Justice delayed, justice denied

The government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party stripped the Kashmir region of its relative constitutional autonomy on August 5, 2019. Police have detained more than 3,000 people and arrested over 300.

Those arrested include senior lawyers, making people’s legal fights difficult.

Forty days later, courts are vacant, post offices still shut in Kashmir. Habeas corpus petition are piling up but hearings are being postponed and court orders have dwindled.

Empty streets and locked post office in Safapora in Ganderbal district on Friday 12 45 pm on Sep 13.jpg

Among the first individuals the government arrested was the High Court Bar Association of Kashmir president Mian Abdul Qayoom who is now being held in a prison in Agra in Uttar Pradesh, and the bar association’s former president advocate Nazir Runga.

Srinagar bench of High Court building was deserted on Sep 11 Wednesday at 3 pm
Srinagar bench of High Court building was deserted on Sep 11 Wednesday at 3 pm.jpg

High Court Bar Association protest strike notice against arrests of bar association presidents in Srinagar and in Anantnag and Baramulla districts
In Srinagar, the 1050-member high court bar association has issued multiple notices of a strike to oppose their colleagues’ arrests, while designating seven lawyers to petition the court with liberty or habeas corpus requests to help the families of the thousands who have been detained.
Security forces have erected a defensive military fortification at one edge outside the court walls and bulletproof vehicles keep watch near the entrance. Long concertina wires has been laid even on the road around its corners, preventing anyone from accessing even the sidewalk around the court premises. On Wednesday as well as Thursday last week, the ground floor of high court building wore a deserted look and its corridors were empty even in the middle of the afternoon.

The functioning of the court is also hampered as the post office which usually issue legal notices to the parties in a case are non functional and barely open for an hour a day. On Friday, the General Post Office, the largest post office near Srinagar’s Sher-e-Kashmir park had closed at 3 pm. Similarly, post offices in Shopian main market, in Safapora in Ganderbal and in Pulwama were closed when Scroll.in visited them on September 12, 13, and 14.

Security fortifications along the High Court in SrinagarSrinagar GPO locked at 3pm on Sep 13 friday

Shopian post office closed at 1 pm on saturday

For more details, read news reports published here and here.