Disappeared Remembered in Kashmir



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The more than two decade conflict has lasting impact. The old, frail, yet resilient mother lost in search of his beloved son. Bilal Bahadur covers the event in Kashmir capital on Sunny forenoon on Sunday.

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The masked faces have open question , “where are our loved ones?” The death though is destruction but at least gives solace of crying at the grave. The disappearance is hanging balance. More than 8000 souls are reported to have been put to ‘enforced disappearance’.

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Days of their fun, childhood, being spent in ground with a query… Is anybody listening?

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The picture may fade, impression will remain!


“In Jammu and Kashmir, the government has failed to hold investigations into 8000+ cases of enforced disappearances and 7000+ unmarked and mass graves. Besides this, the survivor family members particularly half widows and half orphans have never been provided with relief or reparations with the result they continue to suffer. The perpetrators of enforced disappearances have never been prosecuted,” a statement by Khurram Pervez coordinated Association of Persons of Disappeared Persons (APDP) said on the occasion.

“The Government of India has easily got away with crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Punjab state between 1984- 1992 and now it stabs to escape the responsibility of over more than 8000 cases of disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir. In December 1996 Central Bureau of Investigation [CBI] produced an investigation report on enforced disappearances and secret cremations carried out by the security forces in Punjab before the Supreme Court of India. The investigation was based on examination of three crematoria in Amritsar which disclosed 2097 illegal cremations. Despite Supreme Court directed National Human Rights Commission to examine and determine the issue, including compensation that arises from the disclosure of flagrant violation of human rights at a mass scale. The CBI was to continue its investigation into the culpability of officials responsible, but so far none of perpetrators involved such a heinous crime has ever been prosecuted or brought to justice,” the statement added.

Kashmir’s leading women power leader, whose son was picked up by forces in early 1990s yet to return home, Parveena Ahanger said, “besides physical violence experienced by the people of Kashmir, the Indian state has structurally perpetrated violence against the families of the victims by denying them information about the whereabouts of their loved one. Families and relatives of the victims of enforced disappearances have been struggling for justice from last two decades. In most of the cases of Enforced Disappearances, investigations have either been fudged or not been done properly and probes have just been an eye wash. The families of the victims of Enforced Disappearances are not even made privy to all steps in the entire investigation process and therefore they remain ignorant about their rights and how their cases are processed. In cases of proceedings in military courts, where security forces are liable to be tried, the families can sit through the proceedings with the help of an entry pass, but no other information is provided thereafter and therefore most of the process remains shrouded in secrecy.”

“Indian state has also attempted to normalize the violence by offering people ex-gratia ‘relief’ and employment under SRO-43, and by forcing them to sign affidavits that their kith and kin were not picked up by Indian armed forces but by un-identified gunmen,” she said in her statement.

“The right to justice flows through the right to know. Denying people information about the whereabouts of their loved ones and forcing them to sign fake affidavits regarding their custody is a gross violation of the Right to know and has spawned a culture of impunity in Kashmir,” she added.

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