Under pressure, Govt set to withdraw 2008 land row FIRs

Except serious nature, all cases to go

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Apr 8: Under pressure from various political parties and organizations including ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and categorical direction from Governor NN Vohra, the State Government has formally set the process in motion for review of First Information Reports (FIRs) registered in Jammu during 2008 Amarnath Ji land row agitation and has decided to withdraw majority of them barring few, which are of “serious nature”.
“The Government has also started detailed review of other conditions of the Agreement reached between Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra Sangarsh Samiti and then Government i.e. the Advisors of Governor NN Vohra, on August 31, 2008,” sources told the Excelsior, adding the Government has taken directions of the Governor very seriously and would try to implement whatever was possible since the agreement was signed nearly a decade ago.
Sources said the Administration has called record of all FIRs registered during the 2008 land row agitation in Jammu region and was examining it. While some of the FIRs have been challaned, few others were still pending. The Government has asked the police administration to examine how many FIRs can be withdrawn.
“It has been decided that barring FIRs of “serious nature” in which some persons might have lost their lives, other FIRs would be withdrawn. The list of such FIRs is being prepared and a decision would be announced soon. The decision would be conveyed to the Governor first as he has issued specific direction to this effect and sought compliance report from the divisional administration by April 24 i.e. within 20 days of the issuance of direction,” sources said.
Thirteen people were killed and scores of others were injured during two-month long agitation in Jammu in July and August 2008 in support of land allotment to Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine. Police had registered number of FIRs against the youth at various police stations of Jammu region including those of stone pelting, destruction of property etc. The agitation had ended on August 31, 2008 after the signing of agreement between Shri Amarnath Ji Sangarsh Samiti and then Advisors to Governor NN Vohra, who had just taken over as the Governor then and the State was brought under the spell of Governor’s Rule following withdrawal of support to Ghulam Nabi Azad Government by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
“The State Government was likely to announce withdrawal of land row FIRs very soon,” sources said.
They added that regarding remaining parts of the Agreement the including payment of ex-gratia to the next of kin of deceased, creation of corpus of Rs 1 crore for creating job opportunities in the private sector for one member of the bereaved families and those who had been disabled during the course of agitation etc, the Government was working on various options.
The Government, according to sources, can’t deny implementation of other Clauses of the Agreement as it had been duly signed by the then Government representatives with the leaders of Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra Sangarsh Samiti before the agitation was called off and it can only ask for some time for consideration and implementation of rest of the part of the Agreement.
As the Government, which remained in power during the last 10 years, first National Conference and Congress coalition headed by Omar Abdullah and now the PDP-BJP coalition, made no efforts to implement the Agreement, NN Vohra, who was also the Governor during signing of the agreement and all powers were vested with him in the Governor rule, had called Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Hemant Sharma and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr SD Singh Jamwal at the Raj Bhawan on April 4 along with representatives of the Sangarsh Samiti and directed the authorities to submit him compliance report of the Agreement by April 24.
The demand for withdrawal of FIRs of 2008 Shri Amarnath Ji land row agitation, though continued to be raised at regular intervals by the Sangarsh Samiti, had gained momentum after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti ordered withdrawal of FIRs against first-time stone pelters in the Kashmir valley and announced that even the cases of second-time stone pelters for withdrawal would also be considered.
The BJP, which is sharing power now with the PDP, though took up the issue with the Chief Minister seeking withdrawal of FIRs of 2008 Shri Amarnath Ji land row agitation in Jammu on the pattern of stone pelters in Kashmir, still no order was issued by the State Government, leading to strong resentment against the BJP Ministers. A number of political parties and social organizations openly highlighted the issue taking the BJP to task for its miserable failure to get the FIRs of 2008 Shri Amarnath Ji land agitation withdrawn.
Sources said even the RSS leadership has directed the BJP Ministers to get 2008 Agreement fulfilled including withdrawal of FIRs registered against youth during two-month long agitation, which was unprecedented in the history of Jammu.
According to sources, the issue has also been taken up with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh by some BJP leaders.


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