Indian Kashmir offers amnesty to 'stone throwers'

Indian Kashmir has declared an amnesty for more than 1,000 youths alleged to have attacked security forces.


Afp August 29, 2011

SRINAGAR: Indian Kashmir has declared an amnesty for more than 1,000 youths alleged to have attacked security forces during pro-independence protests last year in which more than 100 civilians died.

Kashmir was rocked for months last summer by clashes between stone-throwing demonstrators and police and paramilitary troops, who used live fire to try to control massive rallies against New Delhi's rule over the region.

About 110 protesters died in the violence, most of them young males hit by gunfire from security forces during some of the worst civil unrest in the region's 20-year insurgency against Indian rule.

The government will drop the cases against the youths to give them "an opportunity to be responsible persons and lead a normal life", Kashmir's chief minister Omar Abdullah said in a statement released late Sunday.

Abdullah said the amnesty was "to remove the stigma on the character and behaviour of these youths for being involved in stone-pelting" and that it would give them the chance to find employment.

"The amnesty would be available to them as a one-time opportunity," he said, adding about 1,200 people would be affected by the ruling which comes ahead of Eidul Fitr, the Muslim festival marking the end of the Ramadan fasting month.

Abdullah urged those who had evaded arrest and were in hiding to report to police to register for the amnesty.

"The youth should consider this gesture of the government as the gesture of elders towards the young and as an Eidi (Eid gift)," Abdullah said, blaming separatist leaders for instigating the violence.

However, he said protesters accused of setting fire to government offices and vehicles during the disturbances would still be prosecuted.

Eid will be celebrated on Wednesday or Thursday in Kashmir, subject to when the crescent moon appears.

Reyaz Ahmed, 23, welcomed the announcement.

"It is a big relief. I hope I will not have to appear in future court hearings," said Ahmed, who was detained last year and released on bail.

Indian Kashmir remains under heavy military control but this summer has not seen the cycle of violence and strict curfews that have hit the disputed Himalayan region in recent years.

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COMMENTS (12)

GetRidOfFeudalPolitics | 9 years ago | Reply

@ashok sai: and all other indians:

calm down. I would expect nothing less of you than to defend your country. I only object when in the name of defending your people you turn a blind eye to injustice meted out to your own people. I wish for a peaceful kashmir. And I actually think it would be best for kashmiris if this peace is under indian rule rather than autonomous or under pakistani rule.

The sooner there is peace, the better it will be for my country as well as it will kill off our obsession with kashmir.

But to get there you have to stop excusing your own army and government for all their sins by assuming it is all pakistans fault. For example, I was glad to see such debate in your country:

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Swaminomics/entry/why-are-mass-graves-in-kashmir-so-pass%C3%A9

I wish you well, and I wish for good relations between the two of us. Eid mubarik.

Sundar | 9 years ago | Reply

@GetRidOfFeudalPolitics: Why you get so annoyed to see an Indian commenting on the news item concerning his country? Feel sorry for the misguided youth.

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