STATE OF SIEGE
A record of 100 days in Jammu and Kashmir
16 October 2016
During the last 100 days of siege – since the killing of militant Commander Burhan Wani, Kashmir has witnessed gross violations of human rights in the form of extrajudicial executions, injuries, illegal detentions, torture, vandalism of civilian properties, ban on congregational religious activities, media gags, and a ban on communication and internet services, etc. Most fundamental rights have been curtailed through the imposition of continuous State curfews and restrictions.
Through the ongoing unrest, 100 civilians have been killed and 15,000+ injured through State forces action with 4500+ through the use of pellet shotguns with 1000+ civilians receiving eye damage. Peaceful gatherings and marches, including funeral processions and public prayers, have been met with violence as telecommunication and internet services remain by and large curtailed. The State has resorted to indiscriminate arrests with an estimated 8000+ civilians under illegal detention including 450+ under the Public Safety Act, 1978 – a preventive detention law internationally condemned as a “lawless law”. There has also been an intense crackdown on media, including incidents of beatings and shooting of pellets on photojournalists. Kashmir Reader, popular English daily has been banned as the State sending a clear message that there is no room for dissent or truth telling in Jammu and Kashmir today. There have also been attacks on ambulances, medical aid workers by the security agencies.
Interim fact-finding and verification by JKCCS has found that a total of 100 civilians have been killed over the last 100 days by State forces personnel. 61 of the killed civilians are from the four South Kashmir districts of Anantnag (25), Kulgam (13), Pulwama (13) and Shopian (10). In the Central Kashmir districts of Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal a total of 24 people have been killed, with 13 people in Srinagar, followed by 10 in Budgam and one in Ganderbal district of Kashmir. In the three districts of North Kashmir, Bandipora, Baramulla and Kupwara, a total of 15 people have been killed– with 2 people in Bandipora, 7 in Baramulla and 6 in Kupwara.5 of the civilians killed are women. 5 people have drowned to death following their attempts to escape State forces attacks. The use of pellet shotguns has resulted in 18 killings. 80 percent of the killed people are youngsters below the age of 30. It appears that in only 7 cases have the police registered criminal cases recording the accurate circumstances of the killing.
The interim findings on the 100 civilians killed suggests that the State has used excessive and disproportionate force with an apparent intent to kill and not to disperse protesters or enforce law and order. Further, the present state of criminal investigations into the civilian killings is in keeping with past: impunity with a sustained effort to support alleged perpetrators.
An obvious casualty has been the ability of civil society and human rights groups to document and report on every day violations. The arrest of noted human rights defender Khurram Parvez, Chairperson of Asian Federation against Disappearances and JKCCS Programme Coordinator, on 16 September 2016 is symptomatic of State action over the last 100 days. Parvez’s unlawful arrest has seen a global campaign demanding his release. The state and institutional repression has been widespread with no accountability.
The present state of siege, violence and impunity in Jammu and Kashmir reaffirms the need for objective and independent human rights fact-finding. The UN High Commissioner’s request to allow a UN fact finding team would ensure that international processes of rule of law are allowed to collect evidence and independently verify the state of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir.
Via our friends at Kashmir Life:
International rights watch dog, Amnesty International, on Saturday demanded immediate halt to “Wrongful” detentions in Jammu And Kashmir.
“Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir should end the use of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) to arbitrarily detain people, including children,” Amnesty International (AI) India, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said today.
“The PSA violates international due process standards and should be repealed,” the rights defender groups said in a joint statement issued by AI.
The rights groups observed that between 9 July – when protests and violent clashes broke out in the state following the killing of a leader of the armed group Hizbul Mujahideen – and 6 October, authorities have detained over 400 people, including children, under the PSA.
The PSA is an administrative detention law that allows detention without charge or trial for up to two years in some cases. Following an amendment in 2012, the PSA expressly prohibits the detention of anyone under 18.
“The use of the PSA to detain people, particularly children, violates a range of human rights, and its increasing use in recent weeks undermines the rule of law and further entrenches impunity in Kashmir,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ Asia Director. “Police should end the use of the PSA; if people are suspected of committing offences, they should be properly charged and given fair trials.”
The statement said that on 16 September, Rayees Ahmad Mir, who is 16-year-old – according to his school records – was arrested in Baramulla district under ordinary criminal procedure for allegedly throwing stones at security forces.
Two days later, an executive official passed an order to detain him under the PSA, to preclude his release on bail.
The order incorrectly stated that he was 18-year-old.
Rayees Mir’s family challenged the order before the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, producing documents that proved he was only 16.
On 7 October, the court stated that Rayees Mir should be treated according to juvenile justice rules, as there was prima face evidence that he was a minor, and ordered his transfer to a juvenile home.
The PSA detention order has not yet been quashed. An official at the Kotbalwal jail said on 14 October that the prison authorities had not yet transferred Rayees Mir, as they had not received a copy of the court order.
Mir Shafqat Hussain, a lawyer representing many PSA detainees, said, “in a number of cases the families have not been informed about the grounds of detention. Arresting minors and booking them under PSA is definitely going to have an effect on their psyche. From schools and colleges, these boys end up in jails where they will be kept together with adults. It is definitely going to have an adverse effect on them.”
On 18 August, Waheed Ahmed Gojree, who is 16 according to his school records, was arrested in Kupwara district and detained at a police station.
According to his family, the police at first told them he would be released the next day, but then said that he had been detained under the PSA. He was first taken to a jail in Baramulla, and then to the central jail in Jammu.
An official at the central jail confirmed that he had been detained under the PSA.
The family has not yet received a copy of the detention order, or been formally informed about the grounds of Waheed Gojree’s detention.
The authorities appear to have not taken his age into account before issuing his detention order.
“The government has a responsibility to address violence during protests, but indefinitely detaining people without charge only adds to the lawlessness,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director, Human Rights Watch.
“Detaining children under the PSA is not only unlawful, but could have negative repercussions for years.”
The Indian Express newspaper has reported that hundreds of people have been placed in administrative detention under other laws as well.
Senior police and government officials in the state, including the Director-General of Police, the Home Secretary and the Law Minister, have not responded to queries for details of the arrests from the organizations.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee, which monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – to which India is a state party – has stated that administrative detention in the name of security “presents severe risks of arbitrary deprivation of liberty” and “would normally amount to arbitrary detention as other effective measures addressing the threat, including the criminal justice system, would be available”.
Amnesty International India, Human Rights Watch and the ICJ oppose all such systems of administrative detention, as they invariably circumvent the protections of the ordinary criminal procedure, the statement added.
The PSA contains vague and overbroad terms such as “security of the state” and “public order” that are not precisely defined, and therefore do not meet the requirement of legality under international law.
The PSA does not provide for judicial review of detentions.
It also protects officials from legal proceedings for anything “done or intended to be done in good faith”, which is inconsistent with the right to remedy for arbitrary detention or other human rights violations. “The law has often been used to detain people on vague grounds for long periods, ignoring regular criminal justice safeguards,” the statement said.
Under international law, anyone under the age of 18 is a child, and should be tried in accordance with internationally accepted juvenile justice standards.
The UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice say that the detention before trial of children shall be avoided to the extent possible and limited to exceptional circumstances.
Detention must be carried out under procedures established by the law, children must not be kept in the same facility as adults, and untried detainees should be separated from convicted children.
In the past, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has held that certain detentions under the PSA amount to arbitrary detentions.
In November 2014, Indian Vice-President Hamid Ansari said the use of laws like the PSA to commit human rights violations “reflects poorly on the State and its agents”.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders has stated that laws such as the PSA allow the state to wrongfully target human rights defenders, and called for the repeal of the law.
Amnesty International India, Human Rights Watch and the ICJ believe that anyone detained under the PSA must either be charged promptly with a recognizable criminal offence or prosecuted in a fair trial, or else be released.
“Not prosecuting people suspected of committing offences can also violate the human rights of the victims of these offences,” the rights groups said.
The Jammu and Kashmir government is led by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party, which also leads the Union government. “The PDP had criticized the PSA earlier, but the use of the law has continued under its administration,” the groups said.
“The central and state governments have spoken about following the principle of Insaaniyat, or humanity, in dealing with the crisis in Jammu and Kashmir,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director at Amnesty International India. “But detaining children under the PSA is neither humane nor lawful.”
At least 94 civilians have been killed and thousands injured in forces action since July 09, 2016. Thousands of others have been jailed many of whom have been released on bail.
We write to urgently request that you consider signing this appeal for the release of Khurram Parvez. Please see the information below. Thank you for your kind consideration.
Angana Chatterji and Parvez Imroz
September 18, 2016
Free Khurram Parvez: An Open Letter to Civil Society
We, the undersigned, call for the immediate release of Khurram Parvez, a distinguished and courageous human rights defender, and write in support of the enclosed statements issued by Advocate Parvez Imroz (please see overleaf).
As we write this, Khurram Parvez has been remanded to preventive custody in a sub-jail in the highly militarized Kupwara District of Kashmir. He is expected to be produced before the court on 21 September 2016.
An executive magistrate in Srinagar issued the order against Khurram Parvez, invoking Sections 107 and 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) (pertaining to detention for breach of peace and design to commit a cognizable offence).
The actions against Mr. Parvez are symptomatic of the escalated repression in Kashmir by institutions of state since July 8.
We note with horror that since July 2016, over 80 persons have been killed, over 11,000 persons have been injured, over 1,000 persons have been arrested and over 100 ambulances have been attacked. For 70 days now, curfew has been imposed in various parts of Kashmir.
Pellet cartridges with about 400-500 pellets each have been fired, aimed above the waist, permanently blinding youth at civilian protests. Communication systems have been repeatedly shutdown; mobile Internet and pre-paid calls have been repeatedly banned, post-paid phone lines have been suspended for a number of days, and even newspapers have been shutdown for a couple of days.
The rights to freedom of speech and movement and the right to dissent and self-determination are being imperiled.
We are gravely concerned by the repeated abrogation of international law and the disregard for India’s constitutional provisions, and by the unceasing targeting of civilians and the continued denial of their civil and political rights.
We urge that the above conditions of collective internment within Kashmir require urgent attention and intervention.
1. Abdul R. JanMohamed, Professor, English Department, University of California, Berkeley
2. Ahmed Sohaib, Jamia Millia Islamia
3. Amitava Kumar, Helen D. Lockwood Professor of English, Vassar College
4. Angana Chatterji, Feminist Scholar
5. Ania Loomba, Catherine Bryson Professor, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania
6. Arundhati Roy, Author
7. Ather Zia, Anthropology and Gender Studies Program, Assistant Professor, University of Northern Colorado
8. Basharat Peer, Writer
9. Basil Fernando, Asian Human Rights Commission
10. Bijo Francis, Asian Human Rights Commission
11. Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Chair and Distinguished Professor, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities, Syracuse University
12. Deepti Misri, Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies, University of Colorado-Boulder
13. Dibyesh Anand, Professor of International Relations, University of Westminster
14. Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Professor of English and University Distinguished Scholar, Montclair State University
15. Gautam Navlakha, Member of People’s Union for Democratic Rights.
16. Ghazala Jamil, Jawaharlal Nehru University
17. Ghazi Shahnawaz, Jamia Millia Islamia
18. Gloria Steinem, Co-founder Ms. Magazine, Writer, Feminist Organizer
19. Goldie Osuri, Associate Professor in Sociology and Director of Undergraduate Studies, University of Warwick
20. Haley Duschinski, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Law, Justice & Culture, Ohio University
21. Harsh Mander, Writer and Activist
22. Kavita Krishnan, Politburo Member, CPI (ML)-Liberation and Secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA)
23. Mallika Kaur, Lecturer, School of Law, University of California, Berkeley
24. Manisha Sethi, Jamia Millia Islamia
25. Mansi Sharma, Activist
26. Mary Aileen Diez Bacalso, Secretary General, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances
27. Mihir Desai, Senior Counsel, Supreme Court of India and Mumbai High Court
28. Mirza Waheed, Novelist
29. Mohamad Junaid, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
30. Mona Bhan, Associate Professor of Anthropology, DePauw University
31. Mridu Rai, Professor of History, Presidency University, Kolkata
32. Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor & Professor of Linguistics Emeritus, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
33. Paola Bacchetta, Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Pedagogy, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of California, Berkeley
34. Paramjit Kaur Khalra, Patron, Khalra Mission Organization
35. Partha Chatterjee, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University
36. Piotr Balcerowicz, Professor and Chair of South Asia, University of Warsaw
37. Rahul Govind, Delhi University
38. Rajvinder Singh Bains, Counsel, Punjab High Court and Haryana High Court
39. Richard M. Buxbaum, Professor Emeritus, School of Law, University of California, Berkeley
40. Ruchira Gupta, Women’s Right Activist, Founder of Apne Aap and Adjunct Associate Professor, Center for Global Studies, School of Professional Studies, New York University
41. Sanghamitra Misra, Delhi University
42. Sanjay Kak, Filmmaker
43. Shabnam Hashmi, Social Activist, Anhad
44. Shohini Ghosh, Sajjad Zaheer Professor, AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia
45. Shubh Mathur, Independent Scholar
46. Suddhabrata Sengupta
47. Suvir Kaul, A. M. Rosenthal Professor, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania
48. Tanweer Fazal, Jawaharlal Nehru University
49. Teesta Setalvad, Civil Rights Activist, Journalist and Educationist
50. Urvashi Butalia, Writer
51. Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor, Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University
52. Vrinda Grover, Lawyer, Supreme Court of India
Coalition of Civil Society
The Bund, Amira Kadal, Srinagar: 190001, Jammu and Kashmir
UNLAWFUL ARREST AND DETENTION OF KHURRAM PARVEZ
16 September 2016
Noted human rights defender, Khurram Parvez, was arrested and detained at around 12:30 am today in Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir. He has been detained, without formal arrest or notifications, and in violation of his rights to information, and legal counsel. He has not been provided with any written document, court order or the reasons for his detention. His arrest today follows his detention on 14 September at the New Delhi international airport for approximately two hours. Following which, he was barred from travelling to Geneva, Switzerland. Khurram Parvez is the Programme Coordinator of JKCCS and its spokesperson, and Chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, a collective of 13 non-governmental organizations from ten Asian countries that campaign on the issue of enforced disappearances. Khurram Parvez was scheduled to attend the 33rd UN Human Rights Council Session in Geneva to brief UN bodies, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and foreign governments on the atrocities committed by Indian state forces in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly over the last two months. Khurram Parvez is presently detained at the Kothi Bagh Police Station in Srinagar.
The unlawful detention of Khurram Parvez is a violation of internationally recognized and non-derogable civil and political rights, and India’s own constitutional guarantees. It is a clear indication of reprisal, an attempt to intimidate and restrain Khurram Parvez and his human rights work. In doing so, it seeks to isolate him and silence the critical concerns of Kashmir from being heard by the international community. Unlawful arrests have been consistently used by the Indian state in Jammu and Kashmir to repress all space for dissent. Tellingly, the action on Khurram Parvez closely follows India’s rejection of the UN High Commissioner’s request for access to Jammu and Kashmir for a UN fact-finding mission.
The unlawful arrest and detention of Khurram Parvez, and denial of his right to lawyers, represents a real and imminent security threat that requires urgent attention and action. An urgent appeal has been sent by JKCCS to the President of the UN Human Rights Council, UN High Commissioner, and Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Counsel, including the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
The unlawful arrest and detention of Khurram Parvez is a threat to the principles that Khurram Parvez so courageously represents through his long-standing human rights work in Indian-administered Kashmir: of truth, justice, equality and fundamental rights and freedoms. Khurram Parvez must be released immediately and his rights and freedoms restored.
Parvez Imroz, Advocate
For further information, please contact: Zahir-Ud-Din [+91-9419009648] and Kartik Murukutla [+91-9561095497 (ONLY on WhatsApp)]
Coalition of Civil Society
The Bund, Amira Kadal, Srinagar: 190001, Jammu and Kashmir
KHURRAM PARVEZ TAKEN TO KUPWARA SUB-JAIL
16 September 2016
At 11:45 PM today, noted human rights defender Khurram Parvez was taken from Kothi Bagh police station, Srinagar, to Kupwara sub-jail. Earlier in the day he was remanded by an executive magistrate in Srinagar to police custody for ten days and was ordered to be produced before a court on 26 September 2016. He is being held under sections 107 and 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code [detention for breach of peace and design to commit cognizable offence].
From his midnight arrest to his midnight transfer to Kupwara sub-jail, the actions of the State against Khurram Parvez are intended to punish, intimidate and harass. At Kupwara, around 100 kilometres from Srinagar city, Khurram Parvez will be isolated from family, the media, and most importantly his legal counsel based in Srinagar. There exists no legal justification for this transfer. In the present circumstances of continuous curfew, his transfer to Kupwara is an effort to render him incommunicado. Khurram Parvez faces a serious and imminent security threat as every action of the State against him over the last three days has been of increased hostility and he is in an extremely vulnerable position today. This is a particularly disturbing example of the State using the coercive processes of law against a human rights activist who has consistently worked towards upholding principles of justice.
JKCCS has apprised the international community – United Nations, international NGO’s and foreign governments – in Geneva and elsewhere of the grave danger that Khurram Parvez is in today as his unlawful detention continues. The need for immediate and specific steps has been stressed upon. The actions of the Indian State in Jammu and Kashmir today, including with Khurram Parvez, are being closely watched by the international community. Khurram Parvez must be immediately released from custody.
Parvez Imroz, Advocate
For further information, please contact: Zahir-Ud-Din [+91-9419009648] and Kartik Murukutla [+91-9561095497 (ONLY on WhatsApp), and email@example.com]
Please use this link to sign the open letter: https://goo.gl/forms/OxKhBaYvEWMhaKov1
You can sign the letter by filling out the form in the above link by mentioning your name and email address.
JKCCS legal team met with Khurram Parvez today at the Kot Bhalwal Jail, Jammu.
Khurram Parvez asked us to share the following message:
“I have been informed of the solidarity expressed by friends in Kashmir and outside – from Indian civil society and from different countries and international organizations including member organizations of the Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearances. I thank all of you.
I am doing well despite my disability. Over the last few days I have been meeting close to 200 detainees from different parts of Kashmir who have been tortured and mistreated by the police after their arrest and listened to the difficulties they have faced during detention. This has strengthened my resolve to face the difficult times ahead as an opportunity for building my understanding of the gross and inhuman violation that is arbitrary detention that I believe I and my organization have been unable to adequately cover through our work.
My struggle for justice forms only a part of the larger struggle of my co-detenues, and all those wrongly detained. Your solidarity is therefore to the larger struggle for justice and is greatly appreciated.”