Intl HR Day: ‘Resolution on Kashmir’ Adopted in Punjab

KL NEWS NETWORK

SRINAGAR

Sikhs for Human Rights

A group of writers, intellectuals and civil society activists in Punjab Thursday adopted a resolution on Kashmir besides other issues. The conference in which the resolution was adopted was organized by a few Sikh community groups.

“Punjab is in the throes of a retributive backlash by its political masters against dissidents, opposition party members and farmers who hold diametrically opposite views to the ruling party combine. Quite suddenly, though not unexpectedly, there is a wave of intolerance in Punjab. Hundreds of religious and political leaders, volunteers, farmers and activists have been detained and imprisoned under various detention laws,” a statement by Hurriyat (g), quoting speakers in a seminar held in Chandigarh, said.

“In Kashmir, human rights violations continue routinely. In the name of security, the Kashmiri leadership continues to be illegally detained. To wave off opprobrium from any quarter, all house arrests and detentions are illegal – with no trace or record,” the speakers said. “In Tamil Nadu, the Jayalalitha government has detained all those seeking prohibition in the state. A case of sedition has been slapped against folk singer Sivadas for singing songs against the liquor policy of the state.”

“A common feature of violations in these parts of the country is the flagrant misuse of laws, ranging from the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the Public Safety Act, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, regular temporary detention procedures and sedition provisions of IPC,” the statement informed.

“The startling disclosures by Gurmeet Singh Pinki (as reported in the latest issue of Outlook magazine and so far without any rejoinder by the state or union government) – a police vigilante turned police turned accused criminal may have rattled the Punjab police bureaucracy, but they have only affirmed and confirmed what human rights bodies and political groups have been shouting from rooftops ad nauseam since the last two decades. The brazen brutality and impunity with which state sponsored killings of innocent people were carried out, the gross abuse of laws by the Indian state which managed such extrajudicial killings, the utter carelessness with which the Indian judiciary overlooked it and the irresponsible and unethical manner in which the Indian media reported it, should shock the conscience of right-thinking Indian civil libertarians, thinkers and politicians,” they said. “These shocking facts should bestir the international community to come out of its shell and expose the façade of Indian democracy and reorient its campaign for search of truth into the events of the last two decades of the last century in strife-torn rebellious Punjab.”

The statement said that the group adopted a resolution which is being produced here:

Associating with the worldwide Human Rights fraternity, Sikhs for Human Rights, Lawyers for Human Rights, Punjab Human Rights Organisation and the Sikh Youth of Punjab hereby resolve as under:

  1. This year’s Human Rights Day is devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966. India has also not yet ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The international community has to play a bigger role to ensure that India ratifies the above covenants and incorporates provisions of the same into the local laws of India.
  2. This conference strongly condemns the detention of farmers all over the state in the last 2-3 months. It is ironic that those who pioneered the state of Punjab to become the bread-basket of India are fighting for their very existence in the wake of wrong and misplaced farm and farm food pricing policies of the Central government and the government of Punjab.
  3. This gathering seeks the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained under various preventive detention and sedition laws and total withdrawal of cases against each and every person so detained
  4. Gurmeet Singh Pinki was the blue-eyed boy of senior police personnel who were all involved in a criminal conspiracy to eliminate hundreds of innocent Sikh youth in extrajudicial killings and who pocketed largesse from the state in lieu of their inhuman killings. All such police personnel, serving or retired, must be immediately arrested on the basis of the public confession made by Pinki and tried for the gross abuse of human rights.
  5. Human Rights defenders gathered at the human rights conference in Chandigarh whole-heartedly appreciate and welcome the move of artists, writers, armed personnel, thinkers, storytellers and political activists, who while protesting the gross abuse of human rights and rising intolerance all over the country, have returned their medals, awards and other decorations to the government.
  6. The BJP associated PDP government in J&K is only on paper. The state is governed by Union of India by proxy. The politics of intolerance has been pushed to the limits. From imprisoning, harassing and killings of Kashmiris in fake encounters, the state wants to decide what food people will eat. This dictatorial attitude and negative governance is unacceptable. International human rights groups and the UN must also wake up from their slumber and reopen the case of rights abuses of the people of Kashmir.
  7. All anti-people legislation including AFSFA, PSA, UAPA (1967), sections of sedition, must be withdrawn and repealed from all states in India.
  8. This meeting notes with concern the recent judgement of the Supreme Court of India in the case of Arivu Perarivalan, Santhan, Murugan and four others, whose life imprisonment has been interpreted to mean “life till death”. The judgement takes away the right of remission of states in life imprisonment and death penalty cases. This is a serious development in the annals of criminal jurisprudence in India. We appeal to anti-death penalty activists and human rights activists worldwide to raise a voice against this and seek a more humane interpretation of the punishment of life imprisonment.

Participants in the conference are Justice (retd) M Katju, justice A S Bains, Hurriyat Conference (g) spokesperson Ayaz Akbar, Kashmir’s eminent columnist A M Zargar, Harpal Singh Cheema, Kanwar pal Singh, Advocate Navkiran Singh, Advocate Amar Singh Chahal, DSL Khalsa head H S Dhami, Lt Gen Kartar Singh Gill, Adv R S Bains, SYP head Paramjit Singh Tanda, Gurtej Singh, Shashi Kant, and Prof Jagmohan Singh.

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