Jammu Kashmir: The Government at war with the MINORITIES violating their basic human rights

Source: JKSC      Date: 04 Nov 2014 14:57:00

Human rights, we are told, are rights inherent to all human beings, irrespective of their nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights, it is accepted, are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. 10th December is being observed as the world Human Rights Day to remind people and governments of their responsibility in this regard. But these principles do not apply to the state of Jammu Kashmir.
‘Secular’ apologists in India have often accused the exiled community of Kashmiri HIndus of remaining freezed in time because of their repeated reference to the events of 1989-90 that led to the forced extirpation of near total community from the land of their origin.
These apologists want world to forget the ethnic cleansing of a proud and law abiding community and absolve the people responsible for these crimes of the guilt instead of bringing them to justice.
They conveniently ignore that States (the governments) assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect and to fulfil human rights. This means, that States must refrain from interfering with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights. The obligation requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses. The States must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights.
Yet the successive governments of Jammu Kashmir have not only failed in their duty on all these counts but have consistently engaged in violation of human rights of a community that has contributed immensely to humanity for centuries . Worst part of the story is that this essentially a medieval phenomenon continues in what is being claimed as modern secular democratic dispensation.
Let us not speak about The Hindu minority of the valley that formed nearly 15 % of the total population of Kashmir in 1940’s being reduced to few thousand souls at present. Let us also not talk about the selective targeted killing and inability of the government, deliberate or otherwise, to prevent these killings & punish even a single person for these killings till date.
Forget for the moment the Gross political mismanagement, unprecedented corruption and loot of public exchequer by the emerging neo-elite of Kashmir valley, which in order to protect its position of privilege collaborated and cooperated with Islamic fundamentalists in diverting the growing public anger towards, Hindu minority and India as a whole by branding the hapless HIndus as Indian spies and in a subtle way identifying the community as an unwanted symbol of India’s nationalist presence in Kashmir and hence objects of hate.
State government and its representatives including the so called civil society have been defending their inability to stop what The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in a ruling on 11 June 1999 observed that “Against the stern definition of the Genocide Convention, the Commission is constrained to observe that ….. Acts akin to genocide have occurred with respect to Kashmiri HIndus and that, indeed, in the minds and utterances of some of the militants a genocide-type design may exist.” They continue to be in denial mode blaming terrorism abetted and sponsored from across the border for forced mass exodus.
Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs in its 137th report on Rehabilitation of J & K Migrants expresses, “it’s serious concern about the criminal intent of vested interests to alter the demography in the State of J&K by not only forcibly ousting the minorities out of the State but also by changing the property rights in the revenue records, so that the migrants are left with no stake to return back to the valley.”
So let us focus on the area where government and not terrorists were/are in charge and control and hence responsible for action or lack of it. First and foremost is the issue of: Return & Rehabilitation of the exiles back to valley.
The Government has taken no action in terms of providing viable proposals of resettlement and rehabilitation and is just giving a vague option of financial incentive which is inadequate and impractical. They come out with proposals which don’t address the physical security& socio- economic concerns of the community.
While in case of 14000 illegal encroachers of Dal lake ( all Muslims) the state government with liberal funding is taking speedy action, in case of displaced community they are ready with n number of excuses for inaction. That the government needs to roll out a policy which can take care of rehabilitation of the entire community which consists of more than 70,000 families doesn’t find any takers within the government.
The HIndu community has Left behind huge properties individual as well as collective which is under illegal acquisition & Encroachments is another issue of vital importance:
Apart from the government illegal encroachment was and is done by organised groups, land mafia and private individuals. The community members have repeatedly given specific examples where proper procedure was not followed even by the government and notices were not served to the owners who are in exile before acquisition of their property. Yet the land was acquired and very meagre compensation deposited in Banks.
Again specific examples showing that the victims have taken all available legal routes to clear that illegal encroachment the administration has not been able or is unwilling to clear the same. Court orders, revenue records and FIRs including the Chief Ministers on-line Grievance cell have failed to do any justice in case of the displaced people.
Temple & Shrines Protection Bill is another issue of sparkling importance. The Bill is lying with state legislature since 2007all political parties, regional as well as national; do publically support the need to have such a legal mechanism in place for protection of Temples and Shrines in Kashmir. Yet the government is unable and unwilling to ensure its passage. Instead new ways are being found every now & then to delay it permanently. It is being introduced in last year of the term of legislative Assembly and a political drama is enacted to demonstrate that action is being taken. Meanwhile term of the Assembly comes to an end and the Bill lapses. And the encroachers and land mafia have a field day to continue their nefarious design.

Employment and Self Employment
An Inter-ministerial team under Ms Sushma Choudary constituted by PM had recommended 1000 jobs for the displaced youth. Under PMs Special package 15000 more jobs were promised. Yet only1446 people have been given employment that too under discriminatory and inhuman employment conditions.
As per our estimates displaced Hindu community has got only 300 jobs out of 2, 65,000 youth employed since 1990 after militancy under regular employment other than PM package.
Same is the case with every other aspect concerning the displaced community. Instead of providing any relief the government is busy in cleansing the pre-Islamic Hindu civilizational marks of Kashmir.
Names of historic places like Shankarcharya Hill are being changed. Records are being fudged. Government claims that 59,452 families are registered with it as displaced. But assert that they were living in only 11,632 houses in Kashmir before migration. Our population according to 2001 census is shown as 1,00,962 souls out of which only 10,020 are females.
Similarly there are issues related to procurement of documents like PRC, Passport, EPICs. It is very difficult for displaced community particularly those living outside J&K after exodus to get the same. Repeated assurances to have a mechanism in place at least in Resident Commissioner’s office in New Delhi have remained unfulfilled.
In case of special scholarship schemes for students of the state displaced students are not included in the eligible candidates. No concession was or has been provided to the students of the displaced community by the state government in its educational institutions. Long pending demand of accepting Devnagri as alternate script for writing Kashmiri is projected as onslaught on Kashmir.
Government of the state is busy in misinformation campaign claiming the HIndus had taken all the jobs and hence the anger against them. Its own record, however, shows that 11376 employees of state government including PSUs and 6500 employees of central government from the displaced community left valley in 1990. And Most of them have retired already and remaining will retire by 2016-17.
Government has been unable to protect the life and property of this minuscule Minority Community. It took no visible steps to stop the displacement instead tried to hide the fact. After reluctantly accepting the fact of forced displacement government was and continues to be slow and grossly inadequate in its response to address issues related to the community.

Their participation in decision making and execution process has been systematically eroded and no mechanism is being put in place to ensure their involvement in the governance.Official institutions are misused to deny the community their share in government spending and also with a long term vision of erasing their claim on the land of their origin. On the other side benefits are extended to the Majority community unconstitutionally and illegally. Section 7(b) of Guidelines for implementation of Prime Minister’s New 15 Points Programme for the Welfare of Minorities says, "In States, where one of the minority communities notified under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 is, in fact, in majority, the earmarking of physical/financial targets under different schemes will be only for the other notified minorities. These states are Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland. Lakshadweep is the only Union Territory in this group." Yet Muslims of the state take benefits both as national minority and state majority.
In short while terrorist played a major role in the forced displacement of the Hindu community from Kashmir, it is the callous , biased and discriminatory state administration that has made the life of displaced community miserable.
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Union Government is equally responsible for the gloomy condition of the displaced people from the state. Despite this ground reality, the Government of India has, so far, refused to declare the HIndus of Kashmir as IDPs and take appropriate action to punish the guilty. It is a matter of regret that neither the Government of India nor the state government is invoking Principle 28 of the Guiding Principles , which in Section V relating to ‘Return, Resettlement and Reintegration of the IDPs’ states:
1. Competent authorities have the primary duty and responsibility to establish conditions, as well s provide the means, which allow internally displaced persons to return voluntarily, in safety and with dignity, to their homes or places of habitual residence, or to resettle voluntarily in another part of the country. Such authorities shall endeavour to facilitate the reintegration of returned or resettled internally displaced persons.
2. Special efforts should be made to ensure the full participation of internally displaced persons in the planning and management of their return or resettlement and reintegration. (E/CN.4/1998/53/Add.2. p. 14)
This principle makes it clear that It is the responsibility of the State authorities to care for their “return, resettlement and reintegration.”
Natural Justice demands that: 1. The Union Government constitutes a Commission of Inquiry with the following clear terms of reference:
(a) Probe into the causes of the rise of extremist religion-based armed insurgency in Kashmir in 1990
(b) Probe into the causes and events of selective killings of HIndus followed by their ethnic cleansing in 1989-90. The report of the inquiry into 1986 Anantnag attacks on HIndus is made public.
Constituting this commission is essential for preventing recurrence of communal pogroms in future and also for strengthening secular democracy of India. It will pave the way for the return of the IDPs.
2. The affected people are immediately declared Internally Displaced Persons, in accordance with the definition of the UN or its subsidiaries/commissions/ working groups etc.
3. Subject to the inception of an Inquiry Commission, the State government constitutes a Rehabilitation Committee with representatives of the community, experts and government as its members

(Ajay Bharati, The author is the President of Jammu Kashmir Vichar Manch, NCR chapter)