January 2017 News
Mehbooba Mufti's Healing Touch: Free Eduction, Jobs To Pellet Victims9 January 2017
Srinagar: Seemingly waking up to the tragedies during the summer unrest, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday tried to heal the wounds of the people by announcing free education and jobs to those who lost their eye sight due to pellet injury, and Rs five lakh compensation to the next of kin of those killed in the strife. Mehbooba also announced the setting up of Special Investigating Teams (SITs) to probe into the killings, particularly those of a lecturer at Khrew and an ATM guard at Karan Nagar during the summer unrest. More than 90 people have been killed and over 13,000 injured in the unrest which began after the killing of Hizbul Mujhadeen poster boy Burhan Wani on July 8. Official figures, according to the state government though was 76 deaths. Over 1,100 people, mostly teenagers have suffered injuries in their eyes when security forces fired pellet munition to quell the violent mobs across Kashmir. Winding up the discussion on adjournment motion in the Legislative Assembly, Mehbooba said earnest efforts would be made by her government to create a congenial atmosphere in the state for a dialogue and a resolution of the issues for which she sought cooperation from all shades of opinion. 'Ex gratia relief of Rs. five lakh will be granted in favour of the next of kin of those killed during the unrest. Possibilities of providing jobs would also be explored in cases of extreme compassion. Job opportunities would be made available to the persons who lost their eyesight during the crises. Arrangements for education at Delhi and other places would be made for the students whose eyesight got affected during the said turmoil. I have already spoken to the Prime Minister and union finance minister in this regard', she said. Mehbooba announced the setting up of a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to probe the killing of a lecturer at Khrew, an ATM guard at Karan Nagar and other such killings. 'SITs will be set up in each district to investigate the killings and injuries to ascertain if excessive force was used to deal with the situations. These SITs would be asked to submit their reports in a time-bound manner. Once we receive the reports, if we find anything more requires to be done, it would be done, to deliver justice to the affected,' she said. The Chief Minister noted that at present, only 138 persons are in judicial and police custody, who were arrested in cases related to the unrest. 'All others who were arrested in the cases have been released on bail. Out of the 463 persons detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA), 145 have been released. The cases of the persons presently under detention are being reviewed and those least involved will be released too,' she said . Over 5,000 persons were arrested when police launched a crackdown against stone pelters and separatists to quell the unrest in the valley. Mehbooba said she had ordered a review of the cases on youth since 2008, so that they could start their life afresh. 'But the whole process slowed down due to the disturbances in Kashmir in the last five months,' she said. She also said that she has categorically directed the security agencies during the last Unified Command meeting to ensure the handover of the local youth involved in militancy to their families, by any means, adding that six such youth have been rescued, in the face of encounters, with the help of their families. Mehbooba said she does not favour comparing the situations in 2016 and 2010. 'Our people have not chosen us to count the dead but to get Jammu and Kashmir out of this morass.'