DGP to conduct inquiry into suicide attack on CRPF camp

State Director General of Police Ashok Prasad has been asked by the Jammu and Kashmir government to conduct a detailed inquiry into the suicide attack on a CRPF camp and killing of a youth in alleged firing by security forces.

“The DGP, who is camping in Srinagar, will be making a detailed inquiry into the happenings,” an official spokesman said after a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah late last night.

Five jawans of 73 battalion CRPF were killed and 10 other persons including four civilians were injured in a suicide attack by two militants on their camp in Bemina area of the city.

The two assailants were shot dead in retaliatory action by the security forces.

A man was shot dead allegedly by a unit of the 73 battalion of CRPF at Zoonimar yesterday when they were attacked with stones by some youth while returning from a hospital.

The spokesman said the state government has strongly condemned the terrorist attack at Bemina.

“The Chief Minister in the Unified headquarters meeting last evening condoled the death of CRPF jawans and conveyed the sympathies of the govt to the DGP CRPF,” he said.

The spokesman said the government has also taken note of the incident at Zoonimar in which a civilian, Altaf Ahmad Wani – who was a worker of ruling National Conference – died.

The chief minister said that violence has no place in a civilised society and advised all the agencies to exercise maximum restraint in dealing with the current situation.

Curfew has been imposed in Srinagar district as protests broke out yesterday following Wani’s death.

Delhi gang rape case: Section 144 lifted, protesters continue battle

Hundreds of people, mainly the young, continued their protests against the gang rape of a woman, sparking off sporadic clashes with police.

Having barricaded all roads leading to the Rashtrapati Bhavan and nearby government offices, security forces sprayed water at a large crowd shouting slogans against Delhi Police and demanding death to the rapists.

Police also used batons on the protesters who defied prohibitory orders banning the assembly of five or more people in the city centre. But seeing the mass anger, police later allowed protests at the India Gate area.

A large gathering of mainly yoga guru Baba Ramdev supporters was also massed about a kilometre away near the Jantar Mantar monument.

The third day’s protests on Sunday also drew political activists, members of Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Admi Party (AAP) as well as many with apparently no particular affiliation but very angry.

A young woman demanded that the rapists of the 23-year-old woman, who is still in critical condition in hospital since the Dec 16 assault on her in a moving bus, should be hanged.

“Our Republic Day is celebrated on Rajpath,” she said, referring to the main boulevard in the heart of the capital. “And this is where the rapists should be hanged.”

Pallavi, a 25-year-old working for a multinational, “The government is sleeping. We want to wake it up. The law should be stronger, and should be implemented properly.”

Delhi University student Hemant said the protests would continue “until we are assured that girls are safe in Delhi”.

Earlier in the day, police forcibly evicted protesters from near India Gate but succeeded only partially.

Many young men and woman were grabbed and forcibly led away towards parked buses. But many slipped through.

Some got on to top of the buses and raised slogans afresh. A few sneaked under the buses to prevent movement. Some angry protesters vandalized the buses and deflated the tyres.

The protesters played hide and seek with police and the Rapid Action Force (RAF), now withdrawing from one point and surging ahead elsewhere.

The main battleground was the India Gate hexagon, from which roads lead to all parts of Delhi.

Some of the protesters have camped at the site since Saturday night. Fresh crowds poured in Sunday morning.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi promised to a group of young women that speedy action would be taken against the accused and they would also be charged with attempt to murder.

Significantly, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit appealed for calm but said she did not approve of police action against young men and women who have taken to the streets.

Police appeared to be relatively restrained and repeatedly requested – at times with folded hands – demonstrators to vacate areas where prohibitory orders are in force.

When the crowds refused to pay heed, some people were detained.

Yoga guru Ramdev has vowed to throw his weight behind what began as a spontaneous movement of the young against the gang-rape and the thrashing of her male friend.

Eight Delhi Metro stations were shut but that seemed to have no impact on the crowds.

Raisina Hill in the heart of the capital, which houses the presidential palace, the prime minister’s office and several key ministries, saw thousands of furious youngsters break police barricades Saturday in an attempt to march to Rashtrapati Bhavan.



Security forces cannot solve every problem in Chhattisgarh: Court

Solicitor General (SG) Gopal Subramanium

The apex court Friday observed that sending security forces to Maoist-affected Chhattisgarh for dealing with every problem would not lead to a solution.

The court also wondered if there was no solution to the problem by which tribals displaced due to the Salwa Judum civil milita movement in the state could return to their villages and lead a safe and secure life. 

‘Can nothing be done despite the Solicitor General and such person (referring to senior counsel) being present,’ said the apex court bench of Justice B. Sudarshan Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar.

Then the court went on to ask: ‘For our guidance, could there be a broad consensus between three of you (the centre, Chhattisgarh government and the petitioners Prof. Nandini Sunder and others).’

The court then made the observation that sending security forces to tackle every problem would not lead to a solution.

The court observations came in the wake of unrelenting positions being taken by the contending parties, particularly the petitioner and the Chhattisgarh. 

Senior counsel Ashok Desai appearing for the petitioner pleaded for an independent committee of experts to monitor the implementation of the integrated development plan for Maoist-hit areas approved by the centre. He said this committee consisting of sociologists, anthropologists, experts and senior government officials was free from political influences.

Desai opposed the state government’s suggestion that the existing committee headed by Chief Minister Raman Singh should be expanded to include independent people. 

The senior counsel said that the chief minister was an open supporter of the Salwa Judum and had described it as a peoples’ movement. 

Former chief justice of Delhi High Court and senior counsel Rajinder Sacchar described accepting the chief minister as head of the committee was like ‘an accused being asked to judge his guilt’. 

Admitting that the tribals were caught in the cross fire of the Maoists, vigilante group and the security forces, senior counsel Harish Salve said that any direction that is thrust upon the administration would not succeed. 

He said that adopting an adversarial approach with the administration will not succeed. ‘It (local administration) has to be brought on its feet,’ the senior counsel pointed out. 

Appearing for Chhattisgarh, Salve said that there would be no end if ‘you start distrusting the elected representatives’. 

He said that extending an opportunity to the committee headed by the chief minister would amount to giving the system a fair chance to deliver. He said that eventually this committee would be working under the ‘watchful eyes of the centre and the Supreme Court.’

The Solicitor General (SG) Gopal Subramanium shared the position taken by Salve. The SG said that the committee headed by the chief minister had the administrative powers to execute its decisions. 

The SG said that the centre had told the state government that security forces would not be lodged in the schools and ashrams and the education of the children would not be interrupted. He said that out of 31 schools, the security forces have vacated six schools. 

The Solicitor General said that the high court could be asked to review the criminal cases where in the closure report has been filed. These are the cases involving the activists of Salwa Judum. 

Desai described the central government’s action as ‘going two steps backwards’. The matter will come up for hearing on Tuesday.