Protests, hunger strikes mark Human Rights Day in Kashmir
10 December 2005
Srinagar: Demonstrations, seminars and hunger strikes by separatist organisations and the High Court Bar Association marked International Human Rights Day in Kashmir on Saturday. Democratic Freedom Party chief Shabir Ahmed Shah and chairman of the National Front Naeem Ahmed Khan led the protesters who chanted slogans against 'human rights excesses.' Mr. Shah and the moderate Hurriyat leader Javed Mir led separate rallies to the United Nations office at Sonwar here to submit memoranda. Leaders of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front observed fast to 'express solidarity with the people subjected to custodial killings, disappearances, torture and arrests,' while hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani addressed a seminar organised by the Bar Association. Hitting out at the Pakistan Government and the moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Mr. Geelani said whatever was happening vis-à-vis the resolution of the Kashmir issue was in the interest of India and people were falling in a 'trap.' He said: 'All these road maps and proposals such as self-governance and self-rule are in no way in the interests of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Vague terms are being floated to divert the attention of the people from the righteous cause of self-determination.' Criticises OIC Criticising the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, an association of 57 nations, he said it did not take into account the 'gross human rights violation at the hands of security forces in Kashmir,' while drafting the Makkah Declaration denouncing terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Expressing solidarity with the 'victims of state terrorism,' JKLF acting chairman Bashir Ahmed Bhat and other leaders of the front observed a hunger strike. 'The world is talking about the resolution of Kashmir but our people are continuously subjected to custodial killings, disappearances, torture, arrests, rape and molestation, and there is no let-up whatsoever in the human rights abuses,' Mr. Bhat said. The world community should pressure India to stop the abuses, he said. 'We challenge New Delhi's presence here. Once Indian troops withdraw human rights abuses will stop automatically,' Masarat Alam, a hard-line separatist leader of the Muslim League said. The police took into custody at least 50 activists.