Public meeting in Batla House marks International Day for Disappeared People of Kashmir

By Staff Reporter

New Delhi: CAFAU, Campaign Against Fascist Attack on University, a united front comprising of progressive and democratic organisations, students and teachers held a public meeting in Batla House, New Delhi on Wednesday to mark the International Day for Disappeared People of Kashmir.

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Professor Uma Chakravarty from University of Delhi, who was present as a guest speaker, shed light on the history of struggle of the oppressed nationalities as well as a history of repression by the Indian state machinery, made possible through draconian laws like AFSPA that allow the state agents to kill, maim, blind and rape with impunity.


Supreme Court advocate Warisha Farasat termed the unexplained disappearances a ‘crime against humanity’. She questioned the legality of trying such criminal offences as rape and murder by members of armed forces under court martial. She pointed out that court martial was meant to maintain army discipline and try related minor offences. She maintained that trial of criminal offences in court martial, as happens frequently in Kashmir, is a travesty of justice.

Parveena Ahangar, chairperson, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), also addressed those present via phone from Kashmir. She sounded extremely worried and in rage over the recent happenings in Kashmir. She told that the situation in Kashmir was grave. More worryingly, as a report in Kashmir Reader pointed out, “For the first time, International Day of Disappeared (August 30) was not observed in Kashmir Valley. Despite the lifting of curfew from most parts of Srinagar, restrictions imposed by the government have prevented the annual gathering of families of disappeared persons in city centre Lal Chowk.”

Every year, families of persons who have disappeared, mostly after being picked up by army or paramilitary troops, would gather at Lal Chowk The families would display identity cards and photos of the disappeared persons to keep demanding information of their whereabouts and to express the sense of limbo they have left behind.


“Today we could not organise any programme. It was impossible for the victims to come from far-flung areas because of the restrictions. Even families from Srinagar could not be brought together. In this situation I decided to hold a demonstration alone but was unable to do so because of the restrictions,” said Parveena Ahangar in the report from Kashmir Reader.

At the Delhi event, Professor Vijay Singh from the University of Delhi shed light on the history of the formation of the states of India and Pakistan, clarifying that none of the two states was formed on the basis of people’s choice.

He said, “At the time of accession to India, the people of Kashmir were promised a plebiscite which never happened.” He stressed that Kashmiri people therefore have the right to determine their future, they should be given a chance to decide if they want to be a part of India, Pakistan or independence from both.

Basharat Hasan, a PhD scholar, suggested that we must reflect on why are the armed forces are creating enforced disappearances in Kashmir when they can easily kill with impunity. He also warned Indians that whenever the problem of Kashmir is resolved, this impunity and the mindset that one can kill without being accountable for it will come back to us. He maintained that Indians will have to take the responsibility for what the Indian state is doing in their name in Kashmir by ensuring the accountability of their government’s actions in Kashmir.

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