and India over issuance of separate visa to Kashmiris, as the Indian immigration authorities stopped him at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on Sunday while he was boarding a plane to China to receive a prestigious award.
Dr Shakil Ahmad Romshoo, associate professor, Department of Geology and Geophysics Kashmir University, was proceeding to China to receive the Kasumigaura International Award for his research work on ‘Pollution Modelling of Himalayan Lakes’ on November 2 during the 13th World Lake Conference at Wuhan.
“After I cleared the immigration check, I was stopped from boarding a plane of China Southern Airlines by the Indian immigration authorities. When I protested, they said as the visa granted by the Chinese Embassy did not mention my nationality as an Indian, I can’t board the plane,” Romshoo told Greater Kashmir from New Delhi.
Romshoo said he had travelled to 30 countries including US and even China. “But I never faced such problem. I showed the immigration authorities my standing visa of US and Japan but my requests to board the plane met with deaf ears. I left the Airport dejected,” he said.
From this year, Chinese Embassy in New Delhi has been issuing stapled visas to Kashmiris on a separate sheet of paper and not on their passports. China has adopted the same procedure for travellers from Arunachal Pradesh saying it was a disputed territory.
India has been lodging strong protests against China’s travel procedure for Kashmiris terming it an attempt to question the status of Jammu and Kashmir as part of India. It has been asking Beijing to “stop discriminating against Indian nationals on the basis of their ethnicity and domicile.”
Romshoo said he took up the matter with the Chinese authorities. “But they said it is their policy to issue separate visa to Kashmiri. “It is our policy to grant separate visa to Kashmiris. We have nothing against Kashmiris. The problem lies with India,” he quoted the Chinese authorities.
During past some months, Indian immigration authorities have stopped several Kashmiri students and businessmen from boarding flights to China.
Pertinently the relations between India and China turned sour after the latter’s troops reportedly entered into Ladakh territory. India had even threatened Beijing to either stop the new visa practice ‘right away or face a similar discriminatory regime in processing of Chinese applications for Indian visa.’
Notwithstanding India’s resentment, China has been maintaining its stand, terming it as correct and valid.
“In the tussle between China and India, why should Kashmiris suffer?” Romshoo asked.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Once upon a time a tyrant...

Once upon a time there lived a ruler who was so hated by the people that he couldn't bear to see them, or for them to see him. Whenever he visited the city the people were forbidden to leave their homes or even to open their windows. Students missed their exams, the sick their medicine, the babies and the elderly had no food that day. He chose not to see the terror, the repression, the cruelty of his government. His soldiers walked the land and ruled through force and terror. As the condition of the people grew more desperate day by day, his announcements became more and more divorced from reality. While his courtiers smiled and cheered, a few brave souls took to the streets.....

Photos and reporting from Greater Kashmir

in Greater Kashmir October 29, 2009

Wanpoh, (Islamabad) Oct 28: The prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, Wednesday said New Delhi was willing to talk with anyone in Jammu and Kashmir who abjured violence and had “meaningful ideas” to promote peace and development.
“We want to carry all sections of people with us in resolving the political and economic problems of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, addressing a public rally here before flagging off the 12-km Qazigund-Islamabad rail service, which completed 120-km link between North and South Kashmir.

Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, flanked by UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi, union minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad, chief minister, Omar Abdullah, and state Congress president, Prof Saif-ud-din Soz, waving to people while dedicating the Islamabad-Qazigund sector of Kashmir Rail to them at Wanpoh on Wednesday.(Habib Naqash/GK)Youth fight pitched battles with policemen (not in picture) at Maisuma in Srinagar on Wednesday (Aman Farooq/GK)Valley observed a complete shutdown on Thursday on the call of Hurriyat (G) against the visit of Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh.(Mubashir Khan/GK)

Kashmir shuts down

Clashes in Maisuma, Gaw Kadal, Habba Kadal

Srinagar, Oct 28: For the second consecutive day, Valley observed a total shutdown Wednesday in response to the Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s call against the visit of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
The day also witnessed clashes between protesters and police in uptown areas of Maisuma and Gowkadal, resulting in injuries to half a dozen protesters.
All shops, businesses and most educational institutions remained closed in the summer capital and in the major towns and district headquarters across the valley. The Government offices remained open but witnessed a meagre attendance. Public transport remained off the roads in the city and other districts.
Authorities had made elaborate security arrangements, mainly in south Kashmir’s Islamabad district, where Prime Minister along with his cabinet colleagues inaugurated the 18-km long Qazigund-Islamabad railway line.
Most of the roads presented deserted look even as police and paramilitary CRPF personnel were deployed in strength in a number of areas in old city.
In uptown Maisuma, which was sealed by police, youths wearing masks took to streets and staged pro-freedom demonstrations and clashed with the CRPF deployed in the area. Shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, youths brunt the effigies of Prime Minister and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
They pelted stones on the troopers who retaliated by baton charging and firing teargas canisters repeatedly. The ding-dong clashes continued intermittently throughout the day.
The protests also spilled over to the neighboring areas of Mandar Bagh, Gaw Kadal, Habba Kadal and Tengpora in city outskirts.
Authorities restricted the movement of public and private transport along the Boulevard Road. No vehicle was allowed to move beyond Nehru Park while the vehicles from Nishat, Shalimar and Harwan areas were asked to take Hazratbal route.
“Restrictions will continue till Thursday morning when the PM would leave,” Senior Superintendent of Police, Traffic, Showket Hussain said.

Complete shutdown was observed in south Kashmir districts of Islamabad, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian on the PM’s visit.
Shops, businesses, educational institutions were closed while Government offices witnessed very thin attendance.
In Kulgam, youths stopped and pelted stones on the buses carrying people to Wanpoh, Islamabad, where the Prime Minister was to address them. The situation remained tense till late afternoon.

Reports of total shutdown also poured in from north Kashmir districts of Varmul, Bandipora, Kupwara and Ganderbal.
Students appearing in their matriculation exams had to face inconvenience in absence of public transport.