In September 2011, Parveena Ahangar traveled to Dublin, Ireland, to a gathering of human rights defenders from around the world. She traveled alone; the Indian state limits passports issued to Kashmiris. Even the few issued are valid for only one year, while regular Indian passports are valid for five or ten years. In April 2011, she had been chosen as one of the six finalists for the Frontline Defenders award, which intends to “… honour the work of a human rights defender who, through non-violent work, is courageously making an outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of the human rights of others, often at great personal risk to themselves.” In Dublin a small and committed group, Indian, Pakistani and Irish, formed to support her through the three days spent in a country where she did not speak the language and did not know anyone. They came to regard those days spent with her as a rare privilege. Parveena’s gift of inspiring and communicating with people works across all barriers of language, religion, nationality and experience. Her words are simple, and the story she tells is one of universal grief, the mother mourning for her lost son. Her words also prefigure expert legal opinion on the state of lawlessness and impunity under which the Indian army operates in Kashmir.
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