Rallies, Seminars Mark Human Rights Day

SRINAGAR: Kashmir Valley witnessed protest rallies, sit-ins, seminars, and signature campaigns on the World Human Rights Day on Tuesday. Rallies and protests were taken out by the pro-freedom camp and pro-India parties, student unions and social organizations. Protestors demanded an immediate end to rights abuses and restoration of social security and justice to all.

Police placed many separatist leaders, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house arrest and barred them from taking part in protest rallies. Hurriyat (M) leadership was scheduled to take part in a rally at City Centre Lal Chowk.

The family members of persons killed or disappeared during the period of militancy assembled under the banner of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and Coalition of Civil Society (CCS)  at Pratap Park and Municipal Park Srinagar respectively. They demanded that the men in uniform, who are involved in the civilian killings during 2008, 2010 uprisings be dealt with according to law and those disappeared in custody be traced out or declared dead.

The affected family members carried placards and banners with slogans and photographs of the victims.    

The first programme of the day started at Partap Park where the members of Association Of parents of Disappeared Persons  led by Parveena Ahanger staged a peaceful sit-in. The sit in was also joined by activists besides the families of the disappeared persons.

A similar peaceful sit-in was held at SK Muncipal Park by the parallel faction of APDP led by Advocate Parvez Imroz. Carrying placards and banners the families of the disappeared persons wearing black pherans and candles in their hands were seeking international attention towards their plight.

The volunteers from various Social Organizations were present in Pratap Park which had displayed paintings depicting remorse and regret. Most of the paintings depicted the tale of sufferings, agony, pain and the consistent struggle of families whose dear ones disappeared in custody from past 23 years.

Posters and paintings were put up on the theme of disappearances, demonstrating the trauma and the courage of the families of the victims.

Several Hurriyat (M) activists reached Press Enclave to show solidarity with the families of disappeared persons. However, police stopped them after they tried to move towards Lal Chowk. 

Talking to reporters, Hurriyat leader, Hakim Rashid said that political atmosphere in Jammu and Kashmir was suffocating.

Police use force and fired several tear gas shells to disperse a candle light march led by Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Chief Yasin Malik in Batmaloo area.

As the activists started proceeding towards the city centre, a police party intercepted them. However, despite facing opposition from the activists, the police detained many activists including JKLF chief Yasin Malik.

Earlier Hurriyat Conference (M) leader Javid Ahmed Mir took out a march from Rajouri Kadal Srinagar. The protestors, including children and women carrying placards were demanding immediate arrest of those Army and Police officials who are involved in rights abuses. 

The march was stopped by police leading to a clash. Eyewitnesses said that soon after the police action, scores of youth resorted to stone pelting which created panic in the area. However, police later chased away stone pelting youth and brought the situation under control.

Large contingent of police, headed by Station House Officer Maharaj Gunj intercepted the protestors and bundled scores of protesters into police vehicles and lodged them in Police Station MR Gunj.

Police  detained Chairman of the Democratic Freedom Party, Shabir Ahmad Shah when he came out of his party headquarters at Sanat Nagar to present a memorandum to United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) headquarters at Sonawar, Srinagar.

Shah was detained along with chairmen, Islamic Political Party,

Muhammad Yusuf Naqash, Muslim Conference leader Shabir Ahmad Dar and International Forum for Justice and Human Rights chief Muhammad Ahsan Untoo.

Scores of workers from Peoples Freedom League were arrested and lodged in Khoti Bagh Police Station when they tried to take out a march from Press Enclave. Police official identified those held as Altaf Ahmed Khan, Imtiyaz Ahmed Shah, Arshid Aziz, Gulzar Ahmed Khandey and Ghulam Nabi.

Some of the Hurriyat (G) leaders headed by Advocate Muhammad Shafi Reshi tried to take out a march from Hyderpora, however police stopped them and forced them to move inside Hurriyat (G) headquarters. 

Chairman Awami Ithihad Party MLA Sheikh Rashid led a procession from Zero Bridge to City Centre Lal Chowk. He was accompanied by hundreds of supporters who were carrying placards and banners seeking stringent punishment for those involved in rights abuses in Kashmir.

The protestors were demanding the return of the remains of parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru and JKLF founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat.

Speaking on the occasion, Er Rashid said that time has come that all the mainstream and separatist parties show a united face and relieve people from all their miseries. “Modi dared to challenge us at our own land because we are a scattered lot. India knows it well that people of Kashmir are a divided lot and that is why it is able to suppress and subjugate us. We must come forward and join hands,” Rashid said adding that India has forgotten the fact that Kashmiri people are also humans.

Rashid said that if Government of India can have ceasefire with Naga militants why it is reluctant to engage Syed Salahudin in talks. 

Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS) organized a Round Table Discussion on the occasion.

Participants passed a resolution which demanded immediate revocation of all extra-constitutional laws in Jammu & Kashmir that violate the fundamental rights of its people. 

Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani also organized a seminar at the party headquarters in Hyderpora.

Speaking on the occasion, Geelani said that people of Kashmir should not expect respect of human rights from New Delhi.

“New Delhi has occupied us against our wishes and is using every kind of force to continue its occupation of Kashmir. How can we expect that they will respect human rights of Kashmiri people,” Geelani said.

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