International Week of the Disappeared: Kashmir remembers enforced disappeared persons

International Week of the Disappeared: Kashmir remembers enforced disappeared persons

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International Week of the Disappeared - 1

By News Desk | Srinagar, Kashmir

Starting the International Week of the Disappeared from today the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) in Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir organised a public meeting “23 years of struggle Against Enforced Disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir” here in Srinagar, to remember the last twenty three years of Kashmir conflict, during which more than 8000 people have been involuntarily disappeared.

This year the week starts from May 27 and ends on May 31 2013 during which the people who were forcefully disappeared in world conflicts are remembered by their families and human rights defenders. In several global conflicts, the state forces have used disappearance as a tool to dent the popular sentiments of the populations.

In Kashmir conflict too, the enforced disappearance has been a major tool of the Indian forces to inflict pain on the people and also force them to shun their following of the sentiment of independence. Till date not a single Indian army, paramilitary or police personnel has been prosecuted for a human rights violation.

Several journalists, students, activists and the relatives of the disappeared persons attended the meeting. Huzaifa Basu and Samreen Mushtaq gave the introduction about the importance of the week and later the speakers Parvez Imroz (prominent human rights lawyer and Chairman of the APDP), Zaheer-ud-Din (Journalist and Human rights activist), Shujaat Bukhari (Journalist), Dr. Majeed Siraj (Columnist), Dr. Altaf Hussain (Civil Society member) talked about the enforced disappearances and human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. The speakers reiterated that there is a need to support the families whose kin have been disappeared or killed.

The relatives of the enforced disappeared persons during the public meeting. Photographs by Shahid Tantray
The relatives of the enforced disappeared persons during the public meeting. Photographs by Shahid Tantray

“The institutional culture of moral, political and judicial impunity has resulted in enforced and involuntary disappearance of 8000+ persons, besides more than 70,000 deaths, and disclosures of more than 7000 unknown, unmarked and mass graves,” reads the statement issued by the APDP.

The APDP has been demanding that the Indian government should conduct DNA tests on the bodies in the unknown graves but the government response to that was that with only 15/16 recognized labs in the government as well as private sector, in India a comprehensive process cannot be undertaken.

The government has not taken any action against the alleged perpetrators of the human rights violations named in the recent report of the APDP. The report alleged Perpetrators: Stories of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir in which five hundred armed personnel from Indian army, paramilitary forces and the state police were named for their involvement in the human rights violations, was released in December 2012. The report had also named the current Chief Vigilance Commissioner, Kuldeep Khoda, Additional Director General of Police, S M Sahai and DIG Anand Jain and they were promoted despite facing the allegations.

 

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