Kashmiri journalist Asif Sultan granted bail in five-year-old UAPA case

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Srinagar, May 15:(CNI) Kashmiri journalist Asif Sultan has been granted bail by a special court in Srinagar in connection with a five-year-old case under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.


The case pertains to an incident of rioting at Srinagar’s Central Jail in 2019, when a group of inmates allegedly set fire to a few barracks and threw stones at the prison staff.


Sultan was arrested in the case on February 29, two days after he was released from a five-year detention under the Public Safety Act.


The Public Safety Act allows authorities to hold individuals in custody without trial for up to two years on grounds of national security and up to a year to maintain public order.


In its order on May 10, the special court under the National Investigation Act in Srinagar said that the police were given sufficient time of 72 days to interrogate Sultan in custody.


“The accused/applicant was already under PSA [Public Safety Act till February 2024,” said the court. “Further, it has not been brought to the notice of this court that the conduct of accused person/applicant in judicial custody is such that does not warrant the release on bail. The further detention of the accused person/applicant in the custody shall not serve any purpose.”


Judge Sandeep Gandotra also said that the chances of Sultan fleeing Jammu and Kashmir are remote as he is a permanent resident of the Union territory. The court granted him bail and directed him to furnish a bail bond worth Rs 1 lakh.


Additionally, Sultan was directed to appear before the investigating officer whenever required and provide them with the mobile numbers issued in his name along with telecom networks.


On February 27, Sultan walked out of Uttar Pradesh’s Ambedkar Nagar district jail, more than two months after the Jammu and Kashmir High Court quashed his detention citing procedural lapses.


Despite the High Court’s ruling, Sultan had not been released as “clearance letters” from Kashmir’s home department and Srinagar district magistrate were awaited.


Sultan was detained under the preventive detention law in April 2022, days after a court granted him bail in another case in which he had been in jail under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act since August 2018, for allegedly harbouring militants.


However, soon after his release from the Ambedkar Nagar district jail, he was summoned to Srinagar’s Rainawari police station and later arrested in a case filed by Nowhatta police station.(CNI)

[15/05, 2:35 pm] CNI Chief: *Army illuminates border village with solar lights in J&K’s Poonch*


Mendhar/Jammu, May 15 (CNI) Located just 600 meters from the Line of Control (LoC), the Dabbi village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district comes alive after dusk, thanks to the army which has installed solar-powered lights to provide succour to the villagers.


The project was undertaken under operation ‘Sadhbhavana’ (goodwill) and was completed in a short period, an army official said.


Dabbi village in Balakote tehsil of Mendhar Sub-division is one of the worst affected villages by the cross-border shelling over the years and lacked street lights.


To improve the living conditions in Dabbi village, solar-powered lights were installed in areas frequented by locals to further augment the electrification process of their village, the official said.


He said that the initiative of the Army to illuminate Dabbi village with solar lights to alleviate living conditions has resulted in 19 households and 129 villagers getting access to reliable street lights.


The residents now have uninterrupted lighting in the majority of the area including near the local masjid, a shrine, a school and a track leading to their animal ‘dhoks’ (sheds).


Moreover, the provision of lights has allowed for the establishment of community spaces, fostering social cohesion, the official said.


He said the effort by the Army allows families to function efficiently at night.


“This project under military civic action has yielded dividends to the people illuminating hope, paving the way for a brighter and more prosperous future for the village.”


The villagers praised the army for the initiative and said the solar lights had not only illuminated their village but also lit up their lives.


“It was very difficult for the people to move around during night hours, especially when it was raining. We are very thankful to the army for installing solar lights and illuminating the village to make it easy for the people to attend prayers without any trouble,” Imam Mohd Sarfaraz told PTI.


He said the village also needs proper road connectivity as it becomes very difficult at times to shift a patient to the hospital for treatment.


Village Lamberdar (head) of Dabbi, Kazim Iqbal Khan said their village is one of the last villages in the country. They were not provided with street lights by the Power Development Department.


“Army has always been helpful to us and by providing solar lights, the mobility during the night hours has become easy now,” he said.


The army officer said the Sadhbhavana is a flagship program of the Army to address the aspirations and to improve the quality of life of the people of border villages.


“Key areas for placing of solar lights were identified in consultation with locals which included visiting houses in the village, transportation of apparatus of solar lights, batteries to remote locations including the farthest house of the village at 400 meters from the LoC and also spreading awareness of the use of sustainable energy at the village level,” he said.


He said the initiative also places a strong emphasis on environmental sustainability by leveraging the potential of solar energy to address reliable lighting.(CNI)

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