J&K Police to Seize Assets if Owner ‘Willfully’ Harbours Militants

File photo of remains of house destroyed in an encounter in South Kashmir

Srinagar- Days after warning that properties of people providing shelter to militants or their associates will be attached under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Jammu and Kashmir Police on Saturday said action will be taken only if the house owner wilfully harboured militants and there was no duress.

However, the police said, the onus of proving duress is on the house owner.

In a statement, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Srinagar Rakesh Balwal said there has been misinformation, rumours floated by certain quarters about information provided by Srinagar Police on initiation of attachment of properties used for militancy purpose.

"It is clarified that Srinagar Police is well aware of the difference between wilful harbouring of terrorists and one done under duress," he said.

"The attachments being done are for properties where it has been proved beyond doubt that the house owner/member had wilfully provided shelter/ harboured terrorists, in most cases for days together and that it was not done under any duress whatsoever," the SSP said.

The attachment proceedings always come after investigation procedures in any case are at advanced stage, he said.

Balwal said some people, out of ignorance, were trying to portray it as some kind of forced enforcement, "but it is a fact that Sections 2(g) and 25 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 have been in vogue since decades and these are not some recent additions as claimed by some rumour mongers".

"The decision regarding enforcement of these sections of law is due to the fact that many supporters of terrorism are wilfully providing harbour and safe havens to militants who conduct attacks on civilians and security forces in Srinagar city," he said.

The SSP, however, said that on the "issue of so called 'forceful entry' of terrorists into any house or other structure, the house owner or any other member claiming duress should timely inform the authorities about the same, as many provisions for hiding identity of such informant are available under law".

"The onus always lies on the house owner/member to prove duress by informing the authorities well in time that there is/was forceful entry of terrorists into his/her house," he added.

He appealed the citizens of the city not to pay heed to misinformation floated by some vested interests.

"We also request citizens not to provide shelter or harbour terrorists in their homes or immovable properties, failing which lawful procedures will take their own course in full letter and spirit," Balwal said.

"There is and will always be zero tolerance towards terrorism and supporters of terrorism in a civilised society like ours," he said.

On Thursday, the police had said process has started for attachment of some immovable properties which have been used for purpose of militancy as per section 2(g) & 25 of ULP (UAPA) Act.

The police said properties will be attached according to law apart from legal action in such cases.

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