Srinagar: Kashmir Valley witnessed protests, rallies, sit-ins and marches, on the eve of World Human Rights Day on Thursday. Rallies and protests were taken out by pro-freedom camp and pro-India parties, student unions and social organizations. Protestors demanded an end to rights abuses and restoration of social security and justice to all in Kashmir Valley.
Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) held a silent protest against what it termed state and central governments’ “disingenuous approach” in tracing out their family members, subjected to enforced disappearance since 1989 across the state.
The family members of disappeared youth castigated the successive governments for being indifferent towards their pain and agony. “Neither National Conference nor PPP did anything for them to trace their missing loved ones. The main motive of the protest is to draw attention of the government and the media to seek information about their loved ones, who have vanished, presumed dead or imprisoned without trial or record,” Chairperson APDP Parveena Ahangar told CNS. She alleged that their dear ones have been subjected to enforced disappearances by the Indian forces and their related agencies from their homes, streets and even roads.
She said that despite being a signatory to the international conventions against human rights violations, India seems less bothered to deliver justice to those families whose loved ones were arrested and then subjected to enforced disappearances by security agencies here.
Parveena Ahanagar said that, “we continue searching for our children in the hope that one day our disappeared will come back. One such parent, Mr. Abdul Ahad Bhat whose son was disappeared on 22-6-1991 bears testimony to the agony of our struggle. His disappeared son Farooq Ahmad Bhat was a 10th class student at the time of his disappearance. He also used to assist his father in running a shop. On the fateful day, at about 6 pm he was picked up from the shop by BSF (Boarder Security Force), 102 Battalion in presence of his father, bystanders and other neighbours in the locality. The disappeared person was engaged at the time of his disappearance and his would be in-laws waited for 4 years and gave full emotional and psychological support to the family but eventually got their daughter married off elsewhere. The testimonial of the Abdul Ahad reveals that the legal struggle is endless and bears no fruit. There was a complete denial on part of the detaining authorities of having taken hisson.
In addition, there was a denial to lodge an FIR. Instead, the police registered an FIR on the behest of the BSF against his disappeared son under anti-terror provisions, as well as under ‘attempt to kill’ provision of the Penal Code. The cases he filed against the disappearance of his son in the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and the Jammu and Kashmir’s State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) proved to be futile. Despite the High Court orders to release his son, the BSF did not honour the orders but instead claimed not to have detained his son at all and consequently, the whereabouts of his son remain unknown even after 24 years.”
The protesters vowed to continue her struggle for truth, justice and accountability till both the state and central governments accept their demand of impartial probe into the enforced disappearances and custodial killings.
Police foiled Er Rashid’s protest rally in Srinagar. Er Rashid was carrying a cow, horse and goat with the banner in their necks that read: “I am Sangh Parivar’s cow, I am more secure than Kashmiris, I am Rashtrapati Bhavan’s horse, I am more secure than Kashmiris, I am Mahatma Gandhi’s goat, I am more secure than Kashmiris.” Police detained Er Rashid along with the domestic animals and scores of supporters as they tried to march towards busy Lal Chowk.
Jammu Kashmir Mass Movement activists led by Fareeda Behanji took out a march in Srinagar. The protestors including children and women were carrying placards and banners were demanding immediate arrest of those Army and Police officials allegedly involved in rights abuses. The protestors demanded that government should let know about the whereabouts of disappeared persons. The protesters were on way to present a memorandum to United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) headquarters at Sonawar, Srinagar. Police stopped the protesters and detained dozens of protesters including Fareeda Behanji.
International Forum for Justice activists led by Muhammad Ahsan Untoo also staged a protest in Press Enclave Srinagar.They demanded that the men in uniform who are allegedly involved in the civilian killings during 2008, 2010 agitation be dealt with according to law and those disappeared in custody be traced out or declared dead. The protesters carried placards and banners with slogans and photographs of the victims. Jammu Kashmir Salvation Movement female activists also staged a peaceful protest and demanded an immediate end to rights abuses in Kashmir Valley.