The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to consider releasing those who had been arrested for stone-pelting for the first time, media reports said. Taking the suggestion of the Centre's special representative Dineshwar Sharma forward, over 4,500 cases against youths involved will be dropped in a bid to win hearts in the Kashmir Valley, officials said.
Sharma, who visited the Valley earlier this month, was flooded with requests from various individuals and groups for withdrawing cases against youths who were booked by the police for indulging in stone pelting. The Centre also planned to ask the state government to reimburse losses to people in conflict areas.
Over 11,500 cases against stone pelters were registered from July last year when unrest broke out in Kashmir following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in an encounter, they said.
Out of these, over 4,500 cases were registered against youths who were found indulging in stone pelting for the first time, the officials said.
When contacted, Sharma refused to comment on it but said: "My attempt was to change the narrative in the state to peace and for that, I need the support of youths and students."
The officials said after seeing the response of the step, the Centre was keen to review the remaining cases against stone pelters in consultation with the PDP-BJP state government in the state.
The Centre may also consider rehabilitating locals who have joined militant groups but have not indulged in any heinous crime, they said.
According to CNN-News 18, among its announcement of the big package, the Centre has declared an ex-gratia for Jammu and Kashmir police hiked to Rs 30 lakhs, to bring them at par with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The home ministry also wishes to allocate additional power of 800 MW this winter. Attempts are being made to ensure round-the-clock electricity supply by the beginning of winter next year, the officials said, adding talks are being held with power ministry for implementing this project.
Sharma, a former director of the Intelligence Bureau, was appointed as the Centre’s representative on 23 October to hold a “sustained dialogue” with all stakeholders, Hindustan Times reported.
On 18 November, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to move all juveniles, arrested for pelting stones and other unlawful activities, from jails to remand homes and review their cases sympathetically, officials said.
The decision comes four days after the state DGP SP Vaid said there has been a 90 percent dip in incidents of stone-pelting in the Kashmir Valley this year as compared to last year. The DGP credited the people of Kashmir for the improvement in the situation.
Earlier on Tuesday, Singh dismissed reports of the Islamic State gaining a foothold in Kashmir and said that Indian Muslims would never allow the terrorist outfit to have a base in the country.
Singh also said he has complete faith in the Indian youth that they would not let Islamic State misled them. "Any Indian Muslim who believes in Islam would not allow any opportunity to the Islamic State to have a base in the country," he said.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Nov 21, 2017 19:26:41 IST