Monday, 29 August 2011

Interlocutors welcome JK Govt''s amnesty to stone pelters

New Delhi, Aug 29  Centre's interlocutors today welcomed Jammu and Kashmir government's initiatives including general amnesty to stone pelters and transfer of powers to panchayats saying these were important confidence building measures (CBMs) for carrying forward the peace process."The Group of Interlocutors on J-K welcome the state government's release some political prisoners, declare a general amnesty to 'stone throwers' and transfer of the first instalment of various powers to the newly-elected panchayats," the interlocutors said in a joint statement.They also welcomed Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's announcement that the government will take 'appropriate action' on the final recommendations of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) related to the unidentified bodies buried in unmarked graves in Kashmir."Announced on the eve of Eid, these steps, much like the ones taken to facilitate hassle-free movement of people and goods across the Line of Control, are important CBMs that will carry forward the peace process," the interlocutors said.The team noted with satisfaction that the steps announced by the state government were in tune with the letter and spirit of the recommendations made by them in their reports submitted to the government over the past ten months."The Group urges the Chief Minister to persist on this path with redoubled vigour in order to create an atmosphere of harmony and reconciliation among all the people of the state after more than two decades of unmitigated suffering," the statement said."Such an atmosphere alone will be conducive to seek a permanent, political settlement in J & K in cooperation with all stake-holders who have renounced the use of violence and intimidation to attain their goals," it said.

farooq refutes media reports

Srinagr, 29 Aug : President Jammu and Kashmir National Conference and Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Dr. Farooq Abdullah in a statement issued said that “On a recent visit to Gujarat I had an occasion to make a speech in which I highlighted the essential unity of all Indians and also categorically emphasized that no religion preaches hatred (Mazhab nahin sikhata apas mein bair rakhna). I had also mentioned that the month of Ramadhan is the holiest month because it is during this month that the Holy Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (SAW).”

        “I have seen a number of press reports where my secular and humanistic remarks have been hopeless distorted. I had never claimed that the Holy Qur’an was revealed to anyone other than the Prophet Mohammad (SAW). I am dismayed at this inaccurate reporting more so when the comments being reported upon sought to emphasize harmony between religions and equality of mankind. I wish to categorically reassert that I had at no point of time made any reference to the Holy Qur’an being revealed to anybody other than Prophet Mohammad (SAW). While clarifying the above, I also wish to urge fellow citizens to remember the essential oneness of man and equality of all religions.”

Response to SHRC's report on unknown and unmarked graves of Kashmir

August 29, 2011 A Joint Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission, International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir and The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons
We welcome the report of the State Human Rights Commission of Jammu and Kashmir (SHRC) on unmarked graves in the north of the Kashmir (dated July 2011 and recently released), taking suo moto cognizance of the matter, and appreciate the courage and labour that this work signifies.
SHRC's report acknowledges and corroborates the research documented in the report, BURIED EVIDENCE, released by the International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice (IPTK) in December 2009.
SHRC investigated unmarked graves in Bandipora, Baramulla, Kupwara, and Handwara districts across 38 graveyards and verified 2156 unidentified bodies in unidentified graves.
Based on investigative research conducted between November 2006-November 2009, BURIED EVIDENCE had documented 2700 unknown, unmarked, and mass graves, containing 2943+ bodies, across 55 villages (in 62 sites within these villages) in Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara districts of Kashmir. Of these, 2373 were unidentified and unnamed graves
To respond to the egregious violations of the past and secure justice requires that we acknowledge atrocities that have been committed and address their effects. In the matter of unknown, unmarked, and unidentified graves in Kashmir, we call for a three-tier process: Investigation, Prosecution, and Reparation.
Investigation and Prosecution: We request that SHRC extend its investigation to include each site documented by IPTK in north Kashmir, and beyond, to all twenty districts in Jammu and Kashmir. In particular, we ask that investigations take place in Anantnag, Budgam, Ganderbal, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian, and Srinagar districts in Kashmir province and in Doda, Poonch, Rajouri, and Reasi districts in Jammu province.
We ask that DNA-based profiles of those buried in the unmarked and unidentified graves be cross-tabulated with those that have been involuntarily disappeared in Kashmir. Further, in addition to the identification of the dead, we ask that comprehensive forensic examinations be conducted to determine the circumstances of death, including incidences of torture.
The Kashmir Police have stated that they have records of 464 unidentified graves. However, it appears that, even in these cases, the Kashmir Police have not maintained photographic, DNA, and other evidence. All unidentified graves that have been listed as holding the bodies of "foreign militants" must be investigated. The police have filed First Information Reports stating these persons as dead from encounter killings. However, these bodies have not been identified based on records or other verifiable evidence. Neither has conclusive evidence been offered to prove that the bodies are of Kashmir's disappeared.
SHRC has stated that 574 bodies have been identified as locals following their burial. However, the Kashmir Police and Indian Armed Forces had previously claimed these 574 bodies as those of "foreign militants." This indicts the government's negligence in identifying unclaimed bodies. Based on the above, the SHRC report evidences that there is every possibility that the 2156 unmarked graves hold the bodies of persons that were involuntarily disappeared. The cases of the 574 bodies also intimate that numerous persons have been killed in fake encounters and secretly buried in unmarked graves to conceal their identity. IPTK's 2009 report too had documented a list of 49 bodies, all designated by the state as "foreign militants," 47 of whom, on investigation, proved to have been killed in fake encounters, and none were identified as foreign insurgents.
If, in the course of future investigations, it is proven that disappeared persons were killed in fake encounters and buried in unmarked graves, exemplary punishments should be pronounced against those accused to deter future and repeated crimes of the same nature. In instances where non-local persons are killed in alleged "encounter" killings, relevant international human rights and humanitarian law must be applied in matters of redress.
SHRC has relied on statements from persons who, fearful of reprisal, wish for their testimonies to be placed on record anonymously. Given the nature of the issue, and the heightened risks involved in offering testimony, utmost care and caution should be exercised in securing witness protection, following international protocols and standards.
We ask that the matter of unknown, unmarked, and mass graves be subjected to a rigorous, independent, and impartial investigation. We ask that the story of these graves be investigated in their entirety: What are the particular legal and institutional histories of the graveyards? How did they come into existence? Per whose order? Did District Magistrates requisition the construction of graveyards, burials, and record keeping? Such historiography would permit holding actionable particular officers and offices that acted in violation of the law, with arrogance and indifference, and failed to follow the law in burying unidentified bodies. This would disaggregate the amorphous state and enable holding accountable particular institutions of state.
Reparation: The issue of unknown and unmarked graves involves the living as much as the dead. Reparation must both be individualized and collectivized, so that communities, neighbourhoods, and villages can heal and break their isolation. SHRC's either/or proposal of offering a relief of Rupees 700,000 to the next of kin or undertaking DNA testing-based investigation should be amended, and both the investigation and provision of relief be made mandatory. Monetary compensation to the next of kin should not be calculated as ex gratia relief, but should be particularized according to the individual circumstances of death, and the affect the death has had on the family, and relief should be calculated based on the complex task of quantifying loss of life and providing psychosocial and economic rehabilitation to family members.
We ask that all special laws and provisions of immunity that authorize the military and paramilitary forces to act with impunity in Kashmir be revoked unconditionally. We ask that the Government of India ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, to which it has been a signatory since February 2007, and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which it has been a signatory since October 1997. We ask that the Government of Jammu and Kashmir institute a comprehensive ban on practises of torture as defined by international law and humanitarian ethics.
In Kashmir, between 1989-2011, the actions of the military and paramilitary have resulted in over 8,000 enforced disappearances and 70,000 deaths. We ask that human rights violations in Kashmir be recognized as resulting from, and concomitant to, the impunity of militarization and state violence, and the dangers militarism imposes on civil society. We caution that, without addressing these structural and prevalent conditions, justice and peace will remain elusive.
In calling for conflict resolution in South Asia's nuclear zone, we recognize the precarious cross-border conditions between India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and condemn the violent actions of misogynist state and non-state groups operating in the region.

The above statement is co-authored by, (1) Dr. Angana Chatterji, Convener IPTK and Professor, Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies; (2) Advocate Parvez Imroz, Convener IPTK and Founder, Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society; (3) Gautam Navlakha, Convener IPTK and Editorial Consultant, Economic and Political Weekly; (4) Zahir-Ud-Din, Convener IPTK and Vice-President, Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society; (5) Advocate Mihir Desai, Legal Counsel IPTK and Lawyer, Mumbai High Court and Supreme Court of India; (6) Khurram Parvez, Liaison IPTK and Programme Coordinator, Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society and (7) he Executive Council, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons

Illegal constructions case Hotel in Pahalgam sealed

Demolition drive to begin after Eid celebrations
SRINAGAR, Aug 29: The authorities have sealed Grand Mumtaz hotel in Pahalgam allegedly for violating High Court orders of December 24, by virtue of which the construction in the world famous health resort was banned.
“Yes, in compliance of High Court orders, we have sealed the hotel,” said Kifayat Rizvi, Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag.
DC had formed a team which included Tehsildar and Executive Officer of Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA) supported by a police party which reached the hotel situated near golf course yesterday. The domestic, national and international guests were shifted from the Grand Mumtaz hotel to other hotels in the area and the hotel was locked and sealed off accordingly.
The team also demolished some newly constructed portion of the hotel. However, the PDA officials had earlier reported to the court of principal district and sessions judge that the hotel owner had done only some repair work of a bathroom.
On August 20, while taking suo motto cognizance of the construction carried out by various hotel owners including Mushtaq Ahmad Ganaie—owner of Grand Mumtaz hotel in Pahalgam, the High Court had issued contempt notice against Ganaie. The notice was also issued to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PDA and DFO Pahalgam for sleeping over the matter.

J&K Govt Working on Plan for Return of Youth from PoK

 Srinagar,Aug 29 Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said his government was working on a plan for return of "misguided" youth from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
"We are working out something that does not need support of Government of Pakistan or Muzaffarabad," Omar told reporters here.
He was responding to a question about the status of the rehabilitation policy for the return of youth from PoK who had crossed the Line of Control for arms training but wanted to join the national mainstream now.
"We have received 900 applications from youth (from PoK). We are looking at the possibilities of how we can facilitate their return," Omar said.
The rehabilitation policy for Kashmiri militants in PoK was announced last year but no substantive progress has been made on the matter so far.
"We will continue to use our resources well," he added.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

J&K Sports persons awarded Sher-I-Kashmir Medals/Awards

JAMMU, AUGUST 28 – National Sports Day is being celebrated by the Department of Youth Services and Sports and J&K Sport Council at K.K.  Hakku Stadium on 29th of August 2011 to commemorate the 106th Birth Anniversary of Late Major Dhayan Chand, the great hockey player of India, who kept the Indian Flag Flying high in Olympic Games for many years. The veteran sportspersons of Jammu and Kashmir will also be honoured on this occasion.
On this occasion, Chief Minister, Mr. Omar Abdullah on the recommendations of the Award Committee of J&K Sports Council, constituted by Minister for Medical Education, Technical Education and Youth Services and Sports, Mr. R. S. Chib has announced the Sher-I-Kashmir Medals and Sher-I-Kashmir awards for the outstanding sportspersons who have brought laurels to the state of Jammu and Kashmir by representing the country in the international sports events.
These awards have been announced after a gap of eight years the list includes all the sports person who have been awarded between 2003-04 and 2009-10. These awards shall be conferred to the sports persons in an investiture ceremony to be held at Jammu on 5th of December 2011, the birth anniversary of the Late Sher-I-Kashmir, Jenab Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.
The Award committee has also recommended that a citation/certificate will be awarded to those sports administrators/promoters/associations of various disciplines depending upon their performance in the field of sports. They will be awarded in the same ceremony. Their names are being finalized by a committee constituted by the Department of Youth Services and Sports.  
The names of sports persons who have been awarded Sher-I-Kashmir Medal/Award are Ms. Sonia Sharma for Gymnastic, Mr. Kuldeep Handoo for Wushu, Mr. Ishfaq Ahmad for Football, Ms. Harleen Singh for Gymnastic, Ms. Sonal Gupta for Gymnastic, Mr. Kamal Singh for Gymnastic, Mr. Kuldip Kumar Gupta for Tug of War, Mr. Rashid Ahmad Choudhary for Fencing, Mr. Jonny Kumar for football, Mr. Tashi Thinles for Skiing, Mr. Arif Mohd Khan for Skiing, Ms. Seema Mehra for Gymnastic, Ms. Rita Devi for Handball, Ms. Sakina Bashir for Skiing, Mr. Amandeep Singh for Skiing, Mr. Ujjwal Gupta for Fencing, Mr. Yousaf Kochey for Snooker, Mr. Rashil Farooq Shah for Skiing, Mr. Navjot Singh for Gymnastic, Ms. Palak Kour for Gymnastic, Ms. Mehjabeen Akhter for Skiing, Ms. Bilquis Mir for Kayaking and Canoeing, Ms. Tejpal Kour for Gymnastic, Mr. Manvinder Singh for Gymnastic, Ms. Manpreet Kour for Gymnastic, Ms. Mitali Dogra for Gymnastic, Mr. Mayank Jain for Gymnastic, Mr. Jaskaran Singh for Gymnastic, Mr. Shoiab Zahoor Mir for Skiing, Mr Mehrajuddin Wadoo for Football, Mr. Arun Malhotra for Football, Ms. Nippu Jamwal for Judo, Mr. Mohd. Ali for Taekwondo and Bhanu Partap for Judo.

Omar announces amnesty for stone-pelters

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today announced general amnesty for all the stone pelters, who have been booked by the police during last summer unrest