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Wednesday 29 January 2020

765 arrests for stone-pelting since Article 370 turned defunct

The rise of insurgency and separatism in Kashmir saw stone-pelting incidents turn prominent in the Muslim-dominated region since 2008

The Union government said in Parliament on Tuesday that rate of incidents of stone-pelting has come down after the removal of Article 370 that used to accord special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The government said that 765 stone-pelters had been arrested so far since the virtual abrogation of the discriminatory regime. On behalf of the government, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy shared this information with the House.

Reddy said since the removal of Article 370 on 5 August, and till 15 November, 190 cases of stone-pelting and affecting of law and order had been registered in what is now a Union Territory. Earlier, from 1 January to 4 August, 361 such cases had been registered in Jammu and Kashmir.

According to Reddy, the government has identified and arrested the miscreants to keep the situation under control in the Valley. The separatists have been detained as a security measure under the public safety law.

Reddy said further that investigations conducted by different agencies had revealed that several separatist leaders associated with the Hurriyat had been involved in stone-pelting incidents in the Valley.

The NIA has filed charge sheets against 18 such people. The economy of the region is looking up too, with 34 lakh 10 thousand 219 tourists — including 12 thousand 934 foreign nationals — having visited the Valley in the last six months.

Stone pelting in Kashmir refers to a criminal assault in the form of stone-throwing by Kashmiri youth who pelt, bombard or throw stones on the Indian security forces and Jammu and Kashmir Police deployed for crowd control in Jammu and Kashmir. In the local language, it is termed as “kanni jung“, which means “fighting with stones” and the stone pelters are called sangbaaz.

Stone-pelting justified in Islam?

Historically, Kashmiri youth pelted stones on the police in the streets of Srinagar, which had begun during 1931. After the rise of insurgency and separatist movement in Kashmir, stone-pelting incidents became prominent in the Muslim-dominated region since 2008 when the separatist movement had taken a new dimension from gun-fighting with armed forces to the pelting of stones on them.

After the year 2008, stone-pelting incidents in the Valley were reported on a regular basis, the prominent among them were recorded in 2010 Kashmir unrest and the 2016-17 Kashmir unrest. Minor skirmishes were reported in the intermediate years.

The act of stoning (rajm) is mentioned in multiple Hadiths. However, some factions within Islam disagree with the legality of rajm. In Pakistan, military dictator General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq who implemented Shari’ah law reconstituted a court, which declared rajm as Islamic.

With inputs from Kashmir Observer, Washington Post and News18

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