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GoI has advised JK Govt to give amnesty to first-time stone pelters: Sharma

‘Will definitely try to meet Hurriyat’

Srinagar, Nov 22 (KNS): The Government of India’s special representative, Dineshwar Sharma, who is visiting the state from 24th of this month, Tuesday said that the centre government has asked the state government for granting amnesty to youth who are accused of being involved first time in the Kashmir valley.
Talking to KNS over phone Sharma said that he is visiting Jammu on November 24 and Kashmir on November 26.
Sharma, who has been accorded cabinet secretary rank by GoI, said that the Home Ministry has asked the state government to “give amnesty to first time stone pelters,” Sharma told KNS.
“I think the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) has formally announced something and they are advising the state government to give amnesty to first-time stone pelters,” Sharma told KNS.
Sharma said he has recommended suspension of cases against the first time stone-pelters.
On his first visit, Sharma met around 65 delegations including political leaders, religious leaders and other civil society members and different NGOs. But the prominent trade and business bodies refused to meet him while Hurriyat Conference, considered a key stakeholder of the Kashmir issue refused to hold talks with Sharma.
Officials in the state home department told KNS that they have not yet received any such official communication about the purported decision of GoI.
Over his meeting with Hurriyat leaders on his second visit, Sharma said, “I will definitely try to meet them. Let me see how they respond.”
A report in Hindustan Times cited that the government is likely to announce an amnesty scheme for stone pelters in the Kashmir Valley and withdraw cases against first-time offenders.
Quoting senior government officials, the report said that the scheme was discussed between officials from the state and the Centre and is likely to be announced as a show of good faith ahead of Sharma’s second visit to the state later this month.
“There are thousands of youth facing FIRs and we will be withdrawing cases against first-time stone pelters as a goodwill gesture,’’ Hindustan Times quoted a home ministry official in the report. (KNS)