States Round Up Issue-01 July to September 2010 Index Page
Full version of the report

Jammu and Kashmir



I. Highlight: Protests, killings and the package

During July-September 2010, Jammu and Kashmir ruled by National Conference led coalition government continued to witness unprecedented violent protests in the Kashmir Valley which started following the death of a teenager, Tufail Mattoo, after being allegedly hit by a tear gas shell near Rajouri Kadal area on 11 June 2010.  Over 100 people were killed; hundreds were injured. Hundreds of people were detained including under the Public Safety Act.

On 10 August 2010, the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had to convene a meeting of all political parties of Jammu and Kashmir to solve the crisis.  In his address, the Prime Minister stated that the key to the resolution of the Kashmir problem is “a political solution that addresses the alienation and emotional needs of the people” of the state. [1]

On 21-22 September 2010, an All Party Delegation (APD) comprising of 34 members of various political parties visited Jammu and Kashmir to study the situation. On 25 September 2010, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved an 8-point plan as part of the peace package for Jammu and Kashmir. These included [2]:

1. Appoint a group of interlocutors under the chairmanship of an Eminent person to begin the process of a sustained dialogue with all sections of the people of Jammu & Kashmir, including political parties/groups, youth and student organizations, civil society organizations and other stakeholders.
2. Advise the State Government to immediately release all students and youth detained or arrested for stone pelting or similar violations of law and to withdraw the charges against such students and youth.
3. Advise the State Government to immediately review the cases of all PSA detenues and withdraw the detention orders in appropriate cases.
4. Request the State Government to immediately convene a meeting of the Unified Command and to review the deployment of security forces in the Kashmir Valley, especially Srinagar, with particular reference to de-scaling the number of bunkers, check-points etc. in Srinagar and other towns, and to review the notification of areas as ‘disturbed areas’.
5. Grant ex-gratia relief to the
families of the deceased persons at Rs. 5 lakhs per person killed in the civil disturbances since June 11, 2010.

6. Appoint two Special Task Forces, one each for Jammu region and Ladakh region, to examine the developmental needs of the two regions, with particular reference to deficiencies in infrastructure and make suitable recommendations.
7. Request State Government to take steps to immediately reopen all schools, colleges, universities and other educational institutions; hold special classes/lectures, if necessary; and to ensure that the examinations for the current academic year (2010-11) are conducted.
8. Provide to the State Government a sum of Rs. 100 Crore as Additional Central Assistance (ACA) in order to make grants to schools and colleges for improvements and additions to the existing infrastructure such as class rooms, auditorium, laboratory, library, play ground, toilet complex etc.
The educational institutions which suffered the worst remained closed for more than three months due to the unrest. They were reopened on 27 September 2010 following the CCS decisions. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, 53 persons, including students, were released who were arrested/detained in the wake of the disturbances following a meeting of the Unified Command on 29 September 2010. [3]

II. Violations of civil and political rights
a. Right to life
The Kashmir Valley witnessed unprecedented unrest following the death of a teenager after being hit by a tear smoke shell near Rajouri Kadal area on 11 June 2010.

Since then, more than 100 persons, including children and women, were killed and hundreds more were injured in disproportionate use of firearms by security forces during the unrest in Kashmir. [4] This was the highest number of killings in firing in the state that too in a span of three months. The latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India recorded death of 43 civilians in police firing in 2008. [5]

The security forces continued to be responsible for alleged extra-judicial killings with impunity.

On 15 July 2010, the Jammu and Kashmir Police filed a chargesheet in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Sopore against Colonel D K Pathania, Major Upinder and seven others in the case of alleged fake encounter in which three youths were killed in the Machil encounter in frontier district of Kupwara in North Kashmir on the night of 30 April 2010. The three deceased identified as Muhammad Shafi, Shehzad Ahmed and Riyaz Ahmed, all residents of Sopore, were kidnapped on the pretext of giving jobs and later killed on the charge of being terrorists while they were attempting to cross the Line of Control (LoC). [6] Earlier in June 2010, the Army ordered a Commission of Inquiry (COI) and removed the Colonel and suspended the Major in the backdrop of intense protest. [7] However, the Army stopped its investigation in the same month on the ground that the civil authorities were delaying its request to query key witnesses in the alleged fake encounter. In September 2010, the army restarted the CIO after the civil administration agreed to provide the witnesses in the case. The local administration reportedly did not make the key witnesses including Bashir Ahmad, Abdul Hameed and Nawab Khan available for deposition due to fears that they could be influenced by the Army. The Army was expected to complete the probe by September 2010. [8]

b. Arbitrary arrest, illegal detention and torture

The security forces were responsible for arbitrary arrest, illegal detention and torture in the state. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) recorded 43 cases of atrocities in police custody and six cases from judicial custody from Jammu and Kashmir during 2009-2010 (as on 28 February 2010). [9]

Since the onset of the Kashmir unrest, hundreds of people were arbitrary arrested across the valley as a deterrent against stone pelting. At least 800 youth were taken into custody in Srinagar alone during June to September 2010. Many of them were later released after securing bail from the court. However, over 100 youth continued to be in detention by the end of September 2010. Of these, at least 40 youth were charged under the Public Safety Act. In some cases, the arrested youth continued to be detained despite securing bail as they were shown to be booked in other cases. For instance, 13 youth, residents of Chotta Bazaar area of Srinagar, were granted bail by a court in Srinagar on 9 September 2010. However, the police informed their parents that they were booked for some other cases at Karan Nagar police station and hence could not be released. [10]

Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) documented several cases of custodial torture during July to September 2010. Torture in custody resulted in the death of two persons.

On 24 July 2010, Tariq Ahmed Dar (25 years) of Fidarpora Rafiabad, died due to alleged torture at Panzala police station in Baramullah district. The deceased was arrested on the charge of being a Lashkar-e-Toiba operative. The police claimed that the deceased had committed suicide.  However, the family members of the deceased alleged that he died due to torture as the dead body bore visible torture marks. [11]

On 25 August 2010, Master Omar Qayoum Bhat (17 years), son of Abdul Qayoum Bhat, died due to alleged torture at the Soura Police Station in Srinagar. The deceased was picked up by police during a protest on 20 August 2010. The deceased’s family members alleged that Omar Qayoum Bhat was detained for a night at the police station and subjected to torture, including electric shocks. According to the doctors of S K Institute of Medical Science, the deceased had suffered severe internal injuries including liver, lungs and intestinal injuries. [12]

Some other cases of torture documented by the ACHR are given below.

On 23 July 2010, Yashpal Sharma (a scholar of University of Jammu) was allegedly tortured at Nehru Police Post in Jammu. The victim alleged that he was taken to the Nehru Police Post where he was stripped, tortured and forced to confess to a crime he did not commit. [13]

On 25 July 2010, a labourer, Subhash (son of Bal Krishan) was allegedly tortured at the Purmandal Police Station in Samba district. The victim was picked up from his house on the basis of a complaint. The victim sustained injuries and had to be admitted to Government Medical College and Hospital in Jammu in a critical condition. The victim’s father alleged that Subhash was tortured for five hours by police. [14]

On 2 September 2010, 19-year-old Mohammad Rafi (son of Nazir Ahmed Mochi) was allegedly tortured at Thathri police station in Doda district. The deceased, a driver by profession, was taken into custody on the alleged violation of provision of Motor Vehicle Act. Unable to bear humiliation, the deceased committed suicide by jumping in Chenab River on the same day. [15]

On 21 September 2010, more than 24 refugees from PoK were injured when police use disproportionate force during a sit-in protest against denial of permission to meet the all-party delegation at Vikram Chowk in Srinagar. Many of the injured victims were beaten with gun butts. One of the victims identified as Jaspal Mangat was hit with gun butts and kicked. [16]

In September 2010, a three-minute video clip, purportedly showing some security personnel herding four youth and parading them naked through an agricultural field in Sopore, appeared on popular networking sites YouTube and Facebook. On 9 September 2010, the Central government had asked the state authorities to investigate the video clip. [17] However, state police stated they would register a case against the two social networking sites for uploading the video and investigation was on to locate the persons responsible for the uploading the video clip. As the video clip was being investigated and steps being taken to ascertain the authenticity of the video, surprisingly there appeared to be no condemnation of the incident shown on the video from any official quarters, nor was there any seriousness shown to get to the bottom of the incident. [18]

c. Freedom of the press

The media faced severe repression by the state government during the Kashmir while covering the protest during June to September 2010.

On 1 July 2010, three Jammu-based English newspaper offices and printing presses of  The Early Times, The Glimpses of Future and The Shadow were sealed by the District Magistrate of Jammu on the charge of publication of “incorrect and inflammatory” reports under the Jammu and Kashmir State Press and Publication Act, 1989. [19]

On 7 July 2010, the state government imposed a gag on the media in Kashmir following violent protest in the wake of the killing of four persons on 6 July 2010. Journalists representing various local, national and international newspapers and organisations were not allowed to move out and perform their professional duties. As a result, offices of local, national and international news remained closed. [20] 

On 4 August 2010, several media personnel were barred and manhandled by the police from covering protest demonstrations at Raj Bagh in Srinagar. The police reportedly tore the curfew passes and snatched the cameras from the media personnel. Later, the cameras were returned following complaints to higher police authorities. [21]

In August 2010, the state police reportedly registered a case against a national private television news channel “Headlines Today” for airing a news item about alleged desertion in police force including senior officials in Pulwama district of South Kashmir. The case was booked under section 500 (defamation), section 505 (2) (circulating rumour or alarming news aimed at creating enmity) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of Ranbir Penal Code. Earlier, a case was registered against another national private television news channel “News X” for airing a news about the alleged death of a person in the same district. [22]

In September 2010, 9TV, a local cable TV channel was banned by the District Magistrate, Srinagar under the Cable Television Network (Regulations) Act, 1995. The ban was imposed for allegedly showing stone pelting attacks on CRPF bunkers, statements of separatists and strike calls in a way that incite people to create law and order problems. However, the cable TV operators described the government decision unjustified. [23]

On 18 September 2010, a vehicle of a local English daily was stopped by the CRPF personnel and one staff was pulled down and beaten up at Kak Sarai area. When other staff of the daily objected, they were also beaten up. The victims had to be hospitalized. [24]

III. Abuses by the AOGs

According to official estimates, a total of 27 civilians were killed during attacks by armed opposition groups (AOGs) in Jammu and Kashmir from January 2010 to 7 September 2010. [25]

ACHR documented a number of killings of civilians by AOGs between July and August 2010.

On 21 July 2010, Ghulam Hassan was shot dead by suspected militants at his house in Panjradi forest belt of Dacchan tehsil of Kishtwar district. [26]

On 19 August 2010, dead bodies of two persons identified as Javed Ahmad and Nanak Chand (both residents of Sukha-Chasana area of Reasi district) were found in Kousar Nag area of Reasi district. They were allegedly shot dead by suspected militants. [27]

On 22 August 2010, 19-year-old Zareena and her mother, Shakeela (40) were shot dead in cold blood by suspected militants at their home in Kulgam district. The militants came looking for Zareena’s uncle, Siraj whom they accused to be a police informer. As Siraj had he fled the deceased were shot dead. [28]

On 22 August 2010, social worker Ghulam Nabi Wani was shot dead by suspected militants in Pulwama. The deceased was associated with the National Conference, the ruling party in Kashmir. [29]

IV. Violations of the rights of the child

There were reports of serious violations of the rights of the child. Many minors who were part of the stone-throwing protestors were arbitrarily arrested and detained in jail where they were forced to share space with hardened criminals. Hundreds of minors were detained under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA), 1978. The PSA provides for up to two years of preventive detention. [30]

In June 2010, the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir directed the state government to set up juvenile courts and observation homes after hearing PILs that the authorities had illegally detained minors. However, the state government failed to implement the orders as on September 2010. [31]

In June 2010, Mushtaq Ahmad

(14 years), a class VI dropout, was picked up during a stone-pelting protest against an alleged fake encounter killing of a teenager. Mushtaq Ahmed was kept at a police station along with hundred others juveniles. The police charged him under the Public Safety Act. Later, Mushtaq Ahmed was shifted to a jail in Jammu as his family could not manage money for bail. A large number of young children including Mushhtaq Ahmad were detained and kept at police stations for days, mostly to scare their family. Many children were put in jails where they were kept with criminals, exposing them to grave risks. [32]

On 28 June 2010, 15-year-old Sheikh Ikram (son of Zulfikar Ahmad Sheikh), a class 9 student from Bagh Jogi Lankar Rainawari, was detained under PSA vide order no DMS/PSA/26/2010. Despite being a minor, he was lodged at Kotbalwal Jail in Jammu and shared space with criminals. Sheikh Ikram was accused of leading a mob in the area and pelting stones. [33]

On 27 September 2010, three minors identified as Yawar Manzoor (14 years), son of Manzoor Ahmad Sofi of Pampore and a class 8 student; Muhammad Shahid Sofi, a class 10 student and Zahoor Ahmad Bhat, an orphan and a class 11 student, both from Namblabal Pampore, were released on bail by the Pulwama Sessions Court. All the three were shown to be booked in FIR 167/2010. [34]

There were about 97,200 orphaned children in Jammu and Kashmir in 2008. The number is growing due to continued violence in the state. The orphaned children were living in a miserable condition due to lack of adequate help from the government or NGOs. The state government failed to adopt any specific policy and programme for these vulnerable section of the society. [35]

V. Violations of the ESCRs

a. Violations of the right to education

The unprecedented unrest had a serious impact on the education sector of Kashmir. The educational institutions remained closed in Kashmir for more than three months due to the unrest. The schools and colleges were finally reopened on 27 September 2010.

Notwithstanding the unrest, the overall condition of schools in Jammu and Kashmir was deplorable. At least 3,351 schools in Kashmir and 624 in Jammu province did not have their own buildings and have to depend on other premises to hold classes. Of the 3,351 schools in the Kashmir province, 2361 schools were functioning in rented accommodation. These include 546 schools in Baramulla, 518 schools in Anantnag, 498 in Kupwara, 488 in Budgam and 311 in Kulgam in Kashmir province. A report of the School Education Department itself states that 2,676 schools in the entire Kashmir province do not have proper accommodation, while 428 schools in Jammu province lack basic facilities. [36]

The State Government claims to spend huge sums of money on creating infrastructure of schools. However, the number of schools without their own buildings has not changed in recent years. According to the Economic Survey Report of Jammu & Kashmir for 2007-2008, 4,119 primary schools were without their own buildings, 1,474 primary school buildings were in dilapidated condition, 628 upper middle schools do not have their own buildings, 4,052 primary schools lack drinking water/toilet facility, 1,541 middle schools lack drinking water/toilet facility, 68 Government high schools do not own buildings and seven Government higher secondary schools were operating out from rent buildings. [37]

The Economic Survey Report of 2009-10 also claims that 4,119 primary schools, 628 middle schools, 76 high schools and seven higher secondary schools are without their own buildings. In fact, the situation turned worse instead of improvement. Meanwhile, the Government continues to spend a whopping Rs 1,164.38 lakh on payment of rent. [38]

On 25 September 2010, the central government sanctioned Rs 100 crore during the meeting on Cabinet Committee on Security issues as part of the peace package for Jammu and Kashmir. The grant under Special Plan Assistance (SPA) is meant for schools and colleges for improvement and additions to their existing infrastructure such as class rooms, auditorium, library, playgrounds and toilet complex. [39]

The two Central Universities created by way of a special ordinance are yet to see the light of the day. [40]

b. Denial of affirmative action

The students belonging to Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste were being neglected in Jammu and Kashmir. Deserving students belonging to Gujjar-Bakerwal communities were facing problems due to non-availability of the boarding facility in colleges and at university. The tribal affairs department failed to disburse scholarships among the students as on 31 August 2010. [41]

The state government also failed to implement the Supreme Court decision of granting 27 per cent reservation for other backward classes as identified by the Mandal Commission for Jammu and Kashmir government services. On 16 July 2010, All Jammu and Kashmir Backward Classes Union (AJKBC) of Poonch district criticized the state government for not implementing the Supreme Court decision. The AJKBC further alleged that these reservations were provided to others who do not qualify as backward. [42]

c. Denial of domicile certificates to refugees from West Pakistan

The Jammu divisional administration had reportedly stopped issuing the domicile certificate to the refugees belonging mainly to the Sikhs from West Pakistan.

The District Magistrates, who are the designated authority for issuance of domicile certificates in their respective districts, were reportedly asked by the divisional administration not to issue these certificates. The non-issuance of domicile certificate will deprive educated youths from Jammu in particular the refugees from West Pakistan from seeking relaxation in upper age limit for jobs in the Central services such as recruitment for jobs done through the Union Public Service Commission, Staff Selection Commission and other Central recruiting agencies. For availing the age relaxation, the candidates have to submit domicile certificate issued by the District Magistrates in whose jurisdiction they have ordinarily resided. The district authorities in Jammu division refused to issue domicile certificates and returned applications for the same after the Divisional Commissioner issued a circular to this effect.[43]

Endnotes:
1. Kashmir needs political solution: PM, The Times of India, 10 August 2010
2. Press Release, 25 September 2010, Ministry of Home Affairs
3. Report Card of Ministry of Home Affairs for September, 2010
4. Toll 110: One more loses battle for life, The Kashmir Times, 2 October 2010
5. Crime in India 2008, The National Crime Records Bureau
6. ‘Fake’ Encounter - Colonel, Major chargesheeted, The Tribune, 16 July 2010
7. Army suspends major, removes colonel over ‘fake’ Kashmir encounter, The Hindustan Times, 6 June 2010
8. Army COI into Machhil encounter restarts, Zee News, 23 September 2010
9. Figures of Police Atrocities against prisoners reported to NHRC from 1 April 2006 to 28 February 2010, Lok Sabha, Unstarred Question No 2001 Answered on 09.03.2010
10. Hundreds of students in Police custody, The Rising Kashmir, 28 September 2010
11. Complaint of Asian Centre for Human Rights to National Human Rights Commission, 26 July 2010
12. Complaint of Asian Centre for Human Rights to National Human Rights Commission, 27 August 2010
13. Complaint of Asian Centre for Human Rights to National Human Rights Commission, 13 September 2010
14. Complaint of Asian Centre for Human Rights to National Human Rights Commission, 13 September 2010
15. Complaint of Asian Centre for Human Rights to National Human Rights Commission, 13 September 2010
16. Several injured in police action in Jammu, The Economic Times, 21 September 2010
17. J&K cops to sue YouTube, Facebook, The Kashmir Times, 10 September 2010
18. J&K Cops to Sue Facebook, Youtube, India Today, 9 September 2010
19. Offices of 3 English dailies sealed for wrong reporting, The Tribune, 3 July 2010
20. Media gagged in Kashmir, The Tribune, 8 July 2010
21. Police beat media persons, The Kashmir Times, 5 August 2010
22. J&K police registers case against TV news channel, The Kashmir Times, 5 August 2010
23. Local cable TV channel banned, The Kashmir Times, 10 September 2010
24. Government ban on media continues, The Kashmir Times, 20 September 2010
25. For the first time, securitymen kill more civilians than terrorists in J&K, The Times of India, 7 September 2010
26. Villager shot dead by militants, HM sympathizer held, The Kashmir Times, 22 July 2010
27. Militants kill two villagers, The Hindustan Times, 19 August 2010
28. Zareena, 19, and mother killed by militants in Kashmir, NDTV, 23 August 2010
29. Ibid
30. J&K teens thrown into jails full of criminals, The Times of India, 18 September 2010
31. Ibid
32. Ibid
33. Hundreds of students in Police custody, The Rising Kashmir, 28 September 2010
34. Ibid
35. Over 32,000 widows, 97,000 orphans in Kashmir, The Hindustan Times, 14 March 2010
36. At last, back to school, The Pioneer, 28 September 2010
37. J&K education bears brunt of Govt apathy, The Pioneer, 20 October 2010
38. At last, back to school, The Pioneer, 28 September 2010
39. Press Release of Press Information Bureau, Government of India, 29 September 2010
40. J&K education bears brunt of Govt apathy, The Pioneer, 20 October 2010
41. ST students’ body rues negligence, The Tribune, 1 September 2010
42. Implement 27 percent reservation decision of SC: AJKBC, The Kashmir Times, 17 July 2010
43. Jammu stops issuing domicile certificates, I-Government, 28 September 2010
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