Amnesty castigates JK Govt | Seeks release of teenage boy

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Srinagar: Global human rights watchdog Amnesty International in its latest report has castigated the Jammu and Kashmir government for “little progress” in the inquiries ordered into the civilian killings which took place during 2010 unrest.
“An inquiry, instituted by the state authorities, covered 17 out of 100 deaths, despite demands by Amnesty International and other organizations for an independent, impartial and thorough investigation into all the deaths. The inquiry made little progress,” the report states.
“Between June and September (2010), the police and security forces fired at protesters during pro-independence protests demanding accountability for past violations in the Kashmir valley. More than 100 people, mostly youths, were killed and 800 others, including media men, were injured,” the report added.
Referring to the ongoing turmoil in the Valley for past 2-decades, the report states, “Impunity for past violations in Kashmir, including the disappearance of thousands of people since 1989 during the armed conflict, continues.”
It stated that over thousand people were killed in ‘faked encounters’ in India between 1993 and 2008. “Recent data disclosed by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India on people killed in clashes with the police between 1993 and 2008, showed 2,560 deaths.”
1224 KILLED IN FAKE ENCOUNTERS
“At least 1224 (deaths) occurred in faked encounters implying they were extra-judicial executions. By the end of the year, the NHRC had awarded compensation to the relatives of 16 victims,” the report mentions.
“Convictions of those responsible for extra-judicial executions were exceptionally rare and proceedings in such cases remained slow,” AI said.
Amnesty International has launched a global campaign to seek release of 19-year-old Zaffar Shafi Hakeem of Anantnag (Islamabad), booked under Public Safety Act (PSA) by the state government.
Zaffar is the cousin of 14-year-old, Faizan Rafiq Hakeem, who was detained for 6-weeks from February to April 2011 and released after the intervention of the Amnesty International.
 Pertinently, police on January 28 had arrested Zaffar on the charges of rioting, assault and “causing grievous hurt.”  He was booked under PSA by the District Magistrate for his alleged affiliation with separatists.
 Presently Zaffar is lodged in Kathua Jail. The AI in its recent report had stated that prisoners face lot of difficulties in Kathua Jail as they are “deprived of all basic amenities” and their rights are “trampled.”
 The AI in a statement has urged the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to release the teenager forthwith.
 “Please send appeals before June 23, 2011 also to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country,” the statement addressed to the India chapter of  the AI states.
 The statement said that at least 322 people were reported to have been detained without trial under the provisions of the PSA in JK from January to September 2010 alone. “A number of them, including children, have been detained on similar grounds of stone pelting and rioting during various protests against the government throughout the summer of 2010,” it added.
 Pertinently, the District Magistrate in the grounds of detention had said: “You are affiliated with separatists and you organize campaigns on regular basis aimed at motivating people to hold demonstrations against the Government.”
 The police had alleged that Zaffar led two demonstrations – in October 2009 and July 2010 – during which protesters pelted stones on police and forces, injuring them and damaging their vehicles.
 Family members of Zaffar said that they were not informed about his arrest. He was picked up by police from his mobile phone shop.
 They said they were not given the grounds of detention or any other information related to his detention.

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