Protest demonstrations and seminars by separatist political groups marked the international human rights day on Sunday in Kashmir.
Police took around three dozen activists of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front into custody during a protest demonstration by the latter in the capital Srinagar.
Supporters of Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat Conference also took out a protest demonstration on the occasion. The opposition National Conference also joined the demonstrations against human rights violations in Kashmir and took out a procession from its Zero Bridge headquarters to Lal Chowk.
Around 500 activists of Yasin Malik-led Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front took out the protest from their Maisumma headquarters in civil line area. The JKLF activists had wrapped their mouth with a black covering and marched through Budshah Chowk on way to the UN Military Observers Group Sonawar. However, police waylaid them mid-way and took around 30 protestors into custody. The JKLF activists were carrying placards and banners, condemning the human rights violations committed allegedly by security forces.
The rival faction of JKLF headed by Javaid Mir took out a separate protest demonstration from Aabi Guzre locality. Shouting slogans as they marched towards Residency Road, police, which was deployed in the area, came into action and arrested around half a dozen activists of the group.
Zafar Akbar Bhat, chief of Salvation Movemeny, a constituent of Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat Conference also led a protest demonstration against the alleged human rights violations in Kashmir. The Mirwazi Group earlier held a seminar on the human rights situation at its Raj Bagh headquarters where speakers including Mirwazi described the human rights situation in the state "grim". Mirwaiz alleged that despite "zero tolerance" announcement by the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, security forces were harassing the people.
Syed Ali Geelani, chairman of the rival faction of Hurriyat Conference, chose a separate platform at a local hotel to condemn what he alleged gross human rights violations by the security forces.
President of Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party, Shabbir Ahmad Shah also expressed serious concerns over the "stepped-up" violations of human rights allegedly by the security forces in Kashmir. In a meeting of his party workers, convened on the eve of International Human Rights Day, Shah said that at a time when the world was observing human rights day, "security forces in Kashmir are committing massive violations of human rights, including rampant custodial killings, torture in custody and disgracing of women". He called upon the world human rights organisations to send their missions and witness by themselves the "deteriorating human rights situation, prevailing here". He also urged the human rights groups to exert pressure on India to immediately release all the illegally detained Kashmiri political leaders and activists, including, Sheikh Abdul Aziz, Zamruda Habib, Ashiq Hussain Fakhtoo and Bilal Siddiqi.
Shah made an emphatic appeal to the government of India to shun its violent and rigid policy and reciprocate flexibility demonstrated by Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership to help resolve the Kashmir dispute peacefully.