Kashmir – Probe into unmarked, mass graves and enforced disappearances will deter the perpetrators

December 1, 2010

Press Statement by  Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons

28th November 2010

During last 5 months valley witnessed huge uprising and protests against the unabated killings and violence by the state actors. It started with the news of exhumations of 3 young men of Nadihal, Rafiabad from unmarked graves at Kalaroos Kupwara, who were killed earlier in the month of April 2010 in a fake encounter at Macchil Kupwara by Indian army.

On 3rd December 2009 after the release of report “Buried Evidence” by International People’s Tribunal for human rights and Justice in Indian administered Kashmir (IPTK) in collaboration with Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), the Chief Minister, Mr. Omar Abdullah gave an assurance to the press that his government would look into the allegations. It has been almost a year since then, and no probe has been ordered by the present government.

APDP believes if government had taken the report on unmarked and nameless graves seriously and initiated an inquiry, probably it would have acted as a deterrent against the perpetrators, who executed 3 young men in a fake encounter at Macchil this year. Is the present government helpless or an accomplice? The crimes continue as the impunity persists. The impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators is not purely legal but moral and political as well.

The case of Macchil fake encounter seems to be now a forgotten episode for government and the army, but for us as an organization of the family members of disappeared, the fight is against forgetfulness. We believe in reminding those at the helm of affairs and our society in general that injustice against us continues till justice is not done. Our love for our disappeared family members and our urge to know the truth cannot be silenced by threats. Is our demand for independent and impartial investigation a threat to the security of the state? Why is government scared of truth? Why do people sitting in government appear courageous when they are out of power? What happens to their courage, honesty and promises immediately after coming into power? It might be convenient for the rulers to forget but for us it is the lives of our children and parents, whose absence we miss and mourn every day.

In the past armed forces and civil administration have been rejecting our allegations, but by ridiculing our statements, truth cannot be buried and scars of injustice cannot be healed. Thus we urge the armed forces, Jammu and Kashmir government, and the government of India to shun the attitude of arrogance, suppression and denial, allow independent investigations. Let us know the truth, however unpalatable. In a civilized world there is no place for enforced disappearances, mass graves, custodial torture and fake encounters.

India should ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced or involuntary Disappearances and simultaneously end impunity by revoking draconian laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act and begin punishing the perpetrators. This can become in itself a Confidence Building Measure towards people of Kashmir and can help in making processes of peace substantive, meaningful and result oriented.

Justice is never compromised. Truth is never buried. Lies are never sustained. The struggle of the APDP cannot be exhausted or defeated as it is driven by the principles of justice and love of our disappeared family members, whose memories can never be taken away from us. Truth shall overcome…