Geneva : Speakers at seminar while castigating India for using the judiciary as a tool to stifle dissenting voices in illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir have said that denying fair trial to Kashmiri prisoners raises a big question mark over the Indian judiciary’s impartiality.
The event was hosted on the side-lines of the 54th session of the UNHRC by the World Muslim Congress and was co-sponsored by the Universal Human Rights Council.
World Muslim Congress permanent representative to United Nations Geneva Altaf Wani presided and moderated the event. The panellists include: Barrister Abdul Majeed Tramboo, Tazeen Hassan, note US rights defender Marry Scully, Syed Faiz Naqashbandi, Altaf Hussain Wani, Advocate Parvez Shah and Member of Sri Lanka parliament Wasantha Yapa Bandara.
Speakers while referring to Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, said, “As per the UDHR, every prisoner is entitled to an impartial and public hearing when his or her rights are at stake”. They said that the right to fair trial, an internationally recognized human right, was also an indispensable pillar of justice and democracy.
Highlighting the woeful plight of the Kashmiri prisoners who have been languishing in different jails, they pointed out that fair trial, which happens to be the basic right of every detainee, was denied to Kashmiri political activists, human rights defenders and civil society activists.
They said the Indian government booked the top tier of the Hurriyat leadership and left them to rot in jails. They said tat the Kashmiri prisoners were not given enough opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law.
The judges delivering hastily judgements, they said were behaving more like prosecuting or police officers. “Judges cannot act as advocates for one side or another”, they said, adding that in case of the Kashmiri prisoners the judges of the Indian Courts have failed to maintain the degree of neutrality required to deliver justice.
Citing the reopening of decades-old cases against the Kashmiri leaders, they said, “It is quite clear that the heavily politicized Indian courts have become pliant toward the current government”.
The speakers, while urging the international community to take effective cognisance of the matter, said that it was high time that the global community should influence the Indian government to stop weaponising the judiciary against the Kashmiris.
The weaponization of the judicial system against Kashmiris by the Modi government, they said, has not only undermined the independence of the Indian judiciary but also cast a dark shadow over its entire justice system.