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ANHAD Statement on the recent killings of civilians in Jammu and Kashmir

by Anhad, 29 June 2010

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Anhad expresses its deep shock and anguish over the sad and unfortunate killings of nine young boys in the last two weeks in Jammu and Kashmir, where the Valley has seen a sharp escalation of police and para military atrocities, leading to many deaths and injuries. Scores of youngsters and innocent people have been killed. Even a brazen case of yet another fake encounter at the hands of a rogue army official has come to light. These acts of brutality, in complete violation of the law of the land and constitutional rights of the people, have resulted in mass outrage and alienation of large sections of the civilian population in Kashmir. These are unarmed, non-violent citizens, who are being treated with such blatant and indiscriminate use of military force — why? Is there no other way to negotiate with civil unrest? And what is the root cause of this civil unrest if not the basic premise of police and para military brutality? And what about cases of atrocities committed on people who are not even protesting? There is no excuse for such cruelty. Despite repeated assurances by the central and state governments of zero tolerance towards human rights violations, the fact remains that little has been done to punish those responsible for such heinous and gross violations. This organised insensitivity and vacillation to act firmly against such elements is bound to put a question mark on the credibility of the State and its track record in terms of human and democratic rights of the people, as enshrined in the Indian Constitution. Mere rhetoric and institution of official enquiries is not enough to restore the shattered and shaken confidence of the people. It is imperative that the central and state authorities take firm and visible action against those responsible for unleashing this brutish violence on innocent people. Any delay will only compound the alienation and anger of the people — resulting in irrefutable damage to the peace process in the Valley and elsewhere in the state.

ANHAD expresses serious concern over the absolute antipathy and lack of political initiative displayed by the UPA-led central government in response to the situation in the valley. They should learn some lessons from history. People cannot be won over or suppressed at gun point. Certainly, the people of Jammu and Kashmir deserve a more rational, humane, visionary and sensitive response from the Indian State.

Tanveer Hussain Khan
- Shabnam Hashmi
- Mansi Sharma
- Seema Duhan