Asiya,Neelofar remembered

MM Organizes Seminar;Shopian Observes Strike

KHALID GUL

Shopian, May 29: On the fourth anniversary of Shopian double rape and murder, speakers at a commemoratory seminar here described it as a war crime and apprehended that such incidents would continue to happen in ‘military occupations’ like Kashmir.
The seminar titled “Struggle for Justice: A tribute to Asiya and Neelofar” was organized by Majlis-e-Mashawarat (MM) Shopian which had spearheaded the agitation following the alleged rape and murder of Neelofar Jan and her teenage sister in law allegedly by armed forces on May 29, 2009.
Shakeel Ahangar, brother of Asiya and husband of Neelofar, along with his four-year old son Suzaine was also present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, academician Professor Hameeda Nayeem said the State has institutionalized the culture of impunity and it was now percolating into the society too.
“The State by giving unbridled powers to the armed forces through a draconian law like AFSPA has institutionalized the culture of impunity,” said Hameeda.
She said that Indian State argues that exposing or punishing the armed forces involved in crimes like rape and fake encounters would demoralize them. “Even the Verma Commission recommendations made it clear that rape should be delinked from line of duty to safeguard the rights of women, but the Indian State has been using it as a tool,” Hameeda said.
She said the culture of impunity has now even percolated deep into the society and there was a need to establish accountability. “We need to introspect,” Hameeda added.
Chairperson of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), Parveena Ahangar while taking the Indian civil society head on, said, “The Indian civil society has maintained a criminal silence when it comes to crimes committed by the armed forces in Kashmir from rape to torture to enforced disappearances.”
Paying rich tributes to Asiya and Neelofar, she said that Kashmiris should not expect any justice from Indian establishment.
Academician Dr Farukh Faheem, Assistant Professor Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Mumbai, while describing rape by armed forces as an outcome of occupation, called for creating memorials.
“Only those freedom movements are ultimately successful which have martyrs, memory and memorials,” he said.
He also appreciated MM and its role in sustaining the movement for justice for Asiya and Neelofar and also documenting the case.
Human rights activist and senior journalist, Zahir-u-din called for opening a school in the name of two girls in Shopian.
Senior lawyer and human rights activist, Chairman JK CCS, Advocate Parvez Imroz said, “The Indian State has over the last 23 years sought to perfect the act of committing the perfect crime. Following the commission of the crime, and while ensuring the impunity of the perpetrators, care is taken to also defame the victims and their families. Further, as always, enquiry commissions, and faulty investigations are initiated and allowed to function, only to ultimately disprove the claim of the victims and their families.”
He said the Indian State in its response to the double rape and murder in Shopian did not focus on the identification and prosecution of perpetrators or in addressing structural realities of militarization that foster and perpetuate injustices.
“The State has instead focused on “collaborators” and manufacturing scapegoats to subdue public outcry. “Control” rather than “Justice” is, as always, the strategy. The strategy of control has been persistent, and continues to date,” Imroz said.
He said that Indian State sought to control the situation in 1991 when the Kunan Poshpora mass rape case happened and the control continued in this case. “Sexual violence has always been an instrument of the State against the people of Jammu and Kashmir. In numerous cases, due to various factors including social factors, sexual violence by the State forces has not even been reported.”
Human rights activist and Co-Convenor JKCCS, Khuram Parvez while appreciating the people of Shopian said, “In the rape and murder of Asiya and Neelofar, it is first and foremost the struggle and resistance of the people of Shopian that has ensured that at least the Indian State stands firmly indicted and comprehensively dishonored. Their struggle and resistance is saluted, supported and must continue.”
Student Aala Fazili termed said that elsewhere in India rape was an institutional deviation, but in Kashmir it is a pattern as has been the case with other military occupations like Bosnia, Rwanda, etc.
DEM chairperson Asiya Andarbi said that India has been using rape as a tool to suppress the genuine voices of freedom in Kashmir.
“The imperialist State wants to deter the will of young Kashmiri men by raping our daughters and sisters but they should bear in mind that nothing would deter these young men from fighting occupation.”
Islami Tanzeem-i-Azadi Chairman, Abdul Samad Inquilabi said that commissions including SHRC, NHRC are part of the military occupation.
Others who spoke on the occasion included President Abdul Rashid Dalal, spokesperson  Muhamad Shafi Khan, Shakeel Qalandar, columnist Dr Abdul Majid Zargar and Bar Association members.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in Shopian town to commemorate the death anniversary of Asiya and Neelofar. Shops and business establishments remained closed though the traffic plied normally. Stray incidents of stone pelting were also reported. Pro-freedom demonstrations also took place at several places.

‘GOVT SHIELDING ACCUSED’:
Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and Majlis-i-Mashawarat Shopian have accused the State government of shielding the accused in the killing of Asiya Jan and Neelofar.
“On the intervening night of 29/30 May 2009, Asiya Jan and Neelofar Jan were raped and murdered. To date, no action has been taken against the perpetrators of the crime. Justice Muzaffar Jan (Retd) in his July 2009 report, based on scientific and testimonial evidence, confirms rape and murder. The report and the evidence points strongly towards the involvement of the armed forces in the crime more particularly, the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF),” the JKCCS president Advocate Parvez Imroz, President and MMS president Abdur Rasheed Dalal said in a joint statement on the eve of fourth death anniversary of Asiya and Neelofar.
“Despite the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir being approached through public interest litigation (PIL), no action has been taken by the State. Along the way, the families of the victims, and the victims themselves, have been subjected to a motivated and intense slander campaign. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has, predictably, shielded the guilty, hidden the truth and charge sheeted persons for fabrication of evidence. Arguments raised in Justice Jan’s findings remain still unanswered and unless the evidence produced in Justice Jan’s report are taken on board, justice remains evasive,” it said.

SEPARATISTS PAY TRIBUTES TO VICTIMS:
Different separatist leaders and organizations have paid glowing tributes to the victims of Shopian tragedy.
Reiterating his complete shutdown call on May 30 in district Shopian, Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani has said the nation that strives for noble mission never forgets the sacrifices of its people.
Geelani said the Shopian incident was a grave crime against the joint conscience of people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Muhammad Umar Farooq, while paying rich tributes to the victims of Shopian incident, said the perpetrators of the crime are still roaming free.
Jammu and Kashmir Peoples League chairman Mukhtar Ahmad Waza, while paying glowing tributes to Aasiya and Nelofar on their anniversary, has appealed United Nations to establish International Crimes Tribunal in Kashmir for prosecuting the armed forces allegedly involved in perpetrating genocides and crimes against women like at Kunon Poshpora, Shopian, etc. during over past two  decades.
“It is shame for the Government of India that couldn’t probe the incident of double rape and murder of Shopian. In fact the Indian investigative agencies have shielded the real culprits involved in the heinous crime,” he said.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 29 May 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 29 May 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 30 May 2013 00:00:00 IST




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