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APCR Press Statement on Situation in Kashmir

23 August, 2010

Association for Protection of Civil Rights, New Delhi strongly condemns the killing of unarmed protesters in police firing in the Kashmir valley. In the past 10 weeks more than 55 Kashmiris, mostly youth, have lost their lives at the hand of the armed personnel. More than 200 people have also been injured, some of them critically. The policy of bullets for brickbats is inhuman and is totally unacceptable in a state that calls itself a democracy. The large number of civilian deaths due to police and armed forces action is highly deplorable.

The APCR feels that the current wave of public anger is due to the misguided policies of the government and the excesses committed against the people. The people outrage is against the killing of innocent persons, disappearance of large number of youths, encounter killing in the name of countering terrorism, continuous presence of army and security forces in civilian areas, prolonged curfews, indiscriminate searches and crackdowns, road blockade in the name of security and thousands of rapes of Kashmiri women by security forces . In the past 20 years more than 70,000 Kashmiris have been killed by the security personnel. Thousands of women have been raped by the security forces. A recent fact finding report exposed the existence of mass graves where more than 30,000 bodies were buried. Had the government policy been to punish the guilty security personnel perpetrating these crimes instead of protecting them by subverting the course of justice, people in such large numbers would have not risen in the unarmed revolt to which we are a witness today. Even the Government accepts that there are not more than 500 militants in the valley, but still more than 8 lakh army personnel are deployed making it the most militarized zone in the world. Besides, draconian laws like AFSPA have invested unlimited power and complete impunity to the army.

It is well known, the crisis in Kashmir is not new. It has its roots in the past and it needs to be resolved in a realistic manner through dialogue. To begin with, the use of force against unarmed people should stop immediately. Firing in response to stone throwing is not justified. Unconditional talks with all groups of people should be initiated.

The APCR urges the government both at the centre and the state to protect the life and liberty of the innocent persons rather than of those who are guilty of unjustifiably killing them in fake encounters, mysterious disappearances and through the unacceptable practice of bullets for brickbats. It is only by guaranteeing the rule of law, respecting the human rights and commitment to fair play and justice that lasting peace can be ensured. Repression is bound to further alienate the people and lead to more unrest .

The APCR strongly urges that the armed forces be withdrawn from the civilian areas . The ongoing series of curfew, roadblocks, house raids and indiscriminate arrests should end. The draconian laws should be revoked and human rights violations should stop.

With Regards,

Prof. K. A. Siddique Hassan
Secretary General
Association for Protection of Civil Rights
Jasola Vihar
New Delhi-110025
Phone: +91 2695 5896