Posted Sat, 04/10/2010 – 14:57
Muhammad Farooq Rehmani
Atrocities being perpetrated on Kashmiris, and terror spread by India is of the highest magnitude. The tales of horror in Jammu and Kashmir are not related to anyone individual, group, place or time. Every Kashmiri is subjected to tyranny and terror over a half century in each city, village, and field, forest, street and home in the nature’s lovely Jammu and Kashmir. In short, it is dog’s life in Kashmir.
Torturing Kashmiris mentally and killing them physically for demanding the right of self determination according to the UN charter, UNCIP resolutions and India-Pakistan pledges is being conducted ruthlessly by India since 1947, when Kashmir was annexed by her army. In addition to the current wave of terror unleashed in 1990, there are instances of both judicial and extra-judicial killings of Kashmiris by India even before 1990. For example, Ghulam Muhammad Bullah, a young man in his twenties from Sopore and affiliated with J&K People’s League was picked by police from a street during a public demonstration against Indra-Abdullah Accord 75, harshly beaten by a station police officer, tortured to death in central jail Srinagar and finally buried in a Sopore graveyard in night-time. Muhammad Maqbool Butt a champion of freedom movement was sentenced to death by a special court in 1966, but sent to gallows in Tihar central jail on 11 February 1984. Kashmir Times Jammu termed the execution as a judicial murder. Ghulam Hassan Naik a tailor of Baramulla was picked by secret agencies 0n 26 august 1984, and tortured to death in custody. His gruesome murder by army sparked off public protests and life in every field remained paralyzed in the valley of Kashmir.
From 1990, killings in broad daylight and extra-judicial and custodial murders and fake encounters and forced disappearances became a routine Indian practice, raising the death toll in such cases to about 80 thousand people in 2002. Later, India maneuvered rented and state sponsored killings to escape the blame of genocide by army. Now, over the years this terrific practice continues unabated. But still India is not at ease in Kashmir, and has only one year before sought refuge under the newly coined slogan of global war against terrorism.
Still Indian Government did not feel comfortable and having failed to suppress the movement of freedom and also noticing indictment against her ruthless and mindless Kashmir policy, has now put a judicial blanket not only on her 12 year old bloody rule in Kashmir, but is also justifying repressive measures and killings by judicial pronouncements. It is in this background that the BJP Government has started using courts and even Apex court for life imprisonments and death sentences of Kashmiri detenus. The BJP wants to silence mouth of every humanitarian organisation in the world by the fresh process of Judicial sentences, in order to get a clean chit and carry on her unbridled death campaign in Kashmir and other such weak spots else where in India.
Regarding this the latest such measure was taken in the shape of death sentence against three Kashmiris by a POTA special court of Delhi. They were named as Syed Abdul Rehman Gilani, a lecturer, Muhammad Afzal and Showkat Hussain. All the three were convicted for conspiring with five people allegedly belonging to a Pakistani organization who as charged by prosecution attacked parliament House Delhi to kill the prime Minister and Home Minister and make hostage of MPs and VIPs on December 13, 2001 in the parliament House. The prosecution alleged that the three convicts were a party to it, who also provided shelter to the attackers. The fourth convict named Afshan Guru w/o Showkat Hussain Guru was sentenced to five years of rigorous imprisonment and to pay fine of Rs10,000, for concealing the knowledge of conspiracy. In default of the fine she would have to spend another 6 months in jail.
They are convicted under the new tough prevention of terrorism Act (POTA), The Indian Penal Code (IPC) and The Explosive substances Act (ESA). The sections invoked against the convicted persons are as under:-
3(2A) of POTA, section 121,302,121-A, 122, and 307 of IPC and sections 3 and 4 of Explosive Substance Act (ESA). All these sections of POTA , IPC and ESA deal with the criminal offences like terrorism, war against India, murder of people, conspiracy against the state and collection of arms and explosives.
This verdict was pronounced on 16 December by the judge of the special POTA court Delhi, S N Dhingra, bringing rage and sorrow throughout Jammu and Kashmir. Nitya Ramakrishan advocate for Showkat Hussain and his wife described the sentence as savage. Syed A R Gilani said “I am innocent. I have been framed in the case. Without justice there is no peace.”
The common people of Kashmir and human rights activists were equally stunned and shocked by the verdict of the Delhi POTA court. According to them “this verdict came after a rushed trial and appeared even more false because not a single police report was registered much less proceedings initiated against the members of rightwing Hindu mobs who killed 2 thousand Muslims and raped helpless women at will in Gujarat earlier this year.” A complete strike to condemn and reject the special court verdict on the call of the Kashmir Bar Association was observed in the entire valley of Kashmir by every section of the people. Baramulla the home town of professor Gilani flew into rage as soon as people heard about the code verdict.
It is conspicuous that the whole event of attack on the parliament was being filmed and telecast; and the attackers used VIP route to enter into the parliament area and labeled as Pakistanis were instantly killed along with other people by the police.
Those who have watched the live televised event of attack on the Indian parliament, have known the story framed by the prosecution, followed court proceedings, behavior of the court towards the accused persons and the manner how hastily the whole trial was brought to an end, can say without any doubt that the whole matter was concocted. The prosecution basically relied on the police tell-tale, the proceedings were intriguing, from the very beginning to the end and the verdict of the POTA judge was motivated with malicious intentions against Kashmiris .In fact, the aims and objectives of both i.e. prosecution and judge were common—to suppress the truth and portray Kashmiris as dreaded terrorists receiving training and support from Pakistan. Of course it would have been very difficult for the POTA judge to convict these Kashmiris without labeling them as Pakistani agents and terrorists.
The whole story of attack on the Indian parliament, trial of Kashmiris and their conviction becomes doubtful when one comes to know besides other causes and facts, the back ground activities of Professor Syed Abdul Rahman Gilani who was implicated and convicted in such heinous charges of murder and conspiracy, ignoring his family background as a religious scholar, intellectual and human rights activist in Delhi. If his case is reopened in the Apex court with fairness and honesty, we are certain that the earlier POTA judgment would become null and void.
Let us mention it here for the sake of fact and legality that Professor Syed A R Gilani has a pious family background in Kashmir. They have traveled long in the realms of teaching and imparting knowledge of religion in Kashmir and India. To dub such intellectuals as terrorists is injustice and ridicules many other stories fabled by police in Kashmir. Professor Gilani is a son of Late Moulana Wali Shah Gilani a renowned religious scholar and a contemporary of Moulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri. Both of them were students of Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanivi. Professor Gilani received his early education from UP, graduated from Nadwat-ul-Ulama Lucknow and did his PhD. from Delhi University. He was a lecturer in the same university when police arrested him and implicated him in the famous parliament attack case. As an intellectual and human rights activist he organized seminars on human rights issues in Delhi. His humanitarian activities were perhaps responsible for his becoming a thorn in the eyes of BJP rulers of New Delhi.
From the very beginning the prosecution had malicious intentions against him and therefore the special court of Delhi could not remain uninfluenced, besides a bitter hateful propaganda wave was unleashed in the name of the call of war against so called terrorism in Kashmir. Whatever other issues and causes behind global war against terrorism, India certainly gained a license to kill Kashmiris everywhere and exploited the world situation in her own favour and thereby made it’s judiciary a mockery of the worst kind.
Another queer, biased and surprising judgment has come recently from the Supreme Court, which in the past upheld independence and integrity of justice system in India. Now it has awarded life sentence to three Kashmiris in H N Wanchu murder and conspiracy case in response to an appeal by CBI against a verdict of the designated TADA Court Delhi, which had acquitted all the accused in the case after refusing to accept the confessional statements recorded by the superintendent of police, the only piece of evidence against them, on procedural grounds. The accused are, Ashiq Husain Fakhtoo, Muhammad Shafi Khan and Ghulam Qadir Butt. This verdict by the Apex court proves that hate and revenge against Kashmiris has infected even the top most judiciary in the country and Kashmiris are looked down upon as terrorists in India. As for the murder of Pandit H.N Wanchu, no Kashmiri patriot could ever think of killing such a man. He was a human rights activist and strongly opposed and exposed human rights violations by police and army in Kashmir. Therefore, though a non-Muslim, Kashmiri Muslims had high regard for him in Srinagar.
Keeping in view the revival of Hindu fundamentalism and anti-Muslim deafening voices and playing of drums of hate and revenge against Muslims by BJP in India, it seems now much more difficult for Indian judiciary to protect it’s image of integrity and independence and listen to some saner voices of the population, especially in face of anti-Muslim and pro-war atmosphere being advocated and spread today in the name of war against so called terror. Judiciary and justice would be the first casualty in India, vis-à-vis Kashmir and Kashmiri prisoners, once war broke out in the Middle East, as India never in the past listened to moral arguments of peace and negotiations. She has been exploiting the western theory of terrorism in her favour for quite sometime, so how she can be moved by the ordeal of Kashmiris, once UNO becomes weak and involved in the Gulf crisis. Therefore, we fear that Kashmiris might face greater misery, human rights conditions can worsen and Kashmiri detenus, under-trial political prisoners and young men, women, children hugged together with fear in their homes and hearths might be targeted in greater numbers under one pretext or other by army, police or even by special courts. The old proverb is that give dog a bad name and kill him. India is practising it for long in Kashmir. The latest war slogan is more useful for India in Kashmir to liquidate unarmed and weaker population by the strength of her military or arbitrary courts and laws.
But, the situation poses a potent threat even to the Indian society, parliamentary traditions, justice system and human rights movement in the country. Therefore, it is high time that true parliamentarians, constitutionalists, philanthropists, jurists, human rights activists— separate or together, in or outside parliament or courts raise their voice against summary or motivated convictions and judicial or extra-judicial killings in Kashmir. In fact, therewith, saner, civilized, secular, political and intellectual leadership and opinion in India will not only be writing a golden chapter of history but also removing irritants towards the peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute. Killings in Kashmir—whether judicial or otherwise must be stopped for a brighter future of mankind in the South Asia. Of course, Kashmir is the tragedy of modern times. But the law of nature will not permit India to live in peace and prosperity unless the beautiful faces and flowers of humanity and love are again brought to bloom and smile in the valley of Kashmir.
Lastly I will quote some verses of a Kashmiri poet Naz Kulgami:- He says
On seeing the sky
I feel grieved
To find my bird
Ensnared and locked
By alien hands.
Note: The writer is Chairman Jammu & Kashmir People’s League