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Supreme Court directs J&K govt to book culprits of Kishtwar violence

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Jammu and Kashmir government to ensure proper investigation of all cases arising out of communal clashes in Kishtwar last year and asked the Commission of Inquiry set up by the state government to submit its report on the incidents within three months.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam also upheld the state government’s policy in awarding a higher amount of compensation to state subjects who are victims of the violence.

‘The state government is directed to ensure due and proper investigation of all such cases registered in connection with the two incidents in question if such investigation has not been completed in the meantime and thereafter bring all such cases to a logical end in accordance with law by completion of the trial against the accused, wherever necessary,’ it said.

Communal clashes had broken out in Kishtwar town in Jammu region on August 9 last year leaving three persons dead and dozens others injured. Property worth crores of rupees was set ablaze by the rival communities, forcing the government to impose curfew and seek army assistance in controlling the situation.

The government then appointed a Commission headed by Justice R C Gandhi, a retired judge of the Jammu & Kashmir High Court, to inquire into the incident.

‘We, accordingly, request the Commission to complete its enquiry as early as possible, preferably, within a period of three months from today, if the final report has not already been submitted in the meantime. The government will naturally be duty bound to take all necessary and consequential steps on the basis of the said report as would be mandated in law,’ the apex court said.

In the meanwhile, the bench rejected a bunch of petitions filed by family members of contract labourers who were killed by militants at Mirbazar Tehsil Kelgam in Anantnag district in 2000. They had pleaded for enhanced compensation.

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