“The raid exposes the State’s desperation to deter APDP from pursuing justice for hundreds of victims of human rights violations committed by State actors in Kashmir.”
SRINAGAR — Hours after sleuths from India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday raided homes and offices of NGOs and the Greater Kashmir newspaper, the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) denied allegations levelled against it and said the group had been targeted in the past, too, for its work bringing out human rights abuses in Kashmir.
APDP denounced the raid saying it had “no basis, and only exposes the State’s desperation to deter APDP from pursuing justice for hundreds of victims of human rights violations committed by State actors in Kashmir”.
During the raid at the APDP office, the sleuths seized material, including documents carrying details of victims, electronic devices and mobile phone of its founder Parveena Ahanger.
The organisation expressed serious concern over the potential “misuse of sensitive information, including names and addresses of victims present in documents seized from APDP and apprehension of reprisal against victims of human rights violations”.
For years, APDP has been involved in collecting the testimonies of the families of those subjected to enforced disappearances in Kashmir. Ahanger is recipient of the Rafto prize 2017, the prize given to human rights defenders in honour of their work. She was named by BBC as one among the 100 most influential women in the world in 2019.
The group submitted almost 40 testimonies of arbitrary detention and torture to the United Nations.
The statement issued by APDP following the raid explains the source of funding to the group while maintaining that it does not receive any foriegn funding.
“From 2009 to 2019, APDP received grant from the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, which were utilised for salaries of staff, and to provide for needs of victims’ families.” the statement said. “APDP neither receives foreign funding, nor engages in any illegal activities.”
The statement said that the group led by Ahanger remained resolute to carry on its work with victims of human rights abuses in Kashmir.