Restraint by security forces in Kashmir demanded

New Delhi, Aug 11 (Calcutta Tube) Restraint by security forces, timely judicial relief in cases involving security personnel, inquiry into human rights violations and systematic reduction of troops were among the demands of a panel that discussed the situation in the Kashmir valley here.

Academicians, human rights activists, journalists and lawyers criticised the attitude of the central and state governments on the situation in Kashmir where 51 people have been killed since June 11 in clashes between security personnel and protesters.

Siddiq Wahid, vice chancellor of Islamic University of Science & Technology, Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir, said at the Press Club of India here Tuesday evening that people of the state, specially the youths, are facing serious problems.

Criticising the role of the media, he said: ‘They have only price rice and Commonwealth Games to cover. They don’t have space to talk about Kashmir where people are being killed.’

Kashmir Times executive editor Anuradha Bhasin blamed the judicial system for the increasing problems.

Citing the Jaleel Andrabi murder and Shopian rape cases, she said: ‘The Indian system of justice has totally crumbled. It doesn’t exist in Kashmir. People have reposed their faith time and again in the system and have always been let down.’

Andarabi was allegedly killed in the custody of Indian Army in 1996 and two young women were allegedly gangraped and killed by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in 2009.

Senior journalist Sayeed Malik said at the discussion organised by NGO ANHAD that the rule of law is breaking down in Kashmir valley.

He said there were about 30 to 40 youths out of the 51 killed since June who were shot in the abdomen. ‘If the intention was to disperse mobs, why did they shoot at the abdomen?’ he asked.

Tanveer Hussain Khan, a young activist from Kashmir, said the Kashmiris have been consistently denied any political dialogue and have been targeted with tear gas shelling or bullets at point blank range.

Vrinda Grover, a human rights lawyer of the Delhi high court, said: ‘The government of India had been bluffing with the people of Kashmir for so many years, running away from its responsibility by denying the right to justice to the people.’

The discussion and press conference was chaired by historian Uma Chakravarty.

The participators demanded to ensure restraint by all security forces, respect for right to life in responding to protests, and repeal and withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Public Safety Act.

They opined that immediate measures should be taken to initiate prosecutions and legal proceedings against security personnel indicted for human rights violations, including enforced disappearances, extra judicial killings and rapes.

Seeking the constitution of a credible commission to enquire into the complaints of human rights violations, including the killing of civilians in the recent public protests, they asked for systematic reduction of troops from the state and a sustained and meaningful dialogue with Kashmiris.

(Abu Zafar can be contacted at abuzafar2009@gmail.com)

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