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J&K order to lift cases

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday ordered the withdrawal of cases against 4,327 first-time offenders involved in stone pelting, as suggested by the Centre on the advice of its interlocutor for the state.

The order came shortly after a high-powered committee headed by director-general of police S.P. Vaid submitted its report to the chief minister.

The committee was formed last week. The move is aimed at weaning first-time offenders away from stone throwing.

The DGP has been asked to regularly monitor the progress of the lifting of the 744 cases and submit fortnightly reports, according to a state home department communication to Vaid on Wednesday evening.

The main Opposition party, the National Conference, however, took a jibe at the chief minister, saying the decision was taken by New Delhi.

"Let me correct this for you - Dineshwar Sharma (the Centre's Kashmir interlocutor) & Home Ministry in Delhi ordered the withdrawal of cases. Ms Mufti was left to sign the file," tweeted Omar Abdullah, working president of the National Conference and former chief minister.

Tihar report

The Union home ministry has sought a report from the Tihar jail authorities in Delhi on the alleged police torture of 18 inmates, a day after Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed concern and sought Union home secretary Rajiv Gauba's intervention.

The ministry has also requested Delhi lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal to order a review of the security arrangements at the jail and take remedial measures to plug loopholes, if any.

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