Srinagar: Regional political parties have condemned the fresh order from the government of Jammu and Kashmir regarding security clearance for passport and other government services to those believed to be involved in stone pelting and other law and order cases, terming the move as “counter-productive”.
The Union territory authorities issued an order dated July 31, directing security officials to deny any security clearance to persons, they believe, were involved in “law and order cases, stone pelting and other crime prejudicial to the security of the state.”
“Also, digital evidence like CCTV footage, photographs, videos and audio clips, quadcopter images available in the records of the police, security forces and security agencies be also referred,” the order from Special Branch-Kashmir read.
Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah, however, said that an “adverse police report” cannot be a substitute for being found guilty in a court of law.
“A year and a half ago, J&K police were able to create an ‘adverse police report’ to justify my detention under the Public Safety Act that would never have stood up to legal challenge,” Omar tweeted.
“They did the same with scores of others, many of whom had these police reports tossed out by the courts. An executive order cannot replace a court of law. Guilt or innocence must be proven in court & not based of vague unproven police reports,” Omar added.
The government has brought out a slew of measures in the UT, which critics say have been introduced to crush dissent and any opposition to the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in New Delhi. Over a dozen government employees have been fired from government service after being accused of being “anti-national”, a charge they have denied.
“The order not only gives arbitrary powers to the sleuths of the Special Branch but also appoints them as judge, jury and executioner— in this case — to pulverize career prospects of Kashmiri youth and to push them away from the mainstream of the country,” a statement from People’s Conference said.
The Sajad Lone-led party added that earlier the Kashmiris were at the “receiving end of media trials of parachuted journalists and now it seems the parachuted bureaucrats want to unleash the Khap Panchayat style criminal jurisprudence system in the region.”
The chairman People's Democratic Front (PDF), Hakeem Yaseen appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lt Governor Manoj Sinha to revoke the order “immediately”.
“There seems to be no wisdom in denying passport and jobs to those who have shun the path of violence for leading a peaceful life,” the party leader said.
In its statement, separatist party led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) said that the laws being enforced in the region, especially after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, are not only “anti-Kashmir but also undemocratic”.
“After the forcible dismissal of dozens of government employees in the last few weeks, now a policy of not issuing passports and denying government jobs to youth under the garb of being ‘stone pelters’ or ‘anti-national’, is being enforced,” the party spokesperson said.
Similarly, Apni Party president Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, seen as one of the key allies of BJP in Kashmir, criticised the J&K administration’s order, terming it “arbitrary” that will push the youth into further alienation.
“Keeping the changing political scenario of J&K into mind, people thought that the FIRs would be withdrawn against the youth who are first-time offenders. But such mindless and unwarranted decisions tantamount to rubbing salt to the injuries,” Bukhari said.