NEW DELHI: Taking the suggestion of the Centre’s special representative Dineshwar 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 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.
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 militant Burhan Wani in an encounter, they said.
According to another report, Dineshwar Sharma, who is visiting the state from November 24, said the centre government has asked the state government for granting amnesty to youth who are accused of being involved first time in the Kashmir valley.
Talking to KNS over phone Sharma said that he is visiting Jammu on November 24 and Kashmir on November 26. Sharma, who has been accorded cabinet secretary rank by GoI, said that the Home Ministry has asked the state government to “give amnesty to first time stone pelters,” Sharma said.
“I think the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) has formally announced something and they are advising the state government to give amnesty to first-time stone pelters,” Sharma added. However, he refused to talk whether giving amnesty was suggested by him to the Government of India after he had concluded his visit to the state.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) headed by Rajnath Singh is set to announce series of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) for Jammu and Kashmir including complete re-imbursement of compensation paid by the State Government on account of losses suffered during ceasefire violations on Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) and massive increase in relief paid to the kin of police martyrs by bringing it at par with Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).
The decisions to this effect were part of the CBMs taken by Centre on Jammu and Kashmir ahead of the second visit of its Special Representative Dineshwar Sharma.
According to an ‘Excelsior’ report, as per the CBMs, the compensation paid by the State Government to next of kin of people, killed and injured in Pakistan army’s shelling and firing on both LoC and IB in Jammu and Kashmir, losses for cattle, property including houses and other structures and the crops, will be re-imbursed by the Centre Government as part of Security Related Expenditure (SRE) after being paid by the State Government.
“At the same time, compensation for the losses will also be increased significantly,” sources said, adding that relief for the killing of civilians has already been raised from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh while compensation for the injuries, losses of cattle, property and crops will also be hiked.
The MHA has decided that all these losses will be treated as the SRE and re-imbursed to the State Government. This would help a lot to the people living along LoC and IB as presently they were getting very meager compensation for losses on account of mortar shelling and firing by Pakistan, which has almost become a routine affair causing enormous inconvenience to the people.
Sources said increase in the losses due to ceasefire violations will be manifold and exact amount will be worked out in consultations with the State Government.
In another significant CBM, the MHA today announced supply of 800mw electricity to Jammu and Kashmir totally free of cost this winter amid reports that many parts of the State were facing acute shortage of power, leading to massive cuts in the harsh winters.
“The increased power supply would be utilized in all three regions of the State including Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh as a major gift from the Centre,” sources pointed out and said this would give relief to the people including those living in rural and far off areas to quite an extent.
Sources said from next year, the Centre proposed to further increase electricity supply to Jammu and Kashmir with a view to ensure round-the-clock power supply in all areas including the rural belt. For the purpose, the Ministry of Home has also approached the Union Power Ministry headed by RK Singh, who had recently visited the Kashmir valley for review of power supply position.
“The MHA, as a tribute to Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel, who were instrumental in eliminating, arresting and ensuring surrender of many militants during the ‘Operation All Out’ has decided to increase compensation paid to the police martyrs at par with CAPF jawans,” sources said.
While family of a police jawan gets around Rs 43 lakh compensation for martyrdom of the jawan, the families of CAPF jawans get around Rs 70 lakh,” sources said, adding that the Home Ministry has decided to bear the cost of increased compensation by re-imbursing it to the State under the SRE.
The ex-gratia component from the Centre for the martyrs of JKP personnel will increase from existing Rs 3 lakh to Rs 30 lakh, the officials said.