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Parliamentary-civil society team visits Kashmir

india Updated: Dec 03, 2010 18:09 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times

A 'parliamentary-civil society' team on a visit to Kashmir, on their first day, met the family of Tufail Ahmad Matoo, the school boy who became the first victim of police action on June 11 which triggered the five-month long unrest in Kashmir Valley.

An 11-member team comprising members of seven political groups and three civil society members and drawn up by New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Analysis (CPA), a 'think tank to formulate alternative policies', arrived in Srinagar on Friday.

The delegation comprising Ram Vilas Paswan and Shoaib Iqbal of Lok Janshakti Party, Gopal Choudary of Communist Party of India (Marxist), D Raja of Communist party of India, Namo Nageshwar Rao of Telgu Desham Party, Danish Ali of Janta Dal (Secular), Maheshwar Hazari of Janta Dal (United), Shahid Siddiqui of Rashtriya Lok Dal, film maker Mahesh Bhatt, journalist Seema Mustafa and academician Prof Kamal Chenoy met Matoo's family at Rajouri Kadal in old city.

Matoo, a class 12 student, was killed after he received head injuries by a tear gas shell fired by police in Gani Memorial Staidum in Rajouri Kadal area of old city on June 11.

The death triggered mass protests across Kashmir which resulted in the killing of 111 youth mostly in security forces action while controlling stone pelting protesters across Kashmir.

"They have come to express their sympathies with us. They have not come as representatives of Indian government but rather as members of civil society. If that would have been the case we would have never met them," boy's father, Mohammad Ashraf told Hindustan Times.

"We are mature people and we don't pelt stones on our guests," he said.

Ashraf informed the delegation that had government acted on time and booked the killers of Tufail, the situation would not have reached to this level.

"We asked them why the issue of innocent killings was not raised in the Indian Parliament. When the principles of Mahatma Gandhi were being trampled by India's security forces, why were Indians silent," he questioned.

"We told them that we have no expectation of justice from them. Those who kill, then order the probes and themselves become the judges then," Ashraf said.

The delegation is expected to meet the people of different shades of opinion, including the separatist leaders, during their 3-day visit.

In the evening the delegation would be meeting Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman Yasin Malik.

The team would also be meeting hard-line separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Saturday.

The team has termed the trip as a 'confidence building measure' that will 'suggest social, political and economic measures towards just peace in Kashmir'.

It also intends to 'identify concrete confidence building measures to be taken by the government and civil society to address deepening alienation among Kashmiris'.

The initiative also wants to 'build pressure on government through parliament for the implementation of the recommendations to reduce the suffering of Kashmiris'.