Relatives of missing people in Kashmir stage protest

Last Updated: Sat, Oct 29, 2011 09:40 hrs

Family members of persons missing from Kashmir Valley since the beginning of insurgency in 1989 held a peaceful sit in protest on Friday.

Nearly 50,000 people have been killed and countless have disappeared in Kashmir since insurgency started in the late 1980s which India claims is sponsored by Pakistan.

Expressing anguish over the negligence by the state government, Tahira Khan, a protester, said their voices have fallen on deaf ears.

"I have been protesting here since nine years but I never got any assistance. We just come here to protest and then leave. We had also appealed to the government to look into the matter but all the cases are still pending. They have not done anything for us," said Khan.

"The Chief Minister Office had said that they would remove the armed forces, but nothing has happened as of now," she added.

Meanwhile Parvez, another protestor, the said mere withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) would not solve the problem pertaining to the region.

"They are giving an impression that with the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, all the problems of Kashmir would be resolved. This is completely wrong, false and they are misguiding the people. The atrocity committed by the army in the past 21 years was not as per the law," said Parvez.

They were not following any law. They have not even followed Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which is considered as a draconian law; instead they completely disregarded the law. So we say that the real problem is the lack of law and order," he added.

Parvez further accused the state government of not being sincere in tackling issues of the region.

"If Omar Abdullah and the central government are sincere in bringing normalcy back to the region, then restoration of peace, law and order and justice are the priority areas, and they have to change their attitude as well. Till now they have an attitude which supports the idea of might is right. They feel that by using military they can suppress the people of the state. We suggest they should change their mindset. They should implement law and order as per the law, and letter and spirit. There will be no problem if the laws are implemented properly as they are done in rest of the country," he said.

The 1958 law (AFSPA), which gives troops sweeping powers to kill suspected rebels and immunity from prosecution, applies only in Kashmir and insurgency-affected northeast India. Human Rights groups say it has given the security forces a license to kill, torture and rape with impunity. (ANI)

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