Srinagar, Survivors for Truth and Justice, a collective of victim families of human rights violations in Kashmir, on Wednesday wrote an open letter to the Pakistani Nobel Laureate Malala Yousufzai after the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted saying that he asked Malala for a selfie during an event in St. Antony’s College in Oxford University.
The contents of the letter are produced below, verbatim.
Dear Malala Yousufzai,
We are the parents of children killed during a people’s uprising in Jammu and Kashmir in 2010. Through news reports we got to know that you met Mr. Omar Abdullah in an event at St. Antony’s College in Oxford. Mr Abdullah in one of his tweets mentioned that he asked you to click a photograph with him. We were deeply saddened to hear this. You might not be aware of the role this individual has played, so we would like to take this opportunity to inform you about it. Mr. Abdullah was the chief minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir from 5 January 2009 to 8 January 2015. He was the head of Unified Command and bears responsibility for the killings of innocent people like our children especially those which took place in the year 2010. During 2010 protests that lasted for about 3 months 120 civilians were killed, 2500 civilians were injured including women and children, 38 people became permanently disabled and 4046 people were arrested including 137 people who were arrested under the draconian law Public Safety Act. It was during his regime that use of pellet guns on civilians was introduced.
Mr. Abdullah was the chief minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir from 5 January 2009 to 8 January 2015. He was the head of Unified Command and bears responsibility for the killings of innocent people like our children especially those which took place in the year 2010
It is during the same agitation that we lost our children. Wamiq was 12 years old when a tear gas shell directed towards his head by security forces while he was playing a board game in RajouriKadal, Srinagar, killed him. Zahid was 16 years old when he was shot dead at point blank range by the state forces along the banks of the Dal Lake, Srinagar. Tufail was 17 years old when he was struck by a tear gas canister on his head near Gani Memorial Stadium, Srinagar, immediately resulting in his death. Omar was 17 years old when he was ruthlessly beaten and tortured by the state forces near his house at Soura, Srinagar, while he had gone outside to watch the protests on the street.The state has not punished a single perpetrator responsible for the killing of our children and other victims. It appointed different enquiries anda commission headed by Justice M.L.Koul to investigate into these killings. But they have failed to identify the perpetrators who have since got away with the crimes they committed. The perpetrators enjoyimpunity under Armed Forces (Special Powers) Actand the criminal courts have no jurisdiction over it. The victims have no remedy at all except other than to approach the civil society and conscientious citizens of the world.
We were deeply moved by your words last year when you said that the Kashmiri people, like people everywhere, deserve their fundamental human rights and they should live free from fear and repression. You called on United Nations, the international community, India and Pakistan to work together with utmost urgency to right these wrongs, providing the people of Kashmir with the dignity, respect and freedom they deserve. The people of Kashmir appreciated your sincere concern. People across the world see you as the voice for the rights of children. You must very well understand the pain and struggle of people who stand up against oppression and demand justice.We hope that you will continue to stand up for children across the world including those whose voices have forever been silenced. We hope that through this letter you take note of our concern in future.
Survivors of Truth and Justice
- Mr. Ashraf Mattoo, father of Tufail Mattoo.
- Mr. Farooq Ahmed Wani, father of Wamiq Farooq.
- Mr. Abdul Qayoom, father of Umar Qayoom.
- Mr. Sheikh Farooq, father of Zahid Farooq.