J&K Stone Pelting: Centre may withdraw cases against first-time offenders
The Centre is expected to announce an amnesty scheme under which cases would be withdrawn against first-time offenders engaging in stone pelting in the Kashmir Valley. The scheme was discussed between officials from J&K and the Centre and will likely be announced ahead of interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma's upcoming visit to the state this month. The scheme is meant as a show of good faith.
Rajnath: Former IB chief Dineshwar Sharma to be J&K interlocutor
On October 23, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced that former Intelligence Bureau (IB) director Dineshwar Sharma will initiate dialogue in strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir. He said Sharma "will initiate a sustained interaction and dialogue to understand legitimate aspirations" of J&K citizens. Sharma will hold the position of a cabinet secretary. Regarding talks with separatists, Rajnath said Sharma has autonomy to decide.
Stone pelting increased dramatically following militant leader's death
Cases of stone pelting as a form of protest against Indian security forces increased dramatically following the killing of Hizbul Mujahidin leader Burhan Wani in July 2016. Violent protests and increased terrorist violence swept through Kashmir for four months bringing the region to a standstill. A crackdown by security forces left over a hundred protesters dead while several others were blinded by pellet guns.
Sharma says he will focus on angry J&K youth
"There are thousands of youth facing FIRs and we will be withdrawing cases against first-time stone pelters as a goodwill gesture," a home ministry official told Hindustan Times. Meanwhile, Sharma said the amnesty scheme was being worked out. "I am concerned about the youth because they are the ones who matter. I will be focussing on how to change their mindset…," he said.
Centre hopes amnesty scheme would help Mufti govt.
The Centre hopes that the amnesty scheme would help reduce tensions ahead of Sharma's second visit to J&K later this month. It also hopes that the CM Mehbooba Mufti-led government would receive space to maneuver politically in her party's traditional stronghold which was swept by protests. She has come under pressure over her alliance with the BJP-ruled Central government.