We, members of Coordination of Democratic Rights Organizations, condemn the murderous attack, according to the eyewitnesses, by personnel from CRPF and SOG on human rights defender and lawyer Pervez Imroz. On 30 June, 2008 at approximately 10.30 pm these personnel knocked on the door of Pervez's house. When his wife Ruksana didnot open the door they threw a grenade and then opened fire. On hearing this neighbours and villagers rushed out of their houses. The security personnel then ran away but while retreating they beat up people who had gathered outside. But people were able to recognise them as security force personnel because they were all in uniform. Moreover, when friends and relatives of Pervez Imroz tried to get in touch with the IG and the SSP neither of them took their calls.
The attack on Pervez Imroz comes barely ten days after he and his colleagues were accosted on 20th June 2008 by J&K police when they were returning from Kupwara where they had gone to investigate "unidentified" graves. The fact-finding is part of the effort to unravel the mystery of enforced disappearance of 8-10,000 persons since 1990 in J&K. There is some reason to believe that the answer may be lying buried in the "mass graves" which came to light recently in the Uri sector of J&K and which had been investigated by Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society. We fear that the attempted attack on him could be linked to thwart further investigations into this matter.
This incident is latest instance of a rising graph of attack on human rights defenders across India in which many activists have been incarcerated under trumped up charges. But the physical assault reminds us of the past when Dr Ramanatham, Purushottam, Parag Das, Jalil Andrabi, Jaswant Singh Khalra became victims of assassination.
WE wish to point out that exposing the crimes and misdeeds of security forces and other armed groups, and carrying out fact findings, such as into the matter of "unidentified" graves, is legitimate and forms quintessential part of human rights work. That such work may upset authorities is understandable if they want truth to lie buried. However, it is disturbing trend when security agencies become law unto themselves and engage in activities akin to brigandage. We are concerned that elected governments have shown a propensity to wink at these lawless activities and are unwilling to clamp down on them.
WE urge you to look into this matter and book the culprits responsible for this crime lest such criminal activities, if it goes unpunished, end up digging the grave of constitutional democracy whereas freedom and liberties of the people are always to be protected.
[ C/o PUDR, Dr Moushumi Basu, A-6/1, Aditi Apartments, Pocket D, Janakpuri, New Delhi 110058.]
Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee
Association for Democratic Rights ( Punjab )
Association for Protection of Democratic Rights ( West Bengal )
Bandi Mukti Samiti ( West Bengal )
Committee on Human Rights (Manipur)
Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights ( Maharashtra )
Human Rights Forum (Andhra Pradesh)
Lok Shahi Hakk Sanghtana ( Maharashtra )
Manab Adhikar Sangharsh Samiti ( Assam )
Naga People's Movement for Human Rights (Naga Areas)
Organisation for Protection of Democratic Rights (Andhra Pradesh)
People's Democratic Forum (Karnataka)
People's Union for Civil Liberties (Chattisgarh)
People's Union for Civil Liberties (Jharkhand)
People's Union for Civil Liberties ( Nagpur )
People's Union for Civil Liberties (Rajasthan)
People's Union for Democratic Rights ( Delhi )
Public Commission on Human Rights ( Jammu and Kashmir )
Signed on behalf of CDRO members on 4th July, 2008, at New Delhi
Harish Dhawan, Secretary, PUDR ( Delhi )
Ningreichon Tungshang, NPMHR
Endorsed also by Saheli Resource Centre ( New Delhi )
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