Justice delayed, justice denied

40 days later, courts vacant, post offices still shut in Kashmir.

As the government unilaterally removed Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status on August 5, among the first people it 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

Empty streets and locked post office in Safapora in Ganderbal district on Friday 12 45 pm on Sep 13.jpg
Shopian post office closed at 1 pm on saturday

For more details read news report to be published in Scroll.in.

Away from home

MVI 1856 from Anumeha Yadav on Vimeo.

Families from Chattisgarh and UP say they have been working in bonded debt in kilns in Sundarbani in Jammu and on outskirts of Srinagar since 15 to 20 years. They work in kilns in Jammu for 7-8 months and then are bought by kiln owners in Srinagar for the rest of the year when work closes in Jammu kilns. Naveen Kumar who is working in a kiln at Bhakar near Sundarbani is worked in the kilns in JK many years in is bonded debt of over Rs 1 lakh.

My previous reports on forced labour in Rajasthan, here and here.