Srinagar, June 12: Days after the Pakistani born lady, Mehnaz Sidique alleged ‘harassment’ by her Kashmiri husband, Chairperson of the State Commission for Women Nayeema Mehjoor on Tuesday said that the commission called Mehnaz several times but she didn’t turn up.
“I am receiving many messages, calls and even was tagged in Facebook posts relating to a Pakistani born Mehnaz Sidiqui who has marital dispute with Abdullah Danish,” Mehjoor said.
“Last year, Mehnaz sent me WhatsApp message regarding her problem and same day I informed her husband to appear before the commission so that I can hear both and take action,” Mehjoor informed .
“However, Mehnaz didn’t turn up, when called by my office why she didn’t come, she said she was not feeling well. We set another date for hearing and both were called to come. Again, she didn’t come and when called she said, please keep the case pending until I come back to you again,” SWC chairperson added.
“She was called by my office once again but couldn’t get through. Commission cannot take any action until a complainant wants to pursue her case. After few months, some shopkeeper called me and said some lady in the shop is distressed. I told him to put me through to this lady and I will find way to help her. When I spoke to lady, it was Mehnaz and I asked her why didn’t u come to me? She seemed in distress and I asked her to meet me as soon as possible. But she didn’t come,” chairperson informed.
Asked whether commission will take any suo-moto notice, she said that “the Commission cannot impose itself on any person if she doesn’t want our intervention or interference. We intervene or take suo moto notice where victim has no other means to contact us or is minor or old or hush up matter by office or agencies etc.”
“I spoke to Mehnaz yesterday. I told her to come to commission and I will bring your husband as well but she refused by saying that ‘I don’t want to come face to face with him’. Commission has a rule of bringing compliant and respondent together to hear both sides and if needed witnesses as well in order to find solution to problem,” she said.
Mehjoor said that she has filed case in court for domestic violence and maintenance. She will certainly get relief from court on the merits of the case. “I spoke to Danish Sherwani about the maintenance of kids, he said the ‘decision about it is expected on 10th July and domestic violence hearing is also due in the court’,” the chairperson said.
Regarding her visa or stay in Kashmir, Mehjoor said “it is not my jurisdiction neither state government can do it. She has to apply to central government for this.”
“Having said that, if she still feels I can help personally or commission can help, she needs to inform us and we make sure to help her by all means. But, we have to listen to other side as well, she added. (KNS)
Civil Society group welcomes UN report on Kashmir
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.
Eid shopping brings traffic mess back in Srinagar
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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