SRINAGAR: Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) on Sunday said that the state has been trying to erase its symbols of oppression in Kashmir by beautifying erstwhile torture centres.
“By beautifying erstwhile torture centers in Kashmir, Indian state has been trying to erase the signs and symbols of oppression perpetrated against the people of Kashmir,” the APDP said in a statement on the International Day of Disappeared.
“There has also been a deliberate attempt by the state to remove the bitter memories of Enforced Disappearances from the collective conscience of Kashmiris which forms the part of our collective memory,” it said.
The group accused Indian state of forcing them to sign affidavits that their kith and kin were not picked up by Indian armed forces but by un-identified gunmen.
The APDP appealed the international community to put pressure on the Indian state to stop violence against families and the victims of enforced disappearances.
“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,” the statement said.
The group alleged that 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,” the APDP said.
“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,” it added.
The group said that there has been a consistent denial on part of the detaining authorities of involvement in perpetrating these crimes apart from denial of sanction for prosecution of Indian security forces by the state.
“There is also an unwillingness to begin a criminal investigation against forces which finds expression in denial to lodge an FIR – the first step in any criminal investigation,” the statement said.
“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,” it said.
The group said that 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,” the statement said.
APDP reiterated their demand for ratification of the International Convention against Enforced Disappearances.
“We also demand to institute an independent judicial commission to conduct an independent and unbiased probe into the matter including DNA profiling where ever necessary,” the statement said.