SHRC Headless For Past 7 Years

SRINAGAR: With Kashmir under global spotlight for human rights abuses for last over two decades, the commitment to human rights by the successive governments in the state can be gauged by the fact that they have failed to appoint head for the State’s Human Rights Commission for last over seven years.

The post of Chairman Human Rights Commission, launched with much fanfare following International rebuke over a decade ago, is lying vacant for the last seven years. The tragic irony is that the even the new government of Jammu and Kashmir, which has been championing human rights, too appears to be least concerned about filling this post.

“More than 10,000 people are missing in Kashmir, hundreds are in jails and thousands of juveniles have been detained and slapped with PSA (Public Safety Act) so far. From Farooq Abdullah’s government to the present Government, no one has done anything for Kashmiri people. They are all same. I have gone there (SHRC) scores of times but there is no one to help us.  They are themselves in ‘no man’s land’ as from last seven years there is no chairman at the commission”, said Parveena Ahanger, Chairperson APDP (Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons).

 “I went to SHRC in 2011 for a case which is still pending out there but the same problem -having no chairman and other members-resurfaces Everything is in shambles, no one is bothered about the plight of Kashmiri’s who are either missing or languishing in jails, and she added further”.

Even as the present government is about to complete one year term, nothing concrete has been done to rejuvenate these defunct commissions. This assumes significance against the backdrop of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Syed’s statement, that the government was committed to revive all the institutions and provide them with necessary manpower for achieving the desired results as per the constitution under which these commissions have been set up. 

Since then four months have passed still these commissions are lying defunct.

Muzaffar Khan, a human rights activist said, “From last six months I have not visited SHRC as they are unable to provide any sort of help to the victims because there is no chairman and other allied officers who can help us. The commission is lying defunct from past seven years and government is not paying any heed towards the matter”.

It is now understood that the post of the SHRC Chairman is deliberately left vacant by the Government.  According to Ahsan Untoo, Chairman for International Forum for Justice and Human Rights. “When State government created human rights commission in the state, at that time recommendations were given by the SHRC to government on important cases like Kunan Poshpora Incident, Kupwara Massacre, Handwara Massacre and other important cases putting them in an awkward situation. They have deliberately not filled the post as they know it will create problems for them. If they filled the posts of other commissions, why are they reluctant to fill up the posts in SHRC?”, he questioned.

One month back High Court have given orders to fill up the posts on immediate basis but unfortunately government is least bothered about it.”

Recently, an NGO, ‘People’s Forum’ filed a petition in the court and under which the court has given one week’s time to state government to fill the posts which are lying vacant from 2011”,he added.

 It, however, remains to be seen if the state will act on the court order.


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