Disallowing Seminar Worst Kind Of Repression: Mian Qayoom   

SRINAGAR — President of the Kashmir Bar Association on Saturday termed authorities decision to disallow seminar on the topic: “The Right of Self Determination and Indian Repression in Kashmir” as “worst kind of repression” even as lawyers were divided on taking a legal course against it. 

For the first ever, Kashmir High Court Bar Association was disallowed to hold a seminar at District Court complex Mominabad, Batamaloo  to commemorate 23rd anniversary of advocate Jalil-ul-Qadar Andrabi “who was kidnapped by Army while on his way home from High Court on 8 March 1996 and was killed in custody”. Andrabi’s body was fished out from river Jhelum on 27 March, 1996.  

Abdul Rashid Malik, Principal District and Sessions Judge, Srinagar on March 29 informed the Bar Association that the seminar proposed to be held at 10.30 A.M. on Saturday at Saddar Court premises Mominabad here “cannot be permitted inside the District Court Complex under law.” 

“Even though we were not permitted to organize the seminars, we have achieved the objective of the seminar by speaking about Jalil Andrabi and other martyrs, who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom in the general body meeting,” Qayoom said. 

He said that by not allowing the Bar Association to hold the seminar, which was supposed to be a gathering of a learned, educated and intelligent people, the authorities have once again resorted to “worst kind of repression”.

“Judges are supposed to be the guardians of right to life and liberty and they are bound to safeguarding of right to speech and expression but the letter of District Judge has shown that even judges are not prepared to tolerate any word of wisdom and they will continue to repress those who stand against subjugation,” he said. 

Qayoom said that District Judge has not written the letter of his own and that he must have been under pressure not to permit the Bar Association to hold the seminar. 

“By issuing the letter, he has only obliged those authorities which is highly deplorable,” he said, adding, “Our success lies in our unity and steadfastness and we should work with honest and sincerity till we achieve our goal.” 

Advocate Bashir Sidiq suggested that the letter should challenge before High Court. However Shabir Ahmad Badoo  stated that it should not be challenged the letter because if the court passes any adverse order, then, “we will have to seek permission for such seminars in future.” 

“We should display the pictures, banners with quotes of our martyrs in the Bar premises,” Badoo said. 

Advocate Arshad Andrabi, Jalil Andrabi’s brother, stated that the letter has an adverse effect on the relation of the Bar and Bench. 

He said that Judges normally support the freedom of expression but what happens in Kashmir is that some “invisible hands control the judiciary here and the judiciary has failed to render justice.”

Advocate Noor Mohammad Bilal said that ‘right to assembly’ and ‘right to speech’ have been taken in clandestine manner to deprive “us to remember our loved ones.”

“ Right to expression is essence of guaranteed constitutional right i.e., freedom of speech and expression, which we have also recently seen and observed by the Supreme Court in Kanhaya Kumar and Others case. The holding of seminar was just to remember our loved one and it did not amount to any sedation are etc.”

He also stated that the democratic societies are supposed to act under rule of law. “But in our case the democracy here is meaningless as the authorities are acting as agents sent by the Centre.”

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