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Justice For All Condemns India’s Raid & Vandalism of Shabir Shah’s House Ahead of G20 Summit

Justice For All strongly condemns the brutal raid and egregious vandalism conducted by Indian army troops at the residence of Kashmiri politician and Prisoner of Conscience, Shabir Shah. This disturbing incident, which transpired on May 17th, 2023, shortly before the G20 working group meeting in Srinagar, flagrantly violates several fundamental principles enshrined in international human rights and humanitarian law.

The raid, as described in a series of tweets by Shah’s daughter Sehar Shabir Shah, involved regular Indian army troops and special black CAT Commandos scaling walls and forcibly entering the house through the kitchen garden. Sehar’s mother was escorted to the top floor by some of the troops, while the others proceeded to search the ground floor and other rooms. Shockingly, the troops vandalized the drawing room’s furnishings and callously scattered objects throughout the house.

These actions raise serious concerns regarding the violation of human rights and humanitarian norms. The raid on Shabir Shah’s residence, particularly in the presence of his family members, infringes upon the right to privacy, safety, and security guaranteed under Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Additionally, the wanton destruction of property constitutes a violation of the right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions as outlined in Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Furthermore, the prolonged arbitrary detention of Shabir Shah since 2017, along with the continued harassment faced by his family at the hands of Indian government authorities, represents a disregard for their fundamental rights and freedoms. These actions contravene the principles enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including the right to liberty and security of person (Article 9) and the right to a fair trial (Article 14).

Justice For All urgently calls upon the United Nations to launch a comprehensive and impartial investigation into this incident, ensuring that those responsible for the raid and vandalism are held accountable. It is imperative that immediate steps are taken to halt any further harassment or violation of the rights of Shabir Shah and his family. We strongly urge the Indian government to uphold its obligations under international law, including respect for human rights, justice, and the rule of law. All individuals, including political figures and their families, must be treated with dignity, respect, and fairness.

Please see this Tweet by his daughter

The Raid on Our Home Ahead of G20 in Kashmir: A Daughter's Account

Tazeen Hasan produced this personal narrative on behalf of Sehar Shah based on her one-to-one communication with Shah. Shah’s postings on Facebook and Twitter have also been used for details.

My name is Sehar Shabir Shah, and I am the daughter of the renowned “Prisoner of Conscience,” Shabir Ahmad Shah, who has endured a staggering 36 years of his life behind bars. Our lives have been marked by constant struggles and challenges, but nothing could have prepared us for the events that unfolded ahead of the G20 summit.

It was a seemingly ordinary day when chaos erupted. Troops, comprising the army, Special Forces, and black cat commandos, descended upon our peaceful abode around 6:00 p.m. Their presence was overwhelming, as armored vehicles blocked off the bypass and effectively isolated our entire neighborhood.

In the midst of it all, our helper sought solace in her room, completely unaware of the impending intrusion. The troops forcefully smashed down the gate of our kitchen garden, hopping over walls, and brazenly entering our home through that very same entrance.

At the time, my mother has engaged in the evening Asr prayer. The sound of the doorbell interrupted her devotions, but she was unable to immediately attend to it. With each passing minute, the clamor outside intensified. By the time she reached the gate, roughly 20 to 25 heavily armed men had already breached our house’s defenses. Scaling walls and jumping inside, they instilled fear with their imposing presence.

The troops began shouting at my mother as she cautiously opened the lobby door, demanding to know who else was present in the house. Despite her assurances that she was alone, they persisted, barking their questions and demanding more information. Eventually, they barged inside, their boots resounding against the floors, meticulously scouring every nook and cranny, leaving a trail of disorder in their wake.

My mother accompanied a few soldiers who ascended to the top level of our house, while the rest scoured the ground floor and other rooms. It was heart-wrenching to witness the destruction they wrought upon our once-serene drawing room. Furnishings were ruthlessly dismantled, and possessions were callously scattered, rendering the room unrecognizable.

The aftermath of their search left our rooms in utter disarray. Every wardrobe lay open, and belongings were carelessly strewn about. The sight of the chaos and devastation was deeply unsettling. My sense of disgust grew as I surveyed the wreckage that now plagued our home.

Before departing, the troops made their intentions clear. They intimidated my mother with threats of a return visit, leaving her shaken and unsettled. Fortunately, we had installed CCTV cameras throughout our residence, capturing every moment of this harrowing ordeal. Determined to document the full extent of their intrusion, I meticulously photographed the rooms and the mess they left behind.

The attached CCTV footage and images serve as a testament to the violation we endured on that fateful day. They bear witness to the destruction inflicted upon our home, forever etching this traumatic experience into our collective memory.

Through sharing our story, I hope to shed light on the immense challenges faced by families like ours, who bear the burden of political persecution. It is my fervent desire that justice prevails, that those responsible for the raid are held accountable, and that no other family must endure the same anguish that has befallen ours.

For 36 long years, my father has been unjustly held in arbitrary detention imposed by the Indian government, without ever facing conviction in a single case. Every passing day, my heart aches as I wait for the day when I can embrace my aging and gravely ill father once more.

The raid on our home, with its brutal intrusion and wanton destruction, only adds to the weight of my longing. It is a painful reminder of the injustice that has plagued our lives for far too long. As I pick up the shattered remnants of our belongings, I can’t help but feel the weight of uncertainty pressing upon me. How much longer must I endure this separation from my beloved father?

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