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On the International Day of the Disappeared: APDP

August 31, 2012

This press statement was issued yesterday, 30 August 2012, by the ASSOCIATION OF PARENTS OF DISAPPEARED PERSONS, the Bund Amira Kadal, Srinagar – 190001, Jammu and Kashmir
 
Today on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) organized a seminar on the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and Institutional Violence and Denial of Justice by India. Various members of the Civil Society addressed the importance of the ratification of the international Convention against Disappearances.
Further, the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) today submitted 507 cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances from Baramulla and Bandipora districts to the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) for conducting investigations.
Out of the 507 cases of enforced disappearances submitted today to SHRC, 369 are pertaining to Baramulla district while 138 are from Bandipora district. The submitted cases are of the people living in Baramulla and Bandipora, who have disappeared since 1989 under various circumstances. As per the knowledge of victim families, 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.
Amongst the 369 documented cases of enforced disappearances from Baramulla district, based on the information provided by the families of the disappeared persons, 141 persons have been subjected to enforced disappearance by the state forces (Army – 98, BSF – 21, CRPF – 10, Government Militants – 7, Jammu and Kashmir Police – 5). Within the 369 documented cases of Baramulla in 144 cases the families of the disappeared claim that their loved ones disappeared in unknown circumstances by unknown agencies while militants have been responsible for disappearing 8 persons. In 76 cases the families of the disappeared claim that their loved ones being abducted by unidentified gunmen have disappeared.
Amongst the 138 documented cases of enforced disappearances from Bandipora district, based on the information provided by the families of the disappeared persons, 38 persons have been subjected to enforced disappearances by the state forces (Army – 26, BSF – 6, CRPF – 3, and Jammu and Kashmir Police – 3). Within the 138 documented cases of Bandipora in 44 cases the families of the disappeared claim that their loved ones disappeared in unknown circumstances by unknown agencies while militants have been responsible for disappearing 10 persons. In 45 cases the families of the disappeared claim that their loved ones after being abducted by unidentified gunmen have disappeared.
In 179 cases of enforced disappearances from Baramulla and Bandipora districts where the state actors have been identified as involved, so far nobody has been prosecuted or held accountable. The processes of justice have been barred from prosecuting personnel of armed forces.
In 121 cases of enforced disappearances from Baramulla and Bandipora districts where the families of the disappeared claim that they have witnessed unidentified armed men abduct their loved ones, the unidentified gunmen could be either state or non-state actors. In the last 22 years, armed forces personnel, militants and government sponsored militants (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.
In 188 cases of enforced disappearances from Baramulla and Bandipora districts where the families are clueless about the circumstances in which their loved ones have disappeared, the government investigations so far have also failed in ascertaining the whereabouts.
It is in this context that APDP has submitted these 507 cases of enforced disappearances from Baramulla and Bandipora to the SHRC, so that a thorough investigation is carried out regarding the whereabouts of all the cases of enforced disappearances. 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 relatives of disappeared persons fear that their loved ones might be buried in unmarked graves across Jammu and Kashmir, and in this regard they have appealed to the SHRC to direct state authorities to carry out investigations into such unmarked graves, through available means of investigation like DNA testing and other forensic methods.
Besides identification of unmarked graves and ascertaining the whereabouts of their loved ones, APDP demands that all those involved in this heinous crime of enforced disappearances should be prosecuted irrespective of their backgrounds or posts they hold.
It is pertinent to mention, that last year on 10th December 2011, APDP similarly submitted 132 cases of enforced disappearances from Banihal area, regarding which the investigations are continuing. Despite this large number of cases which have been submitted by APDP to the SHRC, the Jammu and Kashmir government continues to claim, family members of the disappeared have not approached the state for investigations after the SHRC judgment on unmarked graves and mass graves.
This petition has been submitted in the SHRC today by Adv. Parvez Imroz – legal adviser of APDP, Khurram Parvez – program coordinator of APDP and Tahira Begum – spokesperson APDP.
Spokesperson
Tahira Begum

 

 

 

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