2305 Persons Missing In JK: Government

2305 Persons Missing In JK: Government

8 October 2012
Greater Kashmir
Muddasir Ali

Srinagar: The State Government on Monday said 2305 persons were missing in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989 when the turmoil broke out in the state. In response to a question by the legislator MY Tarigami seeking information about the disappeared persons, the government informed the Legislative Assembly that as per the information provided by the District Development Commissioners, 2305 persons have been declared missing. “182 cases have been registered while missing reports-complaints have been lodged in most of the cases,” said a written response by the Minister in-charge Home Department, in the House. The reply said that government has paid ex-gratia relief in 729 cases, 58 families have been given benefit of compassionate appointments and in 65 cases cash in lieu of government job was provided. “All out efforts are being made by the concerned agencies to trace out the missing persons,” the reply said. The latest figures given by the government about missing persons are in contradiction to its previous stand. In 2003 the then Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Abdul Rehman Veeri had told the Assembly that around 3,744 people were missing in J&K. A year before a similar report presented in the state assembly had found that 3,184 people were registered missing between January 1990 and June 2002. Human rights organizations are claiming that around 8000 people have disappeared in Jammu and Kashmir over the past 20 years. ”Around 8000-10000 people have disappeared and at least 70,000 people have been killed in past 20 years,” said human rights activist Khuram Parvez. The families of disappeared persons have formed an organization, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), seeking from the government whereabouts of their missing family members. In August this year more than 500 families of missing persons filed cases before the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) seeking that DNA tests should be conducted on the bodies buried in thousands of unmarked graves found in north Kashmir. The development followed as the government refused to exhume the bodies and carry out DNA profiling to ascertain the identity of the persons buried in these unmarked graves. An investigation team of SHRC, after a three-year probe, found more than 2000 unmarked graves in north Kashmir last year. Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah had supported the call for Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the DNA profiling of the bodies in the unmarked graves. However, a report submitted by the government on the DNA profiling issue later put onus on victim’s families to identify the graves of their missing relatives and only then government would exhume the bodies and carry out DNA tests and profiling. “The constitution of Truth and Reconciliation Commission would require wider consultation and a broad consensus among all the stake-holders,” the government reply said. In response to another question, the government said rehabilitation of the families of the missing persons in the state was deliberated upon in the meeting of the State Rehabilitation Council held under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in August this year. “The meeting decided that a fresh exercise should be undertaken for establishment of the exact number of missing persons, half-widows and their children before taking a decision on their rehabilitation,” the government reply said.