Friday, April 2, 2010

SHRC’s Annual report-2008-09: 9 custodial deaths, 43 missing, 6 rapes

Courtesy: Daily Kashmir Times dated April 2nd, 2010 by Syed Junaid Hashmi
JAMMU, Apr 1: State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) instituted 404 cases of human rights violation which included 6 rapes, 43 disappearances and 9 custodial deaths during the last financial year 2008-09 in Jammu and Kashmir.
The figures clearly indicate continuance of rights violations despite promises and pledges of “zero tolerance” by both centre and the state. More shocking is the fact that cases of custodial disappearance and killings are still being reported to SHRC when successive governments in Jammu and Kashmir as also the union home ministry have been vehemently boasting of having improved the human rights atmosphere in the state.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, like his predecessor Ghulam Nabi Azad, has been on record having stated that custodial disappearance and killings have become thing of past. However, a voluminous annual statement of SHRC for year 2008-09 tabled by Minister for Finance Abdul Rahim Rather in the legislative assembly today contradicts both statements of respective Chief Ministers and the CAG report.
Apart from giving detailed account of what happened here and who did what, annual report reflects the helplessness of state government in plugging rights violations by both central and state agencies. From ground zero in Kashmir valley which witnesses some kind of security action and harassment on routine basis, SHRC instituted 235 cases of rights violation during 2008-09 in Kashmir division.
Not surprising, the cases instituted included 3 cases of rape, 6 of Custodial Death and 43 of disappearance. Of the 3 cases of rape, 1 was instituted in Srinagar and 2 in Baramulla while 6 custodial deaths were recorded from Srinagar (1), Kupwara (1), Baramulla (1), Anantnag (2) and Shopian (1). With 12 disappearances, Kupwara recorded highest number during the year followed by 7 in Pulwama, 5 in Budgam, 4 each in Srinagar and Baramulla, 3 each in Anantnag, Kulgam and Ganderbal alongwith 2 in Bandipora.
No case of disappearance was reported from district Shopian. Similarly, 164 cases of rights violation were instituted by SHRC during 2008-09 in Jammu division. Of this, among other cases of violation, 3 cases of rape were registered with 2 in Poonch and 1 in Doda. 3 custodial deaths were reported with 2 in Poonch and 1 in Doda. Of the 6 cases of disappearance, 5 are from Poonch and 1 from Rajouri.
Figures may be inconsequential but are significant since they contradict government claims. Commission disposed off 698 cases from April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009 which included 269 cases of Kashmir division, 423 of Jammu division, 1 from Ladakh and 5 from outside the state. Among other cases, SHRC disposed off 22 cases of custodial death and 38 of disappearance during the year 2008-09 in Kashmir valley.
On similar lines, it made recommendations in 2 cases of rape both from Doda, 19 cases of custodial death and 16 of disappearance in Jammu region. One case of custodial death reported from Ladakh was also disposed off. 5 cases instituted by state subjects from outside the state which included one of custodial death were also disposed off.
It is notable to mention here that of the 404 cases of rights violation instituted in 2008-09, 71 are of relief and 54 of harassment, thus constituting highest number (124) among all categories of violations. On disposal side of the 698 cases, highest number was again of cases reported for alleged harassment (96) and issues related to relief disbursement (209).

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