'They raised hue and cry about Nandigram but maintain criminal silence on disappearances in Kashmir'
Srinagar, Nov 28: The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons Wednesday said the government of India was maintaining a "criminal silence" over the fate of thousands of men who were subjected to the enforced custodial disappearance by armed forces in the past 18 years.
"The Indian civil society including human rights activists, writers, Journalists, film-makers have raised their voice against the unconstitutional firing in Nandigram, West Bengal where 35 farmers were killed and more than hundred injured in the police firing, but a criminal silence is being maintained on the disappearances in Kashmir," scores of families of disappeared men, who gathered here in a local park, said.
They added no one in Indian Civil Society dares to speak the truth when it comes to the disappearances in Kashmir.
Accusing the National Conference of the killings and the disappearances, they said that National Conference President Omar Abdullah has no right to participate in a two-day international conference in London which began today.
"We have lost our near and dear ones and our politicians take part in international conferences where they claim everything is normal in the state," Ghulam Nabi, an APDP member said, adding that the state governments have played a proactive role in the disappearance of the thousands of men in the custody of armed forces.
They said the NC was responsible for promoting the Papa Kishtawari, the government sponsored gunman who has been charged with murder scores of men during NC regime.
"The police has contested the list of 59 disappeared men submitted to it by the APDP in 2006-07. The police had said that of these 59 persons five were found at their homes. What about the rest 54?" Ghulam Nabi said.
The APDP members later burned an effigy of Papa Kishtawari near the GPO Srinagar. Shouting slogans they said, "Punish murderers, punish Papa; he is the killer.
Zahoor Ahmad, whose father Ali Muhammad Mir, was murdered by Kishtawari after abduction in 1996 said, "Kishtawari ruined our family. Earlier when my father went missing in 1996 Kishtawari took Rs 1.5 lakh from me promising he would release my father. But he had actually murdered him."
He said that he had approached the State Human Rights Commission demanding action against the accused. In response SHRC has admitted the petition and directed the Director General of Police to conduct a thorough probe into the case. The Commission had also taken note of the alleged killing of 23 civilians of Pampore by Papa Kishtiwari and directed the DGP to constitute a committee of three investigating officers headed by a Senior Superintendent of Police and submit a report.
Zahoor said: "Police registered an FIR (16/2007 dated March 2007) against Papa Kishtawari in Nishat Police Station. We want the papa Kashtawari be punished for his crimes. Kishtawari and his men are still active and they want me to withdraw the case. If he is not punished then we will launch an agitation. Government is shielding the criminals."