Expressing serious concern over the “rising graph” of human rights violations in Kashmir, the chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday urged the United Nations to send a “fact-finding team” to Kashmir for a “first-hand appraisal of how people’s rights are being usurped through use of brute force”.
Addressing Friday congregation at Jamia Masjid here, Mirwaiz strongly denounced “scuttling” of peaceful protest programs of the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) related to the ‘human rights week.’
Mirwaiz was set free from his house detention and allowed to proceed towards Jamia an hour before the congregational prayers there.
“While the world gears up to observe international human rights day by organising rallies, demonstrations and sit-ins, a massive crackdown on the resistance leadership, its activists and associates was launched by the rulers in Kashmir from December 3 itself,” Mirwaiz said.
The JRL had asked people to observe human rights week from December 3-9.
He said that the “unprecedented human rights abuses that people of Jammu and Kashmir suffer from as a consequence of forced control and military presence are among the worst in the world”.
“And our attempts to raise our voice against these violations are not allowed. December 10 is observed as human rights day across the globe to reiterate the entitlement to rights for all humans, but Kashmir is an exception because all our rights here have been snatched and every single voice raised against it is muzzled through military might,” he said.
Mirwaiz, a key leader of the JRL, said even a candlelight protest “poses threat to peace and so-called law and order.”
Besides the resistance leadership and activists, “all those associated with commemorating the human rights week, including traders, were detained or intimidated with arrests by the paranoid authorities,” he said.
Mirwaiz said that the human rights situation in southern Kashmir areas is “appalling”.
“Southern districts have been turned into military garrisons, with forces personnel dotting the entire landscape,” he said. “Homes are blown up using missiles and mortars which are otherwise used during wars; people are thrashed, maimed and harassed under the guise of cordon-and-search operations. Even infants aren’t spared. A 19-month-old baby Hiba lost her vision to the deadly pellets fired by forces that ruptured her eye.”
Mirwaiz urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to send its “fact-finding team” to Kashmir to get a “first-hand account of what we are going through.”
“We welcomed the UNHRC report on human rights situation in Kashmir. Now it is time to convert words into actions,” he said.
Kashmir, Mirwaiz said, can’t be dealt with militarily and “this has been even acknowledged time and again by former Indian and Pakistani army generals who, through their writings, have called for a political settlement of the issue”.
“Government of India has to realise the gravity of the situation and the historical background of the Kashmir dispute and respond positively to the engagement offer put forth by the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he said.
He said that Kashmir will continue to witness worst human rights violations “unless people in India and world don’t intervene to build pressure on government of India to call back its army”.
Soon after culmination of Friday prayers, Mirwaiz led a protest march against the “unabated” human rights violations in Kashmir. The protest was attended by hundreds of people and Hurriyat activists who were carrying placards denouncing the rights violations.