17 February 2018
Maina Sunuwar’s Case: 14 years of Impunity
In April 2017, after a 13-year-long legal battle the Kavrepalanchowk (Kavre) District Court convicted three soldiers namely Babi Khatri, Sunil Prasad Adhikari and Amit Pun involved in the murder of Maina Sunuwar.1 While the Court acquitted a fourth soldier namely Major Niranjan Basnet, who is still serving the army, three were given sentence to 20 years’ imprisonment.
However, the Nepal army in September 2017 filed the petition in the Supreme Court to vacate the decision of the District Court. The army has claimed: (1) that the principle of double jeopardy was violated, on the argument that the army has already prosecuted the three convicted officers, (2) that the case comes under the jurisdiction of the Transitional Justice system rather than the criminal justice system, and (3) that as the incident took place under a military operation and therefore military rules should be applied. The petition also argues that all other conflict era cases should not be placed under the jurisdiction of the Court.
Sowing Disrespect,HinderingJustice: AFAD Condemns India for Prohibiting APDP to Pay its Respects to Atta Mohammed Khan
The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) expresses its utmost concern for the safety of human rights defenders and the situation of human rights in Indian-‐occupied Kashmir. On the 4th of February 2018, a team led by Advocate Parvez Imroz along with activists, family members of the disappeared, and lawyers were detained at Boniyar Police Station in Baramulla, district of North Kashmir.
ASSOCIATION OF PARENTS OF DISAPPEARED PERSONS
State Prohibits Commemoration event At Atta Mohammad’s Khan’s Grave at Chehal, Bimyar
Press Release: 4th February, 2018
Advocate Parvez Imroz, President Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society [JKCCS] and Patron Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons [APDP], and three lawyers accompanying him were illegally detained by personnel from police station Boniyar for more than one hour today. The members and activists of APDP were visiting the grave site of Atta Mohammad Khan in Bimyar village of Chehal area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district to pay tributes and to lay a tombstone on his grave and to offer prayers. The event was planned to remember Atta Mohammad and his contribution to the discovery of the phenomenon of unmarked and mass graves in Jammu and Kashmir. As a result of the police action, the event could not be held and APDP members, around 15 persons (mostly family members of the disappeared) could not pay their respects to Atta Mohammad Khan.
The police were waiting for Advocate Imroz and his team at Bimyar village. They informed him that he and his team had to accompany the police to the Boniyar police station to meet with the Station House Officer. At the police station the names and personal details of each person were recorded and their phones were taken away. Finally, after about an hour they were informed that the Station House Officer would not be able to meet them and directed the team not to hold the planned event. No formal order or reason was provided for the action of the police.
State action today is yet another reminder of the manner in which the Indian State has used violence to curb all human rights in Jammu and Kashmir. Not only does the State refuse to recognize the phenomenon of enforced disappearances, or find the disappeared and punish the perpetrators, the State refuses to allow any activity that serves to memorialize and respect the disappeared. By choking the space for peaceful events, state wants to cover up the truth behind its sponsored violence.
Atta Mohammad, who died at the age 75, on 10thJanuary 2016, following a prolonged illness, has buried more than 230 unidentified bodies in the Bimyar graveyard between 2003 and 2009. A farmer by profession, Mohammed's selfless efforts ensured a dignified proper burial to many unidentified bodies. He played a significant role in identifying unmarked graves in the Valley. APDP members and activists first met Atta Mohammad in 2005 while researching the issue of unmarked graves – a phenomenon where unidentified dead bodies, often bearing marks of violence, were buried across grave sites in Jammu and Kashmir after being handed over to locals by armed forces as bodies of “foreign militants”. Gravediggers such as Atta Mohammad are recorders of evidence as the unmarked graves represent sites of possible crimes. Unmarked graves are also closely tied to the phenomenon of enforced disappearance in Jammu and Kashmir. According to conservative estimates more than 8000 people have been subject to enforced disappearances since 1989. Beginning from 2008, APDP documented 7000+ cases of unmarked graves in five districts of Jammu and Kashmir and found prima facie evidence that some of these unidentified bodies belonged to those disappeared civilians. Despite the SHRC confirming the presence of unmarked graves and recommending investigations, the State has refused to take any action on the issue.
Police action today is only a continuation of the state violence that APDP has faced since its inception. Such acts will not stop APDP from continuing its struggle for truth, justice and reparations for thousands of the disappeared of Jammu and Kashmir.