Over the past 70 days, there have been over 84 deaths, hundreds have lost their eyesight to pellet wounds and thousands have been injured in Kashmir. As news reports of the death of 11 year old Nasir Shafi, son of Muhammad Shafi, a resident of New Theed Harwan in Srinagar emerge, we also hear about Showkat Ahmed Misger, a person with mental disabilities from Safa Kadal who was admitted in hospital in a critical condition with pellet wounds. Though the people of Chandpora were told by the police that Nasir Shafi was mauled by a bear, pictures of his body with pellet wounds and torture marks stand in contradiction to this official version of events. The violence unleashed by the armed forces continue unabated in Kashmir inspite of extensive social media outrage and mass protests in Indian cities like Patna, Kolkatta, Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi etc.
Indian authorities have also arrested a prominent Kashmiri human rights activist and Chairman of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances Mr. Khurram Pervez, a day after he was barred from leaving India to travel to Geneva (Switzerland) to participate in a session of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Police picked up Mr. Parvez from his home in Srinagar on Thursday, Sept. 15 night. A day before, immigration officials at New Delhi’s international airport barred Parvez from boarding a plane to Geneva despite him having a valid visa and letter of invitation from the U.N. body. He was neither given a valid reason nor was he informed of the grounds for the decision to prohibit him from leaving the country. The state police authorities too, have not given any reason for Mr. Pervez’s arrest but the magistrate has ordered to put him under “preventive detention” to “prevent him from causing a breach of peace” and transferred him to a jail in the border district of Kupwara in north Kashmir about 100 kilometers away from his home and the capital city of Srinagar. This is with the clear motivation of isolating him from family, making legal aid inaccessible to him and to divert media attention away from this illegal arrest. A Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society [JKCCS] press release dated 17th Sept says that in the police report, it is alleged that on 15 September 2016, Khurram Parvez stood outside a mosque near his house in Sonawar, Srinagar and incited people to pelt stones and march towards an open ground [Tourist Reception Centre, Srinagar]. Two police personnel are said to have witnessed this. These charges, based on police testimony and not independent witnesses, are a blatant attempt to justify Khurram Parvez’s detention. After JKCCS challenged his arrest and submitted applications to the Tehsildar and the Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, the Tehsildar revised the detention order and Khurram Parvez is now to be produced in court on 21 September.
Parvez was instrumental in setting up Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, a voluntary group formed in 2000. In 2006, Mr. Parvez received the Reebok Human Rights Award, a prestigious international prize that “recognizes young activists who have made significant contributions to human rights causes through non violent means”. Khurram Parvez has been a vocal human rights defender against the violations happening in Kashmir for several years, making him the target of this illegal action.
It is important to also note that more than 2000 people across Kashmir have been arrested and more than 200 booked under draconian Public Safety Act.The detention of Mr. Khurram is therefore another one in a series of illegal detentions and/or arrests under the PSA in the past months. By arresting someone who is a prominent human rights defender the Indian state has clearly declared its own impunity on the assumption that it cannot and will not be challenged on its actions.
We, as individuals and organisations in Bangalore, strongly condemns the mass killings, the grave injuries inflicted by the armed forces on the people of Kashmir and the continuing state of curfew imposed for the past two months. We condemn the unlawful arrest of Mr. Parvez and every one of those who have been arrested/illegally detained in a similar manner and demand their immediate release. We also demand the repeal of such draconian laws such as the PSA, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, National Security Act and others.
Karnataka for Kashmir forum
Karnatak Komu Souharda Vedike
Alternative Law Forum
Peoples’ Democratic Forum
Father Ambrose Pinto
Greeshma Aruna Rai
Adv Robin Christopher
Adv. Aarati Mundkur
Laxmi Murthy, Journalist, Bangalore
Rohini Mohan, Independent Journalist, Bangalore
Dr. Sylvia Karpagam, Public Health Doctor
Jagadish Chandra, New Socialist Alternative
Qazi Muhammad Hashim
Rakesh Ram S
Vishwa, Editor, Dudiyora Horaata
Mani, Ambedkar Community Computing Centre
Bindu Doddahatti, Advocate
Imran Khan, journalist
Hariram, Bangalore co-ordinator of Bahujan Vidyarthi Sangha
Rajesh Umadevi, Activist
Yasar Khuthub, Gen Secy, Solidarity Youth Movement
Aarif Shafi Khanyari
Manohar.R, Regional Coordinator, Human Rights Defenders Alert India
Adv Rahul Ganguly
N Ramesh, PDF