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Govt. prevented our news conference: Kashmir rights group

Srinagar, April 28, 2007 (Kashmir Newz Desk) :

A rights group in Indian administered Kashmir has accused the government of using “suppression tactics” and said that they were debarred from holding a press briefing in a local hotel.

The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, Kashmir claimed the government had barred the hotel owners from letting the group hold any programs or press conferences.

The APDP members, who planned to hold a news conference in a local hotel here today, later marched to the press enclave after they were “denied a room by the local hoteliers”.

“We approached a few hotels for our press conference today, but they told us that they had been prohibited by the police for letting us hold any program,” a spokesman of the APDP told reporters at the press enclave.

Earlier on Thursday police arrested close aides of hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, from the Ahdoos Hotel in Srinagar, moments before they were to address a news conference.

The arrested who include Muslim League chairman Masrat Alam and chairman of one of the factions of Muslim Conference Ghulam Nabi Sumji along with other separatist leaders Mohammad Shafi Lone, Mohammad Yasin Attai, Raja Mehrajuddin and Mohammad Salim Zargar were charged with sedition for raising anti-state slogans in a public rally on Sunday near the martyr’s graveyard at Eidgah in Srinagar.

The APDP also appealed the international groups working on enforced disappearances to pressurize the government of India for transparency “and for giving access to them to probe into the disappeared” in Jammu and Kashmir.

APDP claims that up to 10000 people have been subjected to enforced disappearances in Indian administered Kashmir by state forces since 1989.

“Since 1998, the demand of the APDP for appointing a commission under the Commission of Enquiry Act 1962, to probe all the enforced disappearances, between 8000-1000, in Jammu and Kashmir, has not been accepted by the state government,” an APDP spokesman said.

The APDP added the state was “reluctant” to probe into the disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir, where the number of enforced disappearances “is higher than the combined figures of disappearances in five Asian countries, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, China and Nepal. “

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