IOK Bar on strike to support anti-India protests » Kashmir Media Service

Srinagar, September 26 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, 1,050 members of lawyers aassociations have gone on strike to support the protest demonstrations against Indian government’s abrogation of Article 370 and arrest of several Bar members.

Among the first arrested after the Indian government’s lockdown in the Kashmir Valley were senior functionaries of the High Court Bar Association, including president, Mian Abdul Qayoom, former president, Nazir Ahmad Ronga, president of bar association of Baramulla district court, advocate Abdul Salam Rather and president of Bar Islamabad district, Fayaz Sodagar under the black law Public Safety Act, which the Amnesty International termed repressive and draconian to stop the voice and peaceful activities of people.

All of them are being held in prisons in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, 1,000km away from Srinagar.

Indian police arrested over 13,000 of Kashmiris including Hurriyet leaders, activists, traders and other several political party leaders in houses and in jails in and outside occupied Kashmir.

Mir Urfi, a young female lawyer, said in Srinagar the authorities and Indian government had no valid grounds to arrest Main Qayoom, president of the bar association.

“In grounds of arrest, the police wrote: ‘We apprehend that you (referring to Qayoom) will motivate people to agitate against abrogation of Article 370′,” she said.

Objecting to the arrest of their colleagues, and to support the largest protests in the region against the Indian government’s actions, the 1,050-member lawyers’ association has gone on strike since Aug 5.

“The bar has an identity here,” said senior human rights lawyer, Mir Shafqat Hussain referring to the readiness of the bar to take up habeas corpus cases. “But we relied on the law and the constitution to fight for justice. How can a lawyer’s work be deemed a threat to public safety?”

Mohammed Ashraf Butt, Secretary of the bar association, said, “We cannot talk freely even in court.”

Many lawyers do not want to talk on record fearing arrest. A lawyer from the town of Handwara in Kupwara district in north Kashmir told international media that he was not allowed to meet the family of a client who had in torture centre at the hands of Indian forces. He declined to be named. “I do not want to be unnecessarily booked under black law, PSA,” he told the media persons.

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