Protests on human rights day in Kashmir

Protests, seminars and day-long conferences marked the international human rights day observed across the globe on December 10. Wails and shrieks of families of disappeared persons filled the air as a 28-minute documentary “Mugal Mase” was screened by Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) at a local hotel here.

The documentary revolved around the fight put in by Mugal Mase, one of the APDP members in tracing out the whereabouts of her only son, Nazir Ahmad, who went missing since September 1, 1990. Mugal passed away few months back without getting any clue about the whereabouts of her son.

Parveena Ahangar, president of the Association on the occasion, reiterated her demand of setting up an independent commission of enquiry that would look into issue of disappearances. “We don’t want money or jobs; we want to know the whereabouts of our dear ones”.

Asking government of India to ratify international convention for protection of all persons from enforced disappearances, Mir Hafizullah, legal advisor of APDP, said, “though India has signed the convention along with 83 countries in France in 2007 but hasn’t ratified the same despite intervention of many human right groups”.

APDP spokesman said that the Association is soon going to carry out survey in the entire state to know the exact figure of disappeared persons here.    

In yet another programme “Sufferings of Kashmiri youth”, organized by Association of Families of Kashmiri Prisoners, Zamrooda Habib, chairperson of the Association said “Kashmir will remain miserable until Government of India come forward and resolve the issue as per aspirations of people”.

Javed Ahmad Mir, vice chairman Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (R) was arrested along with party workers as they staged protest demonstrations against alleged human rights violations, here. Carrying placards and banners that read ‘Stop Human right violations’ ‘We want peaceful solution of long standing Kashmir dispute’ and ‘Release political prisoners’, the protesters tried to march through the streets of city centre, but were intercepted by police.

A seminar was also organized by High Court Bar Association wherein participants including Justice B A Karmani, Nazir Ahmad Ronga, Muhammad Amin Butt, Zaheerud Din and others expressed serious concern over grave human rights violations in the valley.

Volunteer enrolment drive was launched by VIVA Kashmir, a humanitarian initiative, on the eve of world human rights day. “Varying figures of victims of violence are being quoted by different groups. VIVA Kashmir envisions collection of data with respect to number of casualties faced by Kashmir over past two decades or more”, says Ishfaq Mir, executive member VIVA Kashmir, adding “technology will play a pivotal role in implementation of initiative and will act as a nervous system for VIVA Kashmir”.

Chairman, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Mohammad Yasin Malik on December 9 castigated civil society and human rights groups in Kashmir for indulging in politics while ignoring their fundamental duties. “Unfortunately, our civil society and human rights groups have been reduced to political shops and are least bothered about human rights abuses, here”.

He stated that he visited almost all families of those killed during past five months of unrest in valley and helped some of them to file First Information Report (FIR). “Not a single FIR was filed by any of these groups, including the Bar Association, against these killings”.

More than 1,600 people including 819 militants and 400 civilians have been killed in the state over last three years, says a report released by Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a human rights group, here on December 9.

Providing a detailed summary of number of killings over the last three years, the report says “most of the killed are militants. 359 militants have been killed in 2008 followed by 242 the next year and 218 this year, so far”, adding that 400 civilians have also been killed over last three years.

In 2008, when the valley witnessed Amarnath land row agitation, 152 civilians were killed with report claiming 75 civilians were killed by security forces, 17 by militants and 47 by unidentified gunmen. “In 2009, 84 civilians were killed; 27 were killed by security forces, seven by militants and 26 by unidentified gunmen. In 2010, 164 civilians were killed in state; 133 were killed by security forces, six by militants and 19 by unidentified gunmen”.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 January 2011 on page no. 15

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