NHRC Asks For Report On J&K Disappearances
14 May 2003
The Asian Age
New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday took a serious note of the vexed issue of disappearances of citizens from Jammu and Kashmir and asked the state government to inform it about the steps taken within six weeks. The NHRC, which considered the issue in its full commission meeting headed by chairman A.S. Anand, asked the state chief secretary to submit the information within six weeks after which it said it will consider further steps as needed in respect of this matter. A copy of these proceedings of the commission has also been sent to the secretary, ministry of defence and the secretary, ministry of home affairs, Government of India. The news item related to disappearance of over 8,000 people from the state had earlier appeared in The Asian Age. The NHRC had later taken suo motu cognisance of an article that had appeared in the newspaper. Among other things, the commission asked the state government to inform whether it has established a system to record allegations of enforced or involuntary disappearances and, if so, the nature of that system, the number of such allegations recorded by it, the details of the systems established so far to investigate such allegations and the results of such investigations. The NHRC also asked about the measures that were being taken to prevent the occurrence of such disappearances, steps taken to book those who may have been involved in the cases and to provide justice to those who have suffered. The news report had stated that in the preceding eleven years, 'over 2000 people, between ages 10 and 70, have disappeared from the Kashmir Valley and they had left behind desperate families who had approached the police, the security forces, friends, neighbours, local politicians ... only to end up with no trace of their dear ones.' The article referred to a gathering being organised in Srinagar by the Association of the Parents of Disappeared Persons, to a document prepared by this organisation, and to various statements made by its spokesperson Pervez Imroz.