Subjecting people to custodial disappearance is the worst kind of human rights violation, writes Shah Waseem Yousuf in Greater Kashmir Newspaper see the original article here:http://greaterkashmir.com/full_story.asp?Date=16_2_2009&ItemID=16&cat=12
Few days ago APDP (Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons) staged a sit-in protest in the heart of Srinagar, pressing for their demand of whereabouts of their relatives subjected to enforced custodial disappearance by the various security agencies, troops and police, mostly since the breakout of armed rebellion from 1988. They appealed to the CM Omar Abdullah to set up a truth and reconciliation commission of which he has remained a vocal supporter before and during his election campaign. According to APDP, more than 10000 people have been subjected to custodial disappearance and CM being Chairman of Unified Command Council has the moral duty to look into their genuine and humane demands. Subjecting people to custodial disappearance is the worst kind of human rights violation and it has been mostly seen the relatives of disappeared persons suffer from the mental trauma and remain in dilemma about the safety of their near and dear ones. After the shocking discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves in different parts of Jammu and Kashmir, mostly from Uri, many including the relatives of disappeared fear about their loved ones, who have gone missing in the custody of troops. In many cases, where the perpetrators of human rights violation, be that custodial disappearance, custodial killing, fake encounters or other violations have been identified, they have got away from any kind of accountability by the draconian laws given to them through which they enjoy total impunity from the law of land. Indian prime minister’s assurance on the soil of Kashmir about 'Zero tolerance' to human rights violation and assurance by any other leader will continue to remain as a mere rhetoric as long as these draconian laws are not withdrawn. Recent statement of Mufti Sayed (former C.M) merits attention, where in he also stressed on this fact that investigating these violations on case to case bases will be inadequate. Recently a news report carried the statement of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Alliance demanding abrogation of Disturbed Area and Armed Forces Special Power Act as these laws are a hindrance to get foreign tourists to Kashmir. Hence a major stumbling block to the tourism sector. In 2004, a Manipuri women Thang Jam Manorama was abused and killed by Assam Rifles and after the protests erupted to repeal the AFSPA, that year the then Prime Minister of India A.B. Vajpayee constituted a committee to review the provisions of the AFSPA and the said committee submitted report in which it was reported that "the act, for whatever reasons has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high hand ness". But unfortunately this report was made to appear like as north-east centric view and missed J&K, where violations are much more. And according to average mentions about J&K by the US state dept in its country state report on human rights violations and killings in conflict areas from 1993-2002, it is 56.4 and for seven states of north-east together, it is 36.2 which is far less than J&K. These black laws have alienated the people of Kashmir more and more, and in the words of South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA), this alienation among the people of Kashmir is complete and irreversible. The brutal tactics employed here to suppress the movement for unfettered right of self determination have always backfired. Kashmir dispute will continue to give sleepless nights to the Indian leaders and policy makers. And this dispute, if left unresolved, will continue to remain a major threat to peace and progress of South Asia. Hence a multi pronged peace initiative is needed to start tripartite talks for its final resolution. To make the atmosphere conducive for meaningful talks, India has to initiate steps to remove the deep mistrust which she has created by its denial mode and time buying policies. First and foremost, these draconian laws should be repealed, troops should be moved back to barracks in a phased manner and a impartial commission should be made to look into the violation of human rights as demanded by ITHB and APDP. And let the families know where their near and dear ones are, for which they have been protesting for a long time.