This is a press release from the Parveena Ahangar-led ASSOCIATION OF PARENTS OF DISAPPEARED PERSONS on 11 April 2013:
The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) strongly refutes the recent claim of the police that Showkat Ahmad Paul, of Lawaypora, is part of a fidayeen squad of a militant group planning to carry out a strike in the civil lines area of Srinagar City. APDP states that the claim floated through a section of the media quoting police sources is utterly baseless and false. After having abducted and disappeared Showkat Ahmed Paul in 2003, this is a fabricated attempt by the security forces and state intelligence agencies to obfuscate and deny responsibility in the case of his disappearance. The family who are being harassed by the security agencies fear for the safety of their son who is in their illegal and unlawful custody since 2003. They fear that after branding him as a Fidayeen the security agencies now intend to murder Showkat, by staging an encounter or using some other extra judicial method.
Showkat Ahmad Paul was abducted by one Major Pratap of Kiloo Force, 2 – Rashtriya Rifles (RR) stationed at Sharief Abad, HMT, Srinagar on 23rd of June 2003, from Pratap Park, LalChowk, Srinagar. At the time of his arrest Showkat was a student of Amar Singh College Srinagar. On 24th June 2003, the family lodged a missing report at the Police Station, Parimpora. The arrest and disappearance of Showkat was also covered by the media. On 11th September 2003, the parents of Showkat Ahmad Paul submitted an application to the J&K State Human Rights Commisssion (J&K SHRC) seeking the whereabouts of their missing son. The then Inspector General of Police had informed the J&K SHRC that all possible efforts are being made to trace out the disappeared person. The parents moved the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar, on 29th July 2004 for directing the non-appliance for lodging an FIR against Major Pratap of Killo Force, 2 RR, the prime accused in arrest and subsequent custodial disappearance of Showkat. On the directions of CJM Srinagar, the SHO, Police Station Kothibagh, Srinagar registered the FIR on 18th January 2005, vide FIR No. 08/2005 U/S 364 RPC. On 26th October 2005, the J&K SHRC also asked for a report from the Additional Director General of Police in the matter. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed to investigate the FIR has recorded the statement of the source of Major Pratap, namely Khursheed Ahmad, who had confirmed that Showkat was taken into illegal custody by major Pratap. However, even after filling of FIR, investigation in the matter of the disappearance of Showkat Ahmad Paul have not been conducted and concluded till date.
Since his arrest and disappearance by 2 RR,Showkat Ahmed Paul’s parents have made every possible effort to trace his whereabouts. They are active members of APDP, relentlessly campaigning with the organization for information and accountability regarding the whereabouts of their young son and all other victims of Enforced Disappearances in Kashmir.
Taking strong note of the incident APDP has immediately moved the Hon’ble High Court and filed a writ petition seeking protection of life and person of Showkat Ahmed Paul and also to disclose his whereabouts. The organisation is also writing to the Chief Minister of J&K and the heads of all the security agencies in this regard.
APDP will also refer the case of Showkat Ahmad Paul to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID), with a request to issue an urgent appeal in the matter and to transmit directly to the Government of India (GoI), through its permanent representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva, asking GoI to carry out investigations and inform APDP about the results. The WGEID will be requested to call on the GoI to take steps to protect all the fundamental rights of the family of Showkat Ahmad Paul andseek an urgent and credible response from the GoI. The situation WGEID will also be requested to send its team to Kashmir to asses the overall situation of disappearances, as the widespread and systematic pattern of enforced disappearances requires an independent probe by the UN body.
It is the constitutional duty of the Government to ensure the safety and security of Showkat Ahmad Pal. The Government, security agencies and the police will be responsible for any harm caused to the life or limb of Showkat. APDP seeks the immediate release of Showkat Ahmed Pal to his family members.
APD demands an end to the culture of impunity and the crime of enforced disappearances in Kashmir.