Srinagar: JK SHRC Thursday passed a crucial order directing Senior Superintendent of Police of the SHRC police wing to hold an enquiry, if necessary, into 132 cases of disappearance in Banihal Tehsil (Ramban district, Jammu division) and 507 cases of disappearance in Baramulla and Bandipora districts (Kashmir division) and file a report within three months.
“Today’s SHRC order follows a sustained struggle by APDP,” Tahira Begum, spokesperson, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) said in a statement.
For twenty-four years, APDP and its individual members and volunteers have been campaigning against the phenomenon of enforced or involuntary disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir, wherein more than 8000 people have disappeared since 1989.
On 10 December 2011, APDP submitted a complaint of 132 cases of disappearance (by State, non-State and unknown) actors from different villages of Banihal tehsil, Ramban district, the spokesperson said.
“By communication dated 2 May 2017, the police and civil administration in their reply admitted that 112 persons out of 132 persons were indeed ‘missing’, but contested the other cases. On 27 February 2018, APDP filed its rejoinder.”
On 10 December 2011, APDP submitted a separate complaint of 507 cases of disappearance (by State, non-State and unknown) actors from different villages of Baramulla (369 cases) and Bandipora (138 cases) districts, the statement said.
“By separate communications the police and civil administration in their reply admitted that 186 persons out of 507 persons were indeed ‘missing’, but contested the other cases. On 3 July 2018, APDP filed its rejoinder.”
The spokesperson said that today’s order serves as an important milestone in the ongoing struggle of APDP to know the truth about the disappeared and to ensure justice for each and every person subject to enforced disappearance.
“Recently the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in its 14 June report noted the continued refusal of India to ratify the Convention against enforced disappearances and observed that ‘Impunity for enforced or involuntary disappearances in Kashmir continues as there has been little movement towards credibly investigating complaints, including into alleged sites of mass graves in the Kashmir Valley and Jammu region’.”
“It is in this context of absolute refusal of the Indian State to acknowledge the phenomenon of enforced disappearance, that today’s order must be seen,” the statement said. “The SHRC police enquiry is an opportunity for the families of the disappeared to place on record the truth of their loved ones, the circumstances of their disappearance and the refusal of the State to find the disappeared and ensure justice.”
The struggle of the families of disappeared and APDP has ensured that the truth has not been covered up or forgotten, the spokesperson said. “APDP will continue to highlight the issue of disappearances and at every step contest attempts by the State to cover up the truth.”