‘KASHMIRIS FAILED TO HELP FAMILIES OF MISSING PERSONS’
Civil Society Discusses Measures For Economic Support
International Week Of The Disappeared
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar,May 28: It was an emotional moment for families of enforced disappearance victims of Jammu and Kashmir when people from different walks of life saluted their resilience and sacrifices during commemoration of the International Week of Disappeared here on Tuesday.
“We salute these families from the core of our heart but as a nation we have failed to lend them a helping hand,” most of the speakers said in a seminar here organized by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP). The seminar was themed: ‘23 years of struggle against enforced disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir."
“Our contribution as a society towards these families has been negligible. We failed to provide them with moral, emotional and financial support. These families are living a life of uncertainty. They have lost their loved ones, lone breadwinners and are living a miserable life,” said noted columnist Abdul Majeed Zargar.
Zargar said Kashmiris have even failed to document the total number of disappearance cases. “We have conflicting figures on the numbers of disappeared ones. We as a society need to work together to document the tragedy so that we can project it in a right way at international forums,” Zargar said.
On the occasion, noted journalist and Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) member Zahir-ud-Din suggested formation of a committee to streamline financial help for these families. “These families have given unflinching sacrifices in their struggle. We are proud for their courage and resilience. Even if every Kashmiri donates one rupee per month, the amount would at least suffice basic requirement of these hapless families. If we are serious and concerned over their plight we must form a committee to given practical shape to the endeavour,” Zahir-ud-Din suggested.
Zahir-ud-Din said there should be no confusion of the total number of missing persons in Kashmir. “Undoubtedly, over 8,000 went missing in custody of security agencies. This figure excludes over 12,000 Kashmiris who went missing while crossing the Line of Control. Though government admitted in the Assembly that 3784 persons went missing after arrest, it has failed to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Zahir-ud-Din who has authored ‘Did they vanish in thin air,’ a book on enforced disappearances.
A senior civil society member Dr Altaf Hussain said families of the disappeared ones are facing social and economic problems.
“Disappearance of a person is a worst form of crime against humanity. We have got a serious problem of half-widows. They have utilized most of their resources to locate whereabouts of their loved ones. Their tragedy has become a festering wound. As Kashmiris, it is our collective responsibility to come to their rescue,” Dr Altaf said.
Dr Altaf said despite being a signatory to international conventions on disappearances, India has failed to put an end to enforced disappearances in Kashmir.
“Though India signed a UN Convention against enforced disappearance in 2006, it has not ratified it yet. This has left India exposed internationally for perpetuating enforced disappearance in Kashmir,” he added.
Noted columnist Dr Javaid Iqbal dwelt on various international conventions and global scenario on enforced disappearances. “Due to legal loopholes, countries like India have never been booked for human rights violations. The families of victims of enforced disappearance are in a state of hopelessness. We have to work together and form Baitul-Maals to join them in their struggle and help in their sustenance,” Dr Iqbal said.
Chairman of JKCCS and noted human rights lawyer Pervez Imroz traced the history and objectives of the ADDP. “Our aim was to link the families together and act as agents of change to stop enforced disappearance. After Sri Lanka, Kashmir has the highest number of recorded disappearances. Unfortunately, the perpetrators including senior police officers instead of facing trial have been promoted. The Kashmiri Diaspora and intellectuals failed to highlight the sufferings of Kashmiris internationally to build pressure on India,” Imroz said.
Senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari dwelt on the plight of half-widows. “Their future is bleak and there is need of wider consultation with people from all walks of life including Ulema to explore such a mechanism so that they can start their life again,” he said.
Among others who spoke on the occasion included Paramjeet Singh of the People's Union for Democratic Rights besides Parvez Matta, Samreen and Uzafa of APDP.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 28 May 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 28 May 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 29 May 2013 00:00:00 IST
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