Archive for the ‘Draconian Laws’ Category

The daughter of one of Kashmir’s most prominent politicians has pleaded with the international community to act over an unprecedented clampdown on millions of people in the territory, warning that Kashmiris are being “caged like animals” and treated as “cannon fodder”.

Speaking to the Guardian while under house arrest, Iltija Mufti, the daughter of the former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, said as many as 25 armed security personnel had surrounded her house last week. All entrances to the house have been locked, she said, defying a communications ban by the Indian government.

Mufti said no legal basis had been provided for her detention but she had been told her previous comments to the media, criticising India’s actions in Kashmir, had angered officials. She said she had been denied a lawyer and prevented from seeing visitors.

Her mother was placed under house arrest hours before the Indian government made a dramatic announcement on 5 August that it would withdraw Kashmir’s special status. She is understood to have been taken to a makeshift jail. About 500 people have reportedly been detained, ostensibly to prevent unrest.

Mufti said she feared that speaking to the media might result in her being jailed, but she had chosen to call for action before a closed-door UN security council meeting on the matter, expected to be held on Friday.

“I’ve quite clearly been told: first of all we make sure you don’t get your voice out, and you’re not heard, and if you do, be ready to suffer the consequences,” said Mufti, who managed to speak to the Guardian from her home. “Those consequences will be that you will be detained indefinitely and that I won’t have the right or access to even a lawyer.

I feel really scared for my life. I don’t think I am safe any more because I don’t trust this government. The way they have gone after even elected representatives is quite frightening.”

Her mother had argued in favour of a shared future with India – a view many in Kashmir believe has now been completely discredited.

Delhi’s decision strips the disputed state of Kashmir and Jammu of any elements of autonomy, removing its constitution and flag, and scrapping laws that prevented outsiders from buying land. The state will also be split in two. Many Kashmiris believe the changes pose an existential threat, and the demography of the country’s only Muslim-majority state will be altered.

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On Friday, the Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam, said “a few preventive detentions” of individuals had been made, “in accordance with the provisions of the law”.

He also said restrictions on landlines would be eased over the coming days. It is not clear when mobile phone services will be restored.

Millions of people across Kashmir have been under an unprecedented communications blackout since 5 August, with no internet, mobile or landline services, as part of measures described by a UN official as draconian.

There are fears for the most vulnerable residents in Kashmir. Mufti said people in the state were being treated as “cannon fodder”, did not have access to medical supplies and were probably running out of food.

“Let them go, let them free,” she said.

Kashmir is a volcano waiting to erupt, she said. “There’s palpable anger … the day this curfew is lifted I feel like all that anger is going to spill out on to the streets of Kashmir. And it’s not going to be good.

“People are so angry. They are fuming at the way they were stripped of their rights … and to add insult to injury you have tied them up like they are animals. But they are not animals; they are humans beings,” she said.

The communication blocks had debilitated an entire population, she added. “Not only have they massacred our state and cleaved it into two parts, they have also stripped us of our dignity.”

Subrahmanyam said that 12 of the 22 districts of the state were functioning normally with some limited night-time restrictions in five of these. However, communication blocks mean it is not possible to independently verify this.

He added that restrictions would be lifted in the next few days, with some schools opened after the weekend. Restrictions on movement would be removed on an area-by-area basis, he said.

On Thursday, Mufti wrote to India’s home minister, Amit Shah, asking under what legal grounds she had been detained. “Is it a crime to articulate the pain, torment and indignity we’ve been subjected to?” she wrote.

Outside her home, Mufti said, a military van waits at the front gate. “Every time that I step out into the garden for fresh air there is a man who intercepts them on a walkie talkie and lets them know that I’ve stepped out,” she said. Three to four female officers, who she believes are there to grab her if she attempts to run, were also present.

It is more than 11 days since her mother was arrested.

“I miss her terribly and there are times when I dream of her and imagine us in happier times.” India can no longer claim to be the world’s largest democracy, she said: “Not after what Kashmiris have had to endure in the past two weeks.”

By Sheshu Babu*

Living with deformity is very difficult. The degree of difficulty varies with the intensity of disability and its impact on people. One of the vital parts of human body is the eye. So, a disease or injury to the eye or eyes has a significant impact on lives of people. The use of pellets in Kashmir has caused loss of sight to many people, specially children and youth who are facing physical and psychological problems.
According to a study by the Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience, Kashmir,at least 85% of pellet victims have developed psychiatric disorders. The study titled ‘Psychiatric Morbidity in Pellet Injury Victims of Kashmir Valley’ puts depression at the top of the list with 25.79% suffering from this disorder followed by adjustment disorder with 15.79%, post-traumatic stress disorder (9.21%) and anxiety disorders (9%).
Doctors examined 380 pellet victims after the uprising of 2016. Among the victims, 92.92% have eye injuries and 70% other injuries.

Serious problem

The study may not be comprehensive but it certainly reflects the gravity of the problem and need for serious attention. The victims are mostly students and youth who dream of bright future. Their aspirations have been cut short by using ‘non- lethal’ weapons and inflicting ‘ lethal’ damage.

The victims who lost partial or total vision need help from parents, close relatives and friends as well as ophthalmologists and psychiatrists. The problems faced by blind from birth and those who lost vision due to pellet injuries are different. The pellet victim has to adjust to new conditions.
The person frequently thinks of the condition when he or she could see the world and move freely before darkness engulfed throwing normal life out of gear. This state causes enormous mental trauma and leads to deep pessimism and depression. Therefore, people close to the victim should keep constant vigil and give assurances and kind words of optimism to cheer and come out of the bouts of deep depression.
Society should come forward and accept the victims by inviting them to parties and meets so that their loneliness is driven out. They should be given training in vocational and non- vocational jobs for independent living with freedom.
Many women affected by pellets face added suffering of patriarchy, oppression, apathy and indifference from society. They need the help of psychiatrist all the more. There have been cases of married women abandoned by their husbands. They need protection and support.

Activists and volunteers

Since little can be expected from the present government, the role of activists, volunteers and human rights organizations becomes very crucial. It is deplorable that pellet guns are still being used despite causing suffering to thousands of Kashmiris. The number of affected persons is rising.

Recently, pellet victims held a protest and demanded ban on use of pellet guns under the banner of the  Pellet Victims Welfare Trust. People from all over the country should join them in solidarity and bring pressure to stop using such methods causing misery to young lives in the state. Rehabilitation and medical care should also be included in the demands by the victims.

Police Deny Claim Of Slain Civilian’s Dad

Srinagar:

The father of the civilian killed during an encounter late Thursday night in Pulwama district has accused security forces of “using his sons as human shields”. Brothers Rayees and Younis Ahmed Dar were dragged out of their house late Thursday night (May 16) by security forces as the family prepared for ‘sehri’ at about 2.30am, Jalaluddin Dar said.

He said armymen used his sons to flush out militants holed up in a neighbouring house that belonged to Ghulam Hassan Dar. “My wife, my daughter-in-law and I… we tried to resist but the soldiers took me out of the home as well,” the 67-year-old said.

“I told them I’ll come with you, let my sons go, but they took me as well. They took my sons in different directions. I was taken in another. They ordered my sons to ask our neighbours to come out of their houses,” Jalaluddin recalled.

Younis, who was also hurt, said, “No sooner had Rayees knocked on the door of the house next to ours, another man, masked, told Rayees and me to go to the house of Ghulam Hassan Dar, which is the third house from ours. I was a little distance away. The moment Rayees knocked on Ghulam Hassan’s door and asked them to come out, lights in the house went out. Gunshots were heard from inside. This perhaps killed the soldier from the search party. In the exchange of fire, my brother was killed, I took a bullet on the thigh.”

In Thursday’s encounter, security forces killed two Jaish terrorists at Dalipora village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama. A police officer had initially said three soldiers and two civilians, brothers Younis and Rayees Ahmad Dar, were injured. But Rayees died at the encounter site, and his brother Younis was taken to a nearby hospital from where he was referred to a Srinagar hospital, the officer said. All three terrorists were killed. Jalaluddin added: “The soldiers ordered me to lift an armyman who I carried on my back till some 200 yards away from the site though it was still dangerous.”

J&K police have denied the family’s claim. “As police and security forces were evacuating civilians from the neighbourhood around the target house, the hiding militants fired indiscriminately. One Army jawan, Sepoy Sandeep, was killed and one civilian Rayees Dar also lost his life,” a police statement said.

Rayees Dar (26, in pic) was killed in the Pulwama encounter on Thursday. His brother Younis took a bullet on the thigh

By Amnesty International India

On the 27th anniversary of the rapes of dozens of women in the towns of Kunan and Poshpora, Jammu and Kashmir, in 1991, allegedly by Indian army personnel, Asmita Basu, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India, said:

“For 27 years, the lack of accountability for the crimes committed in Kunan and Poshpora has been a festering injustice, and a chilling example of the impunity that surrounds human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Attempts at seeking justice and compensation for the survivors have been blocked by the Jammu and Kashmir state government, the central government and the Indian Army. Five of the victims have died waiting for justice.

“Authorities must ensure a thorough, impartial and effective investigation into the allegations. All suspects, including those with command responsibility, must be prosecuted in a civilian court.”

Previous investigations into the allegations have been ineffective. The J&K police declared that the case was ‘untraceable’ and stopped investigations in October 1991. To date, nobody has been charged or prosecuted in connection to the case.

In October 2011, the J&K State Human Rights Commission directed the state government to compensate victims and re-investigate the allegations. In June 2013, a court in Kupwara district directed the J&K police to investigate the long-standing allegations within three months.

When the investigations proved ineffective, five survivors filed a petition in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in October 2013. The state government, central government and the Army have since filed multiple petitions in different courts, sometimes simultaneously, and secured temporary orders suspending investigations and the provision of compensation.

 https://amnesty.org.in/news-update/no-justice-yet-kunan-poshpora-rapes/
 Kashmir is bleeding, under fire


 The incidents of beating Kashmiri students in different institutions in India have been spreading like an epidemic. Every second day or so one hears about the students being roughed up in one or the other institution, in buses, in trains and so on. In fact, even some elder people returning in their own vehicles with their families through Punjab and Haryana have been manhandled by the local Police.

Thanks to some biased media channels, Kashmiris were turned into real “demons”! They were first labelled paid “Stone Pelters” and subsequently labelled “Stone Pelting Pakistani Terrorists”! Every stone pelter in Kashmir was made out to be a paid Pakistani terrorist. Stone pelting became a new form of terrorism.

The world’s second largest Army was given the task of eliminating these “Stone Pelting Terrorists” and they have been doing an excellent job. They are now shooting these so called “terrorists”like pigeons and ducks! There is not a single day when one or the other young stone pelter is killed in cold blood.

Kashmir has been practically bleeding! The depth of the anti-Kashmiri feeling can be judged from the statements of the Army Chief. He wishes the stone pelters had guns in their hands so that he could deal with them in a way he prefers! As if presently they are dealing with them very leniently!

In contrast, General Hooda and General Panang have always been giving very constructive suggestions for solving the problem in Kashmir. Incidentally, there is no history of any stone pelting mob being dealt in a way Kashmiris are being dealt in any other part of the country. In fact, some of the mobs in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have indulged in the worst type of violence yet no one has opened fire on them!

This demonizing of Kashmiris with a Pakistani touch suits the promoters of Hindutva ideology perfectly and it would be a great help in ushering in the Hindu Rashtra, which has been S.Golwalkar’s dream! However, the realization of that dream may be far off but there is an urgent task which needs to be finalized at all costs. That is the creation of Hindutva frenzy for the next Parliament election which may even be preponed?

The last election was won by showing the utopian dream of “Vikas” (Development) which has miserably failed. All those big slogans of “Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas” seem to have evaporated. Economy is in doldrums. On the day of the presentation of the budget in the Parliament, most of the markets crashed. Demonetization dealt a body blow to the poor people. It was topped up by GST and the digitization of the entire existence through the Aadhaar Card managed by the Silicon Valley in USA!

In view of this, the development slogans are not going to sell now. The only alternative is Karl Marx’s “Opium of the poor!” That is precisely the reason for the new Hindutva wave starting in Kasganj and many other places. The real show will begin with the starting of the construction of the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya!

In a recent video, even a DG of the Police was shown swearing that he will take part in the construction of the temple regardless of the fact that the case is still pending before the Supreme Court of India. The additional boost will be clashes across the Line of Control in Kashmir. The so called “Surgical Strikes” which may go beyond the surgical form.

Colonel Noel Elli wrote an article in the Citizen, titled, “May Day May Day, India Adrift”. The excerpts from the article sum up everything, “I am not a sailor but when I peep out of the Porthole, all I see is beti jalao not bachao, bus jalao not chalao, dukan aur makan jalao not banao, if nothing else is left then burn tyres and effigies of all and sundry. Nothing seems to be hunky dory on this voyage on a ship called India”. “Which way is India going? We can cause mayhem and destruction for a movie or a baba. Hold a city to ransom for reservations. Ignite communal violence for beef, throw petrol bombs on trains and blame it on hurting public sentiment. If I put it the other way around, are we not hurting the national sentiment? It is time for an SOS!”

(Mayday-MaydayIndia-Adrift)

Well, coming to our State the irony is that it is the Kashmir based part of the BJP coalition government which has been made totally impotent by the bear hug of the 56 inch chest! At least they could protest vehemently for all these excesses! Forget healing, they are virtually giving a bleeding wound every day. They should have thrown their hat in the ring long time back. Probably, they feel they have crossed the “Ghar Wapsi” threshold! In that case, God help them!

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/en/NewsDetail/index/4/12956/Stop-Demonizing-Kashmiris

Students March in Protest Against NIA Summons to Kashmir University Scholar

J

SRINAGAR: Amid pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, hundreds of students today marched on the campus and later staged a protest demonstration against the summoning of a University of Kashmir scholar by the National Investigations Agency in ‘terror funding’ case.

Aala Fazili, a resident of Srinagar’s Humhama locality who is pursuing PhD in Pharmacy from the Varsity, has been detained by the NIA after he appeared for questioning yesterday in connection with the case, in which separatists, a prominent businessman and a photojournalist have been arrested.

Carrying banners depicting messages of solidarity with Aala, dozens of agitated students marched on the campus and later assembled outside the Humanities Block where they shouted anti-India, anti-NIA slogans and pro-freedom slogans.

“India is using NIA as a new weapon of war to intimidate and silence those who are speaking against the brutalities of forces. Such tactics have not worked in past and they will not work now,” a student, who didn’t want to be named, said.

The protest demonstration was organised by the Kashmir University Students Union, “India can’t cow down students. If Aala is not released immediately, KUSU will organise state wide protests and government will be responsible for the outcome,” a report quoted KUSU spokesperson as saying.

The NIA has arrested middle-rung Hurriyat leaders including Altaf Shah, the son-in-law of veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani, Ayaz Akbar, Geelani’s spokesman, Shahid-ul-Islam, the political advisor of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, among other in the case which was registered on May 30.

Police sources said some of the students leaders linked to the two unions running in the Varsity, including the one with links to a legislator from north Kashmir, have also been questioned in connection with “stone pelting incidents” during 2016 unrest and more students will be questioned.

According to NIA, some prominent separatists, including unidentified Hurriyat members, have been accused of collusion with Hizbul Mujahideen, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Lashkar-e-Toiba and other outfits for “raising, receiving and collecting funds through various illegal means, including hawala, for funding separatist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir”.

The Hurriyat has rubbished the charges, alleging that the agency was being “used by New Delhi” to “defame the genuine political struggle” of people of Jammu and Kashmir.

(Cover Photograph: Representational image courtesy Greater Kashmir)

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/NewsDetail/index/3/11838/Students-March-in-Protest-Against-NIA-Summons-to-Kashmir-University-Scho

Kashmiri Muslims have suffered 27 years of military rule, all kinds of atrocities by India’s security forces.

The bitter cold in the Kashmir Valley cuts through the bones, but yet it fails to chill the public’s spirit. Right through the winter, when hundreds of Indian security forces come to a locality to kill less than a handful of militants taking shelter in a house, the local population come out in support of the militants to prevent the security forces from conducting their operations, at times even managing to help the militants escape. For the security forces, of course, the local population supporting the militants are “anti-national” and they have no qualms in dealing severely with the civilians.

The fact is that many in the local population readily risk their very lives to save the militants. The killing of every militant—and they are all Kashmiris, mostly from East Kashmir, administered by India, with a few from West Kashmir, administered by Pakistan—is deeply resented. Each “encounter” killing of a militant or militants, and especially when civilians are killed, sparks public protests, despite the bitter cold outside. And when such protests gain momentum, the security forces fire into the crowds, triggering a wave of further protests.

The Kashmiri people have now faced what is akin to military rule for 27 years; practically the whole area is claimed to have ­remained “disturbed,” with the armed forces enjoying immunity from prosecution for harm done to civilians, whether of rape, torture, disappearance, or killing. According to a statement dated 10 January 2017 of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), in the ongoing uprising from 8 July last year, more than a hundred civilians have so far been killed. More than one thousand civilians have either been blinded or have sustained serious eye injuries as a result of the firing of pellets by the security forces. There have been mass arrests and detentions under the draconian Public Safety Act, 1978. Official government figures put the number of arrests under different criminal charges at around 8,000. Prolonged curfews, media and internet blackouts, suspension of the fundamental rights to freedom of speech and ­expres­sion and of peaceful assembly, have been the order of the day.

Indeed, one can sense the agony of the parents and other loved ones of the disappeared persons. For the period from 1989 onwards, the APDP has estimated that 8,000 to 10,000 Kashmiris—the earlier Omar Abdullah-headed Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) ­government had admitted to a figure of 3,744 in the J&K legislative assembly—were subjected to enforced disappearance and subsequently killed in fake encounters. But the Indian state and the establishment have been in a state of denial of the enforced disappearances and subsequent killings, blaming the very victims of the violence for the violence. On the 10th of every month, the APDP stages silent sit-in protests against the enforced disappearances in J&K, and has been bringing out a memory calendar. It has taken on the “responsibility of not allowing the memories of the sufferings of (the) families (of the disappeared persons) to pass into oblivion.” Indeed, the callousness of successive state governments in J&K is also evident in the fact that the state ­assembly is yet to pass a law on protection from enforced dis­appearances. Successive central governments have also been utterly insensitive in not ratifying the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Basically for 27 years, India has been using military force against the people of the Kashmir Valley many of whom do not want to be part of India. New Delhi justifies all of this in the name of “territorial integrity” and “secularism.” It blames Pakistan for what is happening in the Kashmir Valley—all the mass protests and the militancy are supposed to be “Pakistan-sponsored.” Yet, the nationalism of the present union government is not even all-Indian; it is a communal Hindutvavadi nationalism representing a section of the Indian population. The Hindutvavadi nationalists in power currently have no qualms in forcing their rule on the Kashmiri Muslims in the name of secularism. Needless to say, the Congress version of nationalism was no less in this respect. Not that Pakistani nationalism is any better. Now the Hindutvavadi nationalists, clearly not out of any real solidarity, have claimed that they support the Balochi national liberation movement in Pakistan; the Pakistani nationalists, on their part, claim that they are for Kashmiri azaadi from India, even as they have made of Azad Kashmir a virtual colony. But given New Delhi’s use of military force in the Kashmir Valley over the last 27 years, Kashmiri azaadi is, indeed, among other things, principally a cry from the heart of the Kashmiri people for freedom from Indian oppression.

– See more at: http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/7/editorials/azaadi%E2%80%94freedom-indian-oppression.html#sthash.lqp6Xw3G.dpuf


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