Human rights abuses in IHK
Posted by Faheem Belharvi
In September 2012, Amnesty International (AI) has published its annual report, entitled, “Still a ‘Lawless Law’ Detention under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978.” The report of the AI is based on ground realities and the facts, established after the members of its team physically visited the Indian Occupied State of Jammu and Kashmir. Since last few years, IA is regularly publishing its reports on Kashmir besides other areas where there are violations of the human rights.
In the recently established fact finding report, IA has focused on Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA), 1978. This cruel law allows for administrative detention of up to two years “in the case of persons acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State,” and for administrative detention of up to one year where “any person is acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order”.
The findings of the report are that there is no improvement as far as the human rights violation in IHK is concerned. It says that, there are “Several provisions in the PSA facilitate arbitrary detention, in violation of India’s obligations under the ICCPR.” The report further deliberate that, “Amnesty International’s subsequent research in 2012 has also found that the manner in which authorities use the PSA in J&K results in further human rights violations.”
Regarding the techniques of the human rights violations, the IA says, that, there is an unlawful deprivations of liberty through the practice of ‘revolving door detentions ‘in IHK. Then there is a detention of children, torture and other ill treatment, the denial of medical care while in detention, and a limited realization of the right to reparations. Besides, “instead of charging and trying persons suspected of committing offences in a fair trial in a court of law, the J&K authorities continue to circumvent the rule of law and the criminal justice system by resorting to detentions under the PSA.”
In the process of development of this report, AI fact-finding mission visited IHK twice during 2012. The mission had trips of Srinagar, Anantnag, Pulwama, Kupwara and Baramulla. The mission analyzed 110 PSA detention cases and met with the affected families. It met the IHK police officials, members of the Bar Association, Human Rights Organizations and even members of the civil society.
With such inhuman laws and practices by Indian State machinery and especially its armed forces, how can one expect normalcy in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Therefore, IA concludes that there is no change in conditions of human rights in IHK from what it has been in 2011 or earlier, as Indian Government has failed to fulfill its obligations, to which, it was reminded through such fact finding reports almost each year. This is a universally accepted norm that, while remaining engaged with each other, the dialogue and peace talks are the best methodology to reach over to some solution of this long-drawn-out issue. However, the immediate need as emphasized by IA is to put an end to the Indian atrocities in the occupied part of Kashmir.
Mr Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar during his recent visit of Pakistan also emphasized India and Pakistan to find the solution of Kashmir issue through dialogue. This is irony that, in their private discussions, Indian leaders do accept the need for the solution of Kashmir issue. Nevertheless, at the official level, they are even not ready to accept Kashmir as a disputed state and bluntly say that, it is the integral part of India and then there is a continuation of the human rights violations there by its state forces. Going over to the history, it is worth mentioning that, Pakistan and Kashmiri people have always desired a peaceful and realistic solution of the issue. Indeed, it was India that invaded Kashmir in October 1947 and then unleashed a reign of terror in the occupied state.
Whereas, Indian human rights violations and discrimination against Kashmiris is a fact, as highlighted by neutral organizations like Immensity International, the real question is why the civilized international society and the world body, the United Nations Organization is silent over all these affairs. After all India has to be pressurized to stop its state sponsored terrorism over the innocent Kashmiri masses. Mr A.G Noorani, a well-known Indian writer and scholar has questioned the UN, as when did this world body, “last discuss the Kashmir question? The ceasefire resolution of Sept 20, 1965, which ended the war, asked the UN secretary general “to seek a peaceful solution and to report to the Security Council thereon”. He made no such effort and none asked him why he did not. Nothing has happened since.” Surely, the decision making part of the UN is UNSC, having five permanent members. Unfortunately, they all have their stakes and India has been able to diplomatically engage all in the one way or the other.
With international community remaining silent and UN as a helpless organization, what is the option? Apparently, the only ray of hope for the people of Kashmir, is the bilateralism? Unfortunately, on the bilateral front too, there have been no very encouraging indicators.
In their sixty-five years’ history, both India and Pakistan could not bridge the trust deficit gap between both, the first step needed for such an approach of problem solving. Over the years, India has developed economically and became strategic ally of US, the contemporary super power, while maintain its significant linkages with the former super power, Russia. Thus, it is in a better position internationally as well as regionally as a hegemonic power to continue its inflexible approach towards the solution of Kashmir issue.
If India is allowed to continue maneuvering over the Kashmir under the pretext of global support, there would be a unending volatility in South Asia. This instability is a ban for peace in the region and for the regional stability. Therefore, despite failure at the bilateral and multi-lateral level, there is a ray of hope to solve this tricky issue. This new ray of hope comes from the civil society of Pakistan and India.
The civil society has to compel those having rigidity to show the needed flexibility for a regional peace in the world poorest region, the South Asia. The civil society has to realize that; route to the peace in South Asia is through Kashmir, which has kept hostage the entire region for over sixty-five years.
Thus, its amicable and lasting solution is equally important for India, Pakistan and Kashmiris, besides the region. Kashmiri Diaspora has to mobilized itself to play its part towards international consciousness campaign about Indian human rights violation in IHK and its unlawful occupation of the State ever since 1947.
As a first step as recommended by IA, India should repeal the PSA and any other legislation facilitating the human rights violations and release all those charged or detained under these cruel laws.
AI also demanded in this report that, there should be an impartial and thorough inquiry of all the cases detained under PSA or where there is an involvement of human abuses. Findings of these abuses should be made public and responsible people should be punished accordingly.
(Dr Raja Muhammad Khan)