Archive for the ‘Public Security Act’ Category

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.


Taking note of the report filed by the SP State Human Rights Commission regarding the ill-treatment given to the Kashmiri political prisoners in Baramulla Jail, Chairman SHRC Justice Bilal Ahmed Nazki has directed Deputy Commissioner Baramulla and Chief Medical Officer Baramulla to ensure that a doctor should visit the jail at least once a week.

A KL file ImageHe said that arrangements should be made for visit of a lady Doctor at least twice a week as there are number of women prisoners also.

Pertinently, SHRC had taken a suo moto cognizance of a case titled ‘High Court Bar Association Decries Use of Force on Baramulla Jail Inmates.’

This case was listed on Friday before the SHRC Chairman Bilal Ahmed Nazki.

After going through the report filed by the SP SHRC, Justice Bilal Ahmed Nazki said that it appears from the report that proper medical care is not available in the Jail.

“As an interim measure, DC and CMO Baramulla are directed to ensure the visit of male and lady doctors in the Jail. The directions should be complied forthwith by Wednesday (Nov 16) and the response shall be filed by SP District Jail Baramulla within four weeks.”

HCBA while expressing serious concern over the plight of detainees in Baramulla jail had said that Jail authorities have been crossing all limits of atrocities and the atrocious behaviour of Jail authorities have turned the life of prisoners hell in the Jail. (CNS)

A security man with apellet gun.– File PHOTO

A security man with apellet gun.– File PHOTO

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) told the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday that it used 1.3 million pellets in 32 days in Kashmir to control street protests.

In response to a public interest litigation seeking a ban on pellet guns that has left more than 400 injured in their eyes, the CRPF in its affidavit admitted that “it was difficult to follow the standard operating procedure (SOP) given the nature of the protests.”

It said 3,000 pellet cartridges, or around 1.3 million pellets, were fired from the pump action guns.

While informing the High Court that “pellet guns were introduced in 2010 as an accepted weapon of riot control,” it said: “In case this (pellet shotgun) is withdrawn, the CRPF would have no recourse in extreme situations but to open fire with rifles, which may cause more fatalities.”

The CRPF said it has used 14 types of “less lethal and non-lethal” munitions to control crowds, including oleoresin grenades, pepper balls, stun grenades and electric shells.

According to the CRPF Inspector General, 8,650 tear-smoke shells were used from July 8 to August 11. ”Around 2,671 plastic pellets have been used too,” he said.

The CRPF, while admitting that the weapon should be aimed below the waist, argued that “the situation prevailing on the streets during the ongoing law and order incident is dynamic and mobile.”

The use of pellet guns has come under sharp focus both from political class as well as human rights bodies.

In another development, the body of a youth, Shabir Ahmad Mir, who was killed in firing by security forces, was exhumed on Thursday morning on the directions of the Supreme Court.

The police claim Mir died when security forces fire from non-lethal weapons. However, the family alleged that Deputy Superintendent of Police Yasir Qadri shot dead their son in the house “in cold blood.”

The body was exhumed under the supervision of the District and Sessions Judge, Srinagar, Rashid Ali. The family members of Mir were also present.

The body was later shifted to Government Medical College, where scan and X-ray was conducted.

Last week, the SC ordered the exhumation to “ascertain cause of death”.

Thursday, August 11,2016
SRINAGAR: Kashmir remains under curfew and restrictions on 34th day on Thursday with fresh reports of protests received from across the valley.
Officials said curfew and restrictions will continue in ten districts of the valley which have been on the boil following the killing of Burhan Wani last month.
Although vehicular traffic has started appearing on the roads in almost all parts of the valley, except south Kashmir districts, there is palpable fear in the air due to the heightened presence of police and paramilitary forces. The strategic national highway has also been handed over to the Army.
“Tomorrow (Friday) is going to be a crucial day due to which restrictions will be continued in parts of Srinagar, Pulwama, Baramulla, Kulgam, Shopian and Anantnag districts,” a senior police official told The Citizen.
Clashes broke out in summer capital Srinagar where government forces lobbed teargas shells at a rally marching towards Mazar-e-Shouhada to pay homage to slain Hurriyat leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz who was shot dead in 2008 during a march to Muzaffarabad.
According to reports, dozens of civilian protesters and Hurriyat activists led by Hurriyat leader Masroor Abbas Ansari took out a march from Khanqah-e-Sokhta in downtown and headed towards the Martyrs’ Graveyard at Eidgah. Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwai Umar Farooq was also detained when he tried to march to the area.
Forces intercepted them on Nallahmar road and stopped them from marching ahead, sparking clashes which were going on at the time of filing of this report. “We were peacefully marching to the Martyrs’ Graveyard when forces fired teargas shells. Some of the demonstrators suffered injuries,” said a witness.
All roads leading to Mazar-e-Shouhada were sealed by the authorities to prevent the march called by the separatists to pay tribute to Aziz who was shot dead during a march in 2008 uprising called by Kashmir fruit growers to Muzaffarabad, the capital city of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Separatists had urged people to march to Mazar-e-Shouhada after Zuhr prayers to pay homage to Aziz and others who died in 2008 and 2010 agitations.
Reports of protests were received from other parts of the alley as well including Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Budgam with educational institutions, shops, public transport and other businesses suspended since the ciil uprising broke out on July 9.
The Hurriyat trio, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, remain under preventive detention or in custody while the mobile internet services have also been curtailed to prevent “law and order problems.
(Cover photo by Saqib Majeed)

Basit’s father has not visited him in police station fearing he may also be arrested
* Youth were caught while indulging in stone pelting: Police

8-yr boy among over 80 arrested in Pulwama

Ishfaq Naseem/ Umar Mukhtar

Prichoo (Pulwama), Aug 7: An 8-year old boy is among over 80 boys arrested by police in Pulwama
triggering widespread protests here while forces have allegedly swooped on localities damaging properties and thrashing people.
After the unrest in the Valley following killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, police have launched a crackdown on youth across the Valley especially in South Kashmir.
Police have so far arrested over 80 youth including an 8-year-old boy Basit Manzoor.
Terrified father of Basit couldn’t muster the courage for last two-days to visit the Pulwama police station to meet his son fearing his arrest.
It was Basit’s mother who went to the police station and remains inconsolable after seeing her son being “tortured’’ and ruthlessly beaten up.
SSP, Pulwama, Rayees Ahmad Bhat, said they have arrested boys as they were indulging in stone pelting.
“We have arrested over 80-youth for their involvement in stone pelting,” he said and admitted that some minor boys were also arrested.
Bhat said the parents of the arrested youth can take a legal recourse to ensure release of their wards.
“The parents can move the court. However, we can’t release them as they have been caught while resorting to stone pelting,” he said.
The detention of Basit has triggered an outrage in Prichoo village, which is only few minutes’ drive from the Pulwama town and has remained in the grip of unrest ever since the death of Burhan in an encounter with forces in Kokernag on July 8.
Manzoor Ahmad Bhat, Basit’s father, told Rising Kashmir that his son was not part of any protest.
“He had been returning home after offering Friday prayers when the police men detained him and thrashed him with the gun butts and batons. We have been told that he won’t be released till August 15,” he said.
Basit is a 5th class student of Muslim Medium Education Trust (MMET) school Pulwama and, according to locals, he was not part of any protests.
Manzoor, who runs a grocery shop at Prichoo, said he was not at home when Basit was arrested. “I have not visited my son as I fear I may be arrested by the cops at the police station”.
“Police have told my wife that he won’t be released upto August 15. We have been told that if any worker of a mainstream party interferes and recommends his release then only police will act. But I do not know any of these political workers so I fear that my son will continue to face detention,” he said.
He said his son Basit was beaten mercilessly by the cops and is now not able to stand up.
“Basit has been tortured. He was picked up when no stone pelting was taking place in the area. We have also heard that many other youth have also been arrested from other places,” said Bilal Ahmad Bhat, Basit’s brother.
The detention of minor has triggered protests in the area and people alleged that after the protests, force personnel swooped on the village and damaged both private and public property.
“Police and CRPF men come every night and barge into the houses. They have vandalized both the public and private property. They even abuse and harass women folk,” said a local resident.
Another local resident, Aaqib Ahmad, said marble sheets worth lakhs of rupees have been damaged by the police and CRPF men in the village. “What has been left is only the broken pieces of marble. The security personnel come every night and damage the property. They even damaged the electricity transformer”.
With shops remaining shut, broken pieces of bricks lay scattered on the roads here making the pedestrian and vehicular movement difficult.
In the Pulwama chowk, police and CRPF men man the deserted roads.
The locals said scores of youth have been arrested by the police.
The day begins with the sermons being played out from the mosques asking people to rise up against the “oppression’’.

Why Kashmiris Are Seething

  • The greater autonomy and special status promised through Article 370 and the 1952 Delhi Agreement to J&K is yet to be implemented in a meaningful manner by successive Indian governments
  • Rigging of state elections, dismissal of elected governments, their replacement by ‘puppet’ regimes and imposition of President’s rule, often for prolonged periods, has contributed to a sense of alienation
  • The rise of militancy since 1989 with Pakistan’s active backing, despite the periodical ebb and flow, has justified stationing of thousands of Indian armed personnel and putting Kashmir under virtual “occupation”
  • While this has helped in dealing with infiltration of Pakistan-backed militants, it has been the main contributing factor in alienating the bulk of the Kashmiris and hampering normal life in the state
  • Backchannel engagement with Pakistan that began in 2004 onwards to resolve the Kashmir dispute and bring down tension ended in subsequent years with military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s ouster from power
  • Though separatist Kashmiri leaders in the Hurriyat Conference have been engaged intermittently by Delhi, the lack of any meaningful package on autonomy has eroded their credibility. Ditto with most elected leaders in the state.
  • The high-handedness of the authorities in dealing with the ‘stone-pelters’ of 2010 has led many of them to be drawn into the ranks of the militants where many are now keen to take over Kashmir’s azadi movement from discredited leaders
  • Mehbooba Mufti’s decision to join the BJP coalition to form the government has been resented by her supporters as much of the current agitation in the Kashmir Valley now stems from her electoral base.

The expected healing touch has eluded Kashmir too long
Youth at Burhan’s funeral procession

So why are the youth of Jammu and Kashmir chanting, ‘Hum kya chaahte? Azadi!’ Kashmiri youth are well-informed, including through social media, of their constitutional rights and privileges as well as the government’s social delivery systems. They are aware that in a democratic society like India, people do not have to constantly live in fear of draconian laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFS­PA) and Public Safety Act (PSA), which give unlimited powers to security forces and have led to umpteen cases of rights violations in the Valley.

The promises to Kashmiris have been belied. Leaders said people’s aspirations would be fulfilled within the framework of “insaniyat and Kashmiriyat”; that the state would be given the desired political autonomy, for which “the sky is the limit”; and that, vis-a-vis Pakistan, int­erna­tional borders will be made irr­elevant. Lack of satisfactory progress on this has caused a new ali­enation. Through the 2008-10 protests to now, it has spurred support for militancy on a scale and int­en­sity last seen in the ’90s.

Maybe a window was opened with the present BJP-PDP alliance—though it was a post-election tie-up, it had the capacity to blend the  arc of local aspirations with the promise of development and good governance. On his three visits to the state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to address the problems caused by the recent floods and the prolonged militancy. They expected the Centre would apply the healing touch. The outcomes are however disappointing.

In the last decade, a number of task forces have been constituted to recommend confidence-building mea­sures. New Delhi-appointed interlocutors submitted a report titled ‘A New Compact with the People of J&K’ in 2011. The Centre launched at least three program­mes: i) Special scholarship scheme for post-secondary education ii) Udaan for on-the-job training and placement iii) Himayat, for promoting self-employment.

Unfortunately, the Centre and the state governments have not implemented the recommendations in letter and spirit, which is why the youth vent their anger in whatever forms that are available to them. The youth are frustrated due to the lack of empowerment and opp­ortunity. Sabka saath, sabka vikas is a distant idea.

Kashmiris would have liked their governments to provide economic and social security by neutralising internal or external disturbances. Since Indepen­de­nce, they have suffered due to wars and militancy in the region. The state’s territory has been used as a battlefield by two nuclear countries. Such objectives should not be pursued at human cost—that too to people who live in allegiance to the Indian state.

Modi has righty said that all political differences can be resolved through an active engagement of the stakeholders in a meaningful dialogue. Both India and Pakistan should therefore resolve to adhere to the principle of maintaining and promoting the process of uninterrupted and uninterruptible dialogue between the two countries. If it does not happen, as the experience of last two years shows, the Indian state would be responsible for the breach of trust posed in it by the Kashmiri when he chose India to live with rather than Pakistan.

The crisis must be seen as opportunity. India and Pakistan must cooperate with each other in dismantling terror training camps as well as to ensure their fin­ancers are brought to book. The realisation of the Kashmiri’s political rights and economic entitlements largely depe­nds on the extent to which bilateral relations improve. In the process, all the stakeholders must be engaged to ensure effective democratic governance. The magnitude of financial support provided by the Centre to the resource-deficient state of J&K must also be substantially increased. India’s success on these accounts is dire­ctly linked to peace and tranquility in Kashmir.

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