Kashmir: Govt still in denial regarding the disappeared

Srinagar: Accusing the state government of issuing contradictory statements to ‘mislead’ people over the issue of disappearances, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) has asked the government to publish the list of people who, according to them, are ‘missing’.

“The government continues to demonstrate denial on the phenomenon of the enforced disappearances in the state. According to government agencies, we, the family members of those who have been subjected to enforced disappearances are maligning state agencies. The government wants people to believe that most of disappeared persons have actually crossed over to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for arms training or have left for other places,” says APDP spokesman, Ghulam Nabi Mir, in a statement issued on March 28.

Referring to some statements made by the government on the floor of the assembly in the past, Mir said on June 21, 2003 the then Home Minister, A R Veeri said 3931 persons are missing from 1989 to June 2003. “In March 2006, the then Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad said 693 cases of disappearances have been registered. On August 4, 2006 he said 33 custodial disappearances took place from 1990 to 1996.”

On 28th October 2006, Mangat Ram Sharma, the then health minister, said 108 cases of custodial disappearances have been registered since 1990. On 22 January 2007, government admitted that 1017 youths are missing. On March 23, 2010 National Conference led government admitted that 1105 persons have disappeared in state since 1989, he added.

The spokesman adds contradiction in statements exists because successive governments so far seem not interested in providing justice to the family members of the disappeared. He further stated neither ruling legislators nor opposition have bothered to be of any assistance to such families.

Afsana Rashid's book Widows and Half Widows: Saga of extra-judicial arrests and killings in Kashmir, was released recently in Srinagar. (details about the book)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 April 2011 on page no. 15

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