, Kathua rape murder case verdict: Three sentenced for life, three for 5 years, one acquitted

Sikh24 Editors

Pathankot – Panjab – India, 11 June 2019. On June 10, the Pathankot Court convicted six of the seven accused in the Kathua rape and murder case. Those convicted include former revenue official Sanji Ram, Special Police Officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, two investigating officers, head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta and a civilian, Parvesh Kumar.

Sanji Ram, the village head and the caretaker of the temple where the minor was gang-raped, Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar have been sentenced to life imprisonment of 25 years. The other three accused, Tilak Raj, Anand Dutta and Surender Verma were sentenced to five years in jail for destroying crucial evidence in the case.

The special court acquitted Sanji Ram’s son Vishal due to lack of evidence. The eighth accused, a juvenile, will be tried at a juvenile court. His trial is yet to begin as a petition to determine his age is awaiting judgment in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

Meanwhile, the Dal Khalsa has expressed dissatisfaction over the Pathankot court’s verdict.

Commenting on the Pathankot court’s judgment on the Kathua rape-murder case, the Dal Khalsa has said the punishment addressed to three prime accused convicted for rape and murder was inadequate. The organization refuses to term the verdict full and final justice to Asifa, the eight-year-old girl, who was kidnapped, raped and murdered in captivity.

The Punishment for life is not commensurate with the enormity of the crime, said leader of Sikh organization in a statement.

“The convicted persons deserved death sentence or life sentence till death as their act was barbaric and beastly and no less punishment would provide sense of relief to the victim and her family,” said party spokesman Kanwar Pal Singh.

He, however said the verdict was a big slap on the faces of those politicians including the BJP, who by holding Tricolor defended the perpetrators, threatened the lawyers and derided the legal system.

Kathua Rape Murder Case Verdict: Three Sentenced for Life, Three for 5 years, One Acquitted

The Tribune – Mirwaiz for resumption of India – Pakistan talks

Tribune News Service

Jammu – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 05 June 2019. Moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Wednesday called for the resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan. “Confidence-building measures can be a starting point for the resolution of all issues amicably,” he stated.

Delivering the Eid sermon at the historic Jamia Masjid in the old city’s Nowhatta area here, Mirwaiz said, “Such measures could be a starting point which will pave the way for resolution of all issues amicably, including long-standing Kashmir issue, which is lingering for the past 70 years”.

Mirwaiz reiterated the stand of Kashmiri leadership to help bridge the divide between India and Pakistan, which was “imperative for the resolution of Kashmir issues and to devise a mechanism for dialogue and deliberations”.

“The Kashmir issue needs a peaceful and political solution. We are ready to extend a helping hand and support a peaceful dialogue between the two countries,” he maintained.

Demanding the opening of the traditional routes to facilitate travel and trade and the contact between families and friends of divided parts of Kashmir, Mirwaiz said: “All natural routes of divided Jammu and Kashmir should be reopened so that people are allowed to connect to their loved ones”.

He hoped that New Delhi’s new ruling dispensation would take positive steps for the resolution of the basic political problem in the state and would work for its redressal to end uncertainty once and for all.

Meanwhile, Eid-ul-Fitr, like in other parts of the country, was celebrated with religious gaiety and fervour across Kashmir.

The largest gathering of men and women to offer Eid prayers was witnessed at the historical Jamia Masjid, Srinagar. Special arrangement was made by Auqaf Anjuman Jamia Masjid, Srinagar, to facilitate devotees who came from different parts of the Valley to offer prayers on the occasion.

BSF, Rangers exchange sweets on LoC

Jammu/Rajouri – The Army and Border Security Force (BSF) exchanged Eid greetings and sweets with their Pakistani counterparts at different locations along the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday.

The BSF and Pakistan Rangers greeted each other and exchanged sweets on the International Border of Jammu in Hiranagar, Samba, Ramgarh, RS Pura and Pragwal sectors. “The border forces are committed to maintaining peaceful atmosphere and harmonious relations,” a BSF spokesperson said.

In Poonch, the Indian and Pakistan armies exchanged sweets at Chakan Da Bagh on the LoC. The gate was opened for about 5 minutes at 11.30 am. A six-member Indian side was led by Major Vignesh while Pakistan army’s team was led by Captain Idrees.

Last time, the sweets were exchanged in August and November last year on the occasions of Eid-al-Azha and Diwali festivals, respectively. “No sweets were exchanged on the occasion of India’s Republic Day on January 26 as the Pakistan army had resorted to heavy firing with small arms and shelling by mortars from January 24 and 27,” said sources.

The Hindu – Post-poll survey: a mixed bag for BJP in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab

While the BJP swept Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir saw a split verdict and Punjab provided some comfort for the Congress

Sandeep Shastri

Srinagar/Chandigarh, 30 May 2019. Today we report on the smaller States and one Union Territory of north India, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Delhi. Except in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, this region saw an electoral landslide in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP achieved a 100% strike rate in these areas.

While the BJP repeated its 2014 performance in terms of seats in Himachal Pradesh and Delhi, it is important to note that it secured a much higher vote share and won by a much bigger margin than it did in 2014 in these States. Haryana is now an addition to the category of States where the BJP won all the seats.

In Jammu and Kashmir, there was a split verdict. The BJP won in Jammu, Udhampur and Ladakh, while the National Conference won in Anantnag, Baramulla and Srinagar. Punjab went against the trend in north India and provided some comfort for the Congress party.

Implications for State polls

The electoral contest in Delhi had garnered a lot of attention in view of the moves made by many non-BJP leaders to ensure a seat-sharing arrangement between the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Such an arrangement, it was felt, would prevent the split of the non-BJP vote. An alliance was not forged ultimately as both parties were unwilling to concede to each other’s demands.

The Congress wanted an exclusive seat-sharing arrangement for Delhi, while the AAP was in favour of a broader arrangement that included Punjab and Haryana. The BJP retained all seven seats in the capital by impressive margins of victory.

What is significant is that the Congress was able to push the AAP to a distant third position in the electoral battle. This will have important implications for next year’s Assembly election.

The BJP also achieved a clean sweep in Himachal Pradesh. The Modi factor and the Balakot strikes played an important role in the party’s success. Infighting in the Congress was a key factor that contributed to the party’s inability to open its account in the State. Himachal Pradesh was also witness to a dual pro-incumbency sentiment as the government in the State is also a BJP government.

Haryana saw one of the keenest electoral contests in this region. The BJP had the advantage of facing a divided Opposition. It launched an aggressive campaign focusing on the Prime Minister, the Balakot strikes and its own ‘idea of India’.

In the recent past, the BJP State government too had improved its image. This helped to boost its prospects. The Union Cabinet’s approval of 10% reservation for the economically backward in the general category also made a difference in attracting Jat votes. Haryana also saw a clean sweep by the BJP.

Some wins for the Opposition

Jammu and Kashmir saw distinct regions of the State voting differently. The BJP retained its monopoly in the Jammu and Ladakh regions. In the Kashmir Valley, the National Conference, which was in alliance with the Congress, was able to beat the challenge from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and win all the three seats.

This clear divide gains significance as the State prepares for Assembly polls. This trend indicates that it could well be a split verdict like the last time round.

In Punjab the Congress was able to win a majority of the seats, and double its 2014 tally. The National Democratic Alliance partners, the Akali Dal and the BJP, were able to win only four seats. The AAP was able to retain just one seat. The decline of this party is truly the story of this election as is the revival of the Congress’s fortunes in a Lok Sabha election from the State.

The NDA partners were unable to get their act together. The detailed article on Punjab makes the important point that the AAP vote has shifted to both the Akali Dal-BJP combine and the Congress.

While the Other Backward Classes Hindu vote has moved to the Congress, the upper caste Hindu vote has moved to the NDA alliance, more specifically the BJP. A segment of the Jat Sikh vote seems to have moved from the Akali Dal to the Congress.

The articles provided a detailed outline of the results in the five small States and one Union Territory of north India and reflect the diversity of trends in this region.

Sandeep Shastri is the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Jain University, Bengaluru, and the national co-ordinator of the Lokniti network

The Hindu – Use mandate to resolve Kashmir issue: Mirwaiz Umar Farooq tells Narendra Modi

Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 31 May 2019. Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use his massive mandate “to play a decisive role in the resolution of the Kashmir issue”.

“Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s oft-repeated offer of dialogue should be considered by the new dispensation in New Delhi as the way forward,” said the Mirwaiz in his address at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid, where thousands of devotees offered prayers on the last Friday of Ramzan.

“People of India overwhelmingly voted for Mr Modi. This mandate gives PM Modi an opportunity and the power to play a decisive role in resolution of the issue. It is an opportune time to initiate political processes,” said the Mirwaiz.

He demanded that the Centre take Kashmir specific confidence-building measures like release of prisoners and revocation of laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act to create an atmosphere for dialogue.

Hurriyat leader addresses OIC on Kashmir

Meanwhile, a Hurriyat leader has addressed the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) 14th Islamic Summit in Saudi Arabia’s Makkah and called for its intervention “to help in ending rights violations in J&K and push for a final resolution of the Kashmir conflict”.

Abdullah Gilani, who represented Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani, in his address to the OIC’s contact group on Kashmir said, “The OIC should take a serious note of all developments in J&K, including rights violations. It should intervene and prevail upon the United Nations to establish an internal commission of inquiry on Kashmir”.

The Hurriyat leader said the non-resolution of this “dispute has turned entire South Asian region into a tinderbox”.

“Only a couple of months ago, the world watched with awe and horror how an incident in Kashmir almost pushed the neighbours to the precipice of a nuclear confrontation. While the international community was able to douse the flames of war, the spark that triggers these flames every now and then continues to remain neglected,” Mr. Abdullah told the OIC.

The OIC meeting was attended by its Secretary General Dr Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, foreign ministers of Turkey and Pakistan and deputy foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan and Niger.

The meeting on Kashmir a day after Mr Al-Othaimeen warned against “attempts to suppress or degrade Kashmir issue by linking it to terrorism, which is in violation of United Nations resolutions and International law”.

He also called for “a genuine dialogue between Pakistan and India to resume, which will be the best framework for addressing all outstanding issues, particularly the dispute.” – “Cow Vigilantes” Kill Father of Five in Kashmir

Sikh24 Editors

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 26 May 2019. A day after the BJP’s victory in the parliamentary polls, several cow vigilantes shot dead a Muslim cattle commuter named Nayeem Ahmed Shah at Nalthi Pul area of Baderwah district of Chenab Valley in Jammu Kashmir.

The victim Nayeem Ahmed Shah is survived by five children and his wife.

Eyewitness Yasir Hussain, who accompanying the victim, informed that a group of “cow vigilantes” stopped them at around 02:30 AM and started blaming them of killing cows.

“We tried to pacify them by acquainting them with the reality that we were commuting horses, but they didn’t listen to us and shot dead Nayeem Ahmed Shah with a 12 bore countryside rifle,” he added.

Yasir said that he tried to seek help, but the group successfully ran away from the spot and also, Nayeem was lying down in a pool of blood, after being shot at.

It is learnt that the administration has snapped internet in the Baderwah District of Chenab valley immediately after the incident. Also, the Jammu Kashmir Police has imposed a Curfew in the area.

Meanwhile, the SSP of Baderwah has said that the Police have taken seven persons into custody and they were being grilled.

A new report from Human Rights Watch published in February this year reveals that radical cow protection groups in India have killed at least 44 people over the last three years and often received support from law enforcement and Hindu nationalist politicians.

“Cow Vigilantes” Kill Father of Five in Kashmir

Dawn – Pakistan-India trajectory

Touqir Hussain

Op/Ed, 25 May, 2019. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been re-elected. So what next for Pakistan-India relations? Will the neighbours start talking again? Certainly. But will their dialogue amount to anything? I am afraid not. The irony is that whether or not India and Pakistan are talking their relationship changes little, as if it has been inoculated against friendship since infancy.

The shadow of history has darkened the two countries’ view of each other. The burden of the past continues to oppress the present making the relationship resistant to change. What makes change still harder are their foreign policies, resting on conflicting identities and national purposes and moving in colliding orbits.

Each has remained an indelible fixture of the other’s domestic politics, compromising the will to change.

Modi’s hard line on Pakistan is not exceptional. This has been the default position of most Indian leaders. The difference is Modi’s perceptions are beating to the rhythm of global sentiments towards Pakistan especially in the West that have turned negative.

Modi’s negativity towards Pakistan is an asset in his relations with the US on which his foreign policy pivots. And at home he has played up the militancy issue to harden the existing public attitudes towards Pakistan, from which he derives political mileage and support for his brutal repression in India-held Kashmir.

History’s shadow has darkened the two states’ view of each other

Relationships change when countries have a compulsion and incentive to seek change. Between India and Pakistan, one or the other stimulus has always been missing. When either sought better ties the other was not ready.

That is how the 1999 bus diplomacy and 2001 Agra summit failed, and the Manmohan Singh-Pervez Musharraf back channel lost its way. On rare occasions when both sides were inclined to look for change, like Modi and Nawaz Sharif, non-state actors struck.

Given its economic challenges, Pakistan has stronger compulsions to seek better relations but like India wants the normalisation to be free of cost. Neither is ready to give the critical concessions the other demands. They have not only magnified each other as a threat but also exaggerated their own capability to deal with it.

India feels that by virtue of its size and military and economic power it is intrinsically qualified to seek hegemony in the region. Pakistan rejects such a normalisation, particularly a normalisation minus Kashmir. That is why the relationship cannot improve as it lacks consensus on the terms of engagement.

Meanwhile, Modi feels the benefits of alienating Pakistan exceed those of conciliation. But the policy has run its course. Frustrated that despite its power and influence, India cannot manage Pakistan, he decided on military action after Pulwama.

But it did not quite work because of Pakistan’s successful response. The military option has the risk of escalation or becoming a regular pattern thus losing its effectiveness.

That leaves dialogue as the only option. But the problem is, it is one thing to have a dialogue and quite another to institute a dialogue process that would require an understanding on fundamental issues.

And understanding is hard to come by, especially as the relationship is no longer just about Pakistan and India. India’s Pakistan policy is an adjunct to its China policy and a footnote in its relationship with Washington. And India is a subset of Washington’s China policy and relations with Pakistan.

No meaningful change is expected from India unless some or all of the following happen: there is progress in Pakistan’s fight against militant organisations; Modi’s repression in Kashmir fails; Afghanistan stabilises along with visible improvement in Pakistan’s economy; and US-China relations head for a dangerous escalation forcing India to reassess its ties with Washington. These are big ifs for the future.

Meanwhile normalisation of Pakistan-India ties will remain subordinate to Modi’s global and regional ambitions, his Kashmir policy, and domestic politics. A resumed dialogue may achieve little more than some improvement in atmospherics, and a partial resumption of people-to-people contact, and progress on Kartarpur, all vulnerable to the next incident.

Ultimately, for durable peace and prosperity to come to South Asia what is required is the emergence of strong leaders in Pakistan and India and a paradigm shift in domestic politics, national policies and the mindset of the people, possibly led by the next generation. Only a different Pakistan and India can be friends one day.

Steve Cohen in Shooting for a Century fears India Pakistan rivalry could possibly last for a ‘century’, in cricket terminology. A forbidding thought indeed.

The writer, a former ambassador, is adjunct faculty Georgetown and Syracuse University.

The Asian Age – Modi cannot remove Article 370, 35-A from Jammu & Kashmir: Farooq Abdullah

He said the prime minister should make efforts to unite the people of the country instead of dividing them.

Jammu – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 24 May 2019. National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah said on Friday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot remove Article 35-A and Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir.

He said the prime minister should make efforts to unite the people of the country instead of dividing them. “Let him be as powerful as he (Modi) likes, he cannot remove Article 370 and article 35-A (from the state of Jammu and Kashmir),” Abdullah told reporters here.

“Our right of Article 370 and Article 35-A should be protected. This is very important for us. We are soldiers of this country not enemies of this nation,” he said. Article 370 grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir and limits Parliament’s power to make laws concerning the state.

Article 35A empowers the state assembly to define ‘permanent residents’ for bestowing special rights and privileges on them. Abdullah urged Modi to connect the Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country through rail network.

The NC chief said his party will provide autonomy to all the three regions of Ladakh, Kashmir and Jammu after winning the assembly polls. Abdullah (83) got 1,06,750 votes and defeated Aga Syed Mohsin of the PDP by 70,050 votes in the Srinagar constituency, which has a total electorate of 12,94,560.

This will be Abdullah’s fourth term in the Lok Sabha, having been a member in 1980, 2009 and 2017 previously. He appreciated Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for continuing with his agenda of unity and diversity. “Winning and losing are part of life.

Rahul Gandhi after five years will make a comeback and I don’t think that people of Amethi will forget him. I think he (Rahul) will sit down and introspect as to why this happened and how to ensure Congress becomes stronger,” the NC chief said.

To a question about talks with Pakistan, Abdullah said if the prime minister wants to save the nation, he needs to be in friendly terms with our neighbours.

BBC News – Pakistan PM Khan : Kashmir issue ‘cannot keep boiling’

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has told the BBC that peace with India over the disputed territory of Kashmir would be “tremendous” for the wider region.

Mr Khan, a former cricketer who became leader eight months ago, said the nuclear-armed neighbours could only settle their differences with dialogue.

The comments come as India prepares to vote in a general election, weeks after an upsurge of violence in Kashmir.

A suicide attack against Indian forces triggered cross-border air strikes.

Asked what message he wanted to send to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his country, Mr Khan told the BBC’s John Simpson that the Kashmir issue “has to be settled” and “cannot keep boiling like it is”.

“The number-one tasks of the two governments is how are we going to reduce poverty and the way we reduce poverty is by settling our differences through dialogue and there is only one difference, which is Kashmir,” he said.

India’s prime minister has used anti-Pakistan rhetoric and stressed national-security themes during his re-election campaign.

Many see the election as a referendum on the polarising politics of his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Voting will open on Thursday and continue into May.


Mr Khan also spoke about the dangers of confrontation between the two neighbours.

“Once you respond, no-one can predict where it can go from there,” he said.

If India had “come back and then again attacked Pakistan, Pakistan would have no choice but to respond,” he added.

“So in that situation, two nuclear-armed countries, I just felt it was very irresponsible.”

Also read :Hand of friendship’ on election eve

Analysis by the BBC’s world affairs editor John Simpson

Also read : Why is there tension over Kashmir?

The published article and the two items mentioned above can be found at:

The Indian Express – No option but to abrogate Article 370, 35A if someone talks of separate PM for J&K: Rajnath Singh

Rajnath’s reaction came a week after National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had said that his party would reinstate the posts of ‘Sadr-e-Riyasat’ (President) and ‘Wazeer-e-Azam’ (Prime Minister) in the state, which also drew a sharp reaction from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

New Delhi – India, 08 April 2019. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Monday said the Centre will have no option other than abrogating articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution if “there is a talk of separate Prime Minister for Jammu and Kashmir.”

His reaction came a week after National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had said that his party would reinstate the posts of ‘Sadr-e-Riyasat’ (President) and ‘Wazeer-e-Azam’ (Prime Minister) in the state, which also drew a sharp reaction from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Addressing a rally at Suchetgarh in R S Pura sector situated along the international border, Singh, without taking any names, said he regretted that such statements.

Campaigning in Pattan, Abdullah had said the PM should “study how the constitution of India conferred upon the state certain allowances. The state had its own Prime Minister and president until 1965. We aren’t saying anything new; we are asking for what was infringed upon.”

Rejecting the demands, Singh asserted “aisa nahi chalega (This will not be allowed)”, adding that all the political parties must clear their stand on whether they also want two Prime Ministers in the country.

The BJP has reiterated its commitment to repeal Article 370, which gives Jammu and Kashmir a special status, and Article 35A, which allows the state’s legislature to define permanent residents, and pledged in its manifesto to work towards ensuring the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley.

The proposal has faced criticism in the valley, with both the PDP and NC opposing it vehemently citing accession terms. Former chief minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti had said removing the guarantees provided in the Constitution would “force us to reconsider whether we would like to continue with you or not”.

NC leader Farooq Abdullah today said the abrogation of the Articles would pave way for “freedom” for people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Included in the Constitution on 17 October 1949, Article 370 exempts J&K from the Indian Constitution (except Article 1 and Article 370 itself) and permits the state to draft its own Constitution. It restricts Parliament’s legislative powers in respect of J&K.

The BJP has termed it unconstitutional and “discriminatory” against non-permanent residents and women of Jammu and Kashmir, and has sought for its repeal.

The News – Chief of Indian-occupied Kashmir’s National Congress, Farooq Abdullah has called out Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ‘lying’ about the Balakot airstrike and downing Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) F-16.

The former chief minister of Indian Occupied Kashmir came forth on Saturday stating the Indian premier has distorted facts about the recent dogfight between India and Pakistan.

“Some people said 500 were killed and some others even said 700 were killed. Here if one person is killed, the whole world comes to know. Would no one know if 300 were killed?” he stated.

Abdullah, who will be contesting the Lok Sabha elections from the Srinagar constituency further stated: “He said we shot down their (Pakistan) fighter plane F-16. Now, the US has come up saying all the Pakistani F-16s are counted.

Not one has been shot down. There must be some basis for even lies, Modi ji. How long will you lie to people? And did you win (the battle)? Has Pakistan disappeared? Why are you lying? Do you think the Hindus will buy into all this?”

On Friday, Pakistan military issued additional evidence refuting the claims of India about downing Pakistan’s F-16.