My submission as a witness to the RUSSELL TRIBUNAL ON KASHMIR held in SARAJEVO,BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

Although in the limited time available to speak I did submit the salient points while this below is the complete document

I thank Kashmir Civitas (Farhan Mujahid Chak ) for inviting me to this ground breaking initiative to

• Bring our plight to the people of the world who believe in justice and human rights

• I hope the decisions of the tribunal will bring accountability of the Indian state and which will make it a World People’s movement to get justice for people of Kashmir as the world governments have failed for last 74 years ( from 1947 ) if not 90 years ( from 1931 ) although there have been efforts which were not forceful enough and got caught up in the previous Cold War politics and we fear will now get caught up with the new Cold War in the making .

• Before going to talk as a witness I would like to point out to the tribunal that India is on a major propaganda offensive to convince the world that its brutal occupation & repression in Kashmir are part of the epic battle against Muslim terrorism—an epic battle that is completely manufactured to justify war, occupation, genocide.

Now as a witness I would through my personal experience talk and bring to the notice of the tribunal the following :

1. ORDEAL OF IMPRISONMENT FROM 5th August 2019 to 7th December 2019

2. Case of sedition against me in June 2020

3. Economic occupation .

4. Genocide

5. Human right violations

1.Ordeal of imprisonment

I consider the action they took on 5 th August 2019 akin to KIDNAPPING

The ordeal started in the early morning of 5th August at about 1.05 am ( 5th August)which also happened to be my birthday also .

I was woken up by calling out of my name who I recognized as the policeman who was from the local police station ( Nehru Park ) as he was the same person who had come when I was put under house arrest when the previous government of Mehbooba Mufti had implemented the GST in Kashmir . The policeman had come with at least 4-5 policemen outside the pathway of our main house . I came out and thought that it may be that they would keep me again under house arrest but he intimated I had to come to the police station . I asked him if there is a warrant of arrest( NO WARRANT OF ARREST ) but he told that I had to go to the police station as the SHO wants to talk to me and it will not take much time . I changed my night dress and put a T shirt and pant and did not take any medicine as I thought the policeman was telling the truth .I did not realize that it was a much bigger thing than simple interrogation at the local police station .The moment I stepped out of our main gate I saw at least 4 vehicles full of police people . I realized it is more serious and the direction of the vehicles was the opposite to the direction of the nehru park police station . I asked the police fellow that were is he taking me and he then informed me that we are going to Ram Munshi Bagh Police station which is near the AmarSingh club and the officer there is in charge of the Nehru park police station.Reaching the police station the police station munshi ( the person who writes the FIR etc in a police station ) wrote my name and address etc in a register besides the time .The same was signed by the person who brought me in and after they left I was asked to sleep in a big hall which had beds occupied by the police personnel who were off duty with some beds empty ( Not in a cell which is usually. Why I think because the officer knew me to some extent ) . I was asked to occupy one of the empty beds but I went back to the office and slept on the chair in the office as I wanted to be near the toilet as I had to go frequently to use that because of my prostrate problem for which I needed to go to the toilet after every two hours and also had a problem of bed wetting and in the way I was taken I had not carried any adult diapers. In the morning I after having tea with a Kashmiri bread slept for some time in one of the empty beds and was awoken by noises in that hall by some policemen who were shouting at the top of their voices and swearing bad words against the CRPF . I saw some of them cursing their officers of confiscating their arms ( which had been kept under lock and key in a room by the central forces with only their officer guarded by an armed guard ) or else they would have taught a lesson to them .On Enquiry from some of them I was informed that one of their colleagues had gone to the market for getting provisions and he had been stopped by a CRPF team for want of identity card although it was meters away from the police station . According to the policemen the CRPF personnel and officer had misbehaved . The whole police force went with lathis ( sticks ) instead of arms or their would have been a mutiny and for the whole day I saw the IPS officers coming to the police station to settle the problem .During the day I was expecting my family to come but unfortunately nobody came and now I understand that my wife had tried no of times to come to the police station but was not allowed resulting I had no clothes and medicine .Although I was able to sleep that day but because of my problem of going to toilet which was quite a walk it was very troublesome and painful .The next day( 6 th ) ( no showing me of any document of arrest ) I was able to send message for clothes to my house through a person who had come for some permission to the police station . He returned with some clothes and medicine and informed that my wife had gone to her parents house .After I received the clothes almost at the same time an order came for shifting me to the central jail which was shown to me .I was taken in a convoy of at least 2 vehicles from the police station to the central jail and on the road I could see the Indian forces all around at every nook and corner as the whole city was under lock down ( curfew ) Central Jail In the central jail I was checked and almost stripped with my belt and even trousers taken out .My telephones were sent to the police station to give to my family including my purse after depositing of the cash with the central jail authorities as they told I would need to pay for things in the jail if needed .Once I entered the jail proper I was taken to a barrack having about 25 – 30 people and handed over to a person who initially I thought was a policeman in civil dress but he was a person made in charge of that barrack and was a prisoner who had committed a murder .Similar was the case with number of other people in the barrack with some of them even involved in the sex scandal .I found myself out of place completely and it was on the afternoon that there came into the barrack MR Shaqeel Qalandhar who was my colleague in the KCSDS ( Kashmir Centre for Social Development Studies ) a civil society group besides a trade group JKSECC ( Jammu and Kashmir Socio- Economic Coordination Committee ) . Besides these two organizations he used to be President of the Industures Federation ( FCIK ) while I used to be the President KCCI ( Kashmir Chamber Of Commerce & Industry ) from 2006-2009 .On the next day( 7 th august ) we had other two persons who were shifted to our barrack namely MR Mia Qayum the President of the Bar Association as well MR Yasin Khan President of the Kashmir Traders Federation .On the same night at about 12 pm ( 8 th August ) we were woken up with light being reflected on us when we were asleep and handed over the PSA dossier with the place shown as central jail the designated place of imprisonment.The PSA was given to me , Mr Qayum and Yasin khan while Shaqeel did not get it.As I needed to go to the toilet and particularly of sometimes bed wetting and without my adult diapers I would get up after every two hours . The toilet was within the barracks and as such it was easier to visit it . Just before the morning prayers I was in the toilet and when I came out we were shown an order in which about 26 names were there and we were supposed to be shifted to Jammu central jail .Our co- detainees provided us some tea and bread so that we are not shifted hungry .Shifting to Agra We were taken from the central jail the 26 of us in two different buses and we saw almost the same no of policemen even more in the buses we were taken . We thought to Jammu will be an arduous trip via the dilapidated buses . We were told that we will not go by bus but by air and thought they are shifting us in an airplane because the Srinagar Jammu road was not dependable besides the route may have trouble because of the action by the Govt regarding removal of 370 .Once we reached the airport we enquired from one of the officers who told us that we are not going to Jammu but Agra which was contrary to the order of shifting which was shown to us at the central prison before taking us out in the morning .( Whether it can be said as kidnapping with order shown different and taking us to a different place ) We reached in about two and half hours Agra most probably as we did not have watches in military planes and were airlifted from the Air Force side of the airport .Once we reached Agra airport which also looked like a Defence airport we were put in police trucks with their sides closed with trampoline . The atmosphere was all tense . I saw most of the detainees were young and the youngest would have been 20 . Once we reached the Central jail Agra we were disembarked inside the jail outside a building which appeared two storied from the outside . Central Jail Agra We were divided into two groups of 17 and 9 . I was in the group of 17 and we were kept in jail cells ( cages ) for two each except our cell where we three seniors were kept that is MR Mia Qayum and Mr Yasin khan and myself . The cell can be imagined to be like the walking pavement of a road with a roof on top and iron bars on the front . The roof was high and that is why the building from the outside was looking a double storied one .The cell or cage was having three cement beds of single bed size and having a Indian type of toilet with a small wall while as the bathing area was open . The whole place was not livable as such and we had insects all over the place .Ants , bed bugs and cockroaches . Even after trying ourselves to clean the place I suffered from infection on my feet for which I am undergoing treatment still . We had to constantly clean the cell on our own although once a week they would send some other prisoners from other barracks to clean the common area between the cells or cages . Although we did it diligently particularly after one and half months when we were allowed to come out of the cells together that is the 17 of us .For the first one and half months two cell inmates that is five of us or four of us to walk outside the cells or cages together for half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening to stretch . However after one and half months we were allowed to go out of the cells for three hours the all 17 of us which was extended to 10am to 5 pm one or two days before my release and I understand they are continuing it .The first one and half month was worst as we were not allowed to meet our relatives although I now understand my niece from delhi had come twice once alone and then with my wife while also one of my colleagues from KCSDS had also tried to meet me with medicines . It was strange that they were not allowed although as per the President of Bar association they cannot stop any relative after checking whether they are relatives . They would tell our relatives that permission is to be got from Jk Govt which did not have a system or model which they finally did after one and half months of getting letters from DIG of police designated in Kashmir and based in Srinagar . All relatives had to go and get themselves approved before coming to Agra for meeting the detainees . Lot of detainees were poor people who first of all could not afford to come to Agra although we were allowed in contravention of rules to have visits after 15 days with the relaxation that there can be two visits max in a month .In one particular case out of the 17 in our portion of the prison building his wife and his small girl was able to visit him one or two days before I left the prison that is almost after 4 months .All this we understood was for troubling everybody of us .In my case it was damaging that they allowed my family to visit after one and half months which delayed my family going to the Supreme Court although my permanent lawyer Mr Reyaz Jan had advised the same from the outset and my wife was not able to take a decision without my consent . This has to be understood that as per the standing disposal of such Habeas corpus cases previously , the Supreme Court has to dispose the cases within 48 hours and in maximum 15 days and in rare of rare cases one month . Although in my case the disposal was delayed to two and half months and they disposed it when the Govt revoked my order although one week before that the Govt lawyer had asked for one week to decide my case when they felt the court will give a verdict in my favor . They revoked my PSA detention as they did not have a case and at the same time the pressure which had been built up on the Indian Govt through the US senate hearing as well as Foreign relation committee besides the Lantos commission where my name was mentioned including all foreign media including New York Times as well as other papers .The food was atrocious in the prison with tea given in the morning which was more of water than tea. After the visit of our family they would get us tit bits like biscuits , nuts and other snacks which were allowed by the prison authorities. The lunch had rice which invariably was not cooked properly with two vegetarian dishes out of which one invariably was a Dal (lentils) . These vegetables were prepared in water with no sign of oil and were invariably not fit for eating . All of us protested with sometimes some of us going or threatening to go on hunger strike . Because of this state of foods I lost about 20 kgs while others also lost weight ..

Once we complained to a local state committee headed by a district judge about the food and we were given an opportunity by them to prepare in their kitchen by detainees if somebody knows how to cook . We tried that also but because of the very bad attitude of the people in the kitchen it became a non starter and they further made the food worse as we had complained to the committee.

We did not have any hearing before the PSA committee which

is the requirement under law to hear our side for the four months I was in jail .

Besides the above we did not have any pillows ,we were given a dhurrie to act as a mattress on the cement bed and a bed sheet as cover for sleeping . It was only after one and half month that we got pillows , quilts when our family visited while as no mattresses were allowed . In cases who got visits after 2 months or even after 4 months they were provided either by three of us or who had a visit from their respective families . I think sending far away by the Govt was in itself very problematic particularly for younger people who of one instance I know would not sleep for the whole night as his family did not visit and he knew they could not afford it . This person I would see staring from his cell during the night as I used to visit the toilet almost every two hours for my prostrate problem .

For my medical problem I suffered the most because of two problems of night bed wetting and frequency of urine besides initially pain while passing urine . Because it being devoid of any privacy I did not want to get embarrassed by my night bed wetting and till my family visit( after one and half month as explained ) who brought the adult diapers .

I had pain while passing urine and was fearing the worst that if there is complete obstruction what will happen as the medical attention was there but rudimentary initially which was improved afterwards by getting urologists which I understand now was because of the USA Govt whose Ms Alice wells assured the foreign relations committee that the USA Govt in my specific case was assured by the Indian Govt of medical treatment .

As mentioned previously they refused one of colleagues to accept medicine and tried to give their medicine which after some time because of above pressure and family they allowed my family to provide the same . The strange part was they would give us in installments of two day supply . On everything they would make us realize the control they had on us in every aspect of life .

One of our detainee who was in the same cell as me , MR Yasin Khan ( President trade federation Kashmir ) his mother died in kashmir and he was not allowed to attend his funeral and the only thing they allowed was a prayer meeting of the 17 people together which we held in the space between the cells .

On the birth of my grandson I was informed of the good news on 2nd of November and the only liberty was that they allowed me to feed all the 26 prisoners besides the other batch of about fifty with sweets and special food at cost . This act was the only act where we felt that there is some humanity there .

We were treated as if we were from the armed resistance and initially the police personnel on duty told us that the media as well as some officers had told them that we are dangerous people and that is why we are in cages or cells where usually they would keep dangerous people or people who create trouble in the prison .

We were not provided any newspapers for at least one month and after that Hindi newspapers for at least another month which hardly anybody could read as either we knew English or Urdu . We were provided English newspaper after two months and that also only TIMES OF INDIA with their refusal to provide any other . This English newspaper was provided on payment and that also one for all 17 .

Notes

1. All detention orders, along with the grounds of the orders and representations (if any) must be placed before a non-judicial Advisory Board within 4 weeks of the detention.

The Advisory Board is then required to review the detention order, representation and any information necessary and submit its report to the State Government within 8 weeks of the detention. However, the person detained is not entitled to any legal counsel, since PSA explicitly bars detainees from being represented by legal counsel before the Advisory Board.

Critical sections of the Act that violate international human rights

Section 8

Under international human rights law, restrictions on liberty must obey the principle of legality: they must be adequately accessible and precise so that people can regulate their conduct according to it.

However, the PSA does not define “security of the state”, and provides a vague and over-broad understanding of “public order”. The operative provisions of the act are too broad and vague that they end up granting the authorities sweeping powers, at the same time seriously diminishing any real possibility for persons detained to contest the legality of the detention order.

Section 13

Section 13 of the act, allows the authority to not communicate grounds of detention for up to 5 days, which can be extended to 10 days of detention.[38] Article 9(2) of the ICCPR provides that anyone arrested has a right to be immediately informed about the grounds of the arrest, which also applies to preventive and administrative detentions.

And at the same time, the Sub-Section 2, allows the authorities to withhold any information that it considers “to be against public interest” to disclose, which has been abused many times by the authorities to withhold significant information from the person detained.[38] Such provisions of non-disclosure are in violation of Article 9(2) of the ICCPR.

Section 15

Under Article 9(4) of the ICCPR, every person deprived of their liberty, whether arrested or detained has a right to a judicial review,[43] however, PSA makes no such provisions and instead an Advisory Board, a non-judicial body appointed by the government on the recommendations of a three-person committee comprising senior state bureaucrats reviews all the orders.

Section 16

Detained persons have the right to communicate with and be represented by a counsel of their choice, however, Section 16 of the Public Safety Act, states that any person against whom a detention order has been made is not entitled to legal counsel with respect to the Advisory Board and its proceedings.

Section 16 not only disregards the “right to communicate with and be represented by counsel of choosing in the determination of criminal charges” guaranteed by Articles 14(3)(b) and (d) of the ICCPR but also undermines the right to challenge the legality of detention set out in Article 9(4).

Section 22

Everyone has a right to a remedy under international human rights law and standards.

However, Section 22 of the Public Safety Act, provides a complete bar on criminal, civil or “any other legal proceedings…against any person for anything done or intended to be done in good faith in pursuance of the provisions of this Act”, thus enabling impunity by protecting officials even in situations where PSA is abused.[3

2. Case of sedition against me in June 2020 / Settler colonial agenda

• It is under 124A of the Indian penal code

• Even the Chief Justice of india has remarked on 15 th July that the rate of conviction is very low and is misused by the executive power

• This is precisely what they did and are doing in my case as well as thousands of cases in kashmir as this section is added to every person who speaks against their occupation

• The tribunal has to deliberate and decide that whether india can apply this law in a internationally recognised disputed area recognised through numerous UN resolutions

• The basis of my case against sedition is based on a Facebook post in June 2020 wherein I advised and advocated to people of kashmir to stop renting accommodation to non locals as we know it is the starting point of settlers and by the change of domicile laws this is happening and coming to the fore now

• By stopping voices like me and also the stopping of the medium of communication to the people to get informed that post was included by the local police https://twitter.com/kashmirpolice/status/1470398107833692164?s=21 on 13/12 /2021 as they tweeted that “ Beware social media users AIDING AND ABETTING OF TERROR is as grave as the actual act of terror . It is punishable under UAPA ( unlawful activities and prevention act passed as act No 37 of 1967 & since amended from time to time the latest being by “”””Individuals can also be tagged under terrorist Amendment Act, 2019”” to make it more stringent

• This goes as per their plan to as said by me initially “India is on a major propaganda offensive to convince the world that its brutal occupation & repression in Kashmir are part of the epic battle against Muslim terrorism—an epic battle that is completely manufactured to justify war, occupation, genocide.”””

• This law contravenes ICCPR (The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is a multilateral treaty adopted by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2200A (XXI) on 16 December 1966, and in force from 23 March 1976 in accordance with Article 49 of the covenant.””

• It is a Draconian law

• As it has a very low conviction rate and the case may fail but people are incarcerated for 8-12 years and already even our journalists are not spared with Asif Sultan behind jail since 2018

3. ECONOMIC OCCUPATION

Being the ex president of the Kashmir Chamber of commerce from 2006-2009 and also the Ex – President of the JOINT Jammu & Kashmir chamber of commerce & industry from 2012-2014 I feel it is my duty to bring to the notice of this august tribunal the various forms of this occupation

• The occupation of our resources particularly our power generation from our water resources which is under their central govt companies ( NHPC Limited (erstwhile National Hydroelectric Power Corporation) . This company has an asset base of 97 billion dollars with a yearly income of 710 million dollars . One third of its generating capacity is in kashmir and has rightly got the name of “EAST INDIA COMPANY “ in local parlance . We as an organisation fought regarding return of our assets which were built with or without agreement of limited time but never returned to the state although different commissions like RANGARAJAN COMMISSION recommended return of some projects .

• Our people who invested in industries particularly from the 1990’s became sick because of the prevailing situation in kashmir because of frequent curfews and Hartals to quell the resistance wherein it is estimated that about more than 3000 days have been lost in the last thirty years which was further accentuated by the action in august 2019 and subsequently by covid . The world can understand it more with the experience of covid lockdowns . We lost more than 10 years in closure of last 30 years . You can realise that how businesses can survive and lot of them have become bankrupt.

• Now by the change of laws after 2019 the big corporates of India will buy these assets at rock bottom prices and occupy our economic places .

• I am reminded by a personal episode I got to know in 1993 when I went to buy Brass handicraft items from Moradabad . The items are manufactured by Indian Muslims while the traders are mainly Hindus . This has happened by cyclical religious riots where usually & invariably Muslims suffered and they remained the workers while the main profits were taken by the traders . This is what is going to happen in kashmir .

• In kashmir lot of local assets have been created on leased properties particularly in resort places like Gulmarg and pahalgam whose leases are not being renewed as by change of laws we fear they will be handed over to the big corporates of india and Kashmiris in their own country will become servants and second rate citizens

• The latest law of land use where agriculture land can be used for non agriculture use thereby making a way for land to be taken over by corporates from India

• Already unfortunately our waqf properties are taken over by the state by one of the previous regime of Mufti Syed on the pretext of corruption but we now realise that it was done under a plan to disempower Kashmiri Muslims

4 .Genocide

We consider it as a GENOCIDE because of the killing of Kashmiris ( 100000 with daily killings continuing ) causing serious bodily injures ( about 7000 pellet injuries besides other injuries ) or mental harm ( PTSD highly prevalent of different intensity in almost half of the population ) as clearly India is doing under Article 2 of the Genocide Convention which defines what amounts to Genocide .

5. HUMAN RIGHT VIOLATIONS IN KASHMIR

What is the biggest human right violations in Kashmir . “It is the Refusal of providing The right to self-determination ” which is an integral element of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms and till it is addressed we will not get justice and the human right violations will continue . The principle of self-determination is prominently embodied in Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations. Earlier it was explicitly embraced by US President Woodrow Wilson, by Lenin and others, and became the guiding principle for the reconstruction of Europe following World War I.

What has been the result of this is seen in respect of people killed if we take the data from 1990 which is more than 100000 , 150000 civilians arrested ,8500 custodial killings , 12000 disappearances , 110000 structures destroyed / arsoned ,11,170 rape cases , with Injured running in hundred thousands with at least 7000 with pellet injuries and out of them at least 700 with eye injuries resulting in blindness of different levels. If we total these figures thereby giving the families affected directly they are in the vicinity of more than 400000 to 450000 and if we keep in mind that we are a closely knit society the no of people affected will be not less than 4 to 4.5 million keeping in view the extended family of at least 10 per family and not to speak if we consider the localities which have been affected and in case of kashmir the whole valley has got affected and we may not realize the enormity of the trauma and allied problems with majority of them suffering from PTSD ( Post traumatic Stress Disorder ) out of almost the whole population of about 8 million of Kashmir valley .

I rest my case

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