DIG SKR SP Pani and SSP PUlwama Choudhary Aslam interacting with youth at DPL Pulwama where amnesty for 146 stone pleters was announced.

Several untold stories unfold as Police, Stone-pelters meet again

Mir Farhat
PULWAMa, Dec 24: Ever since the first pebble was thrown in 2008, there have been many hits and runs between stone pelters and the police. Such encounters are a continuous process but the environment has changed ever since Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti announced amnesty for first time stone-pelters in Kashmir. For counseling sessions, cops and these stone-pelters come together in the same room.
It is in such rooms that many untold stories have been unfolding. One such story is of Tariq Ahmad Mir.
Mir, 25, is one of the 146 stone pelters in Pulwama district who was granted amnesty by the police this week under the government’s recent initiative.
But dejected Mir is not enthused by the announcement because of the FIR against him registered by police in 2013 for being involved in stone pelting.
Mir, a resident of Litter village in Pulwama, says the FIR by police scuttled his aim to play at the national cricket level as batsman and train at the Anil Kumble Cricket Academy in Bangalore.
Talking to The News Now in Pulwama, Mir said that he wanted to become a cricketer and was a famous batsman in Pulwama district. Mir, who represented Jammu and Kashmir at the national level in an Under-17 match, played in 2006 against Maharashtra Cricket team.
“My life was ruined because of the FIR and the false accusation that I was involved in a stone pelting incident in 2013,” Mir said.
FIRs lodged against Mir and 145 other youth of Pulwama, are now being cleared, which means they will be free from the legal litigation and rigorous court trials.
The amnesty scheme for first time stone pelters was announced by the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti for first-time “offenders of stone pelting”, an initiative under which police will drop charges against an estimated 4,327 youth accused of stone pelting in Kashmir in the recent years.
DIG SKR Swayam Prakash Pani and SSP Pulwama Choudhary Aslam interacting with youth at DPL Pulwama where amnesty for 146 stone pleters was announced.
Police is now organising functions in districts in the valley where the “first time” stone pelters are gathered to make announcements before them. But it is youth like Mir who see no scheme of no use.
“In 2013, I got an opportunity to train at the Anil Kumble Cricket Academy in Bangalore. It was the month of November when I got a call and air ticket to reach Bangalore,” Mir says, with his disdain in his voice.
“But I missed the opportunity of my life when police summoned me to the police station,” he said.
Mir who completed his Graduation in Arts subjects in 2013, says that in 2015, he was also selected under Udaan scheme for undergoing skill training for a job. “But after two months, I had to return home from New Delhi as my friend called me that I have to attend a court trial,” he says.
“Of what use is this amnesty scheme for me?” he questions. “Neither I could get the chance of playing cricket at the national level not could I do the train myself for the job,” he says.
Mir, who is working at a private Cold Storage in Pulwama, says that for four years he has not applied either for a job or for a passport, which needs No Objection Certificate from police.
“I can understand your pain,” Swayam Prakash Pani, Deputy Inspector General of Police of volatile South Kashmir told Mir as he tried to reassure the dejected young man. “We will try to our best to resolve your problem,” Pani told him.
Another story that unfolded on the same day was of Shoaib (name changed), for whom the amnesty by the government came as a blessing and advantageous initiative for him and his family.
Shoaib, a resident of Pulwama town and Class 12 student, is the son of a labourer, and has been going through court trial from the last year. He was booked by police for stone pelting during 2016 unrest which was triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahedeen commander Burhan Wani in the Kashmir valley.
“My family is poor and it was quite demanding for my parents to arrange money for a lawyer to contest my case in the court,” the young man said.
A father of an accused young man who spoke to The News Now said that the initiative is a “big relief” for parents like him and their sons.
“My son was booked for stone pelting in 2010. Though he has pursued his academics but the court trials have left a mental trauma on him and us,” the father said, but did not want to be identified.
The initiative is propagated by the ruling party PDP as a big opportunity to regain its last ground in Kashmir, and particularly in south Kashmir which PDP considered its bastion.
Nisar Ahmad, a driver from Kakapora area, said that he was booked by police in 2008 and since then he is being “grilled by police”.
“Whenever any incident of stone pelting occurs in our area, police picks me even though I have stopped stone pelting in 2008,” Ahmad complained before the DIG.
DIG Pani told Ahmad that the amnesty will be granted to the stone pelters who have been booked from 2014 till 2017.
“For old cases, government has a proposal to drop charges against the stone pelters whose conduct police has found good,” Pani said.
While accepting the mistakes by the police, the DIG assured the youth that police will look into all the cases of the youth whose “behaviour has been good and no cases” have been found against them after the old FIRs.
“We reprimand our men for mistakes,” Pani told the young man.
The police officer said that the youth granted amnesty were excitement and motivated.
“The amnesty is a good initiative as it will give new life to them,” he said.
On the complaints by the youth for booking them in false case and repeating their FIRs when they have given it up long ago, the DIG told The News Now: “We take everything seriously, and we will look into where such allegations are found. Police is a transparent force and does not indulge in such practices and by and large takes action under the ambit of the law.”
On whether police does not apprehend that the youth granted amnesty will again resort to violence, he said that the kind of response from their side was motivating and positive.
“They also understand and I don’t think they will come back for stone pelting. Police and society has a responsibility and I am sure both will discharge it together,” he said.
(Courtesy The News Now)

Liked the story? We’re a non-profit. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.

About Editor

Mir Farhat is a journalist based in Kashmir. He is one of the founding editors of www.newsdespatch.com. He reports on politics, governance, human rights, public health and environment.

Check Also

Geelani is answerable to Allah for all the killings: MLA Javed Hassan Baigh

Geelani is answerable to Allah for all the killings, MLA Baramulla, Javed Hassan Baigh said …

Over 14000 trout fish found dead in Kashmir stream

Meer Atif Srinagar | Feb 02: More than 14000 trout fish were found dead Friday …