World Powers Must Share the Outrage Felt By the People of Kashmir: Fai

Geneva, Switzerland. June 17, 2011. Mr. Christof Heyns, ‘the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions’, & Mr. Frank La Rue, ‘the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression’ have expressed grave concern over the human rights situations in Kashmir, according to the reports released during the 17 Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland which concluded today. The reports detail the pattern of brutality by the Indian authorities towards the people of Kashmir.

 

Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director, Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center applauded the Special Rapporteurs for their reports which draw the attention of the international community to the escalation of gross violations of human rights in Kashmir. "This is a significant step towards greater international recognition of the serious abuses committed against Kashmiris at the hands of Indian forces. Perhaps now the world powers can share in the outrage felt by the Kashmiri people, Fai said."

 

 

Fai commended the leadership of civil society and NGO’s in Kashmir who were instrumental in documenting the day-to-day human rights abuses in Kashmir. In particular, Fai said that the people of Kashmir are indebted to the professional work initiated by NGO’s like “Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons,” “International Tribunal on Kashmir,” and “Kashmir Bar Association.”
"It is unfortunate that this situation continues to exist. I am pleased, however, that Special Rapporteurs promote public awareness of the human rights abuses.  It is only through constant international exposure and resolve that these abuse will end,  Fai maintained.

 

This new report provides incontrovertible evidence that India is using brutal torture tactics in Kashmir. India wants the world to believe that it is not committing these abuses.  But when independent groups visit Kashmir, and witness India's carnage, the facts speak for themselves. Exposing these kinds of atrocities with such irrefutable evidence is of vital importance to securing the basic human rights of all Kashmiris, Fai cautioned.
Special Rapporteurs expressed concern regarding, “the killings of civilians by military and police forces in Jammu and Kashmir.” They also brought to the attention of Government of India, “allegations received that journalists and human rights defenders are being targeted by the authorities in relation to their work in the promotion and protection of human rights.”

 

One such example cited in the report is the ‘Encounter killings’ “which are also allegedly used by security forces to create the impression of a national threat and the extension of cross-border terrorism. On 30 April 2010, for example, Indian Armed Forces claimed that three “foreign/infiltrating militants” (from Pakistan) were killed in an “encounter” in Machil sector, Kupwara district, along the Line of Control (LoC). On 28 May 2010, the three victims namely Shahzad Ahmad, Riyaz Ahmad, and Mohammad Shafi were reportedly authenticated as “fake encounter” killings.”

 

 

Reports add that “there have also been widespread protests against ‘militarized governance’ in the Jammu and Kashmir. The military and police forces are said to be targeting unarmed and peaceful protesters and often have used live ammunition on protesters.

 

The Report contains several specific examples of Kashmiri torture victims and graphically details the gruesome treatment they received at the hands of Indian security forces. Report lists 50 plus alleged victims of excessive use of force. Few instances are as follows:
On 11 June 2010, Mr. Tufail Ahmad Mattoo, aged 17-years, a resident of Saida Kadal, Srinagar, was allegedly killed by personnel of the Jammu and Kashmir Police. According to information received Mr. Mattoo was walking with his peers, when police pursued them. He was fired upon by the police near the Gani Memorial Stadium. He was taken to the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar (SMHSH) by community members, where he was declared dead on arrival. An autopsy that was conducted indicated that the cause of death was the result of a tear gas canister.

 

On 28 June 2010, Mr. Tauqeer (Asif) Ahmad Rather, aged 9 years, a resident of Rather Mohalla, Delina, Baramulla district was killed by CRPF personnel in Delina. He was part of a peaceful procession from Baramulla town that was proceeding on foot toward Sopore. Mr. Rather was shot by a bullet that lodged in his chest and died from the injuries sustained on his way to the district hospital in Baramulla.

 

On 17 July 2010, Mr. Faizan Ahmad Bhuroo, aged 13 years, a resident of Jalal Sahib, Baramulla district, drowned as he jumped into the Jhelum river in Baramulla at Azadgunj Bridge when Special Operations Group personnel attempted to arrest him. The incident took place when he was returning home from the Main Chowk in Baramulla.

 

On 1 August 2010, Ms. Afroza Teli, aged 15 years, a resident of Khrew, Pulwama district, was killed by a bullet that lodged in her head, fired by CRPF and/or Special Operations Group personnel. She was participating in a peaceful demonstration. Ms. Teli died at SKIMSH in Srinagar.

 

On 2 August 2010, Mr. Ashiq Hussain Bhat, a student in the ninth grade, resident of Kulgam, Anantnag district and Mr. Rameez Ahmad Bhat, aged 6 years, a resident of Kulgam, Anantnag district, were killed by bullets fired by CRPF personnel. The CRPF personnel opened fire on peaceful protesters at Chawalgam village as they proceeded toward Kulgam town.

 

On 7 August 2010, Ms. Aisha Shiekh, aged 55 years, a resident of Ganpatyar, Habba Kadal, Srinagar, was shot in the chest by CRPF personnel. She was hit when travelling with her granddaughter to purchase milk. She died at Ganpatyar, on 8 August 2010, at SMHSH in Srinagar.

 

The report continued that  in addition, State authorities have reportedly been targeting journalists and human rights defenders as a means of preventing them from discharging their functions. For example Advocate Mian Qayoom, President of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association in Srinagar and also a human rights defender, was arrested allegedly because of his legal advocacy for the detained and disappeared in Jammu and Kashmir, his offer of legal counsel to dissenters against the Indian state, his arguments against the indiscriminate use of the Jammu and Kashmir Public and Safety Act (PSA), his investigations into allegations of abuse by the Indian military and police, his articulation of Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory, and his support of self-determination. On 18 July 2010, Advocate Ghulam Nabi Shaheen, General Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Srinagar, and a human rights defender, was arrested under the same Act (PSA).

 

The report reminded the Government of India of her obligation under the ‘International Covenant on Civil and Political rights (ICCPR) to ensure that every individual has the right to life and security of the persons.”

 

However, Fai warned that it might be said that never have so many human rights been proclaimed yet been so routinely violated.  In sum, it seems to me that until there evolves a generally accepted moral duty among peoples and nations to assist all victims of widespread human rights violations by force or other stiff retaliation, human rights enforcement mechanisms like ICCPR will operate haphazardly and whimsically for reasons unrelated to the harm to the victims or the villainy of the perpetrators.  It is our job to jump-start that moral evolution.

 

"The international community cannot simply stand by and allow India to continue to kill and torture and maim the Kashmiri people in this way.  This must not stand," Dr. Fai asked.

 

Citing extensive new evidence of torture and human rights abuses documented in these reports Fai said that "It is the responsibility of the United States - as the world's leading democracy — to intervene and demand an immediate end to these abuses." "Until these abuses stop, the cycle of violence which is destabilizing the India - Pakistani – Afghanistan region will not end.”

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