Kashmir Indepth

Srinagar court seeks police response on seizure of vehicles ahead of Amit Shah’s visit

Srinagar , November 8 ( KINS) A Srinagar court on Saturday sought a report from Jammu and Kashmir Police over the alleged illegal seizure of motorcycles in the Valley ahead of Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit there last month.

In a plea before the court of Additional Special Mobile Magistrate, Srinagar, activist Naveed Bukhtiyar contended that the J&K Police’s action to impound vehicles without adequate cause was illegal and in “violation of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act”.

The Home Minister visited Kashmir from October 23-25 – in what was his first visit to Kashmir since the central government in August 2019 effectively revoked J&K’s special status granted under Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Over the last month, J&K Police seized motorcycles in the Valley, especially in Srinagar, without citing specific reasons, residents alleged. There was no official order banning two-wheelers, but police impounded motorcycles even if owners of the vehicles produced before them valid documents, they said.

October also witnessed a spate of civilian killings, including migrant workers, by suspected militants in Kashmir.

Mobile internet services were also snapped in parts of Kashmir and hundreds were detained – including suspected stone-pelters, relatives of militants — ahead of Shah’s visit. A three-tier security involving sharpshooters atop buildings, bullet-proof mobile bunkers in Srinagar and policemen dressed as civilians too was put in place at the time.

Police said the seizure of two-wheelers was not connected to Shah’s visit, but residents said their vehicles were returned after Home Minister left back for New Delhi.

The petition, filed by Bukhtiyar, argued that the confiscation of vehicles humiliated the people, and that he too was a victim of the same.

Terming the allegations as serious, the Additional Special Mobile Magistrate (Traffic) Srinagar, on Saturday asked the police to submit a report by November 16.

“SSP (Senior Superintendent of Police) Srinagar is directed to call the report from Police stations within district Srinagar regarding the issue and submit the compliance report before this court within a period of ten days,” said Shabir Malik, who presided over the court.

The move to confiscate two-wheelers was criticised by Opposition leaders in Jammu and Kashmir. “J&K admin’s recent spree of seizing bikes in Kashmir is a collective punishment and another way to snatch whatever means Kashmiri youth have to earn their livelihood in a dignified manner… “ Former J&K Chief Minister and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti had tweeted on October 22.( KINS)

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