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Kashmir : Police beating and ongoing harassment of human rights defender Advocate Babar Qadri
Front Line is deeply concerned by reports of the police beating human rights lawyer, Advocate Babar Qadri, on 31 January 2009, as well as ongoing harassment and intimidation by the police.
Babar Qadri is a lawyer and campaigns against human rights violations in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. He was a member of the Kashmir Thinker's Guild (KTG), has volunteered with the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), and was an active student activist at Kashmir University where he was engaged in promoting human rights advocacy, holding seminars and non-violent protests and awareness raising campaigns.
On 31 January 2009, Babar Qadri was beaten by police following an incident at the Kashmir University campus. Babar Qadri was at the campus to make arrangements for his fiancée's enrollment in the Bio-Technology Department. Upon finishing at the Registrar's office he was about to leave the campus when a police vehicle hit the back portion of his motorcycle. Babar Qadri was knocked off the vehicle and sustained multiple injuries to his legs, arms and back.
When he enquired as to why the police had driven into him, 4 police officials reportedly began to beat him. Following the beating Babar Qadri went with the police officials to the office of the Vice Chancellor of the University, where they reportedly beat him again, in the presence of the Deputy Superintendent of Police. Before releasing him, the officials warned Babar Qadri against telling anyone of the incident or there would be “dire consequences”. They also confiscated Rs. 10,000 which Babar Qadri was carrying as a deposit for the fee for his fiancée's University enrollment.
Babar Qadri filed an application for an investigation into the attack before the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Srinagar.
Front Line believes that the police attack on Babar Qadri is related to his peaceful and legitimate activities in defence of human rights in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Between September 2008 and January 2009 intelligence agencies have reportedly been questioning several lawyer colleagues of Babar Qadri's in relation to his work. Intelligence agents have also questioned members of JKCCS on a number of occasions as to whether Babar Qadri is working with them.