Amnesty International chides India

AMNESTY International (AI) has finally taken notice of the serious cases of Indian atrocities in Indian-Occupied Kashmir and declared that the Public Safety Act (PSA) should be revoked in the state. The global rights watchdog, in its 600-page Amnesty report — the first on Jammu and Kashmir since 2000 — has termed the PSA a “lawless law”. AI has pronounced that it strongly advocates abrogation of PSA as it provides immunity to troopers and officials involved in rights violations.

Taking suo-moto action against the violation of human rights by India’s brutal armed forces deployed in the Valley of Kashmir and wreaking havoc upon hapless Kashmiris, the AI report, released at a function at the Grand Mumtaz Hotel in the summer capital Srinagar, documents how Indian authorities are using the act to detain people for years at a time, without trial, “depriving them of basic human rights otherwise provided under Indian law”. The AI’s stance on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is clear, as it declares that the act should be revoked forthwith. An AI team, which visited Kashmir last year and studied at least 600 people booked under the PSA, has incorporated their particulars and details of their unlawful detention in the report. The AI report takes cognizance of the fact that

The number of Kashmiris detained under the PSA over the past two decades range from 8,000-20,000. Between January and September 2010, 322 people were reportedly detained under the controversial act that empowers district magistrates to detain people for up to two years for suspected offences ranging from anti-state activities to timber smuggling. The latest AI report is based on research conducted in May 2010 and “subsequent analysis of government and legal documents relating to over 600 individuals detained under the PSA between 2003 and 2010”. “By using the PSA to incarcerate suspects without adequate evidence, India has not only gravely violated their human rights but also failed in its duty to charge and try such individuals and to punish them if found guilty in a fair trial.” The report said state authorities “often implement this law in an arbitrary and abusive manner”.

The AI report only vindicates our position and goes to prove what The Daily Mail has been reporting for the past decade regarding the reign of terror let lose by Indian Armed Forces in Kashmir. Unfortunately, this daily’s findings fell on deaf ears but now AI has confirmed its investigative reports. The Daily Mail urges the world community to ensure that India repeals the PSA and ends practices of illegal and incommunicado detention and immediately puts in place safeguards to ensure that those detained are brought promptly before a magistrate. They should press upon India to carry out an independent investigation into all allegations of abuses against those detained and extend invitations and facilitate the visits of the UN officials and panels, including the UN special rapporteur on torture and the working group on arbitrary detention. Meanwhile, in occupied Kashmir, pro-freedom leaders have welcomed the Amnesty International’s report that urged India to end the system of administrative detentions and repeal the draconian law, Public Safety Act (PSA) in the territory at the earliest.

The Chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, in a media interview in Srinagar, lauded the report released by the Amnesty International on gross human rights violations in the occupied territory and appealed to the World Body to impress upon India to stop massive human rights abuses in the territory. Veteran Kashmiri Hurriyat leader, Syed Ali Gilani, welcoming the Amnesty International’s report said, “We are thankful to any organization which points about atrocities being committed by Indian troops against the Kashmiri people,” he maintained. Demanding that the United Nations should send a fact-finding mission to the territory to probe rights violations, Gilani suggested for setting up of a war crime tribunal in this regard. It is high time that the international community comes down hard on India for its genocide in Kashmir. – Dailymailnews