KIIR webinar seeks end to forced disappearance in Indian occupied Kashmir

Denial of right to self-determination main cause of rights violations,

Panelists at a webinar while condemning the Modi led fascist regime in New Delhi for the unabated and systematic human rights violations in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir called on the international community particularly the United Nations to make India accountable for the heinous crimes being committed by its forces against Kashmiris.

The Webinar titled “Half-Widows; a unique phenomenon in Indian Occupied Kashmir” was organised by the Kashmir Institute of International Relations here on Friday. Moderated by the KIIR chairman Altaf Hussain Wani the webinar was attended by British and European parliamentarians, human rights defenders, former diplomats and experts hailing from different contents. Distinguished panelists of the webinar including Barrister Margaret Owen, Julie Ward Raja Afzal Khan member British Parliament, Dr. Shahid Amin Malik, Ambassador Nadeem Malik, Ms. Sehar Shah daughter of veteran Hurriyat leader Shabir Ahmed Shah, Duke Salman Ilyas Khan SothAfrica, Prof Shugafta Ashraf and Ms. Shani Hamid on the occasion highlighted the plight and unending miseries of the half-widows who despite the passage of several years were still wandering from pillar to post to trace the whereabouts of their missing husbands.

In his opening remarks, the KIIR chief Mr. Altaf Hussain Wani gave a detailed account of the problem faced by the families of victims of enforced disappearances in Indian occupied Kashmir, especially the Half-Widows whose numbers have swelled to over 5000 during the recent years.

Referring to the causes of human rights violations particularly the forced disappearances in the restive region he said that denial of the right to self-determination to the people of the occupied Kashmir by the Indian state was the main reason behind these heinous crimes being carried out by the Indian occupation forces in Kashmir.

Citing different reports released by the International and local human rights watchdogs he said, “These reports vindicate our stance besides reflecting the fast-growing realization at a global level about the dire human rights situation in Kashmir”

The distinguished panelist while expressing their serious concerns over the simmering situation in the region condemned the government of India for the gross and systematic human rights violations committed by its forces in the UN disputed territory and called on United Nations and the international community to make India accountable of its heinous crimes against humanity.

Referring to the plight of victims of enforced disappearances and Half Widows speakers said, “In order to bring this matter to the international limelight, there is a dire need to built international alliance and use all available mechanisms to highlight this issue vociferously both at regional and international level.

The speakers felt the need for sharing knowledge about this issue with international organizations, parliamentarians and other stakeholders to sensitize the global community.

Speakers also condemned the ongoing spree of custodial killing in the IOK and termed the Modi led government in India as an authoritarian and fascist regime, which they said have broken all records of brutality and barbarism.

Demanded early release of all political prisoners, activists and academics and journalists the panelists also condemned India’s lopsided 5th August 2019 move, continued military clampdown and internet-blackout that has effected each every sphere of life in the occupied Kashmir.

Speaking on the occasion Ms. Seher Shah, the daughter of prominent Hurriyat leader Shabir Ahmed Shah, apprised the participants of the pathetic plight of Kashmiri detainees who have to languish in prisons for several years in and outside Jammu and Kashmir.

She said, “My father had spent 33 years in Indian prisons just for championing the legitimate cause of Kashmir and Kashmiris’ inalienable right the right to self-determination, despite many serious ailments he is still languishing in Tihar Jail for last three years”. Referring to poor prison conditions in which her father and other Kashmiri leaders have been kept by the Indian authorities she said that since Kashmiri prisoners were held in prisons far away from their homes their families continue to face many hardships in meeting them.

Referring to the mean tactics being used by the Indian government she said, “To harass and intimidate our family, the Indian government has been trying hard to implicate my mother in fabricated case”. “My mother”, she said, “is being served notices in false cases, I fear she might of arrested.

The speakers observed that Kashmiri diaspora around the world can become an agent of change to create a meaningful impact through International mass mobilization.

In the era of digital warfare, they said, “Effective use of the social media can be instrumental in sensitizing the world which has turned a blind eye towards the systematic genocide of Kashmiris for the last seven decades”.

Regarding the Half widows of Kashmir, Barrister Margaret Owen highlighted her work done in this area and expressed solidarity with the women who have suffered all forms of brutalities in the hands of occupation forces.

Regarding the empowerment of women, the panelists said that the role and visibility of women in key decision-making positions can also play a major role in different international organizations to save the interest of women who are the victims and disproportionately affected by the armed conflicts.

The speakers stressed the need of establishing international networks, comprising of governments, politicians and civil society to sensitize their governments to mount pressure on India to immediately stop the human rights violations in Kashmir and solve the dispute in line with the resolutions of the United Nations.