27th May, 2018: There has been a large coverage of Kashmir by the Indian media, which has been primarily distorted and contra- factual. IAPL therefore, decided to hold the fact finding focusing on the conditions and experiences of lawyers and functioning of the legal system, in the background of the conflict situation.
A team of 15 lawyers, belonging from different regions of India, including Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana has come to Kashmir and conducted a fact finding from May 23 to May 27, 2018. During the course of fact finding, we visited and met Bar Associations of the Kashmir High Court, Baramulla, Handwara, Kupwara, Ganderbal, Budgam, Shopian, Islamabad (Anantnag), Pulwama, and Chairperson of SHRC. The team also interacted with local lawyers, activists, human rights defenders and victims of gross Human Rights violations in various districts.
The final report will be prepared and released soon. Some of the preliminary findings of the fact finding are the following:-
(I) Lawyers in Kashmir are working in very difficult circumstances while trying to bring some semblance of the Rule of Law. We were shocked to find that apart from facing threats, intimidation, illegal detentions and arrests, many have been subject to torture and killings, while discharging their professional responsibilities.
(II) The Lawyers are exhausting all local remedies available to them in fighting this uphill battle and face little or no success. This is partly due to the interference by executive, police, administration, and armed forces in independent functioning of the judiciary, and also partly due to deliberate non-compliance of judicial orders.
(III) The extra-ordinary laws in force in J&K give immunity to perpetrators leading to a culture of Impunity, resulting in the collapse of the justice delivery system to victims of Human Rights violations.
Indian Association of Peoples Lawyer (IAPL), part of International Association of Peoples Lawyer was formed in year 2004 to uphold Justice, Equality, Human Rights and to fight against all undemocratic laws and procedures, not only in the courts but also through Fact-finding mission.