‘5255 Arrested During Summer Unrest, Only 264 In Custody’
Jammu, Mar 17: In a contradictory revelation, the state government Thursday said 5255 persons, including 799 students, were arrested across the state for allegedly resorting to `stone pelting’ during summer unrest.
The government said these arrests were made between January 1, 2010 and February 28, 2011. Out of total number of people detained on charges of stone pelting, 5009 were released including 4,982 in Kashmir Valley while 21 and 6 in Jammu and Ramban districts, respectively. It said ‘only’ 264 stone pelters are still in the police custody.
The figures given in a written reply by the home department in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday contradict the earlier claims of the government and the police.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, in his reply to the Governor’s address in the Assembly on March 5, had said that 4064 people were arrested across the state between June 2010 till date and out of them 3900 were released. He had said that only 164 people were presently under custody on the charges of stone pelting.
Replying to a question by BJP MLA Ashok Khajuria, the Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar, on behalf of the Chief Minister, said that 5,225 stone pelters were arrested during the last one year in the Valley and 27 in Jammu and Ramban districts.
Srinagar district topped the list with 1716 arrests while number of youth arrested from Baramulla and Pulwama districts was 808 and 701 respectively during this period.
In Budgam, Ganderbal, Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian, Kupwara, Bandipora, Jammu and Ramban districts around 357, 169, 414, 280, 178, 400, 205, 21 and 6 youth were arrested, respectively.
No foreigner was, however, arrested in such incidents, the minister said.
In another written reply to the question by PDP member Abdul Gaffar Sofi, the minister said that 799 students and youth were arrested during the protests in Valley from April 1, 2010 to February 28, 2011.
796 detained youth and students were released while three still are languishing in jails under Public Safety Act, the reply reads.
Asked if the government intended to withdraw the FIRs lodged against the students and youth, the reply said that investigations in these cases are going on and decision to release them will be taken after the inquiries are completed in each individual case depending upon the nature and gravity of offences committed.
Referring to the steps taken to release aged and ailing political prisoners, a question raised by Sofi, the ministry said the review of detention cases is a continuous process.
Though the reply furnished in the assembly today revealed that 1699 out of 1716 people, arrested for stone pelting, were released in Srinagar district, a senior police officer on March 10 had said that during the summer unrest 1400 people were arrested in the district out of which only 82 were presently in police custody and rest of them were released. A police report on the other hand claimed that till February 12, 2011, 1355 people were arrested in the district out of which 1341 were released.
Similar contradictions were also noticed about number of such other claims provided by the home department in the assembly today and the data provided by the police to media earlier.
137 DETAINED UNDER PSA
The home department claimed that around 137 people have been detained under Public Safety Act, across the state, between March 2010 to February 28, 2011. Around 32 of them have been released, while 105 were stilled languishing in various jails.
In reply to a question by PDP’s Nizam-ud-Din Bhat the minister incharge home acknowledged that it has received recommendations from the Ministry of Home Affairs Government of India on the basis of inputs provided by the Kashmir interlocutors for the release of detainees in the state.
The data was again contradictory as IGP Kashmir SM Sahai on March 11 when he claimed that around 171 people were detained under PSA during the summer unrest out of which 57 were released.
6 DIE IN POLICE CUSTODY
To another question, the government said that six persons died in policy custody during last two years upto March 15, 2011.
However, the data says that only three deaths were reported from Kashmir and the deceased included Rajnesh Kumar, Billu Gupta and Tariq Ahmed Dar.>>Source-GK