Kashmir Fact-Finding Report: OPDR

November 15, 2016

Organisation for Protection of Democratic Rights (OPDR)

Media Release – Kashmir Fact Finding Report
Andhra Bhavan, New Delhi, 15th November 2016
A seven member OPDR team (here afterwards ‘the team’) was in Kashmir on 10th,11th and 12th November, 2016. It met a cross section of Kashmir society in Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla cities. The team also visited Jagati Colony of Kashmiri pundits, 15 km from Jammu city on 13 November, 2016. Here follows a brief preliminary report of the team’s findings, conclusions and recommendations. We wish to share this information with the people and concerned authority of Indian Union through the media.

At Srinagar the team met

1) APDP leadership, including its chairperson Parveena Ahangar (her son a student of tenth class in 1990 was a victim of enforced disappearance)

2) Kashmir Motor Drivers Association

3) JKCCS representative and a senior advocate Parvez Imroz

4) All Party Sikh Co-ordination Committee

5) International Human Rights Organisation representative Sarbjit Kaur

6) Valley Citizens Council

7) Professor Hameedah Nayeem of Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies

8) Kashmir Economic Alliance Group

9) Pellet-killed Riyaz Ahmad Shah’s family

At Anantnag the team met

1) Dr. Adbul Majeed Mirab, Superintendent, MMAB Memorial Hospital

2) Adil Rasid Bhat, 33 years, pellet-blinded

3) Qasim Sajjad, Senior Journalist, Fearless Journalism

At Baramulla the team met

1) Trade Federation delegation, Baramulla

2) Abdul Hameed Kakru, 83 years, senior most advocate and Abdul Saram Rathode, President, Baramulla Bar Association

3) Tareeq Ahmad Mugloo, at martyrs’ Kabragah (graveyard)

The team met considerable number of ordinary people also.

What do Kashmiris want?

OPDR has been visiting the valley periodically since 1992. This time we observed a paradigm shift in the attitude of Kashmiri people when compared to 2013 too. Though there has been a heavy repression and repeated massacres resulting in disappearance of 8 to 10 thousand people and more than 30,000 people lost their lives, there were sections of Kashmir society with a hope that Government of India will mend its ways.

But now in 2016, especially after the ‘murder in encounter’ of Burhan Wani on July 8 and subsequent shelling by security forces with pellets and bullets ‘to blind and kill’ the people, the entire Kashmiri population is monolithic in its demand – the Government of India should “implement the agreement at the time of wedding knot” on October 26, 1947.

When the team asked to explain what they mean by it, many delegations said: In 1947 October we willingly entered into a contract marriage with Indian Union under the leadership of Shaheed Sheikh Abdullah. Our confidence in “secular democratic India” started weakening after arrest of the then Prime Minister of our Kashmir in 1953 and imprisonment of him for more than 14 years.

In the subsequent 63 years we have seen and suffered from the various intrigues and horrible repression of successive governments of India. We feel bitter that the people of India in general are not empathetic towards our lawful demand of right to self-determination. Now nothing short of Azadi is acceptable to us. So we demand the Government of India, they said
1) Take initiative to organize a round table conference of all the stakeholders, i.e., Government of India, people of the whole of Kashmir which includes the separatist leaders and Government of Pakistan.

2) All cases against the people should be withdrawn unconditionally and all the imprisoned people should be released forthwith.

3) People of Kashmir should have the right to determine its future, i.e., a plebiscite is required in Indian administered Kashmir and Pakistan administered Kashmir.

4) Governments of India and Pakistan should implement UN Security Resolutions on Kashmir question.

All sections of the people the team met unanimously declared that the people of Kashmir will continue the agitation and struggle until Independent Kashmir is achieved. “Let it take hundred more years, we don’t mind”, they firmly declared. They said they invite all the Kashmiri Pundits, who stand for Azadi back to valley and they further said they miss Pundits.

Case Studies

1. ATM Guard Killed in Srinagar

Riyaz Ahmad Shah was an ATM guard in an area of Srinagar. On 2nd August he was walking back home after duty at about 10 pm. The security forces, without any warning, fired on him from the back and killed him. The post-mortem revealed 65 pellets in his spleen and urinary bladder.

Thousands and thousands of people, including hundreds of women, marched on the streets of Kashmir for three days demanding that the culprit personnel should be arrested and prosecuted. But the government did not do so. The sister of the victim, Sumera declared firmly and loudly that the whole family is prepared to die for the sake of Azadi.
2. Pellet Blinded Adil Rasid Bhat, Village Checkibonadal, Near Anantnag

Adil Rasheed Bhat, 23 years old, was returning from their family agricultural field along with his friend on August 21 around 2 pm. There was no agitation or morcha on that day in that area or even in Anantnag town. While they are walking on the footpath of Anantnag town, security forces fired on him and Rasid collapsed with unbearable pain all over the body.

His friend was lucky to go unhurt and informed the family members of Rashid of this calamity. Rashid was referred to Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital at Srinagar which in turn referred him to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi. Rashid’s brother Mr. Abid told the team that the hands of the doctors AIIMS were full of such cases and so they took his brother to L.V. Prasad Eye Hospital at Hyderabad, the capital of Telengana state. His eyes were operated there.

The team is informed that one eye is permanently blinded and the other eye may recover maximum 10 per cent vision. Mr. Abid also told the team that the family spent Rs 1.5 lakh on his brother’s treatment and they raised that money by selling a part of their land. The reports of L.V. Prasad Hospital treatment were shown to the team.

Pundits in Baramulla Town

The team met two Pundits – one Mantu, a textile businessman in Market Road of Baramulla town, and another medical shop owner. They said that though there were a few selective attacks on Pundits in 1990, now they are safe and doing their business normally. They don’t want to leave either Baramulla town or Kashmir Valley. They said they are for independent Kashmir.
Pundits’ Colony near Jammu city

The team visited Jagit Colony, 15 km from Jammu and interacted with more than 5 families. The team was informed that there were around 25000 Pundit families in 10 colonies in that area. Another 30,000 families are living outside the colonies and some have migrated to various states of the Indian Union and there is a considerable number of diaspora of migrated Pundits in various other countries.

All of them shifted out of Kashmir Valley in 1990. They alleged that in 1989 the ‘Muslims’ of the Valley announced over the loudspeakers from the Masjids that the Pundits should en masse embrace Islam or quit the Valley. They further told the team that there was some selected killing of Pundits including that of a retired director of All India Radio by the ‘Muslims’.

Afraid of the situation they said that they left the Valley. They said that they are not willing to go back to their native land even if the Union government advise or force them to go back to the colonies under construction in the valley, which was being initiated by Government of India.

Observations and Conclusions of OPDR

1. The Security Forces at the obvious directions of the rulers at Delhi are firing upon the peaceful Azadi agitators and also the common people of Kashmir Valley “to kill and blind”.
2. The records of at D.M. Hospital, Anantnag revealed 30% jump in registered patients in the four months period starting with July 9th. The total number of patients registered in that period is about one lakh. The hospital records further revealed 370 were pellet-injured, bullet injured 37, blast injured 20 and eye-injured 102. More than 80 per cent of these injuries were inflicted above the thighs. Thousands of patients were trauma inflicted, said the superintendent of the hospital.

3. In Baramulla town alone more than 200 people were killed since 1990 and the team visited “Shahid Kabragah”.

4. Since July 9, 2016 more than 13 thousand people are injured, more than 100 civilians killed and more than 120 people lost their eye vision from the pallets, bullets, tear gas shells, rubber bullets and baton charge of the armed security forces.

5. The people of Kashmir including respected intellectuals allege that the security forces fired tear gas shells on the peaceful people’s ‘morchas’ and when the angered people throw stone on the security forces following which the forces indiscriminately open fire on the people. They opined it as a policy of “provoke and kill”.

6. The Central government policy undoubtedly appears to exhaust the people of Kashmir and thus to subdue them.

7. The team’s interaction with very broad sections of Kashmir civil society including unions of trade, workers, advocates, academicians, women, very clearly point out that the entire Kashmiri nation is more determined than ever before to fight for Azadi. They are comparing their situation with Palestine and the government of India to Israel.

8. They declare their hope lies in democratic sections of India in addition to their own struggle.

9. Overwhelming majority of the people are not for joining Pakistan nor remaining in India but to live in independent Kashmir with friendly relations with both India and Pakistan.

10. There were incidents of people waving the flag of Pakistan and also recently the flag of China. It is nothing more than an act of anger towards the government of India and an expression of frustration.

Demands of OPDR to Government of India

1. Send all the Security Forces like BSF, CRPF back to barracks.

2. Scrap Public Security Act,1978 and AFSPA

3. Restore the civil administration fully.

4. Withdraw all the cases filed against the people in the struggle and release all the imprisoned including young dynamic, persistent human right defender Khurram Parvez.

5. The security personnel who fired on the peaceful agitators and who forcefully entered the homes of the people and those responsible for the torture of the people in police lock-ups and elsewhere should be identified and their prosecution should be initiated.

6. With the purpose of implementing the resolutions of the United Nations, Indian government should initiate the process of organizing a tripartite meeting of the people of Kashmir including separatist leaders, government of Pakistan, representatives of Pak-administered Kashmir and Government of India.

Appeal to the People of India

Visit Kashmir Valley in large numbers and interact with the people there and find the truth of Kashmiri question. Demand the Government of India to implement all the terms and conditions of “Instruments of Accession” and the promises of the first Prime Minister of India Mr. Jawahar Lal Nehru and UN Resolutions to which Government of India is a party.

Members of the fact-finding team:

1. C. Bhaskara Rao (all-India convenor, OPDR),

2. M Srinivasulu (President, AP State Unit and All India Committee member, OPDR),

3. U. Sambasiva Rao (President, Telangana State Unit and All India Committee member, OPDR),

4. B. Narsimha Reddy (Secretary, Telangana State Unit and All India Committee member, OPDR),

5. Siddhartha (social activist, AP),

6. Hanumesh (Advocate and All India Committee member, OPDR – Karnataka)

7. Vivek Ranjan (Advocate and All India Committee member, OPDR – Odisha)

 

Organisation for Protection of Democratic Rights (OPDR)
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