TODAY -

Mass graves and democracy
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: September 21 2015 -



It is indeed a matter of shame for the whole country in general and the Indian military in particular.

A delegation from the ‘Indian-Occupied-Kashmir’ literally exposed naked the Government of India’s track record on human rights and related issues before the United Nations.

Addressing the 30th session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on September 16, Syed Faiz Naqshbandi said, “More than 5,000 Kashmiris are languishing in Indian jails without trial”.

This, he said, is in clear violation of the provisions of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

It was reported that Indian diplomats at the United Nations were left speechless under a barrage of accusations, backed by evidence, coming from exiled Kashmiri leaders who unfolded a horror list of things that India is doing and hiding from the world.

Altaf Hussain Wani, another Kashmiri from the so-called Indian-occupied region took to the floor and startled the audience with another piece of information about India that few knew: the mass graves.

India is the only democracy in the world where mass graves have been found in areas where the Indian army has a large presence.

“The height of Indian arrogance is such that it had not replied to Working Group’s letter wherein serious concern was expressed regarding the continuing construction work on the site of a newly discovered mass grave,” Wani told the UNHRC.

And despite a number of requests seeking a formal approval from the government of India, the Working Group on disappeared persons was not allowed undertaking a visit to take stock of the worsening human rights situation in Kashmir.

All these charges cannot be mere accusations for none would dare to make such accusations against a country like India, that too at the United Nations which is the highest international forum.

The report is rather disheartening and it throws a serious question on Indian democracy.

Mass graves, involuntary disappearances and ‘half-widows’ are in fact big blots on Indian democracy if they have anything to do with Indian military operations, covert or otherwise.

The picture becomes even more horrifying if one juxtaposes it with the infamous Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

It is not only Kashmir, but the North East region too has been reeling under the sectarian legislation for too long.

Manipur too has recorded many cases of involuntary disappearances. A Supreme Court order made last year ruled that six of the numerous alleged fake encounters which took place in Manipur were genuine fake encounters.

Military operations and human rights abuse is nothing new in Manipur though whether there are any mass graves, and if yes whether they have anything to do with military operations are yet to be proved.

Remember, eight human skulls and a number of skeletal remains were discovered from the campus of erstwhile Tombisana High School, located right in the heart of Imphal city on December 25 and 26 last year.

Whereas around 20 people have disappeared involuntarily since 1980, Tombisana High School complex was occupied by central paramilitary forces during the peak of insurgent activities in early 1980s.

It was in the light of this fact that the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights in Manipur and UN (CSCHR) and Families of the Involuntarily Disappeared Association Manipur (FIDAM) demanded, amongst others, institution of a ‘Special Commission of medico-legal, forensic-archaeological enquiry team’ to probe the matter.

The State Government decided to hand over the matter to CBI but the State Government’s proposal to this effect was turned down by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The matter ended there but one disturbing question has been haunting the collective psyche of Manipuri people whether there is any mass grave in Manipur as in Kashmir.



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