SC seeks report from J&K govt on Kishtwar violence

Amid continuing tensions in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar town, the SC on Tuesday took up the matter and sought a reply from the state government.

Last Updated: Aug 13, 2013, 13:12 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir to file a detailed affidavit on the communal clashes in Kishtwar district and subsequent steps taken by the state government to control the situation.

The apex court directed the chief secretary to file the affidavit by August 21 on a PIL seeking direction to the government to provide safe passage to the pilgrims stranded there due to curfew in Kishtwar to enable them to return home.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said the state government is taking action and it cannot be said that it is sitting mum.

It said that the court cannot control the administration and that they are the right persons to deal with the situation and it would pass any order only after going through the affidavit.

"We cannot control the administration. They are the right and the best persons to control the situation. They are in the field. They must act with free hand to control the situation. How can we restrain the state government from imposing conditions," it said.

The bench, also comprising justices Ranjana Desai and Ranjan Gogoi, added that "at this stage, we cannot say that the state government is sitting mum. They are acting."

The bench said that it is not underestimating the seriousness of the situation but it had to go through the ground situation prevailing in Kishtwar before passing any order.

The state government told the apex court that it is making all efforts to control the situation and Rs 5 Lakh would be given to the families of those killed in the clashes and upto Rs 2 lakh compensation would be paid to people whose properties were damaged.

The PIL filed by Sudesh Dogra of J&K National Panthers Party, has sought a direction to the government to provide safe passage to the pilgrims to enable them to return home.

The petition, filed through senior advocate Bhim Singh, sought a direction for providing food and medical facilities to the stranded pilgrims travelling back from Machil to Batote (national highway) till their evacuation saying their survival is under threat.

It also sought compensation for all those whose houses, shops, infrastructure and other belongings have been destroyed by the mob in the clashes in Kishtwar.

Friday`s communal violence left three people dead and several others injured in Kishtwar district where curfew was clamped.

The streets of Kishtwar saw communal clashes on Eid-ul-Fitr. Several shops and vehicles were burnt.

PTI