APDP statement on Supreme Court’s suo-moto cognizance on Amarnath pilgrim deaths

This press release was issued by the ASSOCIATION OF PARENTS OF DISAPPEARED PERSONS on 31 July 2012
Today, 31 July 2012, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), held its regular monthly meeting where various issues confronting the struggle of the family members of the disappeared were discussed. Besides other issues, the recent suo-moto cognizance of the Supreme Court of India regarding the deaths of Amarnath pilgrims and its continued indifference towards the sufferings of the family members of the disappeared were raised.
On 15 July 2012, the Supreme Court took suo-moto cognizance of the deaths of 67 Amarnath pilgrims over the first 17 days of the Amarnath Yatra. Referring to a clear disregard for human life, the Supreme Court cited the constitutional rights to life [Article 21] and freedom of movement [Article 19(1) (d)] in India and issued notices to the Central Government, Government of Jammu and Kashmir and the head of the Amarnath Shrine Board. Subsequently, a high powered committee was constituted to investigate the reasons behind the deaths.
This pro-active approach of the Supreme Court when contrasted with its past record in Jammu and Kashmir related human rights matters raises serious questions on the manner in which human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir from 1989 to date are viewed in New Delhi. The approximately 8000 persons subject to enforced disappearances, 70,000 persons killed during the conflict, at least 120 persons killed in the 2010 protests, disclosures of 6217 unmarked graves largely authenticated by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir through the RTI process and the State Human Rights Commission, rape, widespread torture and numerous other human rights violations should surely have merited similar pro-active action from the Supreme Court. On the contrary, cases that have been litigated before the Supreme Court, from the Masooda Parveen case to the recent Pathribal fake encounter case, have been dealt with in disappointing and problematic ways.
APDP believes that the enforced disappearances of the men, women and children of Jammu and Kashmir are a clear disregard for human life and should shake the conscience of any State or judicial system that considers itself civilized, and respectful of the rule of law and human life. The right not to disappear and right to life in Jammu and Kashmir should also be a concern for the Supreme Court.
That the human rights violations, coupled with the complete failure of the investigative and prosecutorial mechanisms in Jammu and Kashmir, are not considered worthy of attention by the Supreme Court is shocking and a damning indictment of the Indian State and all its functionaries. This prioritization of some lives over others is condemnable.
APDP reiterates its commitment to continue to bring the truth forward, including the double standards and duplicity of Indian systems of “justice”.
Tahira Begum
Spokesperson, APDP
The Bund Amira Kadal, Srinagar – 190001

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