Parveena Ahanger

Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for her groundbreaking work on the phenomenon of enforced disappearances in Kashmir, Srinagar-based human rights defender, Parveena Ahanger, is finding herself pushed to the wall after the National Investigations Agency quizzed her on 28 October, Wednesday, in the terror funding case. Source: The Quint

CDRO strongly condemns the raid by the NIA at Delhi, Kashmir and Bangalore

CO-ORDINATION OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS ORGANISATION(CDRO)

Press Release

1st November 2020

CDRO strongly condemns the raid by the NIA at Delhi,  Kashmir and Bangalore

When the state-power begins to fear the pen, tongue and lips, it
resorts to undemocratic suppression of dissent

National Investigation Agency (NIA) is again in the news for its
actions! Like earlier times, this time also their targets have been
individuals and organisations that are well-known as defenders of
human rights. In the last few days, the NIA has carried out raids in
the houses of rights activists, journalists and civil society groups
in Jammu and Kashmir. They have carried out at least nine raids in
Srinagar, Delhi and Bangalore in the name of tracing the funds
received by different non-governmental organisations in India and
abroad for charitable work and then allegedly transferred for carrying
out secessionist and separatist activities.

Before we analyse who these individuals are and their activities, let
us look back into the situation in the Kashmir valley. Since 5th
August 2019, the people in the valley have experienced removal of
statehood of Jammu and Kashmir, opening up of jobs for and land-owning
by people from outside Kashmir thanks to the abrogation of Articles
370 and 35A by the BJP-led central government. Until recent times,
almost all known faces in Jammu & Kashmir politics were house
interned, the entire valley witnessed an unprecedented removal of
services of mobile phones and internet for an extended period. The
newspaper houses working from the region could not bring out their
regular publications, and even distinguished journalists like Anuradha
Bhasin was not allowed to carry out her professional responsibilities
freely.

Keeping this background of Kashmir in last one year in mind, let us
look into the people whose houses were raided, and offices searched.
According to the NIA, the premises searched include the residence and
office of Khurram Parvez (coordinator of J&K Coalition of Civil
Society, JKCCS),  his associates Parvez Ahmad Bukhari, a journalist of
AFP, Parvez Ahmad Matta and Bengaluru-based associate Swati Sheshadri.
Parveena Ahanger, Chairperson of the Association of Parents of
Disappeared Persons (APDPK), and offices of NGO Athrout and the
Greater Kashmir Trust were also searched, the NIA had mentioned. The
house of former chairman of Minority Commission,  Dr. Jafarul Islam
Khan, was also raided. Who are these people?

The works of Parveena Ahanger and her organisation APDPK, comprising
of Kashmiri parents whose children have “disappeared” had begun in
1994 with the demand of government response for enforced disappearance
of Kashmiri youth. They support the families of victims of abuses and
their work had gained international recognition and not only APDPK
receives UN financial support but Ms. Parveena Ahanger was also once
nominated for Noble Prize. She lamented at the humiliation at the
hands of the NIA and security forces and had said “… I have worked
with pellet, torture and rape victims. These are important issues.
Wherever there are abuses, I work with the survivors. I try to share
their grief. If it is a crime, I am guilty as charged.”
(https://www.thequint.com/news/india/nia-raids-in-srinagar-parveena-ahanger-interview).
Another person whose premises were raided is Khurram Parvez of J&K
Coalition of Civil Society. It may be noted that like Ms. Ahanger, Mr.
Parvez and his organisation have also been in the forefront in
opposing the Rights violations in Kashmir and jointly worked to expose
the violation of rights in Kashmir carried out by the Army through
exposure of Disappeared persons in Kashmir. Several international
rights bodies have condemned these raids, and like CDRO these
organisations also feel that these raids are aimed at silencing the
critics of the government. It is worthwhile to note what Rafto
Foundation director Jostein Hole Kobbeltvedt has to say.  “The
allegations made in the NIA statement appear wholly implausible to us.
We have worked closely with APDP and JKCCS for almost three years,
discussing all aspects of their situation. Their denouncement of
political violence has been vehement and absolute, whenever the
subject of other actors perpetrating such acts came up. All our work
has been directed towards raising awareness about human rights
violations by the democratic means of public discussion.”
(https://thewire.in/rights/nia-raids-jammu-kashmir-human-rights-groups).

Timing of these raids is also not beyond suspicion. Only a few days
back, major parliamentarian parties opposed to the opening of the
valley for corporate loot had come together and hence these raids
smack of greater political ambition by the ruling party in power. CDRO
finds these raids by the NIA as a continuation of its prior desperate
attempts to falsely implicate distinguished democratic rights
activists in the Bhima-Koregaon case. NIA has proved to be a new tool
at the hand of the central government in stopping any genuine
pro-people democratic activity which has the support of the people.

Therefore, CDRO condemns these recent raids and demands that

the government must disband the undemocratic institutions like NIA and
its brazenly biased investigations

the witch-hunting of the opposition, in the name of security of the
country, must be stopped

the draconian laws like the UAPA, which are the Colonial-era legacy,
must be repealed

the Public Safety Act and Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, AFPSA
should be discontinued henceforth.

K.Kranthi Chaitanya, Prit Pal Singh, Tapas Chakraborty and V. Raghunath

(Coordinators of CDRO)

Constituent Organisations: Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR,
Punjab), Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR, West
Bengal); Asansol Civil Rights Association, West Bengal; Bandi Mukti
Committee (West Bengal); Civil Liberties Committee (Andhra
Pradesh); Civil Liberties Committee (Telangana); Committee for
Protection of Democratic Rights (Maharashtra); Committee for
Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR TamilNadu); Coordination for
Human Rights (Manipur); Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (Assam); Naga
Peoples Movement for Human Rights; Peoples’ Committee for Human
Rights (Jammu and Kashmir); Peoples Democratic Forum (Karnataka);
Jharkhand Council for Democratic Rights (Jharkhand); Peoples Union For
Democratic Rights (Delhi); Peoples Union for Civil Rights (Hariyana),
Campaign for Peace & Democracy in Manipur, Delhi; Janhastakshep (Delhi)

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