Stone Pelters take advantage of Amnesty Scheme to trigger more unrest in Kashmir valley
Ignoring warning they first targeted security forces with stones and also obstructed number of encounters to facilitate the easy escape of holed up terrorists from their safe hideouts.
Then to scare away tourists and even pilgrims their buses/vans/jeeps/Taxi’s were targeted by the large army of stone pelters en route Kashmir highway.
As a form of protest demonstrations evolved large assembly of protesters targeted security camps and convoy vehicles in South Kashmir areas to provoke a strong retaliation.
CM Mehbooba Mufti said, the perpetrators of this senseless & cowardly act will be brought to justice soon.
Even these stone pelters didn’t spare truckers ferrying essential supplies including petroleum products and broke down their window panes.
They also burnt down school buildings in anger, militants took shelter inside school complexes during long encounters but school going children were never targeted especially at a time when they were heading towards their classrooms.
But on Wednesday when a school bus ferrying about 50 children was heading towards their school building the school children in uniform came on the radar of ‘unruly’ stone pelters who broke down several window panes leading to injuries to two children.
The incident took place on Wednesday morning in militant-infested Shopian district of South Kashmir around 9.20 a.m The local police and other security forces immediately swung into action and took charge of the situation to prevent any further injuries to the school children.
The incident clearly shows frustration among the mischief mongers who are desperately trying to trigger street protests against the alliance government to channelize their anger in their support.
This is one of the lowest points in the history of ongoing turmoil in the militancy-infested state.
The entire Kashmir valley and people from different walks of life condemned the incident and demanded severe punishment for the guilty.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti reacted angrily saying the perpetrators of this senseless and cowardly act will be brought to justice soon.
“Shocked and angered to hear of the attack on a school bus in Shopian. The perpetrators of this senseless and cowardly act will be brought to justice,” she tweeted.
Geelani said that “we need to demonstrate our mature thinking and follow discipline.”
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah condemned the attack on the school bus.
“How does pelting stones on school children or tourist buses help advance the agenda of these stone pelters? These attacks deserve our unequivocal condemnation & this tweet is mine,” Omar wrote on his Twitter handle.
Omar said that the amnesty granted to stone pelters was to encourage “reasonable behavior”.
He added that some “goons” were determined to use the amnesty as an opportunity to pelt more stones.
It is a complete madness: DGP
Condemning the incident, Director General of Police S P Vaid said, “Complete madness how stone pelters are targeting young school children. These criminals will face the law.”
Meanwhile, National Conference spokesman Junaid Mattu also condemned the incident and took a dig at separatists, saying “One would expect (Syed Ali Shah) Geelani and Mirwaiz (Umer Farooq) to take a conscientious call and condemn stone pelting while reserving the right to espouse their political ideologies through non-violence. You can’t claim the moral high ground while refusing to condemn this unequivocally.”
After several hours Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also broke his silence at least on the twitter.
“It is the duty of each Kashmiri to safeguard the peoples’ movement for which immense sacrifices are being given and do no such thing that will be detrimental to it in any way,” Mirwaiz tweeted.
“Stone-throwing incident on a school bus is quite disturbing one fails to understand why a school bus carrying children was targeted? Those who indulge in such hooliganism should realize that these actions tarnish our movement & provide an opportunity to our adversary to defame it,” Mirwaiz tweeted.
“It is the duty of each Kashmiri to safeguard the peoples’ movement for which immense sacrifices are being given and do no such thing that will be detrimental to it in any way,” Mirwaiz said in another tweet.
Hurriyat (G) Conference, chairman Syed Ali Geelani also expressed dismay over the stoning of a school bus in Shopian that left two students injured.
“Our strength lies in discipline,” said Geelani, in a statement, adding: “we should keep a strict vigil on those involved in these incidents”.
He said that “we need to demonstrate our mature thinking and follow discipline.”
“We are passing through a crucial stage and it is sensible to move forward and follow discipline with complete wisdom,” said Geelani.
Mehbooba Mufti pampered stone pelters by granting them amnesty
In January, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti announced an amnesty for all first time stone pelting offenders since 2008.
Over 9,730 people, involved in stone-throwing incidents between 2008 and 2017 in the Kashmir Valley were granted amnesty.
Her government had approved the withdrawal of 1,745 cases, involving 9,730 persons. All these were categorized as “first-time offenders”.
As many as 56 government employees &16 Hurriyat activists were among the 4,949 people found involved in stone-throwing incidents.
The cases were identified by a committee constituted by the Chief Minister earlier.
“Over 4,000 people, involved in minor incidents of stone-throwing over the past two years, have already been granted amnesty,” she said.
In 3,773 cases, registered in 2016 and 2017, 11,290 were arrested. “Of whom, 233 have remained untraced.
Around 8,570 people were arrested in 2016 alone. “The number of cases in 2017 dropped to 869 and 2,720 people were arrested.
As many as 56 government employees and 16 Hurriyat activists were among the 4,949 people found involved in stone-throwing incidents. “Around 4,074 were not affiliated with any separatist or militant group.
Govt will take tough action: DyCM
Reacting to the news of stone pelting on a school going children Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta on Wednesday said the state government will act tough against the stone pelters behind the attack.
Interacting with media at his official residence in Jammu Deputy Chief Minister said the alliance govt had announced an amnesty for first time stone pelters but not for those who indulge in stone pelting on regular basis to disturb peace in the region.
He said J&K is a sensitive state. We don’t want to provoke a situation or take tough measures against the first time stone pelters. Keeping this in mind the amnesty scheme was announced earlier, he added.
He, however, added we have to be responsible while acting against those behind the incidents.
Gupta claimed agents of Pakistan active in Kashmir valley are desperately trying to disturb the peace.
He said the state government agencies have been directed to take tough measures and ensure the safety of school going children.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.