Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) on Wednesday staged a silent protest at Srinagar’s Pratap Park to mark the World Disappearance Day.
APDP members were holding banners and placards displaying the pictures of the disappeared persons in Kashmir.
“APDP seeks to draw attention to the continued practice of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions of Kashmiris with impunity,” a spokesman of APDP said here.
He said that over the past three decades, more than 8,000 persons have been subjected to enforced or involuntary disappearances.
The spokesperson said that the practice of enforced disappearances in Kashmir, however, had seen a considerable decline during the last decade but since last year the practice seems to have resurfaced again.
“Since last year, there has been a significant increase in the abduction of civilians who after forced disappearances are being killed extra-judicially. At least eight such incidents have been reported across Jammu and Kashmir since more than a year, while one among the eight victims still remains missing,” APDP said.
The forum said that recently, a college student from Handwara area of north Kashmir was killed in a fake encounter subsequent to his disappearance and was branded as a foreign militant by the army.
In another such incident from north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, a headless body of a 25-year-old youth was recovered from a river subsequent to his disappearance on Aug 27 this year.
“APDP is concerned about the spike in extra-judicial killings of people subsequent to their disappearance. The association condemned such ‘systematic acts of violence’ against civilians,” the spokesman added.
The APD spokesperson said that today when the whole world commemorates the victims of enforced disappearances, APDP would like to bring the attention of the global community not only on the issue of more than 8,000 cases of enforced disappearances in Kashmir but also on the existence of more than 7,000 unknown, unmarked and mass graves.
“The government continues to be reluctant in carrying out investigations into the enforced disappearances and the existence of unmarked mass graves despite the recommendation from the international institutions like European Union, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, etc as well as from the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), a government body, which recommended for a comprehensive forensic examination in 2011 into all the unmarked and mass graves in Jammu and Kashmir,” the spokesperson said.
Pertinently, SHRC recently directed the state that mass graves being a sensitive issue, any Additional Advocate General from the state should appear to assist the commission.
“Indian government claiming itself the largest democracy and striving for new India has failed in investigating human rights abuses, prosecuting perpetrators and providing truth, justice, and reparation to the victim human rights in Jammu and Kashmir. The recent shocking verdict of Armed Forces Tribunal on Machil fake encounter case has created fear and dismay among the family members of the disappeared. The tribunal has suspended the life sentence of the five perpetrators of Indian Army, who were convicted by army’s General Court Martial in 2014. The machil fake encounter was a high profile case in which three youth subsequent their disappearance were killed by Army in a fake encounter in 2010 and were branded as foreign terrorists,” APDP said.
On the International day of the Disappeared, APDP once again calls on global civil society and the international human rights watchdogs that the phenomenon of enforced disappearance must end in Jammu and Kashmir and the perpetrators of disappearances must be brought to justice, so that there will be way forward for providing truth, justice, and reparation to the thousands of victimized families, the spokesman added.