Srinagar: Fathers of teenagers which were killed during the 2010 uprising in the valley have expressed their sadness to Pakistani Nobel Laureate Malala Yousufzai after she met former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at an event in Oxford.
Omar had asked Malala for a selfie.
Under the banner of Survivors for Truth and Justice, Ashraf Mattoo, father of Tufail Mattoo, Farooq Ahmed Wani, father of Wamiq Farooq, Abdul Qayoom, father of Umar Qayoom, Sheikh Farooq, father of Zahid Farooq have written to the nobel prize winner that it was Omar who was unified command head then and is responsible for the killings which took place in the summer of 2010.
“We are the parents of children killed during a people’s uprising in Jammu and Kashmir in 2010. Through news reports we got to know that you met Mr. Omar Abdullah in an event at St. Antony’s College in Oxford. Mr Abdullah in one of his tweets mentioned that he asked you to click a photograph with him. We were deeply saddened to hear this. You might not be aware of the role this individual has played, so we would like to take this opportunity to inform you about it, ” the letter read.
It further added, “Mr. Abdullah was the chief minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir from 5 January 2009 to 8 January 2015. He was the head of Unified Command and bears responsibility for the killings of innocent people like our children especially those which took place in the year 2010. During 2010 protests that lasted for about 3 months 120 civilians were killed, 2500 civilians were injured including women and children, 38 people became permanently disabled and 4046 people were arrested including 137 people who were arrested under the draconian law Public Safety Act. It was during his regime that use of pellet guns on civilians was introduced.”
The letter also describes the circumstances under which the teenagers were killed.
“It is during the same agitation that we lost our children. Wamiq was 12 years old when a tear gas shell directed towards his head by forces while he was playing a board game in RajouriKadal, Srinagar, killed him. Zahid was 16 years old when he was shot dead at point blank range by the state forces along the banks of the Dal Lake, Srinagar. Tufail was 17 years old when he was struck by a tear gas canister on his head near Gani Memorial Stadium, Srinagar, immediately resulting in his death. Omar was 17 years old when he was ruthlessly beaten and tortured by the state forces near his house at Soura, Srinagar, while he had gone outside to watch the protests on the street.”
The letter mentions that justice has eluded the victims till date and the state has failed to punish the perpetrators.
“The state has not punished a single perpetrator responsible for the killing of our children and other victims. It appointed different enquiries and a commission headed by Justice M.L.Koul to investigate into these killings. But they have failed to identify the perpetrators who have since got away with the crimes they committed. The perpetrators enjoy impunity under Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and the criminal courts have no jurisdiction over it. The victims have no remedy at all except other than to approach the civil society and conscientious citizens of the world,” the letter maintains.
The victims’ kin’s also reminded Malala that she stood for the fundamental rights of the Kashmiris and also called on the UN, India and Pakistan to work together to solve the vexed issue.
“We were deeply moved by your words last year when you said that the Kashmiri people, like people everywhere, deserve their fundamental human rights and they should live free from fear and repression. You called on United Nations, the international community, India and Pakistan to work together with utmost urgency to right these wrongs, providing the people of Kashmir with the dignity, respect and freedom they deserve,” they said in the letter.
“The people of Kashmir appreciated your sincere concern. People across the world see you as the voice for the rights of children. You must very well understand the pain and struggle of people who stand up against oppression and demand justice.We hope that you will continue to stand up for children across the world including those whose voices have forever been silenced. We hope that through this letter you take note of our concern in future.”