Angana Chatterji (HUM, '00) and Kashmir Tribunal at UK ParliamentOn June 16, 2010, the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered (IPTK) presented its findings to the United Kingdom Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir (APPG-K) at Westminster, London.
Twenty-two Members of Parliament (MPs) from the House of Commons and House of Lords, including new and senior MPs, and former ministers, attended the event, which was presided over by Lord Nazir Ahmed, Chairperson of APPG-K. Leaders of the Kashmir diaspora, academics, and human rights advocates were also present at the event.
Dr. Angana Chatterji, Co-convener of IPTK, and Professor, Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, made the presentation to APPG-K. Dr. Chatterji spoke on behalf of herself and her colleague, Co-convener of IPTK, Advocate Parvez Imroz.
Dr. Chatterji spoke to the findings documented in BURIED EVIDENCE, a report on Unknown, Unmarked, and Mass Graves in Indian-administered Kashmir, released by IPTK in December 2009. She elaborated on the political, cultural, and economic conditions of life in hyper-militarized Kashmir, and issues of militarization, enforced disappearances, fake encounter killings, extrajudicial killings, torture, gendered and sexualized violence, and the impunity with which Indian military and paramilitary forces operate in Kashmir.
Dr. Chatterji spoke to violations of international humanitarian law and the use of force by the military and paramilitary, and stated the importance of international and independent investigations into the issue of fake encounters, disappearances, and unknown and mass graves. She addressed the need for holding the Indian state accountable, and asked that the United Kingdom reintroduce and pass the Early Day Motion #433, introduced in the House of Commons, United Kingdom Parliament, on December 10, 2009, based on IPTK’s report. She stated that the recommendations of international bodies on the issue of unknown, unmarked, and mass graves, such as those made by the European Parliament Resolution P6_TA(2008)0366 of July 2008, must be acted upon with due diligence, and that the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan, stationed in Jammu and Kashmir, be empowered and authorized to inquire into, and make recommendations on, the status of militarization in Indian-administered Kashmir, and such recommendations be implemented. She asked that international institutions, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, be permitted to assess the situation independently.
Dr. Chatterji stated that while cross-Line of Control (between India and Pakistan) movements, infiltrations, and insurgency into Indian-administered Kashmir are real and significant issues, the Indian state exaggerates these realities in order to create national and international sanction to escalate militarization, by linking “foreign terror” to local Kashmiri civilians, in a context where large sections of civil society are discontent with Indian rule.
Dr. Chatterji stated that, while there is international acknowledgement of atrocities in Indian-administered Kashmir, no serious actions to halt these have ensued, and emphasised that the resolution of the Kashmir issue is directly significant to securing the suspension of hostilities in the Af-Pak border zone.