FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A Statement from The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Council Member from Jammu and KashmirThe Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) denounces the ill treatment and physical manhandling by a traffic officer against AFAD Council member and Advocate Parvez Imroz, Chair of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons in Jammu and Kashmir yesterday.
Based on accounts by APDP, on 2 July 2013 at 10:30 in the morning, Mr. Imroz was driving into the High Court complex in Srinagar with his nephew when DSP (traffic) police Riyaz Halwai approached his vehicle. He and his nephew were ordered to move in a different direction. Before allowing them the reasonable time to do so, DSP Riyaz was abusive and threatening, which was questioned by Parvez Imroz. As the policemen in Kashmir are not accustomed to being questioned and behaving decently with Kashmiris, DSP Riyaz got further infuriated, lost control, increased his abuses and physically manhandled Parvez Imroz. Perturbed with this behavior, Parvez Imroz protested and remarked that he will not remain silent on this abusive behaviour. DSP Riyaz then tore his shirt to fabricate and falsely implicate Parvez Imroz.
Parvez Imroz was arrested and detained for about an hour at Police Station Shaheed Guni and moved to Police Station Shergari because of jurisdiction issues. He was detained there for another hour and was released on a personal bond at aboutA case was filed against him under Section FIR Ranber Penal Code (RPC) for assaulting a police officer on duty. Penalty for such crime is 20 years imprisonment.
Parvez Imroz’ has been subjected to a number of political harassments by the Indian authorities. His right to travel has not been respected by the government as his application for passport renewal had been denied by government since it expired in 2004. AFAD wrote to the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance a number of times, the latest of which was on 2 December 2012 to call attention to his plight as he has not been able to attend Council meetings since then. The denial of travel documents is used by the government as a matter of policy to prevent and control the voices of human rights defenders from Kashmir, like Parvez Imroz.
Specific to this traffic incident, AFAD calls on the Indian government to investigate the conduct of the traffic police which is contradictory to his obligation to uphold and protect the rights of its citizens.
AFAD reminds the Indian government of its moral duty to abide by the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance which it signed on 6 February 2007. Mr. Imroz works indefatigably to end enforced disappearances in Kashmir. The Convention provides, under Art. 24, Par. 7 that “States party to the Convention shall guarantee the right to form and participate freely in organizations and associations concerned with attempting to establish the circumstances of enforced disappearances and the fate of the disappeared persons, and to assist victims of enforced disappearances. ” While India did not ratify the Convention, it has the duty not to violate any of the provisions of the said treaty.
Beyond this, AFAD demands the Indian government to stop the political harassments against Parvez Imroz. This traffic incident is another form of harassment against his person, being a human rights defender and critic of the government’s human rights performance especially on issues against enforced disappearances.
India can only claim to be the ‘largest democracy in the world’ if it genuinely addresses the many violations of human rights it had committed, especially for the families of victims of enforced disappearances who continue to demand justice and accountability from the government.
MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO
Secretary-GeneralAsian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD)
Rms. 310-311 Philippine Social Science Center Bldg.,
Commonwealth Ave., Diliman, 1103 Quezon City