SRINAGAR: On the World Human Rights Day on Sunday, the joint resistance leadership (JRL) said it sent a memorandum to the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres urging him to “help us in ending abuses and ensure justice for crimes against civilians (in Kashmir) as a key step toward lasting peace”.
Text of the memorandum
Memorandum on behalf of the people of Jammu & Kashmir to Secretary General of United Nations Mr António Guterres Dated: 10 December, 2017.
On the 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we the people of Jammu and Kashmir through this memorandum bring into your kind notice that India too is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which gives fundamental rights guaranteed to the individuals. Universal Declaration of Human Rights tirelessly affirms the fundamental equality and dignity of every man, woman and child. India claims to be one of the largest democracies in the world.
The Preamble to the Constitution of India declares it to be a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular and Democratic Republic. Unfortunately, however, India does not adhere to these principles. The value of life of a member of one religious community is more than the life of a member from another religious community and nowadays India is considered to be among the major human rights violating countries.
Every year more and more civilians are killed by Indian armed forces in Jammu & Kashmir. India’s violent repression of protests in Jammu & Kashmir from 1989 resulted in hundred thousand deaths of protesters and the detention of thousands. Indian armed forces arbitrarily detained and tortured peaceful protesters during these years. The protests by the people of Jammu & Kashmir are carried for right of self-determination, against the failure to respect human rights and account for violations. The Indian armed forces are using unnecessary or excessive force, beatings, and detentions as a tool to suppress the voice of the people of Jammu & Kashmir.
The people of Kashmir for the past seventy years are in a struggle for the exercise of their right to self-determination accrued to them under United Nations Charter and the resolutions passed by UN Security Council on Kashmir Dispute.
The Indian armed forces enjoying impunity under Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA) and other such laws have committed mass crimes in Kashmir. Harassment, threats, arbitrary detentions and politically motivated arrests, threats to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, crackdowns on peaceful protests, restrictions on freedom of expression, imposition of repeated curfews, restrictions, raids, and vandalizing of homes are often coupled with crackdowns on public protests and others have become a regular feature in Kashmir.
Due to continuing conflict total number of 361 deaths and thousands injured by bullets and pellets on the streets of Kashmir in violent incidents during 2017 across Jammu & Kashmir were reported, which included Civilians, Government Forces personnel and Militants. During the popular uprising of 2016, 152 Civilians were put to death, scores of persons deprived of their vision either completely or partially by pellet firing, hundreds of youth arrested and thousands injured by the Indian government forces in Kashmir.
There are over 1900 under-trials languishing in jails across the state. Reports from jails narrate horrifying stories about plight of detainees. There are 2,364 prisoners lodged in 14 government jails in Jammu and Kashmir. Of 2,364 prisoners, 1929 are under-trials in various jails of the state—including 347 convicts and 118 detainees. This year again, many elderly men were detained by the J&K Police in place of their absconding sons.
Reports about manhandling of Kashmiri leaders in Tihar at the hands of dreaded criminals have also been received. Apart from physical torture, complaints about quality of food have also been received. Prisoners suffering from serious ailments are not moved to hospitals. The jail authorities force detainees to spend all the time in narrow and dark cells while other inmates from other Indian states are allowed to spend their time in the open. It is unfair, against the law and at the same time it is even worse if prisoners are discriminated by the authorities on the grounds of their geography, religion and relationship.
Time and again the matter has been raised by us with the concerned but nothing is done to ease the suffering of the prisoners, instead, Government of India is using National Investigation Agency (NIA) to suppress and muzzle the voices raised for right of self-determination.
Sir, the Government of India has waged a war against the un-armed civilian population of Jammu & Kashmir. It is trampling the religious freedom and rights of the people as well. The Government of India is continuously refusing to accept the ground reality in Kashmir and recognize the importance of a peaceful resolution to this decades-old dispute, instead it is using the methods of coercion, suppression and arm-twisting tactics to deny the people of Jammu & Kashmir their legitimate right of self-determination.
We appeal to your good self and through you to all the member nations of United Nations to take serious note of the prevailing situation of Jammu & Kashmir and stress upon the government to respect the right to peaceful assembly which is a fundamental right. We appeal that United Nations should condemn the unnecessary and excessive use of force by Indian Government forces in response to protests.
United Nations should seriously investigate the situations in which state armed forces have used excessive force against protesters, including most recently in Kashmir. We on behalf of people of Jammu & Kashmir demand that United Nations should announce International Day of Solidarity with the people of Jammu & Kashmir. More than hundred thousand people of Kashmir have lost their life for right of self-determination.
International Day of Solidarity will provide an opportunity to remind the International community that the question of Kashmir remains unresolved and that the Kashmiri people have not yet attained their inalienable right as defined by the UN General Assembly, including the right to self-determination and national independence.
We also demand the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to fulfil its obligations to ensure peace along the LoC.
Cease-fire cannot be monitored from Srinagar or Muzaffarabad offices. Something tangible needs to be done for achieving the objective. The least it can do is to bring the belligerents to the negotiating table.
The hostilities must stop immediately to save further loss of life and property. We also appeal United Nations to circulate an addendum every year on the crimes and various human rights abuses by government forces against people of Jammu & Kashmir as a priority.
We respectfully request your immediate attention to this urgent matter and request you to help us in ending abuses and ensure justice for crimes against civilians as a key step toward lasting peace.