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CM announces withdrawal of FIRs against first-time stone pelters

CM announces withdrawal of FIRs against first-time stone pelters
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A day after Union Ministry of Home Affairs announced slew of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) for Jammu and Kashmir including withdrawal of cases on first time stone pelters, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tonight announced that she has set the process in motion for withdrawal of First Information Reports (FIRs) against first time offenders of stone pelting.
Mehbooba asserted that the CBMs taken by the Central Government would change narrative in Jammu and Kashmir and create reconciliatory atmosphere for sustained dialogue.
Significantly, Mehbooba preferred to take to twitter to set in motion the CBMs announced yesterday by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
“It gives me immense satisfaction to restart the process of withdrawing FIRs against first time offenders of stone pelting,” she wrote on micro-blogging site twitter late tonight.
However, she asserted that her Government had initiated the process (of withdrawal of cases against first-time stone pelters) in May 2016 but it was unfortunately stalled due to the unrest later that year. She was referring to the trouble that followed after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen divisional commander Burhan Wani on July 8 last year.
Lauding the Central Government for the CBMs, Mehbooba said: “this Confidence Building Measure reaffirms the Central Government’s commitment towards changing the narrative in Jammu and Kashmir and creating a reconciliatory atmosphere for sustained dialogue”.
Saying that this initiative will provide them (the first-time stone pelters against whom the FIRs are being withdrawn), an opportunity to rebuild their lives, the Chief Minister maintained that it is a ray of hope for these young boys and their families.
Showering all praises on Centre Government’s Special Representative on Jammu and Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, Mehbooba said: “it is encouraging that the Interlocutor has started on a positive note. His recommendations are being taken seriously by both Central and State Governments”.
Only yesterday, the MHA had announced four major CBMs for Jammu and Kashmir based on the preliminary recommendations of Dineshwar Sharma which included manifold increase in compensation for loss of lives, property etc in Pakistan shelling and firing, enhancement of relief for Jammu and Kashmir Police martyrs to take it at par with Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), 800 mw free electricity to the State for winters and amnesty for first-time stone pelters.
All these major CBMs were based on recommendations made by Sharma after his maiden visit to Jammu and Kashmir from November 6 to 11. He is scheduled to visit the State again by the end of this month.
Sources said taking the suggestion of Sharma forward, over 4,500 cases against youths involved in stone pelting for the first time will be dropped in a bid to win hearts in the Kashmir valley, sources said.
Sharma, who visited the Valley earlier this month, was flooded with requests from various individuals and groups for withdrawing cases against youths who were booked by the police for indulging in stone pelting.
Over 11,500 cases have been registered against stone pelters since July last year when unrest broke out in Kashmir following the killing of Burhan Wani.
Out of these, over 4,500 cases were registered against youths who were found indulging in stone pelting for the first time.
An official handout said: around 6000 vacancies have been filled by the Services Selection Board  and Public Service Commission in the State during the last 10 months while as selection process in respect of 10,000 more gazetted and non gazetted vacancies is in advanced stages and likely to be completed soon.
This was disclosed at a high level meeting of Administrative Secretaries chaired by Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti here today to review the pace of recruitment and selection processes in the State.
The meeting was also informed that selection of around 500 doctors by the Public Service Commission would be completed by the end of next month addressing the manpower demand of doctors in the rural areas.
Addressing the meeting, the Chief Minister asked the two recruiting agencies to redouble their efforts and complete the selections pending with them at the earliest. She asked the Chairman SSB to fix March 31 as cut off date for clearing all pending selections with it and the PSC to pace up recruitment of staff in Higher Education, Health and Medical Education Departments at the earliest. She asked the Departments to undertake reviews to know the exact status of vacant positions which could be referred to the recruitment agencies for early selection.
As a follow up of her recent public outreach programmes, Mehbooba directed the Administrative Secretaries of PHE, PDD and Health Departments to visit the field areas, take stock of the completion of development projects and assess the needs of the people there. She said she was upset to know that many big projects in far flung areas are stuck either because of small amounts for completion or due to minor interventions by Government functionaries. She asked the Administrative Secretaries to conduct regular visits to areas to know the problems of people and also take periodic reviews of the projects in the field.
The Chief Minister directed the Administrative Secretaries to keep in touch with the Deputy Commissioners and monitor the spendings in Centrally Sponsored Schemes and other flagship programmes in the State. She asked them to take regular and periodic reviews of these schemes in the districts.
Mehbooba asked the Health Secretary to work out a plan for disposal of hospital waste in the State, pacing up work on the under construction Medical Colleges and creation of staff for the same. She directed furnishing of a list of doctors who have been detached to their original places of posting after her direction in the matter. She also directed deployment of female nursing staff at the diagnostic units of the Hospitals for the convenience of patients.
She directed the Power Secretary to pace up work on the Alestaing Grid station and ensure that it is completed ahead of the deadline schedule. She also asked him to monitor the power distribution in the State during the winter months and see that people have got the relief after the drawal of additional power from the outside. She also directed speeding up process of installation of street and traffic lights in the cities and towns of the State.
Mehbooba asked the Education Secretary to take steps for posting Urdu knowing teachers in the schools of Jammu province where they are needed. She also directed urgent completion of hostels for students, construction of auditoriums and posting of other subject specific faculty in the colleges of far flung areas. She was informed that work on 60 such hostels is apace and soon these would be ready for use.
The Chief Minister dwelt upon a host of issues like release of payments under NREGA, posting of tehsildars and SDMs, drug de-addiction, traffic congestion, removal of encroachments and other issues which came up for her attention during her recent public outreach programmes.
It may be recalled that as a novel initiative in recent history in the State, the Chief Minister has so far conducted public outreach programmes in eight districts of the State during which she has taken an on spot review of developmental schemes and sought public feedback on the Government’s efforts.
Chief Secretary, B B Vyas; Administrative Secretaries of all the Departments and Chairman SSB Simrandeep Singh were present in the meeting.

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