SRINAGAR: Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) on Friday said that Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti has forgotten her promise of justice after coming to power.
APDP Chairman Parveena Ahangar, while accusing successive governments of ignoring the families of youth, who went missing in security forces’ custody during militancy, said that the issue has been “appropriated for vote bank by pro India politicians”.
“Since 1997 National Conference-Congress to BJP-PDP alliances, political regimes have changed and hoodwinked Kashmiri nation on the promises of peace, prosperity, transparency and accountability,” Ahangar said at a monthly sit-in at Lalchowk.
“In 2002, Mehbooba Mufti for her vote bank promised that she will provide justice to the families of disappeared persons but once she came to power she chose to forget the issue,” Ahangar accused.
She said that she has lost all faith in government’s promises to deliver justice in the cases of enforced disappearances in Kashmir.
At a time when the government was proposing to make State Human Rights Commission a robust body, Ahanger termed SHRC as a sham. She said that the toothless commission has not been able to do any positive work on the state of human rights in Kashmir.
“SHRC simply turns truth into lies by camouflaging ‘enforced disappearances’ as just ‘missing cases’. It’s only job is to offer compensation and not to deliver justice,” Ahanger said.
The sit in protest by APDP is held 10th of every month in Srinagar where the affected families gather to give each other support while demanding the government to locate their disappeared family members.
“We believe that preserving our memory is crucial to our struggle. The commemoration of our collective loss in the form of a monthly protest gives strength to our movement,” Parveena Ahanger said.
Ahangar also said that their continued struggle was bearing some fruit.
“In last two decades of struggle while negotiating the complex judicial systems and structures of impunity, 44 cases of enforced disappearances have reached the stage where the judiciary has ordered arrest of armed forces involved in the crime. The court has directed sanction from the government to arrest the perpetrators,” she said.
There are no constant figures of the people disappeared during the past 25 years of conflict. Human rights groups including APDP put the figure somewhere between 8000 and 10,000. Government, on various occasions, has come out with different figures. The lowest was when Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in 2003 said that only 60 were missing, who received severe criticism from parents of missing as well as rights groups. The highest figure was put by former Law Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig in the State Assembly on March 25, 2003 who stated that “since December 1992, 3744 are reported missing of whom 135 have been declared dead and the number of disappeared could be even more”.