Round Table to focus on Encounter Deaths

. Round Table to focus on Encounter Deaths
New Delhi, November 24:
General Invitation to attend a Round Table On the ‘Alternative Guidelines towards Encounter Deaths’ & Strategies of Resistance

The panel of initiators for the discussion are:

Prashant Bhushan �(Human Rights Lawyer) � Defence Counsel for
the PUL petition in Supreme Court regarding alternative guidelines on
encounter deaths; Sufian Siddiqui � (Supreme Court Lawyer), Bimol
Akoijam � (School of Social Sciences, JNU)

The discussants for the Round Table are – Gautam Navlakha �
(Democratic Rights activist), Nirmalangshu Mukherji � (Dept. of
Philosophy, DU), Tripta Wahi � (Dept. of History, DU), Vijay Singh
� (Dept. of History, DU)

Date: 28 November 2008

Time: 3.00. p.m.

Venue: Dayar-e Mir Taqui Mir, Jamia Millia Islamia (near the Vice
Chancellor’s office).

Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Group invites you to a Round Table on the
‘Alternative Guidelines Towards Encounter Deaths’ with special focus on the extra-constitutional powers given to Special Forces and Strategies of Resistance keeping in mind the present context where the naked brutality of the police and armed forces have unleashed a reign of terror not only on the Muslim population residing in the country in the states of Kashmir, Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala but also in the north-eastern states of India particularly Manipur. The logic of countering terrorism/armed resistance might have different contextual specificities but the laws used for ‘encounter’ and the manner in which the same is executed flouting all human rights guidelines is a major cause of concern today. The petition filed by Peoples’ Union of Liberties, Maharashtra and the alternative draft submitted to the Supreme Court and the favourable hearing it has received has strengthened the voices of alternatives across the country. While the Batla House encounter on 19th September has been the centre of our activities, it is necessary to link it to wider political struggles going on in the country as the incident is hardly an isolated one. In Delhi itself we have witnessed several encounters along with bomb blasts that keep happening like a ceremonial ritual giving the much needed masala for the media houses to run, elsewhere we read reports or view open terrorist activities of minorities being lynched and tortured to death by the self-proclaimed votaries of the Hindu majority and feel ‘protected’ by the distance that separates us from the event that might be a prime time show. The question is no longer confined to minority communities alone since it is not only religious or racial/ethnic scape-goating that is happening, but also in a calculated manner all voices that question the State and its institutions get throttled one way or the other. Civil rights movements therefore necessarily assume a kind of ‘defensive’ role � challenging the powers that be after an incident of violation has taken place. With the recent revelations of the CBI regarding the role of the Special Cell and the booking of criminals in saffron perhaps the tide is turning where an offensive campaign may be mobilized to instill policy changes in law that might be yet twisted to protect the rights of the people vis-�-vis the interests of the State.


J&K set for elections amid tight security

J&K set for elections amid tight security

Srinagar/Jammu (IANS): Jammu and Kashmir goes to the polls Monday to elect a new assembly amid boycott calls by separatists, with the 10 constituencies in the first of seven-phase elections spread over the Kashmir Valley, the Hindu-majority Jammu region and the mainly Buddhist Ladakh.

With a world keenly watching the outcome of the electoral battle, the authorities have deployed tens of thousands of security personnel to ensure peaceful polling following boycott calls by separatists.

But defiance of the militant groups is already in some evidence. In the fray are a record 102 candidates, including 22 in Sonawari and 19 in Bandipora constituencies in the Kashmir Valley, the hub of the separatist movement that has claimed thousands of lives since 1989.

But officials and political pundits have warned that the boycott call could hit turnout in the valley although polling is expected to be high in Ladakh and Jammu’s Poonch district.

Vying for power are the Congress, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), National Conference and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Also in the fray are the Panthers Party as well as a slew of independents.

The Congress and PDP had together ruled the state since 2002 but the government of Congress chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad collapsed after the PDP withdrew its legislative support this year.

The 10 of 87 constituencies going to the polls Monday are Gurez, Bandipora and Sonawari (Kashmir Valley), Leh, Nobra, Zanskar and Kargil (Ladakh) and Surankote, Mendhar and Poonch-Haveli (Jammu region).

There are six candidates in Gurez, Poonch-Haveli has 13, Mendhar 12, Surankote 11, and there are five each in Kargil, Leh and Zanskar and four in Nobra.

“We are expecting a fairly good voter turnout in the four assembly constituencies of Ladakh region and the three in Jammu region,” said one official.

The authorities have warned separatists and their supporters not to disrupt the electoral process.

But political leaders admitted that the boycott call would affect voter turnout in Bandipora and Sonawari but not Gurez, located in northern Kashmir close to the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

Campaigning by political parties and others has been low key in Bandipora and Sonawari, which have strong separatist pockets of influence.

The separatist leaders have called for a march to Bandipora and Sonawari Monday.

But Inspector General of Police B. Srinivas said: “We have a strategy to isolate the separatist leaders so that they do not succeed in preventing voters from exercising their democratic right to vote. But we shall also not force an unwilling voter to vote.”

The main battle in the Muslim-majority valley is expected to be between the National Conference, PDP and influential independents. The Congress seems to have lost ground in the valley following violent protests there against the allotment of land to the Amarnath shrine board.

In Ladakh’a Kargil and Zanskar areas, which have sizeable Muslim voters, could be a safe bet for the National Conference. Nobra and Leh could throw up Buddhist candidates as likely winners. Leh, Nobra and Kargil were won by independents in 2002 while the National Conference won in Zanskar.

In Bandipora, National Conference’s Ghulam Rasool Mir is pitted against Nizamuddin Bhat of PDP and Usman Majid of Awami League. Going by the undercurrent in Bandipora, Majid, who won in 2002, has the upper hand.

In Sonawari, National Conference’s sitting legislator Muhammad Akbar Lone faces a serious challenge from Yasir Reshi of PDP and an independent Shia candidate, Abid Ansari, younger brother of Molvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari, a Shia leader of the valley.

In Gurez, Nazir Ahmed Gurezi of the National Conference is seeking re-election. He is pitted against Fakir Muhammad of the Congress.

In Mendhar, Surankote and Poonch-Haveli, the Congress, National Conference and BJP take on one another. Mendhar and Poonch-Haveli were won by the National Conference in the last elections.

B.R. Sharma, the state chief electoral officer, said all preparations were in place for the polls.

The 10 constituencies will have 1,064 polling stations. There are 58,073 voters in Kargil, 62,533 in Leh, 20,044 in Zanskar, 11,863 in Nobra, 84,726 in Sonawari, 86,306 in Bandipora, 15,330 in Gurez, 84,969 in Surankote, 77,853 in Mendhar and 96,758 voters in Poonch-Haveli.

In Nobra, a polling station has been set up for just 14 voters (seven men and women each). Twentyfour polling staff and security men will be deployed in this centre.

Polling in Jammu and Kashmir will be held in seven phases: Nov 17, Nov 23, Nov 30 and Dec 7, Dec 13, Dec 17 and Dec 24. The counting of votes will take place Dec 28.

Bandipore turned into ‘garrison’

Bandipore turned into ‘garrison’ARIF SHAFI WANI

Updated at 1625 hours IST
Bandipore, Nov 16: Hundreds of paramilitary CRPF troopers, policemen and army soldiers, have been deployed in this north Kashmir town to hold polling ‘smoothly’ on Monday.
On Sunday troopers were noting down the numbers of the vehicles and were checking the identity of all the visitors entering the town. The entire town has been turned into a ‘garrison’ with scores of troops vehicles parked at different places.
The residents said that they have been directed to stay indoors till further orders.
Bandipore goes to polls in the first phase of elections on November 17. The Coordination Committee, spearheading the present movement in the Valley has given the call for Bandipora chalo on the polling day.

Mirwaiz under house arrestGK NEWS NETWORK

 Mirwaiz under house arrestGK NEWS NETWORK

Updated at 1710 hours IST
Srinagar, Nov 16: The chairman of Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq continued to be under house arrest for sixth consecutive day Sunday.
A Hurriyat spokesman said the Mirwaiz has been under house arrest since Tuesday. Scores of policemen and paramilitary CRPF troopers have been deployed outside his Nageen residence and he is not being allowed to come out.

Zaffar Akbar arrestedGK NEWS NETWORK

Zaffar Akbar arrestedGK NEWS NETWORK

Updated at 1800 hours IST
Srinagar, Nov 16: Police on Sunday arrested the chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Salvation Movement and senior Hurriyat (M) leader Zaffar Akbar Bhat from Chanapora in city outskirts here, sources said.
They said the police raided the JKSM office this evening and arrested Bhat from there.
“He had called the meeting of the JKSM activists to chalk out the strategy for tomorrow’s Bandipore march,” sources said.
They said the JKSM activists tried to resist Bhat’s arrest but police resorted to baton charge to disperse them. In the police action at least six persons sustained injuries.

ATS team may delay J&K visit

ATS team may delay J&K visit


JAMMU, November 15: After green signal of court to conduct polygraph, narco-analysis and brain mapping tests on self styled godman Amritanand alias Dayanand Pandey on Friday, Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra will concentrate to ascertain his connection in Jammu & Kashmir and following some leads during these tests, the ATS team will be dispatched to Jammu & Kashmir.

Official sources in ATS Maharashtra averred that initially it was planned to send a team of ATS to Jammu & Kashmir till Sunday as some connections of the arrested self styled godman were established. But now when Pandey had been remanded to police custody till November 26 and Joint civil judge H K Ganatra
Nasik Court have permitted to conduct polygraph, narco-analysis and brain mapping tests on him, the plan to dispatch ATS team to Jammu has been delayed.

“Our two teams are camping in Bhopal and Uttar Pradesh in connection with probe of Malegaon blast and it is possible that we may send one of the teams to Jammu soon after these tests,” ATS sources said, adding that if required a fresh team will be sent from Maharashtra also.

“This all depends upon the revelations made by the self styled godman during the polygraph, narco-analysis and brain mapping tests to be conducted soon. Our focus will be to ascertain the motive regarding his visits to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, his links in the state, his meetings with then army officers or any other persons in the state, money transactions including donations, funds or hawala to the K a s h y a p m e r u Shankaracharya Amrit Anand Vedic Vishav
Kalyana Trust Durga Bhawan, Katra, his assets in the state and smuggling of RDX used to trigger blast in Malegaon,” the sources added.

Following leads in his Jammu connections, it will be easy for the ATS team to carry forward investigations and raids in Jammu, sources said, adding that if required Amritanand alias Dayanand Pandey will also be shifted to Jammu by air for conducting on the spot investigations. It is pertinent to mention here that Pandey was produced before the Nasik Court yesterday by the ATS and court
remanded him custody till November 26, 2008. The court also allowed his polygraph, narco-analysis and brain mapping tests. However, the narco-analysis conducted on Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Purohit has revealed that Malegaon blasts planning were undertaken by Pragya Singh Thakur and her mentor Swami
Amrita Nand (Dayanand Pandey), along with him.

Purohit further claimed that self-proclaimed religious leader, Swami Amritanand Saraswati also known as Dayanand Pandey had masterminded both the Nanded as well as the Ajmer blasts. He added during the test that Pandey had taken his help to set up a terror wing and he had introduced him to another accused Sadvi Pragya Singh. Dayanand Pandey alias Swami Amritanand Dev Teerth was arrested in Kanpur.

[Kashmir Times]

40 feared dead in Kashmir

 40 feared dead in Kashmir
Srinagar, Nov 16, PBI: At-least 40 persons, most of them labourers, are feared dead after they drowned in river Jhelum following the collapse of an under- construction bridge in border town of Uri in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district at around 9.30 on Sunday morning.
A PBI reporter said that bodies of four persons including a non-local labourer were retrieved up-to 1330 hours.

Quoting eyewitnesses, he said, Parampila Bridge? connecting Karamteela and Bardi villages? caved in the middle and plunged into the fast flowing river Jhelum.

He said that at the time of bridge -collapse, several labourers were working on it while few commuters were crossing to reach their respective places of work.

He added that twenty persons were still missing as authorities and locals launched a massive rescue operation to trace the missing.
Bodies of two persons which were retrieved included that of Ghulam Qadir Mugal, 50, son of Ghulam Muhammad Mugal of Machikarand, Iqbal Hussein son of Rehmat Ullah, Ishtiaq Hussein Shah, son of Sabir Hussein, both residents of Besgerandani and unidentified non-local labourer.

Some of the missing persons have been identified as Mushtaq Ahmad Khan (shopkeeper) son of Naseeb Ahmad Khan, Mohammad Din son of Ghulam-udin. Mohammad Lateef Gujjar son of Ali Mohammad Raveel Ahmad Mughal son of Mohammad Amin and Fayaz Ahmad Mughal son Nazir Ahmad.

Members from administration have reached the spot to ascertain the cause of the mishap which apparently seems to be the usage of substandard material in the construction of the bridge.
“Police has launched large scale rescue operation,” Senior Superintendent of Police Anand Jain said.

The bridge, PBI reporter said, was in the final stage of its construction; in fact labourers were giving finishing touches to it when it collapsed. He said that more than half of the bridge still remains erect.

Posted on 16 Nov 2008 by Webmaster