JK govt approves withdrawal of cases against stone pelters

JK govt approves withdrawal of cases against stone pelters

In a major decision of far-reaching impact, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday approved the withdrawal of cases against 4,327 youth involved in 744 cases of stone pelting.

An official spokesperson said the decision follows the recommendation of a high powered committee headed by Director General of Police which submitted its report to the Chief Minister on Wednesday.

"The DGP has been asked to regularly monitor the progress in the matter and furnish back a fortnightly report in this regard," reads a communication from the Home Department to the DGP.

The decision marks the revival process of withdrawal of cases started by the chief minister last year immediately after taking office.

Withdrawal history

Mehbooba had set on a process of review of cases against youth from 2008-2014 and in the first instance 104 cases involving 634 youth were withdrawn within two months of her assuming power.

The process got disrupted due to the continued violence and unrest for later part of 2016.

With this, the total number of cases withdrawn so far on her directions has gone to 848 and the persons benefiting out of these withdrawals stand at 4,957.

Mehbooba recently has also directed review of cases from 2015-2017(till date) and decision on the same would be taken on the receipt of report by the high powered committee, the spokesperson said.

Fresh chance

The decision to grant amnesty to stone-pelters is in tune with ruling Peoples Democratic Party's policy that those not involved in heinous crimes should be released to give them a fresh chance. PDP's alliance partner in the state, BJP have already supported the decision to withdraw cases against first-time stone throwers.

"The children who threw stones first time were instigated by other people," BJP chief spokesperson for J&K Sunil Sethi had said last week. "We support withdrawal of cases against them."

Similar amnesty scheme was announced during previous Omar Abdullah led National Conference-Congress coalition that failed miserably on the ground. The 1,200 stone-throwers, who had been given amnesty then, were not let off by the police, human rights groups in Kashmir claim.

Official records reveal that over 11,500 cases against stone pelters were registered from July last year when unrest broke out in Kashmir following the death of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces. Of these, 4,500 cases were registered against those who were found involved in stone pelting or other incidents for the first time.

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