The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on Thursday asked its investigation wing to investigate cases of enforced disappearances in Baramulla, Bandipora and Banihal tehsil (Ramban district) and submit the report within three months.
The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and its individual members and volunteers have been campaigning against the phenomenon of enforced or involuntary disappearances in J&K for the past 24 years. An estimated 8000 people have been subjected to enforced disappearance since 1989.
The Senior Superintendent of Police of the SHRC’s Police investigation wing has been asked to conduct inquiry into the disappearances.
On 10 December 2011, APDP submitted a complaint of 132 cases of disappearance (by State, non-State and unknown) actors from different villages of Banihal Tehsil, Ramban district. In their reply submitted in May last year, the police and civil administration admitted that 112 persons out of 132 persons were missing.
The APDP submitted a separate complaint of 507 cases of disappearance (by State, non-State and unknown) actors from different villages of Baramulla (369 cases) and Bandipora (138 cases) districts. The government, however, accepted that of the 507 only 186 persons have disappeared.
The APDP filed a rejoinder before the SHRC and asked the state to reopen the cases and register FIRs against the accused. In its rejoinder, APDP stated that SHRC may direct registration of FIRs and call for investigations to find the whereabouts of the victims, including through investigation of graves, and identify the perpetrators. “In numerous cases, families did approach the police station and were assured that reports (including FIRs) would be filed but were never provided any copies,” the rejoinder reads. “In some cases the families were of the belief that an FIR has been registered after they approached the police station. In some cases the police refused to file FIR or report, while in other cases there was extreme fear and threat to life which eventually made them drop the idea of filing a report.”
The APDP also asked the commission to hand over certain cases to its own investigation wing. “Today’s order serves as an important milestone in the ongoing struggle of APDP to know the truth about the disappeared and to ensure justice for each and every person subjected to enforced disappearance,” read the APDP statement.