‘Practice continues in Kulgam, Shopian, Uri, but victims too scared to complain’
Srinagar: Legislator from Langate, Kupwara, and Awami Itihad Party supremo, Abdul Rasheed, on Friday “congratulated” chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, for her confession that army and Special Task Force of police subjected people to forced labour and committed atrocities on civilians in Kashmir.
In a statement issued here, ER Rasheed said, “Whatsoever were Mehbooba Mufti’s intensions in making the revelations public, it should act as an eye-opener for the world community that a person not less than the rank of CM is authenticating the allegations and charges that common Kashmiris, especially those from remote areas, have been talking about all these years.”
He, however, said that India’s “propaganda machinery” would often label the victims as anti-India elements or Pakistani agents.
“Not only during her press conference, where she lost her cool, but a day before that, she had revealed at an official function the same,” he said, adding that the government of India should take all those “army, police and other personnel” to task who were operating as a state within state.
He said the people in various parts, especially Langate, were subjected to “humiliating and most-painful tasks by army” in around 50 villages.
Many of them lost their lives, and the inhabitants don’t even want to think of that “terrible period”, he said.
The legislator said that there could be no better coincidence than the fact that hours before Mehbooba made the admission, AIP had given Rajnath Singh the “details, facts and figures” related to this “terrible forced labour” in Langate and adjoining areas.
He said the Mehbooba, New Delhi, the world community, and the human rights organisations were duty-bound to intervene and ensure that the guilty were punished.
“Those in uniform who have committed shameless crimes against Kashmiris by various ways and means including subjecting thousands to forced labour for about 15 years and made huge financial benefits out of it shall be identified, probed, and punished within a stipulated time,” he said.
He sought to remind Mehbooba that she wanted to take credit for something that she didn’t do.
“People, and not her, forced the army and task force to abandon the terrible process by launching mass public campaigns from 2003, and the resistance is still on,” he said.
He said the chief minister should visit various localities in Kulgam, Shopian and Uri where “army is still subjecting people to forced labour one way or the other”.
They were too scared to complain, he said.