SHRC fixes April 17 deadline to govt in unmarked graves issue

Srinagar, Apr 02: State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) probing the issue of unmarked graves in Rajouri and Poonch has fixed April 17 as next date of hearing of the case. Sources said if the government fails to submit its report related to the case to the SHRC by April 17, the Commission might order its own investigating team in the matter on the pattern of North Kashmir unmarked graves issue. Widening its investigation to more than 3,800 unmarked graves in Poonch and Rajouri districts, the SHRC had last year in September directed the state government to constitute an “independent, duly representative, credible, structured and fully empowered” body to “investigate and identify the people buried in unmarked graves and to prosecute the perpetrators.” The order had come in the backdrop of a rejoined submitted by Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and the International Peoples Tribunal for Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir (IPTK), listing at least 2,717 graves in 90 graveyards in Poonch and 1,127 graves in 118 cemeteries in Rajouri. APDP and IPTK had first published these findings in 2008 in a report tittled ‘Facts Underground.’ The SHRC Secretary, Tariq Ahmad Banday confirmed that the Commission has fixed April 17 deadline to the Government. “After receiving the complaint from the APDP and IPTK, the SHRC preliminarily investigation the complaint was listed for arguments. The double bench of the Commission has fixed April 17 deadline for the Government,” he added. Asked if the Government fails to adhere to April 17 deadline what will be SHRC’s next step, he said, “Then the Commission will have to take some other alternative.” However, he didn’t elaborate which alternative the SHRC will take. KNS

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