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ACTION ALERT: Kashmir – Write to Indian President to protest killings of Kashmiri Muslims

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The Islamic Human Rights Commission is extremely concerned over recent unrest in Kashmir and heavy handed measures taken by the government to suppress  protests.

Contents
1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action required
4. Sample letter


1. Summary

The Islamic Human Rights Commission is extremely concerned over recent unrest in Kashmir and heavy handed measures taken by the government to suppress  protests. Since June 2010 more than one hundred protesters have been killed and many more civilians injured.


2. Background

Himalayan region of Kashmir has been engulfed in violence and upheaval since 11 June 2010. The region has been controlled by a local Indian government after the independence in 1997. Since 1989 there has been active separatist insurgency to break out from India due to systematic injustices and human rights violations.

Recent protests erupted after a 17-year old student Tufail Ahmad Matoo died after being hit by a teargas shell fired by police. Since then around 100 civilians, mostly teenagers have been killed by India's paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Police. The local government headed by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, imposed a curfew and strict restrictions to end  the violence. However, these perfunctory measures were ineffective in easing the tension but rather further exacerbated the situation. The Indian government deployed thousands of troops from the security forces and imposed an indefinite curfew on Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar. Deployment of the security forces in such great numbers is deeply alarming as India's Armed Forces Special Powers Act, grants them aa wide range of powers, including, to shoot, arrest and search.

 

Additionally, the Public Safety Act (PSA) has robustly been implemented against the protestors. The law is a ‘preventive detention’ law and allows detainment without charge for two years.. Thus far, around 700 hundred teenagers, community leaders and influential figures such as High Court Bar President of the regions, Mian Qayoom and Bar General Secretary Gulam Nabi Shaheen have been detained under the PSA.
Meenakshi Ganguly, a regional spokeswoman for Human Rights Watch stated that: 

“The anger in Kashmir has been brewing because of injustice... What is needed now is a genuine commitment from the government to address all allegations of human rights violations, but the separatist leaders too must call for an immediate end to these violent attacks.'

On 28 July 2010 the local government in the region has ordered an investigation into the deaths of 17 civilians and actions of the CRPF and the Police on protesters. However, no result has yet been released.

3. Action required

Write to Pratibha Patil, Indian President to express your concern over recent unrest in Kashmir and heavy handed measures taken by the government to suppress the protests.

4. Sample letter
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A sample letter is given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is very important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters. It is preferable that letters be sent via post, or otherwise by fax and/or email.

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Sample letter to

[Your name]
[Your address]

Rashtrapathi Bhavan,
New Delhi, India

[Date]

Your Excellency Pratibha Patil,

Re: Recent unrest in Kashmir and heavy killings of Kashmiri Muslims protestors

I am utterly shocked and outraged over recent unrest in Kashmir and heavy handed measures taken by the government to suppress the protests. Since June 2010 more than one hundred protesters have been killed and many more civilians injured.

Your Excellency as you may know the recent protests erupted after a 17-year old student Tufail Ahmad Matoo died after being hit by a teargas shell fired by police. Since then around 100 civilians, mostly teenagers have been killed by India's paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Police. The local government imposed a curfew and strict restrictions to end the violence. However, these perfunctory measures were ineffective in easing the tension but rather further exacerbated the situation. The government deployed thousands of troops from the security forces and imposed an indefinite curfew on Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar. Deployment of the security forces in such a great number is deeply alarming as India's Armed Forces Special Powers Act, grants security forces a wide range of powers including, to shoot, arrest and search.

Additionally, the Public Safety Act (PSA) has robustly been implemented against the protestors. The law is a ‘preventive detention’ law and allows detainment without charge for two years.. Thus far, around 700 hundred teenagers, community leaders and influential figures such as High Court Bar President of the regions, Mian Qayoom and Bar General Secretary Gulam Nabi Shaheen have been detained under the PSA.
Meenakshi Ganguly, a regional spokeswoman for Human Rights Watch stated that: 

‘The anger in Kashmir has been brewing because of injustice... What is needed now is a genuine commitment from the government to address all allegations of human rights violations, but the separatist leaders too must call for an immediate end to these violent attacks.'

On 28 July 2010 the local government in the region has ordered an investigation into the deaths of 17 civilians and actions of the CRPF and the Police on protesters. However, no result has yet been released.
Your Excellency, the international community has been waiting for a peaceful and durable solution that would ease present unrest and meet the expectations of the local population. Please ensure that every possible measure is taken to cease further, bloodshed, violence and state discrimination.
I look forward to your reply regarding this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,


[Your signature]
[Your name]

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For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below

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For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below.

"And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper."
Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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