Press Release for October 10, 2017
Under the Indian State’s militarization of Kashmir among other brutalities, enforced disappearances have been used as a tool to suppress the people and their voices. Nevertheless, APDP has been resisting this suppression for years now and has raised the issue of the enforced disappearances with the world community, like United Nations, State Human Rights Commission, various embassies of nations like Norway, Sweden etc, Amnesty International, and other rights groups.
On 10th of every month, the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) stages a silent sit-in protest in Srinagar against Enforced Disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir. As part of its programme, APDP is holding a sit in protest on 10th October 2017, at Partab Park, Srinagar. The families of the victims participate in the protest, along with the civil society members, like journalists, academicians, students, writers, researchers, businessmen and lawyers to show solidarity with the victim families and to demand that the dear ones of the families be returned back to the families. Besides hundreds of people, form the valley or Kashmiris in India show their solidarity for the issue through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
In a situation where India has not ratified the International Convention For Protection of all Persons From Enforced Disappearances and the vagueness of India’s Domestic Law that does not enumerate Enforced Disappearance as an offence, the challenges in pursuing legal struggle is insurmountable. There is an official state policy that ensures impunity to Indian Armed Forces and promotes silencing of the past.
In April this year, the state of India in its UPR3 (Universal Periodic Review) was recommended by at least 34 member countries to look into the issue of the Enforced Disappearance and ratify the necessary treaties in this regard. However, the Indian state, in its response in September, only “noted” the recommendations and did not “accept” the same. This shows the irresponsible attitude of India and how non-serious it is about the issue of Enforced Disappearances in Kashmir.
We reiterate our demand for ratification of International Convention for Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances. The ratification will help to bring out the special nature and circumstances in which such crimes are perpetrated and will make more evident the multiple rights that are violated as a result of an enforced disappearance. We also demand that law on enforced disappearance be passed by the Jammu and Kashmir legislature so that the vagueness and ambiguity in the Indian domestic penal provisions can be overcome.
In the recent past, the practice of involuntary disappearance has resurfaced in Kashmir. The latest case being one of Manzoor Ahmed Khan, resident of Devar, Lolab, Kupwara; he was, according to the family, abducted by the by the 27 –RR of Indian Army on 31 August, 2017 and has not returned home since.
The state, like it has done previously with similar cases, has denied that Manzoor was abducted by the Army as per the family of Manzoor.
According to various new reports about the case and the findings of team of APDP who visited the family, Manzoor, along with another man, named Nasrullah Khan had gone to graze the cattle on Trehmokh Top, which is close to the village and home to 27 RR camp of Indian army. Both the men, according to eye witness, were taken inside the camp. As the news of this incident spread, the locals protested outside the military camp and in the same evening, one man, Nasrullah Khan, was released but brutally tortured. He is battling with life at SKIMS, with serious injuries to the vital body organs, like kidneys, ribs, legs and arms.
However, Manzoor Khan never returned. The locals continued the protests and on 7 September, General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the Srinagar based 15 Corps Lt General JS Sandhu visited Lolab area of Kupwara district and spoke to officials about the matter.
Later that day the Defence Ministry issued a statement that a Joint Investigation Team had been formed to probe the disappearance. “A joint inquiry team comprising senior Police and Army officers is investigating the case. Suitable action will be taken based on the outcome of this inquiry,” the Defence spokesperson said in the statement quoted by the newspapers. However , nothing , till now has come out of the probes , which is usual , as previously in similar cases such probes have been ordered but nothing came out of it. APDP believes that these are the tactics to dodge the issue and to blank it out from the public attention. This has been old tactic of the state.
APDP condemns the abduction and enforced disappearance and demands that an independent investigation be held on this and Manzoor to be returned immediately to his family.
APDP also condemns the recent incidents of braid chopping and blames the state for showing immense negligence in stopping the incidents.
The braid chopping is an attack on the freedom of women in Kashmir and violates the religious sentiments of the people.
There is a confusion and chaos in the society due to braid chopping, and, the state instead of nabbing the culprits is not doing anything. If the state can stop put checks on the dissent and other things so easily and so quickly, why is it not doing anything to stop braid chopping incidents? APDP asks.
APDP condemns the state’s incapability or deliberate incapability in stopping the braid chopping incidents.
APDP also condemns the recurrent mobile internet bans imposed by the state. It is, besides being the attack on and violation of the right to freedom of expression of the people, a tactic to keep people’s dissent under check. APDP demands and urges the world community to pressurize the state to stop banning mobile internet services in Kashmir.
(Chairperson) APDP, Hyderpora, Srinagar