Relatives of missing people in Kashmir approach SHRC
The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons(APDP), whose relatives disappeared during the violent years of the valley, today filed 132 cases of involuntary disappearances suspected to be enforced by security forces and militants of Hizbul Mujahideen in north Kashmir's Banihal area before the State Human Rights Commission on the International Day of Human Rights in Srinagar.india Updated: Dec 10, 2011 20:44 IST
The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons(APDP), whose relatives disappeared during the violent years of the valley, on Saturday filed 132 cases of involuntary disappearances suspected to be enforced by security forces and militants of Hizbul Mujahideen in north Kashmir's Banihal area before the State Human Rights Commission on the International Day of Human Rights in Srinagar.
This is for the first time that the APDP has approached the SHRC for alleged disappearances made by militants, particularly the indigenous and largest militant group of the Hizbul Mujahideen, headed by Syed Salahuddin in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Among the 24 such cases perpetrated by militants, 10 have been disappeared by an infamous Hizbul Mujahideen militant Nazir Ahmed Wani alias Papplu, who was later killed by the Hizbul Mujahideen organization itself.
"The cases we submitted to the SHRC are of the villagers of Banihal area only who disappeared since 1989 under various circumstances. Of 132 disappearance cases, 21 have been perpetrated by forces of the Indian army, 24 by different militant groups, 1 by the personnel of Jammu and Kashmir
police," said APDP spokesman Yasin ul Hassan Malik told Hindustan Times.
In 43 cases the perpetrators, according to the APDP, were unidentified gunmen and in remaining 43 cases disappeared in unknown circumstances by unknown agencies.
"Some families have registered cases in their concerned police stations, while in many cases missing reports or complaints could not be filed at the police stations due to the reluctance of police and sometimes due to threats to the victim families," said Malik.
The APDP is a group of families pursing the cases of near and dear ones who went missing since the militancy broke out in Kashmir in 1989. The APDP is demanding investigations into the cases to bring a closure to the cases by making public the whereabouts. The APDP alleges more than 7,000 people are missing in the valley.
"The family members of the disappeared want to know whether their loved ones are dead or alive. If they are alive they want the government to divulge the whereabouts of these disappeared persons. If they are dead the families want the government to identify the graves of these persons.
The APDP claims that in 21 cases where the Indian army has been identified as involved, nobody has been prosecuted or held accountable. "The processes of justice have been barred from prosecuting personnel of armed forces. Similarly in one case where Jammu and Kashmir Police were involved, impunity
persists," said the spokesman.
In 43 cases, the families claim they witnessed unidentified armed men abduct their loved ones. "In the last 22 years, armed forces personnel, militants and government sponsored militias (Ikhwanis) have been accused of disappearing people in the garb of unidentified gunmen, and therefore it would be very difficult for APDP to accuse any particular agency with certainty," said Malik.
The APDP also sought thorough investigation from the SHRC in the cases.
According to the government, 43,460 people have been killed in Kashmir insurgency in the last 21 years (January 1990 - April 2011). Of these, 21,323 are militants, 13,226 are civilians killed by militants, 3,642 are civilians killed by security forces and 5,369 are policemen killed by militants.