SRINAGAR, (SANA): Praising the role of lawyers for their “contribution towards the ongoing movement,” All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) (G) Chairman Syed Ali Geelani has said that they should out rightly reject the ‘draconian’ Jammu and Kashmir Police Bill and make Kashmiris aware of its repercussions.
Telephonically addressing a seminar titled ‘Jaleel Andrabi – A victim of human rights violation and Police Bill- A tool being prepared for perpetration of human rights violation in J&K’ organized by High Court Bar Association at Sadder Court here, Geelani asked lawyers to oppose the Police Bill tooth and nail. Geelani couldn’t attend the seminar as he has been placed under house arrest.
“This law would give unbridled powers to police which is already enjoying extra powers in keeping with the black laws in the State,” he said.
Taking the State Government head on, Geelani said, “On one hand J&K Government is clamoring for revocation of AFSPA, on the other it is not ready to repeal the PSA which lies within its domain. There is no need to request New Delhi for doing away with this Act.”
“If they want to do something good, they should at least repeal PSA for ease of the masses,” he said.
Underlining the responsibilities of lawyers towards the ‘movement,’ Geelani said, “Nation has lot of expectations with them.”
“I was willing to participate in the seminar but could not as I am constantly under house arrest for the last two years,” he said.
Geelani said Jammu and Kashmir is not integral part of any country and the 18 resolutions passed by the United Nations attest that. “These resolutions attest that Kashmir is disputed territory and its solution is yet to be found,” he said.
He said the Instrument of Accession of the state with India is ‘conditional and temporary.’
“Even the leaders of India have admitted this in presence of lakhs of people and have pledged that forces will be withdrawn from the state and the people will be given the right to express their opinion on their political future,” Geelani added.
Speaking on the occasion, High Court Bar Association president, Z A Qureshi, said that Jaleel Andrabi killing was a human rights violation as was in case of other boys who were ‘killed by the forces.’
Referring to Police Bill, he said it aims to perpetuate human rights violations in the state.
Former High Court Bar Association president, Mian Abdul Qayoom, said, “We should challenge wisdom of the government on the proposed Police Bill.”
Qayoom said the Bill was to be tailored in keeping with the directions of Supreme Court in Prakash Singh vs Union of India judgment, in which instructions were given to central and state governments to comply with a set of seven directives for police reform.
“But the directions have been violated by Jammu and Kashmir Government while framing the Bill,” he said, adding the Bill is “nothing but a mockery and is aiming to empower the police to inflict more tribulations on Kashmiris.”
Senior High Court lawyer Z A Shah said the Bill should be rejected out rightly. “The Bill is outcome of a political decision and has been given to us for suggestions. Law does not precede political decision. If government wants to frame a law, it is a political decision and we should not give our wisdom to the government to make the law better. If we give suggestions on the Bill, then we become part of the governance,” he suggested.
Shah said there is no compatibility between governance and Kashmir conflict. “It is necessary to think whether we should be within the system or outside it,” he added.
Prof Hameeda Nayeem in her address said though the aim of the Bill was to make police more humane, but the Bill proposes to “militarize and colonize Kashmir.”
“All the visible freedoms that we have, apart from the main freedom, will be snatched from us. The Bill will give a legal sanction to police for their wrong actions,” she cautioned.
Columnist Abdul Majeed Zargar said the Bill aims to perpetuate ‘occupation of the state.’ “We should go through the Bill thoroughly and find out how we can react to it,” he said.
Neelofar Masood, General Secretary Bar Association Baramulla, read out various sections of the proposed Bill aiming at empowering the police. She said the Bill would snatch the powers of civil administration.
Muslim Khawateen Markaz chairperson, Zamrooda Habib, said Jaleel Andrabi laid his life for the dignity of human rights and will be always remembered for this.
Former Bar General Secretary, G N Shaheen, said Jaleel Andrabi died for a cause and Kashmiris should live for that cause. He said, “We should try to neutralize India on various fronts. Therefore issue based politics should be given space in the socio-political spectrum. We cannot maintain criminal silence on Police Bill as it is a replacement of AFSPA as the Act is likely to go.”
Lawyer and brother of Jaleel Andrabi, Arshad Andrabi in his speech said, “We should hail Amnesty International Canada Chapter for identifying Major Avtar Singh in Canada.” He said after five years police informed them that Singh was in California. He said Ministry of Home and External Affairs Ministry had powers to get Singh extradited but they never did it.
Advocate Basher Sidiq said, “We should not maintain criminal silence on issues as it would not help us in exposing the government of its insidious designs.”
Ex Bar Secretary N A Ronga said by introducing the Police Bill, the government wants to justify its ‘illegal actions through police.’
He said the proposed Bill aims at empowering the police to such an extent that they would perpetuate any atrocity and go scot free. He said the DGP has been given sweeping powers in the Bill.