Kashmir Govt Grants Amnesty to Stone Pelters

Srinagar, Aug 28: The Chief Minister of Indian administered Kashmir Omar Abdullah Sunday announced general amnesty to all the stone-pelters who were arrested during last year’s summer unrest. However, he said, the amnesty would not apply to those involved in arson and any other heinous crime.

“The Government would withdraw the cases against them to provide an opportunity to be responsible persons and lead a normal life”, Omar said while addressing media today.

He said, “In order to remove the stigma on the character and behaviour of these youth for being involved in stone pelting and enable them to seek employment and carry on normal life process, we decided to give them a onetime general amnesty with the stipulation that they would not indulge in such activities again”.

He said this amnesty is only a one time dispensation which cannot be repeated any more.

The Chief Minister said about 1200 young men would benefit by this goodwill gesture of the Government who were apprehended for stone pelting and are presently out on bail. He advised those who have evaded the arrest and are hiding, to submit before the police, obtain bail and get the benefit of the general amnesty otherwise their cases will remain as they are.

He asked the parents of these youth to counsel them to be responsible persons in future and not to get exploited anymore by anyone.

“The youth should consider this gesture of the Government as the gesture of elders towards the young and as an Eid gift on the occasion of Eid (holy Muslim festival culminating after the month of Ramadan”, Omar said asking them to take the best advantage of this opportunity and exhibit their responsibility towards the society and the State by becoming peaceful and normal citizens.

The chief minister said only 35 persons are presently in prisons under PSA. “A false belief is being created among people as if jails are filled with hundreds of persons. This is untrue”, he said.

Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.