Pull-out of troops, repeal of black laws from IHK demanded

Srinagar, June 16, 2013 (PPI-OT): The New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Analysis (CPA) has demanded complete withdrawal of Indian troops and repeal of draconian laws including Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA) from occupied Kashmir. Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, an eight-member CPA team, led by noted journalist and civil society activist, Seema Mustafa, said that probe should be conducted into the cases involving rapes and deaths at the hands of Indian troops and police personnel in the territory.

The delegation members also called for setting up of a special investigation team, headed by a High Court judge, to investigate the Kunanposhpora mass gang rape case in a time-bound manner. “Not only the army personnel involved in the incident should be identified and punished but those from the government who covered up this inhuman act must also be identified and punished,” they said.

Seema Mustafa said that there was a need to sensitise the people of India about the Kashmir dispute. “CPA has taken various initiatives in this regard and it has already sensitised the students of various universities of India. Today if any Kashmiri gets arrested in New Delhi, all the students in New Delhi resent it and demand an immediate release. It is just because we sensitised the students about the Kashmir issue. It is not easy to talk about Kashmir in the wake of strong opposition in New Delhi,” she said.

Seema said that the death of 112 Kashmiri boys during 2010 mass agitation at the hands of Indian forces and the continued arrest of young people had given the slogan of azadi (freedom) more popular and widespread support.

During the press conference, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader, Muhammad Saleem came down heavily on the successive puppet regimes in the territory and India for their inaction in Kunanposhpora mass rape case and said that the CPA members would meet the Prime Minister of India and would demand action against the troops involved in this heinous crime.

“Kunanposhpora mass rape incident is a stain on the Indian democracy,” he said and deplored that it was irony that even after the recommendations made by the Human Rights Commission of the territory, the puppet administration acted as a mute spectator and did nothing in this regard.”

Secretary General of All India Catholic Union, John Dayal, said that he was shocked to hear woeful tales from every Kashmiri. He said that Indian troops and police personnel acting like beasts had let loose a reign of terror and nothing was done to stop human rights violations in the territory.

“Hundreds of rapes committed by security personnel have not come to light as the victims due to known reasons did not report those cases,” he said, adding that it was tragic to hear about the atrocities committed by the Indian forces in occupied Kashmir.

Former Director General of Indian Border Security Force, E N Rammohan, said that there was a high level of anger and frustration in the fourth generation in occupied Kashmir. “The young people have lost hope and are helpless,” he said.

Dr Balachandra Kango from CPI said that the Kashmir Valley had a large number of widows and half-widows whose husbands had died or had disappeared over the years. “There are hundreds of women who have been sexually molested and have lost their children to the violence,” he said.

Noted writer and social worker, Harsh Mander, said that the level of stress related trauma was very high in the territory, adding, “CPA delegation witnessed the hysteria as women from different parts of Kashmir narrated their woeful tales.”

Sehba Farooqi of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) said that CPA was putting all its efforts to make the people of India aware about sufferings of the Kashmiris.

Professor Kamal Chenoy, Professor Jawaharlal Nehru University, said that it was shameful on part of Indian forces to indulge in atrocities and rapes. “A soldier stands for the protection of life but Kashmir has its own story to tell where soldiers tarnish the chastity of women,” he stated.

The delegation castigated the puppet administration for placing the veteran Kashmiri Hurriyet leader, Syed Ali Gilani, under continued house arrest. “When one fears the popularity of his opponent, he goes to any extent. Same is the case here. Government seems to be helpless before Gilani,” said Seema Mustafa.

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