Valley Shuts Down On Human Rights Day

Leading Figures Flay Life Term For JKLF Men As “Judicial Violence, Contrary To Justice Tenets”

SRINAGAR (ONS) – The Valley remained shut down on Monday on the JKLF’s call to protest against life sentences awarded recently to two Kashmiris in a 22-year-old case, with the Front holding a sit-in at its headquarters and a torchlight demonstration later for solidarity with detainees.

Lawyers joining the JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik during the protest asserted that awarding death penalties and life terms for waging  political movements was contrary to the principles of justice and a violation of human rights.

Today’s strike, coinciding with the World Human Rights Day, closed shops and businesses in Srinagar and outlying towns, and kept public transport off the roads, even as demonstrations were held at Lal Chowk, Nishat, Mir Gund and other places.

Led by Muhammad Yasin Malik, a large number of prominent citizens joined the Front and other separatist leaders and kin of detainees at the Maisuma sit-in. flaying the court decision – the latest in a string of life sentences awarded to Kashmiris over the past two years – as judicial violence.

Together with the families of Nazir Ahmad Sheikh and Shaukat Ahmad Khan, the two locals to get life terms recently, the gathering included Shabir Ahmad Shah, Javed Ahmad Mir, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, APDP chairperson Parveen Ahangar, Prof Rahman Rahi, Dr. GQ Allaqaband, Dr Altaf Hussain, Dr. Zaffar Mehdi, Prof Sheikh Shaukat Hussain, Mueen Ahmad Shah, Ajaz Ahmad Kakroo, Aijaz-ul-Haq, Arjumand Hussain Talib, Abdul Majeed Zargar, ZG Muhammad, Dr. Javed Iqbal, advocate Basheer Siddique, advocate Muhammad Amin Malla, Kumar Jee Wanchoo, Dr. Mubaraki, Muhammad Irfan, Muhammad Sadiq Bakal, Jan Muhammad Koul, and others besides JKLF leaders and activists.

“We have gathered here to register protest against India’s judicial violence under which scores of Kashmiri leaders and activists have been awarded death penalties and life sentences over the past two years,” speakers said.

“We express solidarity with Kashmiri detainees languishing in jails,” they said, reading out a list of separatists undergoing prison terms.

“Why have court orders started coming out suddenly when cases have been kept pending in the lower judiciary for over two decades, and the accused held in jails for years on end,” they said, asserting that life terms and death penalties for over a score of Kashmiris over the past two years was intriguing.

Nayeem Ahmad Khan said that India was usurping the rights of Kashmiris despite claiming to be a democratic country.

“This is the day when the world had pledged to protect the rights of human beings, therefore the world should take notice of the excess being committed in Kashmir,” columnist Dr. Javed Iqbal said.

The trend to snatch the rights of oppressed people is gathering momentum across the world because no one opposes it at the international level, and because atrocity has state patronage, Arjuman Hussain Talib said.

Prof Rahman Rahi read out his poem on the plight of Kashmir.

“We have a complaint against those liberals who fall suddenly silent when the word Kashmir is spoken,” Dr Altaf Hussain said. “The Indian judiciary too has begun judgements based on a peculiar notion of national interest,” he said.

“We will have to fight for our independence on our own, and must have no expectations from anyone,” Dr. Allaqaband said.

“India has always shown double standards over the Kashmir issue, and never supported facts and the truth,” ZG Muhammad said.

Prof Sheikh Shaukar Hussain said that Kashmiris were waging a political battle, and the manner in which India was using judicial activism against detainees was contrary to all international law.

“Indian institutions, particularly its judiciary, should under stands that awarding life sentences and death penalties in political movements, was from the legal point of view, contrary to the principles of justice,” he said.

“To use the death penalty and life imprisonment which, now, after hundreds of years, have begun to be termed as imprisonment till the end of one’s natural life, to suppress political movements is a brazen violation of human rights,” the JKLF vice-chairman, advocate Basheer Ahmad Bhat, said.

“Even as world insensitivity to this situation has pushed people to violence, it has also emboldened governments to escalate force and oppression against those engaged in peaceful struggles,” he said.

“The latest example of this is the life sentences awarded to Kashmiris over the past two years,’ he said.

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