Srinagar, February 09 (KMS): India is being vehemently criticized, both at home and abroad, for registering a case under draconian laws against the father of one of the three Srinagar fake encounter victims for demanding the body of his martyred son.
Indian police on Monday charged the 40-year-old father, Mushtaq Wani, under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The victim, Athar Mushtaq Wani, along with two others was killed by Indian troops during a fake encounter in Lawaypora area of Srinagar on December 30, 2020.
Following strong criticism by Hurriyat forum led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and former IIOJK Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, now India is being grilled globally for booking a father for demanding the body of his son.
Saudi Arabia based English daily Arab News while quoting a Kashmiri human rights lawyer, Habeel Iqbal, said it had been a cruel decision to book the family under anti-terror laws. “A father demanding the dead body of his son is being booked under the anti-terror legislation is an instance where the law is being used as an instrument of oppression to create a sense of fear among citizens, an attempt to create a reign of terror in the minds of ordinary citizens,” he added. He pointed out that the policy of not returning the dead bodies of the youth was a “violation of international armed conflict law and humanitarian law.”
Describing the move as “absurd,” Delhi-based Kashmiri activist, Nasir Khuehami, told Arab News that: “Since they couldn’t silence Mushtaq, they booked him. If the intimidation doesn’t work, they’ll jail him with more fake cases. This is the new Kashmir, where demanding to return a son’s dead body is an unlawful activity.” He added, “Things are going from bad to worse. If the government believes that it can Indianize Kashmir by such acts, then it is living in a fool’s world.”
Anuradha Bhasin, Jammu-based senior journalist and editor of the English newspaper Kashmir Times, said, “This creates more alienations. If you close all space to seeking legal recourse to justice, if you close down all democratic spaces, if you shoot down messengers and those seeking justice then you are creating more alienation and lack of faith in the government.”
Mushtaq Wani told Arab News, “I demanded from the authorities whether they have any proof, any footage, or any camera evidence about my son’s subversive activities. I asked them to show that my son was a militant.”
The newspaper wrote that despite protests by family members pleading the teenager’s innocence, the local administration buried the three bodies in a remote graveyard in south Kashmir – more than 100 kilometers away from their native areas in South Kashmir.