India failed to conduct investigation in more than 8000 cases of disappearances: APDP

Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) seeks to bring attention to the continuous crime of enforced disappearances in Jammu & Kashmir. So far the government of India has failed to conduct any investigation in more than 8000 cases of enforced disappearance, despite repeated appeals from the relatives of disappeared persons. The Government of India continues to ignore the demands for truth, justice and reparation to the families of the disappeared.

The issue of enforced disappearances in Jammu & Kashmir has got wider international attention. The government of Indian signed International Convention for the Protection of all persons from Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances in 2007 but so far has been in persistent denial to ratify the convention. The recent introduction of Bill on 3 August 2018, by BJP Member of Parliament Om Prakash Yadav’s (Private Member’s Bill) “The Prevention of Enforced Disappearance Bill 2018” was a welcoming step as for the first time a document related to enforced disappearances was introduced in the Indian Parliament. Interestingly the bill acknowledges the disappearance of 8000 people in Kashmir & more than 6,000 in Punjab. But since the introduction of bill, there was no development or discussion on the same in the Parliament.

Government of India being the claimant of the largest democracy in the word continues to be indifferent in legislating against the crime of enforced disappearances. Despite the recommendations from world bodies like UN OHCHR, the European Parliament and various other global human rights the organization the Government of India could neither investigate the crime of disappearances nor investigate the connecting issue of more than 7000 unknown, unmarked and mass graves.

The OHCHR as well as United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UN WGEID) sought permission to visit India to monitor and to inquire into the human rights abuses including enforced disappearances but the Indian state has continuously denied the access to the world rights bodies. The first ever UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) report on the human rights situation in Indian administered Kashmir highlighted the issue of enforced disappearances and stated that “Impunity for enforced or involuntary disappearances in Kashmir continues as there has been little movement towards credibly investigating complaints, including into alleged sites of mass graves in the Kashmir Valley and Jammu region.”

Today APDP again reiterates its demand for an investigation into all the cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances as well as the existence of unknown, unmarked and mass graves. Moreover, the association appeals government of India has to initiate a comprehensive process of establishing truth, justice and reparation in favour of victimized families. The association vows to continue to its struggle until the justice is done and the phenomenon of enforced disappearances will end. (PTK)