Julio 29, 2007

Kashmir - APDP comes up with disappeared list from Varmul

Afsana Rashid

Srinagar, July 28: The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) today came out with a list of 337 persons who have been subjected to enforced disappearances in Varmul district alone. Following the directions of the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to furnish details about the disappeared people, the APDP in its monthly meet today at the Pratap Park came out with the list of disappeared people from Varmul.

According to the list 337 people have reportedly gone missing over the last 17 years in the north Kashmir’s Varmul district.

Out of these 251 are civilians, 70 militants and 16 ‘renegades’ and personnel of armed forces, said the document made public by the APDP.

According to the Association, a one line letter dated July 7, 2007, No. Div Comm/Relief-Disap-P/ (1809)/07 sought the list of disappeared persons from APDP.

The letter, according to APDP, neither clarified the motive of the government in collecting the data nor asked for anything beyond names of those who have gone into disappearance. “Whether the government is interested in knowing the names of agencies and perpetrators who have committed horrendous crime of disappearance is not clear.”

APDP further added that the list of disappeared persons has been furnished to the Divisional Commissioner’s office thrice in the past but nothing had happened so far.

“The list was prepared by APDP and presented to the office of Divisional Commissioner. Nothing was communicated by the office of the Divisional Commissioner later in matter of the list provided to them by the APDP,” APDP spokesperson said.

“APDP is as such making public the names of the persons disappeared from Varmul between 1989 and 2006,” said Ghulam Nabi Mir, an executive member of the Association.

A list of 337 persons who have disappeared from Varmul in last 17 years was circulated among the media persons on the occasion.

It was reported that out of 337 persons subjected to enforced disappearance, 139 were married and their half widows were living hand to mouth. In majority of the cases even the FIRs have not been filed, not to speak of ex gratia relief or compensation.

“Documentation of all the cases is a gigantic task and with the meager resources it isn’t easy for APDP to document cases in every district. As of now we are ready with list of cases from one district. Hopefully in the coming months we will make public the list of disappearance from other districts,” APDP statement added.

It was made public that Javid Ahmad Dar, a nine-year-old boy, was the youngest victim of enforced disappearance from Ladoora, Rohama and the oldest was a 74-year-old, Habibullah Ganie from Dangarpora in Varmul district.

APDP by making public the list of disappeared persons from Varmul is demanding an impartial probe into all cases. “Let the government come up with the truth. Let the government make clear where are our loved ones are and whether they are dead or alive?” the statement said.

APDP believes that the inaction on part of the government is facilitating the perpetrators in unabatedly continuing with disappearance of people with impunity.

“Loud claims won’t change lies to truth. Lives of our disappeared family members will constantly haunt the liars and the perpetrators. We will not rest until we know the truth. We want to know the truth however unpalatable,” the APDP spokesperson added. [The Daily Etalaat]

[Note: Varmul also known as Baramulla is one of the Districts of North Kashmir that falls on the Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir side.

Local human rights group, the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies (JKCCS) has reported that more than 10,000 had disappeared in the disputed state since the armed struggle against Indian rule]


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Julio 5, 2007

Kashmir's Mothers of the Disappeared Struggle to Move On

By Raymond Thibodeaux
03 July 2007

Thousands of young, military-age men in Kashmir have vanished during Kashmir's 18-year conflict. Estimates of the number missing range from 3,000 to as many as 10,000. But for one Kashmiri mother, one is too many. Raymond Thibodeaux reports from Srinagar, the capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

This is Parveena Ahangar, who is 47 years old and the mother of Javeid, one of thousands of young Kashmiri men who disappeared after being arrested or detained by Indian security forces in Kashmir. Javeid was 16 when Indian security agents arrested him in August of 1990. She has not seen him since.

As Parveena speaks, even the translator is moved to tears.

"She says when a mother raises her child, it is she who holds his hand when he is young," said the translator. "When she will be old it will be the son who will hold her hand. But in my case it was different, I could hold my son's hand when he was young, but he's not there when my hand needs to be held. She says, bring me back my children."

Parveena does not know why her son was arrested, or even whether he is alive. In her grief, she started a group called the Association of Parents of the Disappeared more than 10 years ago. Since then she has filled a thick green folder with hundreds of letters and sun-faded photographs from families with husbands and sons who have vanished.

Their story shows a darker side of Kashmir, a region that is famed for its scenic mountains, alpine lakes and Mughal gardens.

The region, which has a mostly Muslim population, is divided between Pakistani and Indian control, and both claim Kashmir entirely. For nearly two decades, Indian-controlled Kashmir has been racked by a separatist insurgency.

Many Kashmiris feel squeezed between two opposing forces: the 500,000-strong Indian security force and an untold number of armed separatists allegedly backed by Pakistani fighters.

At least 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict since it started in 1989. Since then, Kashmiris have become fed up with what they say is a litany of human rights abuses by Indian security forces, including extrajudicial killings, torture and rape.

But it is the fate of the missing that has led many Kashmiri activists to petition India's government for answers.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq leads the All Parties Freedom Conference, an umbrella group of Kashmir's separatist leaders.

"We have written so many times to the United Nations. We have written so many times to Amnesty International, Asia Watch - so have the parents - even to the National Human Rights Commission in Delhi. But there has been no response," he said. "The fear is that the number of people missing is in the thousands. And the fear is that maybe most of them have been killed, whether killed by the army or whether killed in fake encounters, or whether they are missing."

He and other political leaders are calling for a truth and reconciliation commission similar to those in South Africa and Rwanda, to investigate human rights abuses and to solve the disappearances.

Colonel Sudhir Sakhuja, an Indian army spokesman, says the number of missing is far less than the 8,000 to 10,000 often quoted by international human rights groups. Still, he says the Indian army routinely investigates cases of missing Kashmiris.

"Even if one person is missing, the mother would feel bad for him. We are concerned about it. … It's unfortunate that some people are still reported missing - not necessarily because anything has been done to them by the Indian army or any of the security forces. Possibly they may have gone across the line of control and not got back, or gone into hiding because they had a background of militancy," said Colonel Sakhuja.

Peace talks between India and Pakistan have eased tensions between the two countries, and the fighting has eased in Kashmir. But the two governments have made little progress in permanently resolving the conflict, and there still are violent incidents between the Indian military and Kashmiris nearly every day.

For Parveena and thousands of other Kashmiris who have lost family members in this conflict, the political wrangling between India and Pakistan is irrelevant. For Parveena, there is only the one recurring question: Where is my son?


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Mayo 29, 2007

Kashmir: Families of disappeared men to Indian Government, show us the graves of our beloved

By Arif Shafi Wani

Srinagar, Indian Occupied Kashmir, (Greater Kashmir): Promises and consolations by politicians have failed to help Gulshan of Tengpora whose son Manzoor Ahmad was picked up by troops of 20 Grenadiers in 1997. “We don’t want money or jobs but whereabouts of our beloved,” she said while sobbing.

Gulshan was among the relatives of disappeared who had assembled under the banner of Association of Disappeared Persons (APDP)—that is fighting for their cause since 1994—at Sheri Kashmir Park here. Wearing headbands and holding photographs of their beloved ones, the relatives sat in a circle and shared their woeful tales with journalists and among themselves.

“If they have been killed show us their graves. At least we have this right,” Gulshan said and broke down. Her daughter Shabnum tried to console her but in vain. “My brother was running an electronic goods shop and had no affiliation with any militant organization. His disappearance has shattered our family. What was his fault?” she said.

Zainab of Bagandar Humhama had similar tale to share. “Troops of 2 Grenadiers picked up my husband Ghulam Mohiuddin in 1997. Since then he is missing,” she said while pointing towards his photograph. Mohiuddin, a government employee was a lone breadwinner of his family. “Life has become a hell for me as I can’t shoulder the responsibilities. My children keep asking ‘where is our father’ but I have no answers. This is the life of a half-widow like me…” she said.

Taja Bano, who had come all the way from Handwara silently watched kids playing in a nearby playground. When others around her narrated their heart rendering tale, she finally talked. “My son Muhammad Ramzan also played like them. But troops picked him up in 1996 and since then his whereabouts are not known. My life for the past 11 years has passed in shedding tears and hoping that he would turn up,” she said.

Unlike the past meetings of the parents and relatives of the disappeared men, in today’s meeting a large number of cops were present in the park.

Muhammad Yousuf Khan of Badamwari Hawal has spent past decade visiting security camps and interrogation centers in the hope that armed forces would tell him about the whereabouts of his brother Fayaz Ahmad Khan,25, who was arrested by Special Operation Group of Police. Now he has given up the hope that he would see his brother alive.

“I believe he too has been killed and then labeled as a militant. The SOG did it to many civilians, like the Ganderbal incident, for rewards and promotions. He was simply a mason and our lone breadwinner and he was not a militant,” he said.

“On the night of August 2, 1997 the SOG men accompanied by some masked men barged into our house and dragged him out. We pleaded his innocence but they bundled him in the vehicle and left. My brother cried for help and that was the last I saw and heard of him,” he said.

Few hours later, the SOG party also arrested Fayaz’s neighbors Shabir Ahmad Kumar, Abdul Gani Khan and Muhammad Yaqoob Dar. Next day their families rushed to Police Station concerned where cops refused to register an FIR. The families, including of Fayaz went from pillar to post but to no avail.

“My mother Amina pined for developed various ailments after Fayaz’s disappearance. She loved him very much and wanted to see him as a groom. She died few years ago. We have suffered much. Don’t we have a right to weep on his grave, at least,” he said


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Mayo 24, 2007

Kashmir - Q&A: Rewards trigger fake encounters

23 May, 2007 l 0021 hrs IST

Parvez Imroz is co-founder and patron of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), which brings together Kashmiri families whose members have been the victims of enforced disappearances. A senior advocate at the Srinagar high court, he is also co-founder and president of the J&K Coalition of Civil Society that has been working to forge networks between Kashmiri civil society groups. Imroz spoke to Percy Fernandez in Srinagar:

Why has the J&K government refused to accept the findings of APDP?

The central and state governments are reluctant to probe into the enforced disappearances in the state since 1989. More than 10,000 people have disappeared in the last 17 years, higher than the combined figures of disappearances of five Asian countries. We have been repea-tedly telling them (PDP, Congress and NC) and they have come out with contradictory facts and figures.

What do you plan to do now?

The local mechanism has failed. The government wants to tire out its own citizens. Look what happened in the Sikh riots case. There should be pressure from the European Union, other democratic countries and global civil society groups to prevail upon the Indian government to address the grievances of 3,00,000 families who have been affected since 1989. The people who have disappeared belong to the lower strata of society. There are more than 1,500 to 2,000 half widows. They want to know where their near and dear ones have disappeared. In the case of enforced disappearances, we fear that people were tortured and killed and bodies dumped into the rivers and forests which we have in plenty.

Do you think there can be a solution?

Who can stop the disappearances? It is the army which is doing it along with the SOG (Special Operations Group) which was established under the NC. The state doesn't want to demoralise them by taking action against them. Nobody
can question the army. The chief minister is just a nominal head like the president of India. Rewards contribute to fake encounters in a big way. The government is not happy with the number of disappearances. What they can do is to minimise it by taking the perpetrators to task. But if there are convictions, BJP will hold demonstrations.

How has the disappearances affected the Kashmiri society at large?

Now they are talking about a truth and reconciliation commission (TCR). But ironically, the perpetrators are talking about TCR and not the victims. Will you tell these families to forget what happened? It is the right of the victims to decide what should be done to the perpetrators. They want justice. We have been thinking of having an international tribunal so that the world knows what has happened in Kashmir since 1989. It will be a moral indictment of the perpetrators. This would be a step forward. If the state fails to adhere to its duties, fails to deliver justice to its own people, what do you do? You remain silent or approach other forms which are available.Parvez Imroz is co-founder and patron of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), which brings together Kashmiri families whose members have been the victims of enforced disappearances. A senior advocate at the Srinagar high court, he is also co-founder and president of the J&K Coalition of Civil Society that has been working to forge networks between Kashmiri civil society groups. Imroz spoke to Percy Fernandez in Srinagar:


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Custodial deaths continue in Kashmir: Amnesty

‘38 disappearances, 22 extrajudicial killings in 2006’


New Delhi, May 23: Though “politically motivated violence” has slightly decreased in Jammu and Kashmir, deaths in custody, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions continued to be reported, said the annual human rights assessment report of Amnesty International.
“Some six deaths in custody, 38 enforced disappearances including several juveniles, and 22 extrajudicial killings were reported in 2006. Identity-based attacks by Islamist fighters continued,” said the 2007 report themed “Politics of Fear Creating a Dangerously Divided World.”
Coming down on the Indian government, the report, also released worldwide, said impunity for human rights violations by state agents continued, although in a few cases action was initiated after years of delay.
It cited the March 2000 extrajudicial killing case of five villagers in Pathribal village by Army and the CBI indictment of the guilty officers in April. “The officers were charged with fabricating evidence to support their claim that the men were foreign fighters killed in an ‘encounter’ with the troops,” it added.

A new report indicated that some 10,000 people had been victims of enforced disappearance since 1989, the Amnesty said.
The 340-page survey—which had a polycentric people’s launch across 12 cities in India—said the authorities failed to provide information about the whereabouts of disappeared people to their families.
Concerns over the existing powers of the State Human Rights Commission were heightened in last August when its chairperson resigned over the “non-serious attitude” of the state government towards human rights violations, said the report over the human rights situation during January to December 2006.


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Abril 24, 2007

J&K SHRC orders probe into disappearance

The Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has ordered a magisterial probe into the disappearane of a youth four years ago.

The chairman of the SHRC Justice M Y Kawoosa gave the direction on a petition filed by the relatives of one Imtiyaz Ahmad Dar who went missing four years ago from central Kashmir district of Bagam.

The petition seeking justice from the SHRC alleged that two senior police officers gave two different contradicting reports about Imtiyaz.

Superintendent of Police (SP) Budgam in his report had said Imtiyaz was not involved in any militancy related activities and was therefore not arrested by any security agency. However, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir range) in his report mentioned that the youth was a Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militant active in south Kashmir.


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Abril 17, 2007

Mother’s search for her disappeared boy still on


Srinagar, April 11 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, clad in a burkha (veil), Suraiya Akhtar, 41, looks like any other Kashmiri woman. But what makes her different from others is that she’s the mother of held Valley’s youngest boy who disappeared in Indian troops’ custody 17 years ago.

Her son Javid Ahmad Dar had just celebrated his eight birthdays when the forces’ personnel picked him up at Zero Bridge Srinagar on October 3, 1990. Though 17 years of search has proved futile, this has failed to dampen Suraiya’s resilience.

“They (the troops) snatched my beloved son. If he’s alive he would be 25-year-old, I am eager to see and hug him,” she told media men in Srinagar. “I’ll keep on searching my son, my heart, till my death.”

Married to Ghulam Hassan Dar of Ludura village in Sopore town, Suraiya said she had sent Javid to her father’s house in Rajbagh Srinagar for receiving better education in a city school. “It was Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, Javid went out to play cricket with his friends but was picked up by the troops near the Zero Bridge,” she said.

The Dars approached many Indian army officers but they could not disclose his whereabouts. “But an officer demanded one lakh rupees for his release which we could not afford,” Suraiya said.

“I have a right to know what happened to my son,” Suraiya said as she broke down. Suraiya was among relatives of many disappeared persons who staged a sit-in in Srinagar.

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59 men disappeared in Poonch, Rajouri’



Jammu, Apr 14: At least 59 youth have disappeared in the past decade in border districts of Rajouri and Poonch and out of these 37 have been killed in fake encounters, Ghulam Ahmad Mir the chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM) said on Saturday.
Mir told reporters while releasing the report of a survey conducted by the JKPM demanded the government should set up a one-man commission to probe all cases of disappearances.
The survey revealed that army subjected 54 persons to enforced custodial disappearance and the five persons had disappeared after their arrest by notorious Special Operation Group of Police, Mir said.

Mir said, “The youth were picked up from their houses and after branding them as foreign militants they were killed in fake encounters.”
The survey puts the number of the youth killed in fake encounters at 37.
“The recent exposure about killing of innocents in fake encounters has opened Pandora’s Box. There are thousands of people who disappeared after being arrested by the various agencies,” he said, “we demand setting up of a commission to probe all the disappearances. The commission, which has been already framed for probing such cases in Valley, be handed over the charge of Jammu also so that the people of Jammu also get some relief.”
He said that the heavy presence of troopers in civil areas equipped with the draconian laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act ( AFSPA) and Disturbed Area Act (DAA) continues to fuel human rights violations.
Demanding withdrawal of the troopers from the state, he said it will be the first step towards creating congenial atmosphere for the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

The disappeared men are:
* Mushtaq Hussain, 25, son of Hussain of Naika Panjgrain Rajouri was killed in fake encounter and later dubbed as Pakistani militant.
* Shakil Ahmed,23, son of Fakir Muhammad of Naika Panjgrain Rajouri was killed in fake encounter and later dubbed as Pakistani militant
* Muhammad Kabir, 20, son of Muhammad Hussian of Naika Panjgrain Rajouri was killed in fake encounter and later dubbed as Pakistani militant.
* Muhammad Shabir,26, son Muhammad Sadqiue of Naika Panjgrain Rajouri was killed in fake encounter and later dubbed as Pakistani militant
* Muhammad Dad (24) was killed in fake encounter and later dubbed as Pakistani militant.
* Jalal Din ,28, son of Kala Gujjar of Kirni Poonch is missing after Army arrested him.
* Hakam Din, 26, son of Kala Gujjar of Kirni Poonch is missing since Army arrested him.
* Muhammad Shabir, 28, son of Bagh Muhammad of Naika Panjgrain Rajouri was killed in fake encounter and later dubbed as Pakistani militant.
* Maroof Ahmed,35, son of Muhammad Akbar of Rajdhani Manjakot was killed in fake encounter and later dubbed as Pakistani militant.
* Muhammad Rafiq, 21, son of Muhammad Hussian of Rajdhani Manjakot was killed in fake encounter and later dubbed as Pakistani militant.
* Muhammad Yousuf, 35, son of Ghulam Muhammad of Riehhwah Rajouri is missing after Army picked him up.
* Muhammad Sadiq Chowkidar, 45, Ghulam Muhammad of Riehhwah Rajouri is missing after Army picked him up.
* Mushtaq Hussian Shah, 26, son of Ali Asghar Shah of Sangh Surankote was killed in fake encounter and later dubbed as Pakistani militant.
* Haji Altaf Din, 35, son of Noor Muhammad of Marhot Surankote was killed by police
* Muhammad Hussain,26, son of Ghulam Hussain Gujar of Sangla Surankote was arrested by Kumaon Regiment and later killed in fake encounter .
* Wali Muhammad, 38, son of Shams din of Sangla Surankote was killed by Delhi police in fake encounter and later dubbed as Pakistani militant.
* Muhammad Zaman, 35, son of Lal Din of Sangla Surankote was killed was killed by UP Police in fake encounter in UP. Muhammad Zaman had gone to UP to collect donations for building a masjid.
* Shabir Ahmed, 25, son of Abdul Khan of Mangota Thannnamandi is missing after he was picked up by 26 Rajput.
* Showkat, 30, son of Muhammad Shafi of Fazlobad Surankote was arrested by the Army special scout on November, 7, 1997 and later dubbed as Pakistani militant and buried at Nagrota graveyard.
* Faiz Hussian, 24, son of Muhammad Hussain of Shahpur Poonch is missing after he was picked up by 8 JAKLI.
* Sadiq Hussian Bakarwal, 24, son of Muhammad Hussain of Ghulam Muhammad of Chitiari Rajouri is missing after he was picked up by Army.
* Manzoor Hussian, 38, son of Habib of Challas Grati Rajouri is missing after he was picked up by Army.
* Muhammad Alyas (35) Fazal Hussian of 35 of Fateh PurSema Rajouri is missing after he was picked up by Army.
* Muhammad Aslam (35) Misri of Badhoon Rajouri was killed by Army in a fake encounter and later buried at Badhoon grave.
* Abdul Aziz, 27, son of Ibrahim of Lathung Surankote was killed in fake encounter by 27 RR and his body burnt in Army unit.
* Hadayatullah, 40, son of Soosoo of Jamola Rajouri was killed in fake encounter and later buried Rajouri
* Haji Muhammad Sayed, 45, son of Noor Muhammad of Marhot Surankote was killed in a fake encounter by 16 RR by Major Kalia.
* Khadam Hussain, 28, son of Sakhi Muhammad Qurashi of Harhi Surankote is missing after arrested by SOG personnel.
* Muhammad Akbar, 26, son of Sakhi Muhammad Qureshi of Harhi Surankote is missing after he was arrested by SOG personnel.
* Roshan Din, 27, son of Noor Din of Harhi Surankote is missing after he was arrested by SOG personnel.
* Muhammad Sadiq, 28, son of Hassan Sheikh of Dhangri Fazlabad was killed in police custody.
* Nasib Ahmed, 24, son of Sher Muhammad of Bhata Dhoorian Mehnder was killed in custody of Sikh Regiment.
* Haji Hassan, 38, son of Muhammad Jumo of Marhot Surankot was killed in a fake encounter by Army.
* Mustaq Joo, 26, son of Muhammad Joo of Surankot was Picked by Army from a marriage party and later killed in fake encounter.
* Khalil, 26, son of Ghulam Ahmed Bhatti of Marhot Surankot is missing after he was picked up by Army.
* Latif Ilam, 32, son of Din Qurashi of Kallar Katter was killed by Gulpur Army while he was working in his field.
* Mushtaq Ahmed, 26, son of Muhammad Aslam of Khanyal Kot Thanna is missing since he was arrested by SOG Doda.
* Talib Hussian, 25, son of Ghulam Muhammad of Dingla Poonch is missing after being picked up by 3 Sikh Light Infantry.
* Muhammad Sarwer Khan, 28, son of Asgar Khan of Bagiol Dara/Poonch was killed in fake encounter by 3 Sikh Light Infantry and later dubbed as Pakistani militant.
* Farooq Khan, 22, son of Sayeed Khan Rathore of Shahpur Poonch is missing after he was picked up by 8 JAKLI.
* Muhammad Sultan, 26, son of Umar Din of Kalsian Poonch was killed in a fake encounter and later dubbed as Pakistani militant.
* Bagh Hussian, 26, son of Amarullah Khan of Salamabad Poonch was killed in a fake encounter by BSF and later dubbed as Pakistani militant.
* Muhammad Syed Khan, 45, son of Ghulam Hussain Khan of Shahpur Poonch is missing after being arrested by 8 JKLI.
* Ahmed din, 39, son of Baggar of Nagrota Dara Rajouri was killed by Army in 2001 and later dubbed as Pakistani.
* Khadam Hussian, 55, son of Muhammad Latif of Agrati Rajouri is missing after he was picked up by Army.
* Muhammad Latif, 70, son of Saien of Agrati Rajouri is missing after he was picked up by Army.
* Abdul Rashid, 40, son of Chidia of Nagrota Banna Rajouri is missing after he was picked up by Army.
* Riaz Ahmed, 24, of Mangota Thannamandi Rajouri was killed in fake encounter by Army at Charung Thanamandi and later dubbed as Pakistani.
* Raiz Ahmed, 24, son of Nisar Ahmed Gujjar of Mangota Thannamandi Rajouri was killed in fake encounter by Army and later dubbed as Pakistani.
* Manzoor Ahmed, 26, son of Muhammad Hussian Najar of Mangota Thannamandi Rajouri was killed in a fake encounter by Army and later dubbed as Pakistani.
* Muhammad Rafiq, 23, son of Muhammad Najar of Mangota Thannamandi Rajouri was killed in fake encounter by Army patrol and later dubbed as Pakistani militant.
* Muhammad Shafi, 25, son of Muhammad Akbar of Bhangai Thannamandi Patrote 2001 was killed in a fake encounter by Army patrol and later dubbed as Pakistani and buried at Akhnoor graveyard
* Muhammad Abdulllah, 50, son Sallah Muhammad of Mangota Thannnamandi is missing since picked up by 26 Rajput.
* Mouzim Din son of Fateh, 65, son of Muhammad Sheikh of Potha Surankote was killed by 27 RRKilled in fake encounter
* Nasir Ahmed, 18, son of Nazir Ahmed Sheikh of Potha Surankote was killed by 27 RR killed in a fake encounter and later dubbed as Pakistani.
* Shahid Mirza (16) son of Mirza Zafar Kurshid of Khablan Rajouri was killed in fake encounter at Fazlabad Poonch.
* Faiz Akhbar, 45, son of Said Muhammad of Dundak Surankote was killed in a fake encounter by Army and later dubbed as Pakistani militant
* Muhammad Sadique, 44, Saidoo Khan of Azmotobad Thannamandi was killed in front of his house by 48 RR.

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Febrero 15, 2007

India: Investigate All 'Disappearances' in Kashmir

Recent Cases Reveal Pattern of Security-Force Involvement

(New York, February 15, 2007) – The Indian government must launch a credible and independent investigation into all “disappearances” and fake “encounter killings” in Jammu and Kashmir state since the conflict began in 1989, Human Rights Watch said today. Last week, on February 6, India signed a new United Nations treaty to combat forced disappearances.

Recent investigations into the “disappearance” of Abdul Rahman Paddar, a carpenter who went missing in December, have shown that he was picked up in Srinagar by a special operations squad of Gandherbal district police and later killed. Although Abdul Rahman had been reported missing by his family, the police identified him as a Pakistani militant and claimed that he had been killed in an armed encounter. Abdul Rahman Paddar’s body was exhumed and identified by his relatives last month.

Four other bodies were also exhumed, including that of a street vendor and a Muslim priest, who had all “disappeared” last year. Eight policemen, including two senior officers, have been arrested for these murders. A judicial inquiry has been ordered into these fake “encounter killings,” which are executions staged to look like self-defense. Human Rights Watch documented many such cases in its September 2006 report, “‘Everyone Lives in Fear’: Patterns of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir.”

“Recent revelations have confirmed what families in Kashmir have been alleging all along,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Indian security forces have ‘disappeared’ countless people in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989 and staged fake encounter killings while fabricating claims that those killed were militants.”

The Association of the Parents of Disappeared Persons in Jammu and Kashmir (APDP), fearing that their relatives might have met the same fate, is now calling for an investigation into all “disappearances.” The APDP alleges that more than 10,000 people are missing in Jammu and Kashmir. The government has admitted that nearly 4,000 people are missing, but claims that some of them may have crossed into Pakistan to join militant groups. Until now, authorities have denied all responsibility for the fate or whereabouts of the “disappeared” persons in response to habeas corpus petitions.

Officially, the government has always denied allegations of staging fake encounter killings. However, according to Indian security officials who have spoken to Human Rights Watch on condition of anonymity, fake encounter killings are a common occurrence. Fake encounter killings are even encouraged through decorations, gallantry citations or promotions of personnel credited for the death of “militants.” However, it has long been alleged that these incentives lead to abuses, including the murder of innocents, as happened in the case of Abdul Rahman Paddar.

When there are public demonstrations protesting a fake encounter killing, the official response usually is to offer an oral assurance of an inquiry, though these rarely happen. If such inquiries do take place, the findings are seldom made public. If any action is taken against those found responsible, that too is rarely made public.

“We welcome judicial inquiries into encounter killings, but given the government’s track record, there is reason to be skeptical,” said Adams. “We hope the Indian government will surprise us with a speedy and credible investigation.”

Human Rights Watch urged the Indian authorities to establish an independent commission on “disappearances” and fake encounter killings, one that is empowered to compel both the testimony of state agents and the disclosure of documents. The commission should include eminent persons who inspire enough trust to enable witnesses or victims’ families to register such cases without fear of intimidation. According to the APDP, many families have not filed missing person complaints because they fear retribution from the security forces.

Human Rights Watch said that witnesses and family members told them that they hadn’t filed complaints because they were afraid of retaliation or because they felt that the police would not take their complaints seriously.

“To end the vicious cycle of violence and mistrust, Kashmiris have to be able to trust that their complaints will be heard and addressed,” said Adams.

Human Rights Watch called on the Indian government to establish an independent and impartial commission of inquiry into serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by Indian security forces since the beginning of the Kashmir conflict in 1989. The findings of the commission should be made public and the commission should be empowered to recommend the prosecution of persons implicated for abuse.

The government of Jammu and Kashmir should publish its list of missing persons, so that families and groups like APDP and the government can begin to account for missing persons. As there are over 30,000 Kashmiri refugees in Pakistan, such a list could be provided to the Pakistani government, which could also assist in identifying those who are now in Pakistan.

Human Rights Watch said that, to prevent “disappearances” and fake encounter killings, the government should also:

Strengthen and enforce laws and policies that protect detainees from torture and other mistreatment, including strict implementation of requirements that all detainees be brought before a magistrate or other judicial authority empowered to review the legality of an arrest within 24 hours;
Establish a centralized register of detainees, accessible to lawyers and family members;
Respond promptly to habeas corpus petitions in cases of alleged “disappearances;”
Take swift and public action against all state officials who have obstructed or ignored judicial orders to produce detainees in court;
Take all feasible measures to account for persons reported missing as a result of armed conflict and provide information to their family members;
Allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to undertake the full range of its protection activities in Jammu and Kashmir, including giving it full access to all army and paramilitary interrogation and detention centers;
Promptly ratify and implement the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which India signed on February 6, the date the treaty was opened for signature.

“We commend India for signing the new international convention on enforced disappearances,” said Adams. “Ratifying and implementing it would go a long way toward showing Kashmiris that the government is committed to ending human rights abuses there.”

For more information, please contact:

In Mumbai, Meenakshi Ganguly (English, Hindi): +91-98-200-36032

In London, Brad Adams (English): +44-20-7713-2767; or +44-7908-728-333 (mobile)

In New York, Sophie Richardson (English): +1-212-216-1257; or +1-917-721-7473 (mobile)

In Washington, DC, Sam Zarifi (English, Farsi, Dari): +1-202-612-4354; or +1-646-662-7750 (mobile)

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