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Centre, JK govt to hand over UAPA cases of serious nature to SIA shortly

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Jammu and Kashmir government are set to make the State Investigation Agency (SIA) almost at par with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as it could be a nearly 150-member strong force which will be headed by Director General CID J&K Rashmi Ranjan Swain and will immediately have one DIG, two SSPs and eight SPs followed by other ranks including DySPs, Inspectors, Sub Inspectors and constables.

“As the cases under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) which the SIA will be mandated to investigate can be assigned only to the officers in the ranks of DySP or above, i.e. Gazetted cadre, numbers of the police officers in the SIA below the rank of DySP will be less, but it still is reason enough to assist in the probe, undertake on spot visits and ensure prevention of the crime,” official sources told the Excelsior.

The police officers who have worked in the investigating agencies and have an excellent record of investigations are being looked at by the Home and Police Departments for posting in the SIA, sources said.

As a first step to make the SIA functional, the Government today posted Atul Goel, DIG Jammu-Samba-Kathua Range and Shiv Kumar Sharma, SSP and Staff Officer, to Goel in the SIA by designating them as DIG CID and SSP CID Jammu, respectively. Goel comes with four years experience of working in the NIA (2014-18), while Sharma too had a stint in the same Agency, albeit for a brief period.

Goel will be second-in-command in the SIA after Rashmi Ranjan Swain, sources said, adding one more SSP, primarily likely from the Kashmir division and eight SPs are being searched in the first phase for posting in the SIA, which DySPs and other ranks will follow. The number of DySPs is expected to be relatively high in the SIA as they will be the Investigating Officers of UAPA cases. At the same time, Inspectors, Sub Inspectors and below ranks will assist them.

The Government is likely to hand over some cases of “serious nature” of UAPA, which are already under investigation by the Jammu and Kashmir Police to SIA, sources said, adding a process has been initiated to identify the cases. However, the cases in which investigation has been completed or is about to be completed will stay with the police.

“All fresh militancy related cases which are not to be handed over to the NIA will be given to the SIA which will also have powers to suo moto register First Information Reports (FIRs) in the terror cases,” sources said.

They admitted that fully establishing the new Authority will take time, especially the posting of officers of all ranks, raising infrastructure and creating other necessary sets up but added that the Agency would start functioning at the earliest with the posting of new officers.

The Jammu and Kashmir Government had formally announced the setting up of the SIA on November 1, just a week after Union Home Minister Amit Shah concluded his four-day visit to the UT, his first after the abrogation of the special status of erstwhile State and its bifurcation into two UTs on August 5, 2019.

The Government has handed over charge of the post of DIG Jammu held by Atul Goel to Vivek Gupta, DIG Rajouri-Poonch Range and that of his Staff Officer held by Shiv Kumar Sharma Ashok Badwal, SO to ADGP Jammu.

Sources said the SIA would be the specialized Agency for investigation and prosecution of the militancy related offences and Nodal Agency for coordinating with the NIA and other Central agencies and shall take such measures as necessary for speedy and effective investigation and prosecution of terrorism-related cases.

The CID, Counter Intelligence (Kashmir) and CID and Counter-Intelligence (Jammu) shall also be the Police Stations for registering and investigating terror cases by the SIA.

“All the officers in Incharge of the Police Stations shall mandatorily intimate the SIA immediately upon registration of terrorism-related cases and also about the cases where any terrorism linkage surfaces during the investigation,” they said, adding that in the cases where the NIA does not take up investigations, the DGP J&K shall determine in consultation with the SIA whether the case is fit to be investigated by the SIA and transfer investigation of such matter at any point of time during the probe.

The gravity of the offence, progress of the investigation and other relevant factors will be the determining factors for handing over cases to the SIA.

Jammu

Delegation of Jammu University Teachers’ Association calls on Lt Governor

Today, the office-bearers of the Jammu University Teachers’ Association called on Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at Raj Bhawan.

The delegation led by the President of the Association, Prof. Pankaj Srivastava, submitted a memorandum of demands to the Lt Governor pertaining to various welfare issues of the teachers of the University including promotion under CAS; grant of earned leave and enhancement of the age of superannuation to 65 years in favour of teachers, and various other benefits as per UGC regulations, besides establishment of housing society exclusively for University teachers.

The Lt Governor, while interacting with the delegation members, advised them to make continuous efforts to create a conducive environment for learning and innovation in the University.

The Lt Governor assured them that the issues projected would be looked into meticulously for their early redressal.

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Jammu

JKP Border Battalion aspirants submit memorandum to Div Com Jammu

Today, a delegation of aspirants seeking recruitment in the Jammu and Kashmir Police Border Battalion called on Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Dr Raghav Langer.

The Aspirants apprised the Divisional Commissioner that they had applied for the post of Head Constable advertised by the Jammu and Kashmir Police Recruitment Board in 2019 and appeared in Physical and medical tests. But now, the JKP HQRS (police recruitment board) has reissued an advertisement notification for the recruitment of Head Constable in the border battalion.

The Aspirants demanded the withdrawal of the new advertisement issued by JKP HQRS. They further appealed to conduct the written examination of already qualified candidates and give a separate ad for more vacancies.

The Divisional Commissioner gave a patient hearing to the delegation and assured that the matter would be taken up with police authorities.

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COVID 19

Centre extends COVID-19 restrictions till February 28

On Thursday, the Central Government extended the existing COVID-related restrictions until February 28 because of the rising COVID-19 and Omicron variants.

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued the order directing all the states and the Union Territories (UTs) to instruct their local and district administrations to promptly take containment measures against the threat of the Omicron variant based on their assessment of the situation.

Taking evidence-based COVID-19 containment measures at the district and local level, as conveyed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), the MHA order mentioned that COVID restrictions “will remain in force till February 28, 2022.”

“In exercise of the powers, conferred under Section 10(2)(1) of the Disaster Management Act 2005, the undersigned hereby directs that the Order of the Ministry of Home Affairs’ of even number dated December 27, 2021, to ensure compliance to the normative framework for taking evidence-based COVID-19 containment measures at district and local level, as conveyed vide Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) dated December 21, 2021, will remain in force up to February 28, 2022,” the order mentioned.

According to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday, the order was issued when India logged 2,86,384 new coronavirus infections, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 40,371,500.
As per the order, containment measures have been extended to February 28.

“Due to the current COVID wave, led by the new variant, Omicron, there has been a steady increase in the number of COVID cases in the country and the active cases have increased to over 22 lakhs. Though a majority of active cases are recovering fast and a low percentage of cases are in hospitals, it is still a matter of concern that 407 districts in 34 States and UTs are reporting a positivity rate of more than 10 per cent,” the order said.

Therefore, looking at the current trends of the COVID virus, the order said there is a need to exercise caution and vigilance.

Against this background, the order issued by Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said, “I would like to reiterate that all the states/UTs must observe all precautions and not let the guard down”.

“Based on the normative framework, mentioned in the MoHFW dated December 21, 2021, and assessment of the situation, local/district administration should continue to take prompt and appropriate containment measures.”

The order directs “imposition and lifting of local curbs or restrictions dynamic and based on the case positivity and hospitalisation status at the local level”.

It also emphasised that there should be a continued focus on the five-fold strategy– Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and adherence to COVID Appropriate Behaviour.

“The state enforcement machinery should strictly enforce the norms of COVID Appropriate Behaviour– wearing of face masks and maintaining safe social distancing in all public areas/gatherings,” the order further reads.

Further, states and UTs are advised to continue holding regular media briefings to disseminate the right information and discourage any misinformation on new variants of concern.

It is also urged to issue necessary directions to the districts and all other local authorities concerned to take the measures required for prompt and effective management of COVID-19, strict compliance with various advisories issued by the MoHFW on the new VOC and strict enforcement of COVID Appropriate Behaviour.

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Covid-19 Stats

28 Jan 2022, 5:01 AM (GMT)

Coronavirus Stats

40,622,709 Total Cases
492,356 Death Cases
38,024,771 Recovered Cases

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