Posts Tagged ‘Jammu & Kashmir’

Over 8,000 Men Disappeared in Kashmir Since 1989

Kashmir women protest, demanding information and responsibility for missing husbands and children, who were disappeared by the Indian security forces and presumably killed –  June 24, 13 
 

Transcript

Over 8,000 Men Disappeared in Kashmir Since 1989SHAHANA BUTT, PRODUCER: Asia’s nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan, since their independence from British rule in 1947, have always remained at dispute over issues related to a territory called Kashmir. The two traditional neighboring rivals have fought each other thrice, and two out of the three wars over the disputed Kashmir. Both claim the entire territory but rule it in parts. And it remains at the heart of their enmity. An armed revolt against the Indian rule that started in 1989 in Kashmir has claimed over 60,000 lives and left almost no aspect of life in the area untouched. The armed groups fighting Indian rule in Kashmir are perceived to be backed by Pakistan. Each side claims itself to be right. India insists succession of Kashmir to India as final and complete, and hence Kashmir is an integral part of India, key to highlighting the secular nature of Hindu-majority Asian nation, and that all would be well in Kashmir if Pakistan stops crossborder terrorism. On the other hand, Pakistan insists Kashmir is a disputed territory, unresolved, and it is merely providing moral and diplomatic support for an indigenous freedom struggle in Kashmir.Presently, the human rights issues top the concern list for the people living here. Among the worst sufferers of human rights violations in Kashmir are those whose husbands and sons have gone missing after their arrests by security forces. Each month, hundreds of women, young and old, gather in the sprawling fields of the Himalayan territory controlled by India. These women seek information about their loved ones that went missing years ago now, after they were taken away by government forces during the past two decades of bloody turmoil in the region, which claimed lives of tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians. Parveena Ahanger is a founder of the Association of Parents of Disappeared People, supported by lawyers and human rights activists in Kashmir. APDP is a union of the relatives of victims of enforced disappearance in Jammu and Kashmir. Back in early 90’s Parveena’s son Javaid Ahangar was abducted by Indian security forces and was never heard from again. Today, 22 years have passed, but she never fails to attend this solidarity meeting on the 10th day of each month.

PARVEENA AHANGER, FOUNDER, ASSOC. OF PARENTS OF DISAPPEARED PEOPLE (VOICEOVER TRANSL.): It’s not a joke. People do not understand the pain we are going through. But our efforts will make sure none else in this region gets missing. The government tried its best to offer us perks, but money can’t buy us our beloved sons. Our children have been taken by Indian security forces, and we will continue to ask India where our children are. If they have killed them, we at least need to know where they have buried them. As long as they don’t give us proofs of their death, how will we accept they are dead?

 BUTT: Parveena says a large number of disappearance cases remain undocumented for many reasons, including fear of reprisal by the security forces. Also, no reparations or recourse are offered for these disappearances.

AHANGER: They have been using all sorts of pressure tactics to shut our mouths, but we haven’t given up so far. We know the culprits. Why doesn’t the government book them and punish them? My case is languishing in the Indian Home Ministry since 1997, and it has a clear mention of culprit. India is giving its forces a free hand in Kashmir. But as long as I live, I will make sure to knock each door of justice to seeking our children.

BUTT: Rights groups have estimated that there are more than 8,000 men that have disappeared in Kashmir after being taken away by state authorities. But the government has always denied the accusations, saying these men might have crossed over to Pakistan for arms trainings.

KHURRAM PARVAIZ, RIGHTS ACTIVIST: These disappearances are of four kinds of disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir. One of those–and that’s the most number of people. These are those people who have been arrested by the Armed Forces, the Indian Armed Forces. And after their arrests, their arrests were denied and their whereabouts have not been ascertained. They have perhaps disappeared in the custody. So there are clear-cut evidences against Armed Forces in these cases. Then there are other number of people who disappeared mysteriously, where we don’t know–they left in the morning–where we don’t know what happened to them. Situation was a conflict situation, situation was bad here. We don’t know what happened to them. Then we have a third kind of disappearance here, where militants were involved in disappearing people for political reasons or for being informers. And then there is a fourth kind of disappearance, where militants themselves have disappeared while crossing over to the Pakistani-administered Kashmir or coming back to Jammu and Kashmir after getting the arms training. So they were either arrested or killed in encounters, sometimes fake encounters, sometimes legitimate encounters. But their bodies were not handed over to their families. Their families do not know whether they have died or whether they’re alive.

BUTT: Kashmir, dotted with security camps, is perhaps today the most militarized zone in the world. Besides thousands of troops who are guarding a military control line that divides Kashmir between South Asian neighbors, armed personnels are deployed in streets, towns, villages, and hamlets surrounded by lofty snowy Himalayan peaks. International rights groups have accused Indian troops of grave human rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir and have asked India for investigations. However, little has been done by India in this direction so far.

AHANGER: We are demanding an independent commission. If India thinks it’s not responsible for the crimes, why isn’t it allowing investigations? Let’s have free trial. All the major right groups have been asking India for investigations why it isn’t giving access to them. This is clear evidence that India is responsible for all sorts of human rights violations. We had hopes international community might intervene, but to maintain its economic ties with India, human lives have no value.

BUTT: The turmoil of past two decades in this region gave birth to a new group in a society commonly known as “half-widows”. These are the women whose husbands have disappeared over a period of time, and because of the Islamic law, these women couldn’t remarry, thus are facing the burden of being a single parent.PARVAIZ: The story of half-widows is a story of honor, the story of resilience. And in Jammu and Kashmir, though so far our estimates are there are 1,500 women, but you would see most of these women are suffering in a very bad way, and there are very few organizations who are focused in supporting them, because normally you have to prove yourself to be a widow to receive support from a humanitarian organization. Unfortunately, the children of these half-widows, they were the worst affected because of the psychological trauma they had to face, and also their education suffered.

BUTT: Once such woman we met who is taking care of her three sons for the past ten years now. Tahira’s husband was a contractor who once left home for some work and never returned.

TAHIRA BANU, WIFE OF DISAPPEARED: It’s not easy to be a single parent. I have faced the worst since he is not there. Two of my sons are in the orphanage, and the youngest lives with me. Earlier, people used to give me charity, but now I work here in this beauty clinic to make my living. I could not get support of my in-laws, because my husband married me without their consent. And I know I’m not the only struggling. There are hundreds of women like me. We are just telling the government to help us locate our missing men. But they are not paying any attention to our demands. This clearly hints that government has some stakes in their disappearances. BUTT: Indian authorities deny any systematic rights violations and say they investigate all the cases and punish those found guilty. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights established the working group in 1980 to assist families in determining the fate and whereabouts of disappeared relatives. India signed the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in February 2007; however, it failed to ratify the convention. Observers say such seething protest against human rights violations will endanger the world peace and there can be no lasting political settlement in Kashmir unless human rights abuses which have fueled the insurgency are addressed. 

For The Real News Network, this is Shahana Butt in Indian administered Kashmir.

By BETWA SHARMA
School children running for cover during a protest in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, on Apr. 28, 2011.Dar Yasin/Associated PressSchool children running for cover during a protest in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, on Apr. 28, 2011.

NEW DELHI – In October 2011, a Kashmiri boy who was throwing stones in a protest against Indian security forces found out very quickly that what it was like to be treated as an adult by the local police.

He recalled that after he was arrested in downtown Srinagar, officers removed his shirt and pants at the police station. His wrists were then struck with a scale and trampled on by officers wearing boots.

The boy, 14 at the time he was interviewed last fall and who asked to remain anonymous because he feared retaliation by the police, recalled that he sang Pakistan’s national anthem after being beaten all night. “I knew it would hurt them more than anything,” he said.

Growing pressure from human rights groups, which have documented similar cases of police brutality against minors, prompted Jammu and Kashmir lawmakers to pass a comprehensive bill in March that raises the age of juvenile jurisdiction in the state to 18 years, from 16.

The bill, which was signed into the law by the governor in April, also creates a special police force for handling minors, sets up special homes for sheltering them and establishes judicial boards to exclusively hear their cases. The law won’t go into effect until the state’s social welfare ministry crafts the final rules.

A policeman holding stones to throw back at protestors in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, on March 29.Dar Yasin/Associated PressA policeman holding stones to throw back at protestors in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, on March 29.

Child rights activists welcomed the bill since it brings the state law in line with the national law. But they are also concerned about its implementation in the conflict-hit Kashmir Valley, where violence is seen as a legitimate response by security forces to curb unrest and previous attempts to set up legal protections for arrested minors have seen decade-long delays.

The abuses of juvenile detainees in Kashmir came into focus after the militancy of the 1990s gave way to civilian protests. Young boys took to throwing stones in mass demonstrations that rocked Kashmir Valley in 2008 and 2010.

Since then, stone pelting has become a popular way for youths to express their anger against the government, and the government has been constantly looking to stamp out any repeat of 2010. Minors who were accused of throwing stones were detained in police lockups, appeared in regular courts, sometimes in handcuffs, and lodged in jails.

“There has been a phenomenon of detention and torture of youth as young as 10 years old, particularly after the protests of 2008 and 2010 in Kashmir,” the Working Group on Human Rights in India and the United Nations said in its 2012 report.

Human rights activists say that minors are still being arrested under the state’s Public Safety Act even after it was amended in 2012 to apply only to persons over 18.

Govind Acharya, Amnesty International’s Kashmir expert, said that during a visit to Kashmir last year, the organization found three cases in which the age of minors were falsified to book them under the act. But their detentions were later thrown out by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

“If there are any security forces who have deliberately falsified ages, then they need to be held to account,” said Mr. Acharya.

Ashok Prasad, director general of police for Jammu and Kashmir, denied that the police routinely arrested children, only the “habitual offenders.”

“Children are not picked up randomly but on the basis of video footage,” he said. “We also show these videos to their parents.”

Mr. Prasad also dismissed allegations that minors were beaten in police stations. “It could only be an aberration. We have not received any specific complaint from parents or the courts,” he said.

Some provisions in the new law, like setting up of special homes and judicial boards for juveniles, were also in the current juvenile justice law, passed in 1997. But these were never implemented. The first juvenile home in Kashmir was set up only in 2011. No such facility for girls exists yet.

Following a visit to the juvenile home in June last year, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights found that not all the children were provided with a toothbrush and that they had to share a towel. “The heavy grilled gates gave a feeling that the children were kept in a jail,” the commission said in its report.

A week before the new bill passed, the Asian Centre for Human Rights released a report that said that Jammu and Kashmir state was among theworst of the 16 conflict-hit states in India in terms of providing juvenile justice.

Suhas Chakma, the center’s director, pointed out that it has taken the Jammu and Kashmir government almost 30 years to enact laws to protect juveniles. The 1997 state law, he noted, was passed 10 years after the national law for juveniles was enacted in 1986. And then it took the state government until 2007 to draft the procedural rules that brought the law into force.

Now, Mr. Chakma said, Jammu and Kashmir lawmakers passed the new bill 13 years after the central government adopted a revised national law in 2000 to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction to 18, bringing Indian law in line with international law.

“The government in Delhi and in Srinagar have security concerns about children in a variety of protests in Kashmir,” he said. “It was a political decision not to have juvenile justice for so long.”

Arun Kumar, an official in the state’s Social Welfare Ministry, said that it would take a couple of months more to frame the rules, which would then need to be vetted by the Law Ministry. “We will try to do it as quickly as possible,” he said.

The prevailing sentiment among human rights groups and lawyers is that an overall change in attitude is necessary for the juvenile justice to be taken seriously by security forces. Many child rights activists are expecting this to be a gradual process since civil liberties have been pushed aside in the government’s fight against militants over the past two decades.

Vrinda Grover, a prominent human rights lawyer, said the first step of securing rights of minors was not legal but political. “New Delhi has to make a choice. Does it want to support the rule of law or continue to boost the morale of the police and troops?” she said.

source- http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/

 

No to Political Vendetta!  

Release Dr. Muhammad Qasim Faktoo immediately!

No to Political Vendetta! Release Dr. Muhammad Qasim Faktoo immediately!
Release All Kashmiri Muslim Serving Life Sentences in 
Various Jails in the Subcontinent!
23/04/2013
Dr. Muhammad Qasim: The Victim of Political Vendetta is a compilation of the case documents of Dr. Muhammad Qasim and articles written by various intellectuals and prominent citizens demanding an end to the 20 year long of his incarceration. At the occasion of the book release, CRPP would invite your attention to the long list of Kashmiri Muslims undergoing life imprisonment —around 45—in various jails such as Srinagar, Jammu, Udhampur, Tihar, Mumbai, Gujarat, Nagpur etc. At the outset it is a case of gross injustice reeking of political vendetta on Dr. Muhammad Qasim Faktoo who has spent twenty years of his life in prison. It is important to briefly look into the case of Dr. Muhammad Qasim to make sense of how political convictions, of being a Kashmiri Muslim sharing the political aspirations of the Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination itself is enough to earn the ire of the political establishment. 
Dr. Muhammad Qasim was arrested on 5 February 1993 for his political views and to prolong his incarceration was booked under Sec.3 TADA, and Sec 302 read with 120-B CrPC. On 14 July 2001 the TADA Court in Jammu acquitted him citing that the prosecution had miserably failed to prove the case against Dr. Muhammad Qasim and the other accused. As the State of Jammu & Kashmir challenged the acquittal before the Supreme Court of India Dr. Muhammad Qasim was sentenced to life based solely on a confession statement made under section 15 of TADA. Even when the SC sentenced him to life it was mentioned that the “accused shall be given benefit of the period already undergone (undertrial period) by them”. After the completion of 14 years, the J & K High Court directed the Jail authorities to place Dr. Qasim’s case before the Review Board for consideration keeping in spirit with the observations of the SC. The Review Board recommended his premature release on 3 June 2008. Contrary to the recommendations of the Review Board the vindictive J & K government brought in the interpretation that the J & K Jail Manual Rule 54.1 debars TADA lifer convicts from release on completion of two thirds (14 years) of 20 years. (Govt. order No. Home-773(P) of 2009 dated 14.09.2009)
Amidst conflicting opinions in the High Court between a single bench judge which initially quashed the government order while a double bench upheld it taking refuge in the Rule 54.1 of the Jail Manual the long arm of political vendetta stood in between a forthright consideration of the outstanding situation and the release of Dr. Muhammad Qasim. On 31 May 2012, Dr. Muhammad Qasim completed 20 years of incarceration. It has been held unequivocally that despite the correspondence of Sec. 401 and 402 of the State Code of Criminal Procedure to Sections 432 and 433 of the Central Code the power of the executive is absolute and unfettered to remit sentence though it was willingly elusive in Dr. Muhammad Qasim’s case. As Dr. Muhammad Qasim has been sentenced to life under the J& K Manual which had made him ineligible to avail the provision of release after 14 years of imprisonment, then it logically follows that the same manual provides for putting a final end to his incarceration after the completion of 20 years. Without doubt what makes matters worse in Jammu & Kashmir is the overwhelming sense of vendetta vis-a-vis political prisoners.        
The Indian State in the subcontinent and its counterpart in Jammu & Kashmir in particular have deliberately evaded the challenging question of evolving jurisprudence consistent with the question of political offences or offences the state deems are against the will of the State. The courts’ disquiet in developing jurisprudence towards dealing with political offences that are not borne out of individual interest of the alleged offender but of collective interest has resulted in adhocism and arbitrariness taking precedence over a possible judicial remedy in the ordinary law consistent with the already established precedence in international law. Perhaps for the first time the Calcutta High Court (CRR 463 of 2012 With CRR 1312 of 2012 With CRR 4000 of 211 on 8 August 2012) while recognising the right of the Maoist prisoners to be treated as Political Prisoners have brought in the question of the need to develop jurisprudence in dealing with political offences albeit the judgement confining its purview only till the rights of the political prisoner in the prison. Notwithstanding the fact that the above said judgment was based on the West Bengal Correctional Services Act 1992 and though there is yet to be a statutory recognition to political prisoners in Jammu & Kashmir, the Indian State has practically, to some extent, acknowledged the difference between political prisoners and other offenders. Since 1995 India allowed International Committee of Red Cross to visit these prisoners and ascertain their conditions within jails (though the distinction however remained confined to recognized jails and not detention centres like interrogation centres and police stations where the brutalities are perpetrated). CRPP is of the opinion that the need of the hour is to expand the ambit of the distinction of political prisoners from the domain of treatment of prisoners to the jurisprudence of conviction and penology.
Only in such a scenario can there be some safeguards, if not all, given the nature of the Indian State, to deal with such prolonged incarceration of prisoners for their political beliefs. Dr. Muhammad Qasim has undergone twenty years of incarceration. There are many more who might face the same fate if the democratic and freedom loving people of the subcontinent raise their voice against such inhuman and beastly face of the so-called democracy of the Indian State and its judiciary and executive. As in the case of Dr. Muhammad Qasim we need to demand the release of many of the 45 odd political prisoners serving life sentence in various prisons in the subcontinent. The list of the names many of these prisoners are provided as annexe though it is not an exhaustive one.  
Putting Dr. Muhammad Qasim further behind bars goes against the very grain of all civil and political rights and freedoms assured by the Constitution of India as well as the International Law. The prolonged incarceration of Dr. Muhammad Qasim is testimony to the continuing repression and trampling of all freedoms of the people of Jammu & Kashmir for their political aspirations. As the State use every draconian law within its reach to the maximum (in Dr. Muhammad Qasim’s case the J & K Jail Manual, read with TADA) thousands of Kashmiri Muslims are kept behind bars in various prisons while hundreds languish in undisclosed torture and detention centres. CRPP appeals to every democratic and progressive sections in the subcontinent to raise their voice for the immediate release of Dr. Muhammad Qasim and his co-accused irrespective of his political convictions/beliefs as well as all the lifers most of whom have already finished ten years or more of the sentence. 
Brief report about the proceedings of the Book Release Function: The book on Dr. Muhammad Qasmi was released at the Deputy Chairman Hall, Constitution Club, New Delhi jointly by Prof Jagmohan ( nephew of Shaheed Bhagat Singh) and Jeetan Marandi (people's balladeer who got acquitted by the HC of Jharkhand from death sentence in a framed up case). Prof. Jagmohan in his address after the book release talked about the spirit that Jeetan had given to all of us after a prolonged people's movement all over the subcontinent for his release. Both the speakers said it is a great victory for the people. Prof. Jagmohan pointed out that Bhagat Singh's well known slogan of anti imperialism and revolution that he framed in 1917 correctly captured the dialectical relation between the two. Only the correct synthesis of this understanding can save us from these trying times of the growing fangs of fascist assault on the people on all fronts—socio-cultural, politico-economic. Besides he also talked about the need to take cue from the arduous struggle for the release of Jeetan Marandi that gives us strength and hope towards making it possible the release of all political prisoners including Dr. Muhammad Qasim. Thus while referring to the case of more than 40 odd lifers in J&K Prof. Jagmohan stressed the fact that when it comes to a political prisoner the system would always look for the convenient option ensuring that the notion of life imprisonment be for the entire natural life of the political prisoner and hence it becomes important that we demand for the release of all Kashmiri Muslim lifers lodged in different jails and have served around ten years in prison lest they be targets of political vendetta. It is important such books documenting the case and struggle for the release of political prisoners like Dr. Muhammad Qasim be taken to the wider sections of the people. This book release is a welcome step in that direction. 
Jeetan Marandi while talking about his torturous experience on death row reminisced how his life from childhood facing abject poverty and forced to discontinue his school after 3rd division had to fight every moment to make his life worth living as a human being. The discerning mind of young Jeetan soon got attracted to the cultural group which used to visit villages and sing songs and act plays that depicted the everyday life of the villagers and the problems they faced. Soon Jeetan’s worldview transforms as he finds purpose in being part of the group and thus also being part of people's initiatives to do away with their miseries. Sooner than later had he started singing for the people and their rights than he naturally became the target of state repression. In that context he identifies himself with the incarceration of Dr. Muhammad Qasim. The emotional and moving narrative of Jeetan proved beyond doubt how the struggle to keep one alive in the dungeons is as well the larger struggle to do away with all forms of oppression. He spoke about the need to dream even in adverse times and talk to oneself about the need to not give up hope even for a moment. To fight every minute, moment to keep the star beneath ones breast alive. The prisoner defines himself as well as the world around him in these moments of struggle to stay alive and that is what makes him and his convictions a cherishable dream. A dream worth dreaming in the isolated cell. In a dark cell (anda cell) where there is only some semblance of light at 12 noon every mosquito that sucks your blood, every lizard that creeps across, the spider and its cobweb, everything becomes your friend, as you struggle to make sense out such senseless creatures, meaning out of the life in isolation as you keep watching the lizard eat the insect for hours together. It is the desire to live even in that lifeless world that makes the political prisoner and his struggle inside the confines of the prisons a fight to keep one’s finest sensibilities alive and it the same that the mindless and violent state want him to lose forever. Jeetan feels that in this struggle always the news from outside of people protesting for his release, rallies and public meetings demanding his unconditional release all gave him hope and a strong faith in the strength of the people. And it is this united strength of the people and their struggle that can ensure that the terrible injustice of the kind of incarceration that Dr. Muhammad Qasim and his co-accused is going through can be done away with. The release of all such political prisoners in the subcontinent becomes the need of the hour as part of struggle to humanise ourselves.
Zahid a Kashmiri scholar talked about the need for a united struggle of the people of the subcontinent though their causes are different to defeat the designs of the Indian State to suppress all forms of political dissent. The political prisoners committee can be the right platform to realise that unity. 
Prof. SAR Geelani, President CRPP, while presiding over the programme stressed the need for the struggle to unite for the release of all political prisoners in the subcontinent. There are thousands of Kashmiri political prisoners lodged in different jails in the Indian subcontinent though in the present programme we are raising only the case of life convicts in the context of Kashmir (more than 40 of them with many having completed more than 10 years)with specific reference to the continuing incarceration of Dr. Muhammad Qasim. The platform of CRPP is a definite step in the direction towards all forces fighting for the unconditional release of all political prisoners. While pointing out that the rights of the political prisoners has well been recognised in the international law he stressed that it is our duty to struggle to make the Indian State accept the category of political prisoners and their rights. 

In Solidarity,

SAR Geelani                      Amit Bhattacharyya                  Prof. Jagmohan Singh          
President                       Secretary General                       Vice President

Jeetan Marandi                  Rona Wilson
Secretary                           Secretary, Public Relations  

List of Kashmiri Muslims Serving Life Sentence 
1.	AB Rashid, Udhampor was awarded Death but now changed into Life, Jammu District Amphala Jail
2.	Aashiq Hussain Faktoo alias Dr Muhammad Qasim Faktoo  Srinager Jail.
3.	Ghulam Qadir Butt R/O Dooru Mir Maidan, Islamabad in Khutwa Jail now in Srinagar Jail.
4.	Muhammad Ayoub Mir, Sadrabal Kot Bulwal Jail Jammu
5.	Muhammad Ayoub Dar, Rawal Pora, Srinagar presently in Srinagar Jail, Life sentence by TADA court Jammu in 2009
6.	Iqbal Jan, Bandipora   Srinagar Jail
7.	Mustaq Kaloo, Sopore  co-accused with Iqbal Jan, Tihar jail, New Delhi 
8.	Mohammad Amin Wani, Banihal  
9.	Mehmood Toopiwal, Kangan 
10.	Abdul Waheed Thachi, Banihal 
11.	Jafar Umar Khanto
12.	Javeed Khan, Nowpora, Srinagar Tihar Jai  s/o M Shafi Khan Nowpora Srinagar 517-96 Lajpath Nagar Blast
13.	M Shafi Khan @Prof Shafi Sharyati Hariwanun Khansahab in Sgr Jail.
14.	Noor Muhammad Tantry,  Tral, earlier in  Tihar, now in Srinagar 
15.	Feroz Ahmad,  Budgam Beerwa  
16.	Sh Raeis Delhi Tihar  
17.	Ishaq Pala   s/o GH Rasool Tariq Shiekh, Manihal Shopian 
18.	Shabir Ahmad s/o M Abdullah Butt, Handwara Maratham 
19.	Mustaq Malik  s/o Gh Muhammad  Shah, Gund Handwara
20.	Gh Muhammad Butt s/o Noor Muhammad Butt Koker Bagh Khag 
21.	Ab Hamid Teeli s/o GH Hasan  Kokerhama, Kulgam  
22.	Nazir A Shiekh s/o Ab Rashid Batamaloo
23.	Showkat A Khan Chotabazar present Nishat
24.	Zakir Hussain alias Umar Faoorq, son of Ali Mohd of Malhar,  
25.	Fayaz Ahmad Shah of Babnad Shopian and Muhammad Syed Bhat of Dirhama Bijbehara.  
26.	Samiulla Sheikh R/O Patan Baramulla	
27.	Ghulam Nabi Soura, Srinagar, Kashmir Central Jail, Srinagar
28.	Amin Dar	Banihal, Jammu, Jammu Jail
29.	Barkat Hussain S/O Neik Muhammad Pulwama, Kashmir Jammu Jail
30.	Farooq Ahmad, Central Jail, Nagpur
31.	Farooq Chopan, Central Jail, Mumbai
32.	G. MuhammadWani, Jammu Jail
33.	G. Qadir Butt Kupwara, Kashmir, Sub Jail, Kathua
34.	Lala Hussain, Jammu Jail
35.	Muhammad Akram Butt	
36.	Muhammad Aslam S/O	Kamal Din, Jammu Jail
37.	Muhammad Latif	S/O Wali Muhammad, Jammu Jail
38.	Muhammad Shafi	S/O Abdal Karim, Jammu Jail
39.	Muhammad Hussain R/ O Hadmat, Jammu Jail
40.	Muhammad Shafi	S/O Mohammad Abdullah, Jammu Jail
41.	Muhammad Yousuf S/O Fetha Muhammad, Jammu Jail

COMMITTEE FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS
185/3, FOURTH FLOOR, ZAKIR NAGAR, NEW DELHI-110025

23/04/2013
Dr. Muhammad Qasim: The Victim of Political Vendetta is a compilation of the case documents of Dr. Muhammad Qasim and articles written by various intellectuals and prominent citizens demanding an end to the 20 year long of his incarceration. At the occasion of the book release, CRPP would invite your attention to the long list of Kashmiri Muslims undergoing life imprisonment —around 45—in various jails such as Srinagar, Jammu, Udhampur, Tihar, Mumbai, Gujarat, Nagpur etc. At the outset it is a case of gross injustice reeking of political vendetta on Dr. Muhammad Qasim Faktoo who has spent twenty years of his life in prison. It is important to briefly look into the case of Dr. Muhammad Qasim to make sense of how political convictions, of being a Kashmiri Muslim sharing the political aspirations of the Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination itself is enough to earn the ire of the political establishment.
Dr. Muhammad Qasim was arrested on 5 February 1993 for his political views and to prolong his incarceration was booked under Sec.3 TADA, and Sec 302 read with 120-B CrPC. On 14 July 2001 the TADA Court in Jammu acquitted him citing that the prosecution had miserably failed to prove the case against Dr. Muhammad Qasim and the other accused. As the State of Jammu & Kashmir challenged the acquittal before the Supreme Court of India Dr. Muhammad Qasim was sentenced to life based solely on a confession statement made under section 15 of TADA. Even when the SC sentenced him to life it was mentioned that the “accused shall be given benefit of the period already undergone (undertrial period) by them”. After the completion of 14 years, the J & K High Court directed the Jail authorities to place Dr. Qasim’s case before the Review Board for consideration keeping in spirit with the observations of the SC. The Review Board recommended his premature release on 3 June 2008. Contrary to the recommendations of the Review Board the vindictive J & K government brought in the interpretation that the J & K Jail Manual Rule 54.1 debars TADA lifer convicts from release on completion of two thirds (14 years) of 20 years. (Govt. order No. Home-773(P) of 2009 dated 14.09.2009)
Amidst conflicting opinions in the High Court between a single bench judge which initially quashed the government order while a double bench upheld it taking refuge in the Rule 54.1 of the Jail Manual the long arm of political vendetta stood in between a forthright consideration of the outstanding situation and the release of Dr. Muhammad Qasim. On 31 May 2012, Dr. Muhammad Qasim completed 20 years of incarceration. It has been held unequivocally that despite the correspondence of Sec. 401 and 402 of the State Code of Criminal Procedure to Sections 432 and 433 of the Central Code the power of the executive is absolute and unfettered to remit sentence though it was willingly elusive in Dr. Muhammad Qasim’s case. As Dr. Muhammad Qasim has been sentenced to life under the J& K Manual which had made him ineligible to avail the provision of release after 14 years of imprisonment, then it logically follows that the same manual provides for putting a final end to his incarceration after the completion of 20 years. Without doubt what makes matters worse in Jammu & Kashmir is the overwhelming sense of vendetta vis-a-vis political prisoners.
The Indian State in the subcontinent and its counterpart in Jammu & Kashmir in particular have deliberately evaded the challenging question of evolving jurisprudence consistent with the question of political offences or offences the state deems are against the will of the State. The courts’ disquiet in developing jurisprudence towards dealing with political offences that are not borne out of individual interest of the alleged offender but of collective interest has resulted in adhocism and arbitrariness taking precedence over a possible judicial remedy in the ordinary law consistent with the already established precedence in international law. Perhaps for the first time the Calcutta High Court (CRR 463 of 2012 With CRR 1312 of 2012 With CRR 4000 of 211 on 8 August 2012) while recognising the right of the Maoist prisoners to be treated as Political Prisoners have brought in the question of the need to develop jurisprudence in dealing with political offences albeit the judgement confining its purview only till the rights of the political prisoner in the prison. Notwithstanding the fact that the above said judgment was based on the West Bengal Correctional Services Act 1992 and though there is yet to be a statutory recognition to political prisoners in Jammu & Kashmir, the Indian State has practically, to some extent, acknowledged the difference between political prisoners and other offenders. Since 1995 India allowed International Committee of Red Cross to visit these prisoners and ascertain their conditions within jails (though the distinction however remained confined to recognized jails and not detention centres like interrogation centres and police stations where the brutalities are perpetrated). CRPP is of the opinion that the need of the hour is to expand the ambit of the distinction of political prisoners from the domain of treatment of prisoners to the jurisprudence of conviction and penology.
Only in such a scenario can there be some safeguards, if not all, given the nature of the Indian State, to deal with such prolonged incarceration of prisoners for their political beliefs. Dr. Muhammad Qasim has undergone twenty years of incarceration. There are many more who might face the same fate if the democratic and freedom loving people of the subcontinent raise their voice against such inhuman and beastly face of the so-called democracy of the Indian State and its judiciary and executive. As in the case of Dr. Muhammad Qasim we need to demand the release of many of the 45 odd political prisoners serving life sentence in various prisons in the subcontinent. The list of the names many of these prisoners are provided as annexe though it is not an exhaustive one.
Putting Dr. Muhammad Qasim further behind bars goes against the very grain of all civil and political rights and freedoms assured by the Constitution of India as well as the International Law. The prolonged incarceration of Dr. Muhammad Qasim is testimony to the continuing repression and trampling of all freedoms of the people of Jammu & Kashmir for their political aspirations. As the State use every draconian law within its reach to the maximum (in Dr. Muhammad Qasim’s case the J & K Jail Manual, read with TADA) thousands of Kashmiri Muslims are kept behind bars in various prisons while hundreds languish in undisclosed torture and detention centres. CRPP appeals to every democratic and progressive sections in the subcontinent to raise their voice for the immediate release of Dr. Muhammad Qasim and his co-accused irrespective of his political convictions/beliefs as well as all the lifers most of whom have already finished ten years or more of the sentence.
Brief report about the proceedings of the Book Release Function: The book on Dr. Muhammad Qasmi was released at the Deputy Chairman Hall, Constitution Club, New Delhi jointly by Prof Jagmohan ( nephew of Shaheed Bhagat Singh) and Jeetan Marandi (people’s balladeer who got acquitted by the HC of Jharkhand from death sentence in a framed up case). Prof. Jagmohan in his address after the book release talked about the spirit that Jeetan had given to all of us after a prolonged people’s movement all over the subcontinent for his release. Both the speakers said it is a great victory for the people. Prof. Jagmohan pointed out that Bhagat Singh’s well known slogan of anti imperialism and revolution that he framed in 1917 correctly captured the dialectical relation between the two. Only the correct synthesis of this understanding can save us from these trying times of the growing fangs of fascist assault on the people on all fronts—socio-cultural, politico-economic. Besides he also talked about the need to take cue from the arduous struggle for the release of Jeetan Marandi that gives us strength and hope towards making it possible the release of all political prisoners including Dr. Muhammad Qasim. Thus while referring to the case of more than 40 odd lifers in J&K Prof. Jagmohan stressed the fact that when it comes to a political prisoner the system would always look for the convenient option ensuring that the notion of life imprisonment be for the entire natural life of the political prisoner and hence it becomes important that we demand for the release of all Kashmiri Muslim lifers lodged in different jails and have served around ten years in prison lest they be targets of political vendetta. It is important such books documenting the case and struggle for the release of political prisoners like Dr. Muhammad Qasim be taken to the wider sections of the people. This book release is a welcome step in that direction.
Jeetan Marandi while talking about his torturous experience on death row reminisced how his life from childhood facing abject poverty and forced to discontinue his school after 3rd division had to fight every moment to make his life worth living as a human being. The discerning mind of young Jeetan soon got attracted to the cultural group which used to visit villages and sing songs and act plays that depicted the everyday life of the villagers and the problems they faced. Soon Jeetan’s worldview transforms as he finds purpose in being part of the group and thus also being part of people’s initiatives to do away with their miseries. Sooner than later had he started singing for the people and their rights than he naturally became the target of state repression. In that context he identifies himself with the incarceration of Dr. Muhammad Qasim. The emotional and moving narrative of Jeetan proved beyond doubt how the struggle to keep one alive in the dungeons is as well the larger struggle to do away with all forms of oppression. He spoke about the need to dream even in adverse times and talk to oneself about the need to not give up hope even for a moment. To fight every minute, moment to keep the star beneath ones breast alive. The prisoner defines himself as well as the world around him in these moments of struggle to stay alive and that is what makes him and his convictions a cherishable dream. A dream worth dreaming in the isolated cell. In a dark cell (anda cell) where there is only some semblance of light at 12 noon every mosquito that sucks your blood, every lizard that creeps across, the spider and its cobweb, everything becomes your friend, as you struggle to make sense out such senseless creatures, meaning out of the life in isolation as you keep watching the lizard eat the insect for hours together. It is the desire to live even in that lifeless world that makes the political prisoner and his struggle inside the confines of the prisons a fight to keep one’s finest sensibilities alive and it the same that the mindless and violent state want him to lose forever. Jeetan feels that in this struggle always the news from outside of people protesting for his release, rallies and public meetings demanding his unconditional release all gave him hope and a strong faith in the strength of the people. And it is this united strength of the people and their struggle that can ensure that the terrible injustice of the kind of incarceration that Dr. Muhammad Qasim and his co-accused is going through can be done away with. The release of all such political prisoners in the subcontinent becomes the need of the hour as part of struggle to humanise ourselves.
Zahid a Kashmiri scholar talked about the need for a united struggle of the people of the subcontinent though their causes are different to defeat the designs of the Indian State to suppress all forms of political dissent. The political prisoners committee can be the right platform to realise that unity.
Prof. SAR Geelani, President CRPP, while presiding over the programme stressed the need for the struggle to unite for the release of all political prisoners in the subcontinent. There are thousands of Kashmiri political prisoners lodged in different jails in the Indian subcontinent though in the present programme we are raising only the case of life convicts in the context of Kashmir (more than 40 of them with many having completed more than 10 years)with specific reference to the continuing incarceration of Dr. Muhammad Qasim. The platform of CRPP is a definite step in the direction towards all forces fighting for the unconditional release of all political prisoners. While pointing out that the rights of the political prisoners has well been recognised in the international law he stressed that it is our duty to struggle to make the Indian State accept the category of political prisoners and their rights.

In Solidarity,

SAR Geelani Amit Bhattacharyya Prof. Jagmohan Singh
President Secretary General Vice President

Jeetan Marandi Rona Wilson
Secretary Secretary, Public Relations

List of Kashmiri Muslims Serving Life Sentence
1. AB Rashid, Udhampor was awarded Death but now changed into Life, Jammu District Amphala Jail
2. Aashiq Hussain Faktoo alias Dr Muhammad Qasim Faktoo Srinager Jail.
3. Ghulam Qadir Butt R/O Dooru Mir Maidan, Islamabad in Khutwa Jail now in Srinagar Jail.
4. Muhammad Ayoub Mir, Sadrabal Kot Bulwal Jail Jammu
5. Muhammad Ayoub Dar, Rawal Pora, Srinagar presently in Srinagar Jail, Life sentence by TADA court Jammu in 2009
6. Iqbal Jan, Bandipora Srinagar Jail
7. Mustaq Kaloo, Sopore co-accused with Iqbal Jan, Tihar jail, New Delhi
8. Mohammad Amin Wani, Banihal
9. Mehmood Toopiwal, Kangan
10. Abdul Waheed Thachi, Banihal
11. Jafar Umar Khanto
12. Javeed Khan, Nowpora, Srinagar Tihar Jai s/o M Shafi Khan Nowpora Srinagar 517-96 Lajpath Nagar Blast
13. M Shafi Khan @Prof Shafi Sharyati Hariwanun Khansahab in Sgr Jail.
14. Noor Muhammad Tantry, Tral, earlier in Tihar, now in Srinagar
15. Feroz Ahmad, Budgam Beerwa
16. Sh Raeis Delhi Tihar
17. Ishaq Pala s/o GH Rasool Tariq Shiekh, Manihal Shopian
18. Shabir Ahmad s/o M Abdullah Butt, Handwara Maratham
19. Mustaq Malik s/o Gh Muhammad Shah, Gund Handwara
20. Gh Muhammad Butt s/o Noor Muhammad Butt Koker Bagh Khag
21. Ab Hamid Teeli s/o GH Hasan Kokerhama, Kulgam
22. Nazir A Shiekh s/o Ab Rashid Batamaloo
23. Showkat A Khan Chotabazar present Nishat
24. Zakir Hussain alias Umar Faoorq, son of Ali Mohd of Malhar,
25. Fayaz Ahmad Shah of Babnad Shopian and Muhammad Syed Bhat of Dirhama Bijbehara.
26. Samiulla Sheikh R/O Patan Baramulla
27. Ghulam Nabi Soura, Srinagar, Kashmir Central Jail, Srinagar
28. Amin Dar Banihal, Jammu, Jammu Jail
29. Barkat Hussain S/O Neik Muhammad Pulwama, Kashmir Jammu Jail
30. Farooq Ahmad, Central Jail, Nagpur
31. Farooq Chopan, Central Jail, Mumbai
32. G. MuhammadWani, Jammu Jail
33. G. Qadir Butt Kupwara, Kashmir, Sub Jail, Kathua
34. Lala Hussain, Jammu Jail
35. Muhammad Akram Butt
36. Muhammad Aslam S/O Kamal Din, Jammu Jail
37. Muhammad Latif S/O Wali Muhammad, Jammu Jail
38. Muhammad Shafi S/O Abdal Karim, Jammu Jail
39. Muhammad Hussain R/ O Hadmat, Jammu Jail
40. Muhammad Shafi S/O Mohammad Abdullah, Jammu Jail
41. Muhammad Yousuf S/O Fetha Muhammad, Jammu Jail

COMMITTEE FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS
185/3, FOURTH FLOOR, ZAKIR NAGAR, NEW DELHI-110025

DNA Special: Agents decide how much you will pay for Kashmiri apples

Published: Monday, Apr 1, 2013,
By Sandeep Pai | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

Have you ever wondered why Kashmiri apple costs Rs 105/kg in Delhi, Rs110/kg in Mumbai and Rs 120/kg in Bangalore even though its production cost is just about Rs 35/kg? It’s all thanks to agents who on the one hand rob the orchard owners of their earnings and fleece the customers on the other.

Commission agents in major cities such as Delhi manipulate the market and hoard apple to create artificial scarcity and sell it at a high price. For this, they resort to self-buying – they themselves buy the apple in their own name or their men instead of selling it to market immediately.

The draft report of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) on production and marketing of apple in Jammu and Kashmir – a copy of it is exclusively available with DNA– says, “Supply is manipulated in artificial manner generally at agents level through hoarding of apple in cold stores for short duration and controlled atmosphere stores (CAS) for long duration up to 6-9 months.”

The report says that if a kilo of apple is sold at Rs 100 in market, the grower gets only Rs 26, while the rest goes to retailers and agents.

The commission agents start self buying the apple in July/August, the report says. In Azadpur mandi, around 20% of these agents are big, 20% small and 60% medium in terms of turnover and financial power.

Price manipulation takes place by artificially quoting price so high so as to attempt exclusion of other smaller buyers from auction and then bringing it down next day/next time to self-buy at whatever price, mostly reduced price because bigger ‘lots’ of boxes cannot be purchased by smaller buyers even if price is low,” the report said.

Even large open auctions are manipulated. “Largely, open auction takes the shape of self buying or buying by market functionaries of agents like ‘fixed match’,” the report says.
Once the auction is manipulated and the apple is bought at a cheap rate, the agents store it in the CAS units to manipulate the supply in market. According to the NABARD report, agents are now setting up cold stores and CAS to store self purchased apple from market.

Read more here –http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_dna-special-agents-decide-how-much-you-will-pay-for-kashmiri-apples_1817662

 

Press Release

The 21 March 2013, United Nations Human Rights Council [UNHRC] resolution is a welcome initial step in the ongoing struggle to hold countries responsible for human rights violations, ranging from Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes to Enforced Disappearance, Torture, Rape and Extra-judicial executions. The watered down resolution, moved by the United States, and India’s support for the resolution, requires both commendation and severe criticism at the same time.

There can be no selective morality when it comes to standing against the commission of human rights violations by State’s. Every country must be held to the same standards, as Sri Lanka has been in the instant case, regardless of economic or geo-political concerns. In this regard, the United States and India stand accused of hypocrisy in their dealings with human rights violations in their regions or across the world. Similarly, Pakistan’s vote against the resolution raises serious questions on its own approach to human rights violations in the region or elsewhere.

India’s recognition of the atrocities arising from the Sri Lankan conflict is in direct contrast to its public and international position on Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian institutional culture of moral, political and juridical impunity in Jammu and Kashmir has resulted in, by some estimates [as of 2013], enforced and involuntary disappearance of at least 8000 persons besides more than 70,000 deaths, countless cases of torture and disclosures of more than 6000 unknown, unmarked, and mass graves. In the context of the issue of unmarked and mass graves, despite a series of recommendations by the State Human Rights Commission on 19 October 2011, and an European Parliament resolution of July 2008 urging the Government of India to hold an investigation into the alleged mass/unidentified graves in Kashmir, no action has been taken. Countless violations against the armed forces and the Jammu and Kashmir Police have been brought to the public domain.

The Indian State has evaded, denied and altogether refused to acknowledge its continuing criminal actions in Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian vote for the resolution is therefore, at the same moment, both laudable
and revealing.

Adv. Parvez Imroz
President, JKCCS

 

200 px

 

ZAHID MAQBOOL

 

greaterkashmir.com

 

 

Srinagar, Mar 22: Biometric census, which constitutes the second phase of the National Population Register (NPR) project, will commence in Kashmir Valley from next month.

 

 Officials associated with the NPR in J&K told Greater Kashmir that biometric census will commence from second week of April from Kulgam and Ganderbal districts.“We have completed the collection of basic data under the first phase. Now we will start holding camps to gather biometric data in valley from next month. Headquarters of Census Operations has already initiated tendering process in this regard,” said Joint Director, Census Operations J&K, Chander Shekhar Saproo.

 

 Official sources said a meeting has been scheduled this week between census officials and District Development Commissioners of Ganderbal and Kulgam.

 

 “We will start from districts that are less in area comparatively. It will help officials associated with Census to gain experience in the work which will help them in other major districts later,” officials said.

 

 Meanwhile government has already started biometric census in J&K from district Samba in Jammu.The government had launched NPR project in the year 2010 with a motive to provide National Identity Cards to each and every citizen of Jammu and Kashmir. The form filling and house-listing process was started by Census department in August 2010.

 

 NPR will be an exhaustive database, listing all residents in the state, district, block, village, and household. The register will include any person who stays or intends to stay in an area for six months or more, both citizens and non-citizens, and the data will eventually be replaced by a National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC).

 

 Pertinently the State government was asked by the Centre to replace the Aadhar project with NPR as has been done by various other states across the country.

 

 “The process is basically aimed to give every citizen a unique mode to identify himself in front of the governing body. For this purpose, a Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was formed by the Planning Commission last year,” sources said.

 

 

 

By Niloofar Qureshi

Published: Wed, 13 March 2013 08:14 PM

 

 

The latest spurt of protests in the Valley, which commenced with the execution of Afzal Guru, got extended due to the mysterious death of a Kashmiri student in Hyderabad and has thereafter continued in the aftermath of a youth shot by the security forces in Baramulla. A ‘protest calendar’ was promptly issued and with people taking to the streets in large numbers, normal life came to a standstill, proving once again that the situation in Kashmir continues to be extremely volatile. Though the separatists must be congratulating themselves for having pulled off a major ‘victory’ through such widespread and prolonged protests, they must not forget that they had played no role in initiating the protests- they were just lucky to get repeated opportunities!
There is no doubt that unfolding events should be used for furthering the ongoing movement for the ‘right to self determination’. However, events should not become the sole agency for the same. Though the widespread protests in the aftermath of the Afzal Guru execution, the mysterious death of the Kashmiri student studying in Hyderabad and the killing of a protester in Baramulla are certainly valid reasons for protesting, such incidents by themselves alone cannot be expected to usher in the change we desire. For, though these incidents do illustrate the sorry plight of Kashmiris, unfortunately, the international community perceives these as mere law and order problems.
While many nations and human rights bodies criticised New Delhi after the Afzal Guru hanging, the criticism was for India’s continuation of the death penalty and not even a single country questioned the legality of this execution or the way it was done. The Hyderabad suicide case too has not evoked any international response and is probably being viewed by the international community as the personal decision of an individual. The Baramulla killing also seems to have unfortunately fallen in the ‘common category’ of  the death of a protester who was shot by the security forces while discharging their ‘legitimate duty’ of maintaining law and order!
What our leaders fail to comprehend is that, in practice, the international community follows moral standards that are far removed from the high ethical values it publically proclaims to uphold. And in order to justify its own perverted sense of reasoning and depraved conscience, it has craftily coined euphemisms like “global war on terror,” “legitimate targets” and “unavoidable co-lateral damage’. Take the case of the American drone campaign in Pakistan– it is no secret that for every terrorist killed in drone attacks, scores of innocent men women and children are also being killed or maimed. Yet, no one seems to mind and though everyone admits that this is ‘unfortunate’, the ‘collective conscience’ of the international community is satisfied by the warped logic that it is simply a case of ‘unavoidable co-lateral damage’, which occurs when attacking a ‘legitimate target’ in the ‘global war against terror’!
That the ‘terrorism factor’ has also helped New Delhi in enforcing brute force in Kashmir too is no secret. While human right activists and even the UN have made repeated appeals for revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), New Delhi has played the ‘terrorism’ card well to counter the same. And, since all those who matter are in some way connected in the ‘global war’ on terror, none are willing to seriously intervene. Their reluctance is understandable, since they are all ‘partners in crime’ and guilty of excesses against innocent civilians. While America cannot do so much since it has the blood of innocents on its hands from drone attacks, Pakistan, which openly espouses the ‘Kashmir cause’ cannot afford opening the ‘can of worms’ of its own murky dealings in the Tribal areas and Balochistan.
The separatists therefore need to introspect. As they have experienced the futility of violence and rightly committed themselves to peace, they should advise the people, especially the youth to refrain from violence. There is an urgent need to educate the youth about the immense power of peaceful protests. Stone pelting and occasional wrecking of public property may seem to be very mild forms of violence, but it nevertheless is. And once protesters resort to violence of any type, then the security forces get an excuse to retaliate and this often results in avoidable loss of life. It should be remembered that the ‘right to self determination’ will certainly not fall into our laps just by needlessly sacrificing our youth and the summer unrest of 2010 in which 122 precious lives were lost, is a grim reminder of this!
The next issue, which the separatist leadership needs to guard against, is to suggest that ‘armed resistance’ could be a viable alternative to the peaceful struggle. Unfortunately, in the recent past, at least two separatist leaders (who have themselves publically denounced the use violent means for achieving the ‘right to self determination’) have made such comments. We have had more than our share of violence and suffered untold miseries due to the same. Being mature and experienced, our leaders know very well that the era of effecting change through the force of arms is long over. Instigating the youth to take up arms would only make them ‘cannon fodder’ and bring more miseries upon our people without achieving anything. In fact, no one would be happier than New Delhi if this happens, as it will provide the AFSPA a new lease of life in Kashmir!
The next point relates to the lack of direction, which the current philosophy of the ‘right to self determination’ movement in Kashmir suffers from.  This is because rather than concentrating on evolving a comprehensive strategy to make it more meaningful and self-sustaining, the separatist leadership seems to be content with solely relying on reacting to incidents and events to carry it forward. In the process, the ideological movement for the ‘right to self determination’ has been reduced to merely a petty ‘agitation’ that erupts whenever acts of excesses against the public occurs and then, its business as usual, till the next such an incident takes place!
Lastly, a one must never forget that for the ‘right to self determination’ movement to succeed, patience and perseverance is essential. However, this will be a daunting task as the youth has become restive, as it has been ‘programmed’ to believe that ‘azadi’ is just round the corner! And this is where their leadership qualities of the separatists will play a very important part, as they have to convince the impatient public that such changes do not come overnight.  But once this is achieved, the ongoing movement will automatically acquire an enduring character and being ‘issue based’ rather than ‘event driven’, will surely gain the respect and support it rightfully deserves from the international community.
(The writer is a New Delhi based journalist and can be reached at: niloofar.qureshi@yahoo.com)