Kashmiri youths are being sent to jails across India

Kashmiri youths are being sent to jails across India

Kashmiri youths in police-custody.

Kashmiri youths in police-custody.

New Delhi: The Central Government is believed to have detained thousands of youth including activists, local politicians and businessmen in Kashmir and sent them to jails elsewhere in India since it stripped the region of its autonomy on 5 August.

Many Kashmiris are being held in Agra Central Jail after the government imposed an unprecedented security clampdown in Indian-administered Kashmir, cutting virtually all communications and scrapping the region’s partial autonomy.

At least 4,000 people, mostly young men, have been arrested since the lock-down in Kashmir according to police officials and records reviewed by the Associated Press news agency.

The J&K Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said in an interview to The Hindu that August 5 onwards, around 3,000 cases were reported where young men were picked up and released subsequently in the Kashmir Valley. Around 800 remain in detention and nearly 150 are lodged in jails outside J&K.

The J&K police have started a unique practice of engaging the community elders, religious teachers and family members to deter the youth from repeating offences like throwing stones at security forces. As per the bond, the community members are made to stand as guarantors for the youth at the local police station for first-time offenders. The bond has no legal sanctity though.

Before the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government announced its decision to scrap the special status that gave Kashmir its autonomy, it put the region under lockdown – mobile phone networks, landlines and the internet were cut off; and regional political leaders were placed under house arrest.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised that removing Kashmir’s special status will usher in a “new dawn” for the Muslim-majority region. But Kashmiris have instead experienced more than three weeks of silence and anger, marked by a communications blackout and widespread detentions.

Heavy-handed security tactics are not new in Kashmir, which has been home to an anti-India insurgency since 1989. But experts say the scale and intensity of the current crackdown — targeting everyone from teenagers to relatives of militants to senior politicians — appears to be without parallel.

Human rights observers at the United Nations have expressed their concern over the situation. “It’s very worrisome,” said Bernard Duhaime, the U.N. chair-rapporteur for the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. He urged India to ensure that detentions are properly registered, relatives are informed of detainees’ whereabouts and judicial authorities verify the legality of the detentions.

Sharif gets 7-year jail term in graft case

Sharif gets 7-year jail term in graft case

Nawaz SharifIslamabad : An accountability court on Monday sentenced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to seven years in prison in Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference, while acquitted him in the the Flagship Investments reference.

The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader was taken into custody after the verdict and will be transported to Adiala Jail.

He was also fined Rs 1.5 billion in the Al-Azizia reference.

—IANS

Lalu Prasad gets 3-1/2 years jail in fodder scam case

Lalu Prasad gets 3-1/2 years jail in fodder scam case

Lalu Prasad YadavBy Nityanand Shukla,

Ranchi : In a huge setback to the RJD, its supremo Lalu Prasad was on Saturday sentenced to three-and-a-half-years jail in a fodder scam case.

After three days of arguments on the quantum of punishment, special CBI judge Shivpal Singh pronounced the order through video conferencing.

As the CBI judge was delivering the sentence, Lalu Prasad, who is at present lodged in the Central Jail here, was standing with folded hands.

The court also slapped two fines of Rs 5 lakh each on the former Bihar Chief Minister. If the fine is not deposited, he will have to stay in jail for another six months.

The court convicted Lalu Prasad and 15 others on December 23 in the case relating to the multi-million-rupee scam.

Lalu Prasad was sentenced to three-and-a-half years imprisonment on offences of cheating, along with criminal conspiracy under the the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

He was also sentenced to the same period under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA). Both punishment will go simultaneously.

The sentences range from three-and-a-half-years to seven years imprisonment. The maximum fine imposed was Rs 10 lakh, slapped on three convicts including Jagdish Sharma, former Public Accounts Committee chairman, while they and three others got the seven years in jail too. Thre remaining nine were also sentenced to three and half years in jail.

The arguments on quantum of sentence had been going on since Thursday when those of five convicts were heard and another five, including Lalu Prasad, was heard on Friday.

While hearing arguments of quantum of sentence, the judge observed that the convicts “should be kept in open jail as they have experience in looking after cows”.

The CBI court had acquitted another former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra and five others in the case, relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 84.5 lakh from the Deoghar district treasury between 1990 and 1994 in then undivided Bihar.

Lalu Prasad was the Chief Minister of the undivided state from 1990 to 1997.

Convicted in another fodder scam case in 2013, he was sentenced to five years imprisonment and is on bail.

He was facing a total five cases in the fodder scam and the judgment in two more cases are likely to be pronounced within one month.

The multi-million-fodder scam surfaced in 1996 and at directive of Patna High Court, the investigation was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). When Lalu Prasad moved the Supreme Court against high court order, the SC ordered the Patna High Court to monitor the investigation.

Lalu Prasad had to step down as Chief Minister post in 1997 following his arrest in the scam.

A total of 62 cases were filed by the CBI and majority of them were transferred Ranchi after Jharkhand was carved out from Bihar in 2000. The special CBI court has delivered judgment in 48 cases and several politicians, bureaucrats and others have been convicted.

—IANS