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Malik demands release of political prisoners before Eid

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Srinagar, June 12: “Jammu Kashmir has been turned into a police state where every voice of dissent is curbed and crushed by military and police might. This is nothing but undemocratic and unethical,” said JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik on Tuesday. He also demanded the release of political prisoners so that celebrate Eid with their families.
In a statement issued, Malik while terming the condition of Kashmiri inmates as against the democratic norms said that the way political dissent is being crushed with military and police might speaks volumes about the callous attitude of Indian “colonial mindset” against Kashmiris.
He said that thousands of Kashmiris are languishing in different jails of Jammu and Kashmir and outside states. “From 14-year adolescents to eighty-year-old men to ailing women, all are facing Indian wrath in jails and on daily basis, many more are being arrested and put in jails,” he said.
“India used its forces and agencies like NIA and ED to halt Kashmiri march to freedom but these oppressive measures have failed. Today we have many including senior resistance leader Syed Shabir Ahmad Shah who is suffering from serious ailments in jail, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar, Peer Saif-u-ullah, Raja Meraj-u-Din Kalwal, Nayeem Ahmed Khan, Farooq Ahmed Dar, Zahoor Ahmad Watali, and Shahid Yousuf Shah languishing in Tihar jail who were actually abducted by NIA and ED and shifted to Tihar jail under frivolous and concocted charges,” Malik said.
He said many of these lifers have been shifted to hundreds of kilometers away from their home in Jammu and Indian jails to add up to their hardships.
“There are many including Masrat Aalam Butt, Siraj ud din Mir, Abdul Rashid Magloo, Mir Hafizullah, Muhammad Yousuf Falahi, Ameer Hamza, Muhammad Yousuf Mir, Tariq Ahmad Dar, Moulana Sarjan Barkati ,Assadullah Parray, Showkat Hakim Ghulam Muhammad Khan Sopori, Mohammad Raman Khan, Bilal Ahmed, Farooq Thwadi ,Ali Mohammad Butt, Muhammad Yousef, Shakeel Ahmed Butt, Abdul Gani, Mohammad Subhan Wani and others who are in jail under black law PSA or any other charges,” he said.
Malik said there are many more who are arrested on “fictitious” charges like 18 innocent boys from Sher-I-Khaas who have been arrested in DSP murder case and many others.
He said ailing women leaders like Syeda Aasiya Andrabi along with Fehmeeda Sofi and Nahida Nasreen are being “shamelessly” penalized by police since past many days.
“JKLF leaders Siraj Ud Din Mir and Abdul Rashid Magloo are languishing in Kot Bhalwal jail while as another JKLF leader Sheikh Nazir is also serving a life sentence in same jail,” he said.

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Kashmir

Civil Society group welcomes UN report on Kashmir

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Srinagar, Jun 14: Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) welcome today’s important report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Geneva.
This is the first report by the United Nations exclusively on Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan administered Kashmir.
After continually being denied access since 2016, the OHCHR has based this report (49 pages in total) on its remote monitoring of the situation on ground, with closer attention to the period of July 2016 to April 2018.
This report affirms that J&K requires special attention and is a signal to governments that the United Nations is closely monitoring the everyday violence and the role of the parties to the dispute. It is also an affirmation of the documentation work done for decades. Following the early UN Security Council resolutions, this report has deep symbolic value following years of silence by the United Nations.
Yet, this report remains connected to the historicity of the J&K conflict, and past UN Security Council resolutions, as it urges the governments to “respect the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir as protected under international law” and favours dispute resolution through “meaningful dialogue that includes the people of Kashmir”.
The report ends with a series of recommendations, the most crucial of which is a call for an independent, international enquiry in the form of a “Commission of Inquiry” to be constituted by the UN Human Rights Council (inter-governmental body established by the United Nations to monitor human rights).
Commissions of Inquiry prove to be an effective tool for the United Nations and have been formed in the past to investigate allegations of violations of international human rights, international humanitarian law or international criminal law and make recommendations for corrective action based on their factual and legal findings (past examples include Palestine, Lebanon, East Timor and Syria).
In the absence of any fair and proper investigations in J&K to date, UN Human Rights Council constituted Commission of Inquiry would be an important intervention.
The report addresses key human rights issues, with a major focus on the role of Government of India in IaK. The report highlights the “widespread and serious human rights violations” committed primarily by Government of India and the state of virtually absolute impunity where, through examples, the role of the Supreme Court of India is questioned for not intervening in J&K related human rights cases. Violations range from crimes of extra-judicial executions and excessive force (including by use of pellet shotguns), enforced disappearances, sexual violence, torture, arbitrary detention (including through the use of the Public Safety Act, 1978) and other violations of basic human rights. The report notes the existence of unmarked and mass graves and recommends impartial and credible investigations, including though assistance of the international community. Military courts are unequivocally rejected as effective substitutes for civilian courts of justice in the case of crimes against civilians.
The call for a Commission of Inquiry – an international independent inquiry – is in keeping with past demands by JKCCS and APDP, in light of the unwillingness of Government of India to allow for functioning of any processes of justice and fair and proper investigations. In addition, past offers of international assistance (European Parliament in 2008 for the investigation of unmarked and mass graves) have been rejected. It is imperative that a Commission of Inquiry be instituted to: a) record the violence, b) document the role of State institutions, including the judiciary, in systemic denial of justice, and, c) ascertain State and individual responsibility as per international human rights, international criminal, and international humanitarian law.
JKCCS and APDP emphasize that this report must serve as a beginning of continued and sustained OHCHR attention on J&K. As an immediate measure:
OHCHR, on its own initiative, and endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council, continue to monitor the situation in J&K and seek unconditional access for on the ground investigations. Crucially, all parties of the dispute must continue to be held to international human rights, international criminal and humanitarian law standards.
UN Human Rights Council consider the instant OHCHR report (in the present regular session beginning on 18 June or in a special session) recognize the urgency of the situation, and immediately constitute a group of reputed experts in the form of a Commission of Inquiry and both Governments of India and Pakistan must grant them unconditional access. This will serve as a vital first step to deter the ongoing violence, secure the evidence of crimes, and result in a more permanent mechanism at the UN Human Rights Council in the form of an international expert as a Special Procedure to monitor the human rights situation in J&K.
Other UN bodies, including the Security Council, with greater powers, must also give renewed attention to the situation in J&K.

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Kashmir

Eid shopping brings traffic mess back in Srinagar

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Srinagar, Jun 14: After months-long respite from gridlock in Srinagar, the summer capital of the state is once again witnessing traffic mess ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr being celebrated after ten days.
As the shoppers started shopping for the Eid-ul-Fitr, the Srinagar areas especially, Lal Chowk, Jahangir Chowk, Old City areas and others are witnessing a traffic mess from past few days.
The pedestrians as well as the commuters find it difficult to reach their destinations on time, saying that the authorities must take some measures ahead of Eid so that the people won’t be caught in traffic jams for hours.
Locals said that a large number of vehicles can be seen stranded on the roads especially at Jahangir chowk, making an uneasy route for the commuters.
They said that though the cops can also be seen regulating the traffic but the rush of vehicles as well as the occupation of roadsides by the street vendors didn’t let the commuters to enjoy smooth passage.
“We have seen officials vacating the street vendors from the roadsides but unfortunately that was a day-long show, which ended in a jiffy,” the locals said, adding that the commuters are being left to lurch at large.
Shoppers said that people are out to buy essentials especially clothes for the EID and government must take steps to ensure free and smooth movement for the commuters as well as the shoppers.
In city areas, the locals allege that the commuters park their cars wrongly, therefore bringing traffic mess in the area. “There is already congestion in city areas and parking vehicles illegally is making the area more prone to gridlock,” Ghulam Muhammad, a shopkeeper at Habba Kadal said.
An official in the traffic department wishing anonymity said that “people also don’t bother about traffic rules. This leads to traffic problems.”
He said that besides commuters, the pedestrians could be seen walking in the mid of the road. “Most of the time they don’t use footbridges, footpaths to cross the road,” the official added.
Meanwhile, several volunteers including boys and girls were seen regulating the traffic in the busy Lal Chowk.
The volunteers said that they opted to assist the traffic cops to ensure smooth and hassle free movement of commuters ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr.

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