#India — Nobody’s children: Report slams the state of juvenile justice in conflict zones


Mar 24, 2013, 09.08AM IST TNN[ Manash Pratim Gohain ]

NEW DELHI: “In 197 districts of India officially notified as affected by internal armed conflicts, which includes 91 districts notified as ‘disturbed’ under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and 106 districts declared as Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected, the edifice of the juvenile justice does not exist. Children, irrespective of their age, are treated as adult and subjected to gross human rights violations, including arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, extra-judicial executions and sexual assaults as part of the counter insurgency operations.”

These and many more disturbing details had been revealed by the first ever report on the state of juvenile justice in conflict afflicted districts of India, “Nobody’s children: Juveniles of Conflict Affected Districts of India“, by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR). Juveniles in these districts are denied access to juvenile justice unlike their counterparts in rest of the country, even as a heated debate has been raging at the national level with respect to lowering the age of juveniles in the wake of the gruesome rape of a young woman on December 16, 2012 in Delhi.

The 197 districts which have been notified as conflict affected include 71 districts notified as “disturbed” under the AFSPA in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura and Jammu and Kashmir; and 106 districts declared as LWE affected in nine states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

“The report highlights 15 cases of arbitrary detention and torture and six cases of detention under the Public Safety Act of Jammu and Kashmir, 15 cases of extra-judicial executions and five cases of sexual assault such as rape by the security forces. In a number of cases of these blatant violations, the National Human Rights Commission has already awarded compensation and the orders of the NHRC establish the truth beyond any reasonable doubt,” said, Suhas Chakma, director, ACHR.

As per the report on the state of juvenile justice in conflict afflicted districts, in 151 districts out of 197 conflict afflicted districts across 16 states, i.e. 76.64% of the total conflict afflicted districts do not have observation homes (OH) and special homes (SH) implying that juveniles who are taken into custody are kept in police lock up and camps of the army and para-military forces in violation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 [JJ(C&PC) Act] and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The worst cases are Manipur which has only one OH cum SH and Jammu and Kashmir which has only two OH. This denies access to justice to many juveniles detained from other districts as they need to be produced before the respective Juvenile Justice Boards (JJB) or courts in the case of Jammu and Kashmir.

The report further brought to light that in the conflict afflicted districts, the JJBs exist on paper while their functioning remains deplorable. The Government of Manipur had submitted false information to the Ministry of Women and Child Development that nine JJBs had been operating in the State while in reality only one JJB was functioning. As the state government failed to establish the JJBs, the Project Approval Board (PAB) in its 35th Meeting under Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) held on January 17, 2012 had no other option but to decide not to sanction further grants for the nine JJBs for the current Financial Year 2012- 2013 until a report on the functioning of JJBs with complete details of members, case pendency, among others are submitted by the state government.

In Jharkhand, there were over 3,500 cases pending before various JJBs in the state as on July 11, 2012 while the OH for Boys established in the LWE affected Palamau district was converted into a girl’s residential school – Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, and the juveniles were shifted to the OH, Ranchi, which is about 165 km away. This requires travel arrangements to be made for the juveniles to come to Palamau district and be produced before the JJB, which invariably delays justice.

In Assam, replies received from JJBs under the Right to Information Act showed that not a single review of the pendency of cases before the JJBs has been conducted by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate or Chief Judicial Magistrate in the districts of Kokrajhar, Dibrugarh, Darrang, Lakhimpur, Udalguri, Dhubri, Goalpara, Barpeta, Golaghat, Morigaon, Chirang, Dhemaji and Nagaon from date of their constitution till March 30, 2012.

The report goes on to cite violations of juveniles’ rights in conflict affected districts. The report claimed that children in the conflict affected districts are subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention including under the national security laws, torture, extra-judicial executions and sexual violence. In many cases, the perpetrators got away by producing “No Objection Certificate” or statements obtained under duress from villagers or victims stating that they had not committed any offence.

The report cited 15 cases of arbitrary arrest, detention and torture. The report stated that “though crimes of arbitrary arrest, detention and torture are difficult to establish, ACHR has been successful to obtain compensation in at least three cases (two of which are highlighted in the report) to establish the patterns of violence against children.

The first case was that of the “illegal detention and torture of 17-year-old Soumen Mohanty, Orissa on November 17, 2010. Mohanty of Netaji Nagar was arrested in connection with Madhupatana police station case No. 218 dated November 17, 2010 under Sections 506/34 of Indian Penal Code and Sections 3 and 5 of the Explosive Substances Act in Cuttack, Orissa.

On November 23, 2010, ACHR filed a complaint with the NHRC which forwarded it to the Orissa Human Rights Commission for taking necessary action. The Police submitted misleading report and this was challenged by the ACHR. Thereafter, the OHRC asked its director (investigation) to conduct an independent inquiry and the inquiry report.

The inquiry revealed that Mohanty was taken into detention at Madhupatana police station on November 17, 2010 between 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm and interrogated by the police. Mohanty was tortured physically and mentally by ASI Satayanarayan Senapati in presence of inspector Jayant Kumar Mohapatra and sub-inspector, S B Jena. Senapati who assaulted Soumen Mohanty for which he is liable to be prosecuted under sections 341/323 IPC and Mohapatra is liable for illegal detention of Mohanty for more than 40 hours under sections 342/ 341/ 323/ 109 IPC. Police records were manipulated showing that Mohanty was arrested on November 18, 2010 at 8.30 pm to cover up the illegal action of Mohapatra and Senapati which amounts to misconduct and dereliction of duty.”

The OHRC also found that when Mohanty was produced before the CJM-cum-Principal, JJB, Cuttack on November 19, 2010, the JJB observed, “Soumen Mohanty complaints of ill-treatment by police while in custody. He has shown his right hand where marks of assault are visible. “The OHRC accepted the report of the director investigation on November 23, 2012 and awarded compensation of Rs 50,000 to the victim. The Commission directed the authorities to decide about the action to be taken against the erring officials for having assaulted Mohanty and manipulated the records.

The second case is about the illegal detention and torture of a 12-year-old minor in Assam, Dipak Saikia (name changed) of Sanitpur village who was tortured by Manuj Boruah, Officer In-Charge at the Sungajan police station in Golaghat district, Assam. On August 16, 2009 at about 11am, a group of about six police personnel entered the house of the victim and dragged him out without giving any reason. He was taken to the Sungajan police station and on reaching the police station, he was ordered to sit on the floor of the verandah. Boruah allegedly tied the minor’s hands on his back with a chain and tortured him. The victim was beaten up with a stick repeatedly on his body including in the thigh, knees, foots, sole, back, arms, elbows and ears. The Officer-In-Charge also asked the minor to keep his hand on his table and was beaten on the nails. He was again hit on the head, neck and nose until Dipak became unconscious.

Pursuant to a complaint filed with the NHRC by ACHR, the Superintendent of Police, Golaghat district, vide communication dated December 7, 2010 submitted a report to the NHRC confirming that the accused Boruah directed his subordinate police officials to pick up the victim from his home at 10.00 am, caned him and detained him in the police station. The report of the SP further stated that accused police officer willfully omitted to make necessary entries in the General Diary of the police station, pertaining to the whole episode including the picking up of the victim, his illegal detention and subsequent release. The report further stated that a Departmental Disciplinary Proceeding has been drawn up against the accused officer for criminal misconduct and dereliction of duty.

The NHRC ordered the state government to provide a compensation of Rs 50,000 to the victim. On April 20, 2012, the NHRC closed the case after the joint secretary to the Government of Assam, Political (A) Department informed that payment of compensation amounting to Rs 50,000 was paid through cheque to the victim.

The special focus of the report has been on the arrests under the Public Safety Act (PSA) in Jammu and Kashmir. Children continue to be arrested under the PSA which provides for preventive detention upto two years without trial in the name of public safety. The report cited the case of one Faizan Rafeeq Hakeem who was arrested for his alleged involvement in “stone-throwing” incident on February 7, 2011 when he was all of 14 years eight months 11 days old. He was booked under the PSA and shifted to Kotbalwal Jail. Finally, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah ordered his release. Hakeem was released on April 5, 2011.

Another case of administrative detention under PSA was that of 17-year-old Murtaza Manzoor. He was released from jail after the High Court intervened and found his imprisonment to be unlawful. He was locked up for more than three months.

The report also claimed that children are routinely picked up and extra-judicially killed including in alleged fake encounters. In this report, ACHR provided 15 cases of extra-judicial execution of children. In a number of cases, extra-judicial executions have been established by the National Human Rights Commission.

Two emblematic cases are killings of 13-year-old Rakhal Gaur by CRPF, Assam and 15-year-old Jatan Reang by Assam Rifles, Assam.

“On December 8, 2011 morning, Cobra commandos of the CRPF reportedly shot dead Gaur at his village, Malasi Namkhi Gaur village under Dolamara police station in Karbi Anglong district of Assam. On December 9, 2011, ACHR filed a complaint with the NHRC urging its immediate and appropriate intervention. NHRC registered the complaint (Case NO.348/3/8/2011-PF) and issued notice to Director General, CRPF, New Delhi and Superintendent of Police, Karbi Anglong district, Assam calling for reports within four weeks. The state government of Assam paid a compensation of Rs 3,00,000 to the next of kin of the deceased from the Chief Minister’s Relief fund and in view of this, the NHRC closed the case.

Meanwhile, Reang was killed in firing by the personnel of 14th Assam Rifles and arbitrarily arrested four other tribal villagers at Gudgudi village under Katli Chara police station in Hailakandi district, Assam. The five tribal villagers including the deceased were returning from Boirabi bazaar when they were ambushed by the 14th Assam Rifles from North Tripura over a bridge at Gudgudi village at around 10 pm on May 14, 2010. The 14th Assam Rifles personnel opened fire indiscriminately without any provocation and killed Reang although they were unarmed. Following the killing of Reang, the Assam Rifles personnel arrested the four other Reang tribal villagers and handed them over to Katli Chara police station.

On July 23, 2010 ACHR filed a complaint with the NHRC urging its immediate and appropriate intervention. The NHRC registered the complaint as Case No.170/3/21/2010-PF/UC and issued notice to the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. During the course of proceeding, the NHRC received the Magisterial Enquiry Report, Investigation Report of the Superintendent of Police, Hailakandi, and the Post-Mortem Report. The reports confirmed that the minor was fired at from point blank range by a jawan and injured his right thigh. But, the minor was not provided medical care and he died on account of excessive bleeding. The NHRC directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to pay a compensation of Rs 5,00,000 to the next of kin of the deceased.

The ACHR also cited examples of sexual violence children, especially the girls, face sexual violence from the law enforcement personnel in the conflict affected areas. One of the case cited is that of a 15-year-old tribal girl raped by a personnel of Tripura State Rifles on February 23, 2011 at Nandakumarpara village in Khowai subdivision in West Tripura district. The accused Tejendra Barui was deployed in the Village Committee Election for the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council.

According to the family members, the accused TSR personnel dragged the victim to a nearby jungle forcefully when she was returning home from her relatives house and raped her. On February 25, 2011, ACHR filed a complaint with the NCPCR which was registered as Case No. TR-19023/21623/2010-11/COMP. Pursuant to NCPCR’s intervention, the District Magistrate and Collector, West Tripura district vide letter dated May 13, 2011 informed the NCPCR that a compensation of Rs 40,000 was recommended to two victims under the Tripura Victim Compensation Fund Rules, 2007.

On June 21, 2012, ACHR further intervened with the NCPCR to ensure that the compensation is enhanced.

Another case of sexual violence cited was that of a 14-year-old mentally challenged girl being raped by a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel near the CRPF camp in Warangal district, Andhra Pradesh in April 2011. The victim was an inmate of a Shelter Home run by an NGO. The matter came to light only when the victim was admitted to a local hospital and gave birth to a premature baby on November 5, 2011. ACHR filed a complaint with the NHRC on November 14, 2011. The NHRC directed the Director General, CRPF, New Delhi and Superintendent of Police, Wrangal district to submit reports.

In compliance, the Director General, CRPF submitted a report which stated that during investigation the caretaker of the Home revealed that a CRPF Constable had raped the girl in the month of April 2011 as a result the victim might have become pregnant. An FIR was also registered under Section 376 IPC at Kakatya University Campus police station, Warangal against an unidentified CRPF personnel and Caretaker of the Home. The NHRC vide its proceedings dated April 13, 2012 directed the CRPF to submit a further report regarding the status of action taken.

 

 

Abuses, threats can’t silence Kashmir’s only girl band #Vaw


Valley’s all-girl rock band after online slur still detremined
Azhar Qadri
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, February 1
The musical journey of Kashmir’s first and only all-girl rock band has come to an abrupt end after an online hate buzz.

The brainchild of three teenagers from the Valley, ‘Pragaash’ — a Kashmiri word meaning ‘from darkness to light’ — arrived on the music scene like a whiff of fresh air in a state plagued by violence for the last two decades. The 16-years-old made their first and last public performance at the ‘Battle of Bands’ here last December where they gave bands that mostly comprise of boys a run for their money.

But days after their debut, the band decided to call it quits. The reason: a vile barrage of abuses and hate messages about them and their families on the Internet, strong enough to force the young teen into hiding and abandoning their dream.

One of the girls, who talked to The Tribune on the condition that she would not be named, said the band had “ended”, but was reluctant to give reasons for the decision. “We have closed. It just ended… we had to hear so much from society that is why… I don’t want to tell anyone the reason,” she said.

The girl’s mother said she cried through the night after reading comments about the band on a social networking site. “The girls’ pictures were uploaded on a Facebook page and opinions were sought on whether making a band was wrong or right for our girls.

Some people wrote that the girls’ families had no food, which is why they were out to earn. After reading the comments, my daughter got very upset and cried all night. She decided not to do it again,” said the girl’s mother, adding that the family tried to talk her out of her decision. According to the girl’s mother, some posts appreciated the band; others didn’t. “Our religion does not allow this, our society doesn’t allow this,” she said.

‘Pragaash’ was a milestone in Kashmir’s music history for being the first rock band where the guitarist, drummer and vocalist were all girls. Women have enjoyed success in Kashmir singing folk songs, mystic poetry and romantic songs, but what set ‘Pragaash’ apart was its genre.

Band guitarist Aneeka Khalid, however, said the band had not been disbanded.

I rubbish the claims which have been made by some people quoting us that we will quit because of the threats ‘Pragaash‘ has received.

Justice to Aasiya and Neelofar – Haze Kay #delhigangrape #Kashmir #Vaw


The 23-year old Indian girl, who was  gang-raped in New Delhi, died  in the hospital of Singapore. This horrible incident is making a harsh reality of India visible. In the rankings of TrustLaw, a news service run by Thomson Reuters, India turns out to be the worst country for a woman to live in (BBC News). In New Delhi there have been protests and the whole world has become a witness. It is very important to keep the subject on top of the agenda. A very welcome contribution to this is the voice of a young rapper from Kashmir.

Haze Kay
Haze Kay is a protest rapper born in the year of 1990 when Gawakadal massacre took place. To Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW) he states that he makes music for a cause, not for money. The cause is Kashmir and human rights abuse. And now the cause is the victim of New Delhi. For her and other innocent girls who got raped, he wrote the song “Justice to Aasiya and Neelofar”.

 

In the memory of Aasiya and Neelofar and thousands of other girls and women who have been victimized by the crime called Rape…

Aasiya, Nilofar rape and murder case (2009 Shopian rape and murder case

Shopian rape and murder case refers to the alleged abduction, gang rape and murder of two young women in mysterious circumstances on the intervening night of May 29 and 30, 2009 at Bongam,Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, India.[1][2]
There were violent protests against the incident, with protesters accusing CRPF personnel of raping and murdering Neelofar Jan (22) and Asiya Jan (17).[3] They also accused the State government and the Jammu and Kashmir Police of hiding facts. Amidst public outcry, the state government, on 3 June 2009, appointed a commission headed by Justice Muzaffar Ahmad Jan to investigate the case. The panel submitted a 400-page report to the government, in which it called for more investigation into the role of security forces personnel, but suggested that the killings were most likely the result of a family feud that was misrepresented by the media.[4][5][6]
On 12 August 2009, Jammu and Kashmir Government on Wednesday decided to hand over the case to the CBI.[7] In September 2009, the forensic scientists found during autopsy that one of the two victims was a virgin, thereby ruling out the possibility of a rape.[8] The investigators accused the protesters of falsifying and fabricating evidence in order to discredit the Indian security forces; the countercharges were rejected by the dead women’s relatives and the protesters as a cover-up

Incident

English: This is the sketched plan showing the...

The bodies were recovered on May 30, 2009. While people maintain that the sisters-in-law were raped and murder, the Central Bureau of Investigation claimed that the duo died of drowning.

Intro

Their guns and their clicks, I don’t fear all that.
When the police comes around , I don’t fear all that.
Disappeared without a trace , i don’t fear all that.
Cause I am from Kashmir so i don’t fear all that.

Verse 1

I am preparing a tomorrow that will have my destruction,
but I will first violate the violent coalition of this occupational cooperation that is ruling me,
cops are now suing me , their plots ain’t doin’ me,
enough of a damage so I still don’t hesitate to manufacture facts and spit it right at their face ,
if i believe in God then I know he will keep me safe,
my every punch line is like a scream from the grave,
tell me how did u manage to silent the commission , that was investigating the Shopian rape victims,
tell me how did you label that episode a suicide even though the bodies were found naked besides a shallow lake,
merely 2 blocks from a military checkpost , now don’t you dare blame this episode on a ghost,
the evidence was posted to Delhi but didn’t ever reach there,
cause here justice too can feel fear and die in a wheel chair…

Chorus

Justice to the girls who were so innocent,
Justice so our sisters can be roaming free,
Justice to Aasiya and Neelofar,
Justice to the girl from Delhi.

Verse 2

Their screams their cries a village raped in the night,
now their children born don’t know who’s against or who’s side are they on,
while some ended living in hatred , some crossed the border turned to militancy to escape it and
came back in arms, and came back with bombs,
but who’s to be blamed when the govt is wrong,
when justice seems framed and the proof are the widows,
the orphans , the raped , the disappeared and all those,
people who have suffered through the years of genocide,
when you live in occupation you can die but not cry,
sabotaging the truth can only cover not hide,
cause when the clouds pass away the sun has to shine bright,
and it’s a lie if they say occupation means democracy,
its another form of slavery justified by hypocrisy,
it bothers me to stand patient waiting for a prophecy,
no more you will see a sober me , though you plot and follow me…

 

#Invitation -Repeal AFSPA Save Democracy – #Irom Sharmila


Repeal AFSPA Save Democracy

We Want Citizen State Not Police State

Reach Raj Ghat, Delhi on 6 November 2012

12th Anniversary of Irom Shamila’s Fast

The lofty proclamations of liberal democracy – like: equality, liberty and right to life are the social contracts signed by the Modern Nation-State to legitimize itself, values as liberal democracy where citizens’ rights are sacrosanct, where individual rights are supposed to be the foundation in the structure of governance mechanisms including the force apparatus like army, paramilitary, and the police.

However, the reality is different. The existence of extremely draconian laws like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, National Security Act, and various provisions in the Indian penal code like ‘sedition’ make a mockery of the claims of liberal democratic character of the Indian state.

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 (AFSPA) is one of the most draconian legislations used by the governments to enslave and oppress citizens under the garb of fighting separatism/terrorism. For the past sixty years the North-East and for almost two decades Jammu & Kashmir have been virtually under army rule leave apart police. This rule by the army has had a drastic effect on the daily life of the average citizens residing in the North-East and Jammu & Kashmir.

Irom Sharmila took the cudgels to challenge the might of the government and her method has always been Gandhian, shorn of violence, concrete in belief and consistent in perseverance. Irom Sharmila is a Gandhian of our times made of a unique metal. Irom Sharmila has been on hunger strike for the last 12 years but she has largely been unnoticed as she sought to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 with her peaceful protest.

On 6th Nov.2012 we the following adherents to democracy and peace have  planned a day-long fast in support of the movement of Irom Sharmila.

Program

Venue : Samata Sthal (opposite Raj Ghat)

Date : 6 November 2012

Time : 8 am to 5 pm

All are requested to join and support.

Socialist Yuvjan Sabha (SYS)

Yuva Bharat, Sarv Seva Sangh, Azadi Bachao Andolan, Bangladesh Bharat Pakistan Peoples Forum & Others.

Contact: Program Convener Dr. A. K. Arun, Mobile: 9868809602.

Other Contacts: 9716634603, 9871111387, 9899003100.

Condemn Strongly the Brutal Assault of Masarat Alam and Mushtaq ul Islam in the Jail in Udhampur!


COMMITTEE FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS

185/3, FOURTH FLOOR, ZAKIR NAGAR, NEW DELHI-110025      Contact: thearrested1@gmail.com

Date: 01/10/2012

The Conditions of Prisons in the region of Jammu are Abysmal and Inhuman especially for Kashmiri Muslim Prisoners!

 

The CRPP strongly condemns the murderous assault on Masarat Alam and Mushtaq ul Islam in the prison in Udhampur. Such acts of brutality by jail authorities on political prisoners who have been put behind bars for their uncompromising political views is an age old strategy that was adopted by the British colonialists on the freedom fighters of the Indian subcontinent. Today the same strategy is being implemented much more brutally by India on Kashmiri Muslims who have been put behind bars for their political aspirations of Azadi! These kinds of brutalities and specific targeting of the political prisoners should be condemned by every freedom loving citizen of the subcontinent.

It should be noted that India is also a signatory of the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights which recognises the rights and status of the political prisoner. But when it comes to dealing with political prisoners India has a track record of being the worst lawless state. The living experiences of Kashmiri Muslims who have been specifically targeted through various draconian laws and lodged in different prisons in the subcontinent let alone undisclosed torture centres in Jammu & Kashmir bear testimony to these acts of impunity of the Indian state.

Today in the Indian subcontinent and especially in Jammu & Kashmir, prisons have become torture centres where the undertrials detained under the notorious PSA, AFSPA, or UAPA have become easy targets of brutalisation. The jails in the region of Jammu have attained the notoriety of being torture centres as is termed by many of the relatives of the political prisoners of the region. The assault on Masarat Alam and Mushtaq is a grim reminder of the continuing policy of brutalisation of the prisoners in the jails of Jammu. It should be noted that the Srinagar Bar Association and the various people’s leaders of Jammu & Kashmir have time again pointed out this brutal treatment of the prisoners in the jails of Jammu. The prison conditions in the jails of Jammu are the worst.

The prisoners are paraded naked, beaten to pulp, made to do things which are against their religious beliefs. Further they are provided with insufficient food and are made to eat in the lawns in the scorching sun at a time in Jammu when the temperatures were around 45 degrees. These reports were abuzz in the Srinagar press since July 2012. It should be noted that the Indian state is violating its own law when it is shifting a political prisoner from the prison nearer to his/her residence. Most of the political prisoners in the jails of Jammu are from the Kashmir valley and have been shifted to the region under the pretext of overcrowding of the prisons in the latter. Notwithstanding the fact that it violates the Jail Manual, an undertrial or detainee is made to cut grass, clean toilets and utensils. There have been orders from the courts for various committees appointed since 1994 to visit the prisons and take stock of the situation by talking to the inmates. But seldom are there any such visits or reports. There is hardly any media attention on such acts of impunity of the Indian state in Jammu & Kashmir except the regular negative profiling of Kashmiri Muslims. Only the relentless vigilant protests of the people of Jammu & Kashmir have ensured that the media and the powers that be forced to take up the issue.

CRPP would call upon all democratic and freedom loving sections in the subcontinent to unitedly condemn and expose this total disregard of the Indian state for the genuine democratic aspirations of the people of Jammu & Kashmir and thereby the permanent reign of the terror of impunity enforced on their everyday life. We unequivocally demand that the Indian government release unconditionally all such people incarcerated for their political beliefs in the valley as well as other jails in the Jammu region immediately. We also demand that such people be granted the status of political prisoner pending their release and put an end to the reign of terror through the draconian instruments of PSA, UAPA and AFSPA which have made the state impervious to all kinds of civility, propriety and respect for the life of the common people in Jammu & Kashmir. All such officials who indulge in and abet the torture and mistreatment of the political prisoners in Jammu & Kashmir should be immediately brought to book!

In Solidarity,

SAR Geelani

Working President

Amit Bhattacharyya

Secretary General

Rona Wilson

Secretary, Public Relations

India- Why #Independence is #blackday15august – Killing Kashmir


Thousands of Kashmiris have allegedly been forcibly disappeared during two decades of conflict in the region, their whereabouts unknown. A police investigation in 2011 by the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) found 2,730 bodies dumped into unmarked graves at 38 sites in north Kashmir. At least 574 were identified as the bodies of local Kashmiris. The government had previously said that the graves held unidentified militants, most of them Pakistanis whose bodies had been handed over to village authorities for burial. Many Kashmiris believe that some graves contain the bodies of victims of enforced disappearances.

The government of Jammu and Kashmir has promised an investigation, but the identification and prosecution of perpetrators will require the cooperation of army and federal paramilitary forces. These forces in the past, have resisted fair investigations and prosecutions, claiming immunity under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Free Waqar Campaign

While we all are happy the Free Waqar campaign worked online and after 277 days of illegal detention , waqar was released but Waqar’s case is representative of the youth who are detained under the garb of PSA to suppress the genuine voice of the people of Kashmir.His release does not signify an end to the campaign but is a part of the continuum of the long and relentless struggle against the illegal detention of many kashmiri youths under the garb of draconian laws .

 Just after Waqar was released a, teenager Mushtaq Saleem Beigh has been detained without trial in Jammu & Kashmir, northern India, following a grenade attack on the town police station on 19 May.

Mushtaq Saleem Beigh’s family claims that he is 17 years old, but does not have any proof of his age. They say they are trying to get proof from his school records. According to the family, he stopped going to school a few years ago, and has since been working as a mason to support his family.

According to Mushtaq Saleem Beigh’s family, the state police’s Special Operations Group (SOG) took him and his uncle to an SOG camp for interrogation following a grenade attack on 19 May on a local police station in Sopore town, Jammu & Kashmir, in which nine people were injured. They released his uncle the next morning, but held Mushtaq Saleem Beigh for 12 days. They later moved him to Sopore police station where he was detained for a further 15 days. He was later produced in a local court and transferred to Baramulla sub-jail.

On 2 June, police announced that Mushtaq Saleem Beigh, along with Ishfaq Shafi Kana, another resident of Sopore, were arrested for their alleged involvement in the grenade attack. However, Mushtaq Saleem Beigh’s family has not been allowed to see the first information report or formal charge-sheet. Fearing that he may have been detained illegally, on 28 June, the family entered a petition in the Sopore court seeking his release on bail. Following this, the court ordered the police to file a report stating the reasons for his arrest. However, no such report has been filed so far.

Mushtaq Saleem Beigh’s father, Mushtaq Ahmad Beigh, has said that when he went to Sopore police station and sought documents including a copy of the report, he was detained there for two days and physically assaulted. The family was able to meet with Mushtaq Saleem Beigh at the police station and at the Baramulla sub-jail. They have said that he was tortured at the police station and the SOG camp in an attempt to force him to confess to his involvement in the grenade attack, and hence he was unable to walk when they met him.

There are are many such cases, which need proper judicial intervention . Indian authorities need to stop killing kashmir.

‘Free Waqar’ online campaign- An example of Kracktivism


‘Free Waqar’ online campaign gains momentum

Amnesty International gives its stamp by recognising it as an instance of rampant police and state repression in Kashmir

 March 29 , Baba Umar 
New Delhi


Organisers of the global ‘Free Waqar’ online campaign launched from Kashmir to push for the release of a 22-year-old commerce student —Waqar Ahmad Moharkan—has won its first battle after Amnesty International (AI) termed the youth’s detention as “yet another depressing reminder of the lack of rule of law in Kashmir.” Waqar was reportedly captured by the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Police on 4 October, 2011, after they raided his Lal Bazaar house in downtown Srinagar and slapped him with the notorious Public Safety Act, 1978 (PSA) on charges that include participating in protests against government forces “for three years”.

In an email sent to TEHELKA, AI’s Govind Acharya (India Country Specialist) said the “widespread and abusive use” of administrative detention like the PSA and Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) “reinforces the deeply held perception in young people like Waqar that police and security forces are above the law”. “Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the J&K government to release all PSA detainees or to charge them with a criminal offence,” Acharya tells TEHELKA.

The campaigners of the first-of-its kind online movement have literary taken the internet by storm having covered all social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter. Besides, a website freewaqar.org, created to draw more supporters, is fast becoming a rage among the youth in Kashmir and outside. On entering the site, a message reads, “Waqar Ahmad is in Indian jail since 176 days, 12 hours, 33 minutes and 20 seconds”—the duration of his imprisonment advances with every tick of the clock that’s live. And then details of Waqar’s passing from various jails after his arrest, petitions, bail order, and PSA document forms the body of the web page. The campaign reminds Chief Minister Omar Abdullah of his promises of granting ‘amnesty’ to 1200 youth arrested during and after the 2010 civil unrest.

A newspaper article published by the campaigners on the web page too shows Waqar’s name among 29 other youths who were to be released by the police on CM’s orders. Operated solely online, the campaign already on Facebook and Twitter (#FreeWaqar) is being pushed forward through petition sites such as ipetitions.com and change.org. ipetitions.com, however, decided to take the petition down citing “legal issues” as key reason.

“Within 24 hours of posting our petition we had nearly 500 signatures. The site, however, wanted to take down the petition giving us 48 hours of time to download the data,” one campaigner wishing anonymity tells TEHELKA.

petition meant for Amnesty International USA and Human Rights Watch (HRW) posted on change.org, however, has already crossed the 1000 signature mark. Posted by a Mumbai-based activist, the petition (reproduced from freewaqar.org) seeks AI and HRW’s intervention to “take up the case of Waqar’s wrongful, illegal and oppressive treatment at the hands of the Indian state.”

AI’s Acharya asserted such laws are “not in line with international human rights standards” and says that “We’ve repeatedly called on the J&K government to repeal the PSA and other similar administrative detention laws.”

Campaign organisers, who wish anonymity, tell TEHELKA that the campaign aims to educate people about “how Kashmir government can lie about releasing someone without actually doing it.”

Despite the courage, the campaigners fear police reprisals.

“Our efforts are not directed against anyone. We want the state to keep its word. Omar Abdullah had agreed to release him (Waqar), but instead they re-arrested him. The state chief minister had promised release of 1200 youth which he had called ‘mass amnesty’ in one of his statements. But students like Waqar are rotting in jails. Waqar was seized in Srinagar but has been detained 300 km away in Jammu’s Kotbalwal Jail. By this they are punishing the parents as well.”

It’s for the first time that an online campaign has come up seeking release of an individual. In Kashmir, online protests became a norm during the 2008 civil unrest. Angry protesters, mostly young, who would march across the streets of Kashmir demanding Azadi from New Delhi, had taken the battle to the online world too. Thousands of amateur and raw videos flashing long marches, troops’ action and killings went viral forcing the government to pull down some of the videos from YouTube that it considered were “highly critical” in nature. The challenge was thrown once again during 2009 protests over the alleged rape and murder of two women in Shopian province. And then in 2010, the civil unrest leading to the killing of over 125 people, mostly youth, at the hands of government forces, re-ignited the virtual campaign in Kashmir.

In Waqar’s case, the online battle is being fought using all forms of art. For example, on goanimiate.com, an animation ‘Faking Democracy-Free Waqar Now’ posted by ‘Kracktivist’ has already drawn more than 270 views. The two-minute-long animationposted on 16 March simulates an interview of an NBA player who is a supporter of Free Waqar Campaign and explains to the interviewer the rationale behind supporting the online movement.

With such anger brewing, how are the police looking at the campaign?

“We always monitor such activities,” a top police official tells TEHELKA over phone. He claimed that Waqar, apart from pelting stones, might also have participated in updating the prominent Facebook Kashmiri Community page Aalaw (The Call)—known for its fiery pro-Kashmir and anti-government posts, which went through many unsuccessful attempts at being blocked before.

“The investigation is on. We’ve found Aalaw was run by a group of four youngsters of which Waqar might be a part. We’re not 100 per cent sure but we are waiting for further details,” he claims adding, “The new campaign could be a part of the same tirade against the state.”

Caught in the crossfire, with the online campaign on the one hand and police warnings on the other, Waqar’s parents feel any sort of “malice” will hurt their son directly or indirectly. “Our family isn’t a part of this campaign. We don’t even know who is doing it. Their intentions may be good but yes, any malice will affect my son. I only want my son free. But look at the irony… I dropped my son to the police station on the promise that he’ll be released after brief questioning. Six months have passed, he still remains in detention,” says Waqar’s father Khursheed Ahmad Moharkan.

The elder Moharkan says if Waqar was leading stone pelting for three years, then what about lakhs of youths who pelt stone on Kashmir streets even now? He also mocks the charges slapped against Waqar. “Now that he (Waqar) is jail, stone pelting still takes place in Kashmir. Who are these people? Does my son incite them from jail? The police theory falls flat here. I am begging before them (police). They (police) better stop projecting my son as Osama bin Laden.”

Waqar’s father is, in the meanwhile, looking forward to 9 April when the state government will file objections in the Srinagar high court against the petition he has filed seeking quashing of the PSA against Waqar. “Let’s see what they have to show against my son. Myane Tarfe Chu Khudah (I’ve God on my side),” he says before hanging up the phone.

Baba Umar is a Correspondent with Tehelka. 
babaumar@tehelka.com

Free Waqar: A campaign for justice in Kashmir


Deutsch: Flagge des Bundesstaates Jammu und Ka...

Image via Wikipedia

Mar 14, 2012, By Dilnaz Boga | Agency: DNA

Online global campaigns to free prisoners wrongfully held have come to Kashmir. A group of youth, who call themselves Friends of Waqar have been silent for months. The fact that Waqar has been denied his basic rights has not let them have a moment of peace, one of them says, as he proceeds to show me the website (www.freewaqar.org) the group has been working on in uptown Srinagar.

The boys have decided to launch their own online protest. “We have made this website and we want people from all over the world to sign a petition to release Waqar immediately and mete out justice. This is an illegal detention,” Aslam (name changed) said.

Friends of Waqar are fighting for Waqar Ahmad Moharkan, a second year student of Bachelor’s in Commerce at Srinagar’s Islamia College of Science and Commerce. He was arrested by police of MR Gunj station on 4 October, 2011 on charges of participating in protests in Srinagar.

The court allowed his bail application on 23 October, 2011. Instead of being released, he was rebooked and moved to Central Jail under judicial remand on 15 December, 2011 suddenly slapped with the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA).

His lawyer, the head of the Bar Association in Kashmir Mia Qayoom has stated in writing that the youth was deliberately not handed a translated copy of the grounds of detention so that he would be unable to make an effective representation against the order of detention. The police passed the PSA without informing Waqar’s family, who had the legal right to challenge the act.

Thee family was informed about the PSA after the time to legally challenge the act had expired. Waqar was then illegally shifted to the Cargo Interrogation Centre for two days, one of his Friends said.

The youth in Kashmir are very articulate and aware of their rights. “We know what our rights are internationally and locally and we refuse to be denied of them. Just like Palestinian prisoners, we will ask the world to intervene… they have a moral obligation and they must fulfil it,” the young man in his early 20s added.

Waqar’s PSA order, which DNA is in possession of stated, “You have frequently come in the adverse notice of the police for your involvement in anti-social activities aimed at disturbing the public tranquility and peace in the city. You are instrumental in mobilising the anti-social elements for creating havoc in so far as causing serious law and order problem is concerned which inevitably besides endangering human life also causes impediments in the smooth economic development of the state. Your said acts are aimed at keeping the state on boil and thereby bringing about secession of J&K from Union of India. It has also emerged that your such nefarious designs are being carried out in a well thought out manner to bring the whole Downtown area to a stand still.”

Read full article here

S.P Ankit Garg gets gallantry awards- BLACK REPUBLIC DAY


 

Chattisgrah Float on republic day

 

January 25, 2012

Anti-Naxal and counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] and the northeast have drawn the maximum number of gallantry awards for police and paramilitary forces this year.

As a total of 97 police gallantry medals were announced by the government on the eve of the Republic day on Wednesday, more than half (about 52) have gone to those personnel who are either combating Left-wing extremists in various states or have taken on militants and insurgents in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast.

1992-batch IPS officer Nalin Prabhat was awarded the gallantry medal a second time for conducting a daring operation in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama in 2010 to eliminate Lashkar-e-Tayiba [ Images ] commander Abu Atif who masterminded the Indian Institute of Science attack in Bengaluru [ Images ] and the Rampur Central Reserve Police Force camp attack.

Young Chhattisgarh cadre IPS officer Ankit Garg was honoured with the bravery medal for spearheading anti-Naxal operations in Maoist hotbed of Dantewada as the Superintendent of Police (SP). 

A Letter to Supreme Court Advocate Sir

On the night of Saturday, 8.10.2011, in the new police station in Dantewada which has been built next to the old police-station, I was tortured. That night, when I was sleeping, I was woken up by two policewomen. I asked them, why am I being woken? I was told that SP Ankit Garg has come. I was taken to a second room. In that room, SP Ankit Garg and the SDPO of Kirandul Police Station were seated. I was made to sit in that room for some time along with the women police.

After a while, the two police women were asked to go out of the room. They were told, “Whatever is happening in this room should stay in this room—if word gets out, you know very well what will happen to you.” The two of them said, “Yes, sir. We won’t tell anyone.” “Okay. Go,” they were told.

After this, Constable Mankar and Basant were called. He told Mankar. “Don’t be afraid. After all, I am here for you. What will this bitch do to you? Bitch, you should know that the plan was hatched by us together, and it looks like the plan is yielding success.” He told Mankar, “Son, you have acted very bravely. I am very happy with you.” “Bitch, do you know who I am? I am SP Ankit Garg … who used to be in Bijapur earlier, and am soon going to be promoted from an SP to an official of the big range.” He banged on the table and said, “Everything happens from here. Whatever we order will be carried out. We are the administration, authority and government. Do you understand, you bitch? How will you defame Mankar? He will now be given a promotion.”

For a long time, he verbally abused me and tortured me psychologically. I have referred to the verbal abuse in my earlier letter. Maybe you have received that letter. I can’t write about all the abuses in this letter. I was asked to sign on some papers and was asked to write down some things. When I refused, I was pressured through stern talk. I still refused, and then they started giving me (electric) current in my feet, legs and on my clothes. For some time, they stopped doing this and told me, “Do whatever we are asking you to do. Your well-being lies in this. You will be safe, do you understand? Write a letter saying that Himanshu, Swami Agnivesh, Prashant Bhushan, Colin, Lingaram, Kavita Srivastav, Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy, Nandini Sundar, Manish Kunjam, Rama Sodhi, the owner of Essar company, are all Naxalite supporters. That Linga and I used to send all news from here to Delhi. That I went to Delhi since they had asked me to come. That Essar company officials used to always give money to Naxalites through Manish Kunjam, Rama Sodhi, and me. This is the way in which we used to help the Naxalites…” There were a lot of things. This is how they asked me to write a letter.

I did not write such a letter, nor did I sign the papers on which they had written. “Bitch, sign the papers which we have written!”—a lot of pressure was put on me. I told them that I am willing to die but I have not committed any crime and I will also not write about the people you are asking me to write about. I told them that it is better that they kill me. He said, “This also would have been done, but we can’t do it now since you have been arrested in Delhi. However, since you are not obeying my commands, I will send you back only after punishing you. You will be so ashamed of yourself; you will beat your head against the walls of the jail and die of shame. You are an educated woman; you will not be able to live with this shame.”

He said these kinds of things and ordered that electric shocks be given. After repeatedly giving me electric shocks, my clothes were taken off. I was made to stand naked. SP Ankit Garg was watching me, sitting on his chair. While looking at my body, he abused me in filthy language and humiliated me. After some time, he went out and in a little while, he sent three boys. These boys started molesting me and I fell after they pushed me. Then they put things inside my body in a brutal manner. I couldn’t bear the pain, I was almost unconscious. After a long time, I regained consciousness and found myself in the room in which I had slept. By then, it was already morning.

On Sunday, 9-10-2011, I bore the pain quietly, all by myself. Whom could I tell; there was no one that was on my side there. On the morning of Monday, 10-10-2011, the women police told me to freshen up since I had to be taken to court. I told them, “Madam, I am feeling quite dizzy. I am not feeling strong enough. Please wait for a bit.” They said, “They are asking to have you ready quickly. Otherwise, they will shower abuses on us.” Then I asked for a cup of tea so that I could get some strength. I drank some tea, and slowly got up and went to the bathroom. After a while, I felt dizzy and fell down. I was anyway not fit enough to go to the bathroom, but I was pressured to go to the bathroom to freshen up. Maybe these people wanted to present me in a good condition in front of the court. But this could not happen. As soon as I fell in the bathroom, I became unconscious. Then, they took me from the Dantewada police station to the Dantewada hospital. After a long time, I regained consciousness. After regaining consciousness, my pains had increased and I could not stand up, nor could I even get off the bed. I was in a fully injured condition.

I did not mention my torture to anyone at that time. I had been threatened. Still, I kept looking for an opportunity to talk about my torture, but I was surrounded by police at all times. Then, around 2 pm, I was taken from the Dantewada hospital, lying down on the seat of the police vehicle, and brought to the court. For a long time, we were kept outside the court and were not taken inside the court. SDPO brought some papers from inside the court and asked me to sign them. I told him, “Sir, I want to give some testimony in front of the Judge.” He told me that all that will happen later. All these papers are to send you to jail, sign them. What could I do? I thought that going to jail is better than this. The Judge Madam did not hear me out, did not talk to me, and just sent me off to jail.

After the court, they brought me to Dantewada police station. Two people were already present in the Dantewada police station. In spite of all my difficulty, they started to interrogate me about Kavita Srivastav. I told them that I am not feeling well, I am not in any shape to talk. Please do not force me. By that time, my brother Ramdev had reached the police station along with my family. He started asking, “why have you brought my sister here? The court had given you the permission to take her to the jail.” Then, they immediately took me to the Jagdalpur. We reached the Jagdalpur Central Jail around 7-8 pm. On seeing my condition, the jail authorities refused to admit me. Then the guard (unclear) of Dantewada only got me admitted into the Jagdalpur hospital. They treated me. Then, on Tuesday, 11-10-2011, the doctor at Jagdalpur hospital referred me to Raipur. In the evening around 10-11 pm, we left for Raipur and reached Raipur on Wednesday morning, 12-10-2011. I was treated there. The Raipur guard forced the doctor and brought me to the Central Jail Raipur around 8-9 pm. I tried my best to tell them, “Sir, I am in a lot of pain. Please let my treatment continue.” Then also, they brought me forcibly and told me, “You will get better immediately on seeing the red gate.” I wasn’t in any condition even to walk. I managed to enter the gate of the jail with a lot of difficulty.

Applicant,

Soni Sori.

SONI SORI  writes to her lawyer page 1 and 4

SONI SORI writes to her lawyer page 1 and 4

 Soni Sori letter to lawyer page 2 and 3

Soni Sori letter to lawyer page 2 and 3

The troops of the CRPF, deployed extensively for anti-Maoist operations, have not only been decorated with four of the top-notch President’s police medal for gallantry out of the total seven in this category, 14 other personnel of the force have got the medals for gallant action in the same theatre of operations.

Constable Bhoop Singh of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police was awarded posthumously for gallantry as he took on Naxals at the Chhattisgarh-Maharashtra border in January last year and succumbed to his bullet injuries.

Another special mention in the daredevils’ list is of Border Security Force constable Jai Kishan who in May last year, at the international border with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, battled and laid down his life while engaging two intruders in a gunfight from across the border while he was on the ‘naka’ (picket) duty.

Press Release–In the name of sovereignty: APDP


25th January 2012:

 

On 17th October 2011, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) submitted an application for information under Right to Information Act 2009 to the office of the Public Information Officer of State Department of Home. The application was regarding unmarked graves and mass graves in all the districts of Jammu and Kashmir. The State Home Department vide its letter no: Home/RTI/2011/1659 dated: 24th October 2011, transferred the application to the office of Director General of Police, Jammu & Kashmir. Later Director General of Police, Mr. Kuldeep Khoda sent communiqué vide no. legal/RTI/III/98/2011-5590-91 dated 10th December 2011 to the SSP CID Headquarters, asking him to furnish a detailed report on this issue.

Today, on 25th January 2012, we have received a response from the SSP CID Headquarters vide letter no: CID/GB/RTI/2011/8756-58, in which the CID Department has informed us that the information regarding the unmarked graves and mass graves in all the districts of Jammu and Kashmir cannot be shared as the disclosure of the information, according to Jammu and Kashmir Police would be “prejudicial to the maintenance of public peace and tranquility, as the anti-national elements may use the same for incitement of commission of offence in the state”. The SSP CID Headquarters further states, “In the present security scenario it is quite imminent that consequences of such a situation would be highly prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity and security of the state”.

We fail to understand how information regarding the unmarked graves and mass graves would become threat for the security and sovereignty of the state, when even the State Human Rights Commission has recently endorsed our findings regarding the existence of unmarked graves and mass graves in North Kashmir. This denial comes after the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir repeatedly promised that thorough investigations would be carried out regarding unmarked graves and mass graves.

Every time state is afraid of truth and every time state shows reluctance in promoting the processes of justice. People of Jammu and Kashmir and particularly the family members of more than 8000 disappeared persons have the right to know how many unmarked graves and mass graves exist in Jammu and Kashmir and also people want to know who are the ones buried in these graves.

It has now become routine for the state to use the pretext of the security to cover up human rights crimes and thus deny justice. Crimes cannot be hidden to protect the sovereignty, integrity, security, peace and tranquility.

APDP has already filed the first appeal under section 16 (1) of the J&K RTI Act 2009 at the first Appellate authority of the Police Headquarters.

Spokesperson
Yaseen Hassan Malik