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JKLF to hold protests during Kasuri visit to India

JKLF is threatening to hold protest demonstrations in New Delhi against human rights violations in the state from Feb 20.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2007 16:50 IST

The pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) is threatening to hold protest demonstrations in New Delhi against human rights violations in the state from Feb 20, the day Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri is in India for talks.

JKLF chairman Mohammed Yasin Malik said the central government has badly failed in its promise of zero tolerance against human rights violations.

"From Kashmir it seems they don't get to hear us and now JKLF has decided to carry the protests to the national capital New Delhi," he said.

About 50 members from families of persons missing in custody are expected to travel to New Delhi to participate in the JKLF-sponsored sit-ins and other public protests.

"I, along with friends in Delhi, am initiating a campaign under the banner of Kashmir Solidarity Committee (KSC) against disappearances, fake encounters, commission of war crimes, over-militarisation, impunity and use of black laws in Jammu and Kashmir," Malik said.

He said the KSC demands that a commission of inquiry be appointed for a time bound investigation into the cases of disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir.

According to the schedule, the protest demonstration would be organized at Jantar Mantar on Feb 22, besides protests meetings from Feb 20.

While Malik did not say whether the protests were timed with Kasuri's visit, dismissing it instead as mere coincidence, it is apparent that Malik wanted to get maximum publicity in Pakistan and elsewhere by deciding to hold them during the India-Pakistan talks here.

He demanded an immediate end to the system of monetary rewards to security forces for "killing innocent Kashmiris" and revocation of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and the Disturbed Areas Act applicable to Jammu and Kashmir.

Malik alleged that Kashmiris continue to be at the "receiving end of the Indian security forces" despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's promise of zero tolerance on human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir on May 22 last year during an all-party meeting in Srinagar.

He urged the prime minister to fulfil his promise.

Malik, who recently sat on three-day hunger strike in Srinagar against the alleged staged killings, said he had mobilized enough support from civil society groups in New Delhi for the protests.

Kashmir has been witnessing protests since last month after the exposure of 'fake encounters' in north Kashmir's Ganderbal area. Till now seven policemen, including former Senior Superintendent of Police of Ganderbal HR Parihar and his deputy Bahadur Ram, have been arrested in connection with the killing of a civilian Abdul Rehman Paddar.

Five bodies of civilians have been exhumed from graveyards in Kashmir since Feb 1 for the DNA tests to probe the alleged shootouts staged by some security force personnel to eliminate people suspected to be terrorists.

The Jammu and Kashmir government recently announced in the state assembly that it will probe cases of custodial disappearances and human rights violations in the state since 1990.

First Published: Feb 18, 2007 16:50 IST