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Amnesty team visits Kashmir`s summer unrest victims` kin

Last Updated: Thursday, March 24, 2011 - 12:41

Srinagar: After releasing a damning 82-page report against alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, members of global rights watchdog Amnesty International are visiting the families of those killed in last year`s summer unrest in the Valley.

Three team members are on Thursday visiting north Kashmir and they would be Friday meeting the families of victims in summer capital Srinagar, sources here said.

The three-member Amnesty team comprising the group`s South Asia director, Madhu Malhotra, and members Bikramjeet Batra and Ramesh Gopalakrishnan has visited the homes of three youths allegedly killed by the security forces in south Kashmir`s Anantnag district during last year`s summer unrest.

Batra told a news agency, "Yes, we visited the families of victims in Anantnag and the families have given us some documents regarding the deaths of their dear ones last year."

"These documents would have to be verified. We also met Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leaders and they discussed their petition in the state high court regarding the deaths of people in last year`s unrest," Batra said.

"We will be verifying these documents and then decide what needs to be done," he added.

Over 100 civilians were killed when stone-pelting protesters clashed with security forces in the valley last summer. Amnesty International on Monday lashed out against alleged human rights abuses in Kashmir through use of the Public Safety Act (PSA), which allows suspects to be detained without trial for two years.

Regarding Chief Minister Omar Abdullah`s tweet that people should not expect any knee-jerk reaction from him about the Amnesty report as he had not read it, Batra said, "For the last 10 days, we have been approaching the Chief Minister`s Office for an appointment, but so far this has not been confirmed."

The Amnesty team is scheduled to remain in the Valley till Sunday.

Abdullah on Wednesday told the state assembly in winter capital Jammu that the Amnesty report would not be relegated to the dustbin, but considered on merit.

He also said he was ready to dispose of the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA) if a consensus is worked out on that.

The PSA was legislated in 1978 by ruling National Conference founder and the then chief minister Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. The act was meant to be used against timber smugglers, narcotic peddlars and other anti-social elements. But with passage of time, subsequent governments have used the harsh PSA against political rivals.


First Published: Thursday, March 24, 2011 - 12:41

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