Saturday, 14 February 2009

Where are they?

Few days ago APDP (Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons) staged a sit in protest in the heart of Srinagar pressing for their demand of whereabouts of their relatives subjected to enforced custodial disappearance by the various security agencies, troops and police mostly since the break out of armed rebellion from 1988, and appealed the C.M Omar Abdullah of setting a truth and reconciliation commission of which he has remained a vocal supporter before and during his election campaign.
According to APDP more than 10000 people have been subjected to custodial disappearance and C.M being Chairman of Unified Command Council has moral duty to look in to their genuine and humane demands. Subjecting people to custodial disappearance is worst kind of human rights violation and it has been mostly seen the relatives of disappeared persons suffer from the mental trauma and remain in dilemma about the safety of their near and dear ones which is horrific to say the least. After the shocking discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves in different parts of Jammu and Kashmir mostly from Uri many including the relatives of disappeared fear about their loved ones who have gone missing under the custody of troops. Even a stone hearted will get softened as their demand is nothing but to show them the graves of their dear ones if they have been killed or let them a chance to meet them if they are alive.

In many cases where the perpetrators of human rights violation be that custodial disappearance, custodial killing, fake encounters or other violations have been identified they have got away from any kind of accountability by the draconian laws powered to them through which they enjoy total impunity from the law of land. Indian prime ministers assurance on the soil of Kashmir about ‘Zero tolerance’ to human rights violation and assurance by any other leader will continue to remain as mere rhetoric as long as these draconian laws are not withdrawn. Recent statement of Mufti Sayed (former C.M) merits attention where in he also stressed on this fact that investigating these violations on case to case bases will be inadequate. Recently a news report in various media sections carried the statement of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Alliance in which they demanded abrogation of Disturbed Area and Armed Forces Special Power Act as these laws are a hindrance to get foreign tourists to Kashmir, hence a major stumbling block to the tourism sector.

In 2004, a Manipuri women Thang Jam Manorama was abused and killed by Assam Rifles and after the protests erupted to repeal the AFSPA then in November that year the then Prime Minister of India A.B.Vajpayee constituted a committee to review the provisions of the AFSPA and the said committee submitted report in which it was reported that “the act, for whatever reasons has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high hand ness”. But unfortunately this report was made to appear like as north-east centric view and missed J & K where violations are much more and according to average mentions about J&K by the US state dept in its country state report on human rights violations and killings in conflict areas from 1993-2002 are 56.4 and combined seven states of north-east is 36.2 which is far less than J&K. It is the oppression unleashed by Indian troops backed by these black laws which have alienated the people of Kashmir more and more and in the words of South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) this alienation among the people of Kashmir is complete and irreversible.
The brutal tactics employed by the India. forces here to suppress the movement for unfettered right of self determination have always backfired as this have provided the necessary ammunition to the freedom struggle to move forward with renewed vigor and this was witnessed by whole world during the agitation here few months back. Kashmir dispute will continue give sleepless nights to the Indian leaders and policy makers and this dispute if left unresolved will continue to remain as major threat to peace and progress of South Asia. Hence a multi pronged peace offence is needed to start tripartite talks for its final resolution. To make the atmosphere conducive for meaningful talks India has to initiate steps to remove the deep mistrust which she has created by its denial mode and time gaining policies, first and foremost these draconian laws should be repealed, troops should be moved back to barracks in a phased manner and a impartial commission should be made to look in the violation of human rights as demanded by ITHB and APDP and let them know where there near and dear ones are for which they have been protesting from a long time.