Srinagar, Mar 25: The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearance (AFAD) and All India Network of NGOs and Individuals working with national and state human rights institutions (AiNNI) have jointly written to the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) to intervene in 132 cases of enforced disappearances in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir.
According to wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), a statement issued reads that these cases, submitted by the APDP, were pending with the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) SHRC since December 2011.
“An order dated October 23, 2019, issued by the J&K’s General Administration Department, directed the ‘winding up’ of the J&K SHRC from October 31, 2019. In the said order, the J&K SHRC Secretary was directed to ‘transfer all records pertaining to the Commission to the Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs for record.’ The said order has no reference or mention to the fate of the pending cases at the J&K SHRC,” the statement said.
It added that in December 2011, APDP petition with the J&K SHRC allege the victims to be enforcedly disappeared since 1989 under different circumstances. In response to the notice issued by the J&K SHRC, on April 20, 2017, the Additional Deputy Commissioner Ramban submitted a report to the J&K SHRC, along with the list of disappeared people whose next of kin have received an ex-gratia compensation. The report of the DC Ramban accepts 129 cases of enforced disappearances as missing.
APDP, AFAD and AiNNI have urged the NHRC to take note of the fact that these cases were pending final consideration of the J&K SHRC and with the closure of the J&K SHRC the justice process is stalled and halted. NHRC is requested to follow said precedent of the J&K State Information Commission (SIC) and Central Information Commission (CIC), all the pending appeals with the SIC are transferred to the CIC.
According to Henri Tiphagne of AiNNI, “Closure of the J&K SHRC is a regressive step and we are extremely concerned and anxious about the status of the pending cases. NHRC has the duty to ensure these cases are intervened in an independent and transparent manner. However, the purpose of state human rights institutions will be defeated if for every case of rights violation, one has to petition NHRC in New Delhi. Cases of human rights violations not only require the victims or complainants to submit petitions in their own languages but also require the authorities to understand and appreciate local situations, dynamics and challenges.”