Stone pelting: Mufti orders review of cases against youth for

Jammu, Nov 23 (PTI) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today directed a panel to review cases against youth facing charges of in stone-pelting in the 2015-2017 period, and furnish recommendations in ten days.

Mufti had yesterday announced the beginning of the process of withdrawal of cases against youths accused of first-time involvement.

The decision was taken considering the suggestion of the Centre’s special representative Dineshwar Sharma, an official spokesperson said.

“In a decision of immense significance, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today ordered the review of cases against the youth for the period 2015-2017 (till date) by an already constituted committee and furnishing of its recommendations within 10 days,” the spokesman said.

The panel tasked with reviewing cases against youth for the 2008-2014 period has been asked to review the cases for 2015-2017 cases as well, according to a government order.

Soon after assuming the office of chief minister in April, 2016, Mufti had set in motion a process to review cases against youth from 2008 to 2014 which, however, was disrupted due to the continued violence and unrest in the later part of the year.

The chief minister described today’s decision as a ray of hope for “these young boys and their families”. She hoped the decision would help in creating a positive and conciliatory atmosphere in the state.

Mufti yesterday announced withdrawal of cases against youths accused of being involved in stone-pelting for the first time. She said this confidence building measure reaffirmed the Centre’s commitment to creating an atmosphere for sustained dialogue.

“It gives me immense satisfaction to restart the process of withdrawing FIRs against first-time offenders involved in stone pelting. My government had initiated the process in May last year but it was stalled due to the unrest,” she posted on Twitter last night.

It is encouraging that the interlocutor has started on a positive note, she said adding that Sharma’s recommendations were being taken seriously by both the central and state governments.

Taking the suggestion of Sharma forward, over 4,500 cases against youths involved in stone pelting for the first time will be dropped in a bid to win hearts, officials had said earlier.

Sharma, who visited the Valley earlier this month, was flooded with requests from various individuals and groups for withdrawal of cases against first-timers booked by the police for stone pelting.

Over 11,500 cases were registered against stone pelters since July last year when unrest broke out in Kashmir following the gunning down of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in an encounter, officials had said.

Out of these, over 4,500 cases were registered against youths indulging in stone pelting for the first time, they said.

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