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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Fake encounters & nameless graves in unoccupied Kashmir

Despite the international concern, India continues its atrocities against the Kashmiris. The people of Kashmir are manipulated to engage in fake encounters with the Indian Army, and then they are buried in unmarked graves.

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According to the Hindustan Times (May 6, 2021), “Three terrorists were killed after an encounter broke out between security forces and terrorists in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir on May 5 Killing Innocent civilians, after dubbing them Pakistani militants”, is a known phenomenon in Indian-held Kashmir. The people killed in incommunicado in army custody are secretly buried in remote villages of Kashmir.

India’s reign of terror continues unabated during the peace month of Ramadhan and distress by the raging pandemic. India is unconcerned about oxygen cylinders and concentrators being sold at cowshed (gaoshalas), and wayside eateries. Viral videos show people mourning their dead outside hospitals for want of healthcare.

Read more: Shopian encounter: India’s continued terrorism in IIOJ&K

Not long ago, the Indian army killed three innocent Kashmiri porters in fake encounters and buried them incognito. Following public outcry, the army had to order an investigation into the incident.

Similar incidents abound

Several Indian and international human-rights organizations have documented the mysterious disappearance of the Kashmiri people. These organizations include Amnesty International, Human-rights Watch, besides the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC).

The last-mentioned body is sponsored and funded by the Indian government itself under India’s Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. Articles 32 and 33 of the Act make provisions for central and state governments’ grants to the commission. However, the Commission is debarred from inquiring into brutal acts of the armed forces.

Read more: Human Rights Watch highlights genocide of Muslims in India in HRW Report 2020

Notwithstanding jurisdictional fetters to its feet, the Commission has been very active in chasing violations of human rights not only by saffronized civilians but also by army and security forces.

The European Parliament has passed an “urgency resolution on mass graves in Kashmir” that strongly condemns, inter alia, the enforced disappearance and unlawful killing of Kashmiris.

Read more: Kashmiris are living a long nightmare of Indian colonialism

Kashmiris from all walks of life have been demanding the establishment of an international commission to look into `disappearances’ and mass graves. So far, the UNO has not fulfilled their demand.

However, two non-governmental organizations, are International Human Rights Association of American Minorities and the International Council for Human Rights, have held a convention on `disappearances’, `unmarked and mass graves in the context of international law’. The conference convention was held at the UN Palais des Nations in Geneva (Switzerland).

Read more: UN calls for probe into forced disappearances, mass graves in occupied Kashmir

The purpose of the convention was to draw the attention of the world to the plight of the bereaved families. Renowned academics, scholars, international lawyers, representatives of civil society, members of the police, as well as forensic archaeologists and forensic anthropologists, participated in the convention.

The participants resolved that the international community should take steps to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of so-called disappearances in Kashmir. They bitterly criticized the puppet government and their mentors at the center for their refusal to hold investigations, identify dead bodies and prosecute perpetrators.

Read more: Pakistan calls for independent probe as seven Kashmiris killed in a day

The plight of Kashmiris

The families of the disappeared persons have been struggling in vain to find clues about the whereabouts of their kith and kin. They staged demonstrations to draw the attention of the puppet government to their plight, but in vain.

Under the pressure of popular protests, some dead bodies were exhumed. The DNA tests confirmed that the “militants” were, in fact, innocent Kashmiris. Recently, the Association of Parents of the Disappeared Persons (APDP) has published a report to bring into limelight the plight of the bereaved families.

Read more: Pakistan condemns ‘extra-judicial killings’ of Kashmiris

The association’s report “Facts under Ground” pointed out that in the Varmul district area (Uri), alone; there were over 940 nameless graves. It points out that nameless graves are of thousands of people in Kashmir who were subjected to custodial disappearance during the past 18 years.

The Indian army claimed that those buried in unnamed graves were militants, who infiltrated Kashmir from across the border. But, the factual position, as reflected in DNA tests, was that they were local Kashmiris.

Read more: Indian troops kill Kashmiri man in front of 3 year old: Pakistan disgusted

Indian atrocities

India claims to be the world’s largest democracy. However, its `shiny’ face has been scarred by atrocities committed by its army and security forces against minorities. The “SOS from Indian Occupied Kashmir”, published by Hurriyat Conference, compiles data about Indian atrocities on the basis of well-investigated reports.

The SOS and other publications give a bird’s-eye view of Indian forces’ atrocities and during the period from January 1, 1989, to April 30, 2021, Indian forces have killed 95776 Kashmiris, including 7,169 killed in custody, and molested 1,240 women.

Read more: Ex Indian Army officer calls for rape of Kashmiri women

Understandably, the actual figures would have been much greater, if unreported cases would have been included in the data update.

Indian forces are carrying out massacres of innocent civilians in several other states which are in grip of insurgencies. Similar atrocities are being committed there. Fanatic Hindus kill members of minorities (Naxalites, Nagas, Christians, etc) hands in glove with armed forces.

Read more: India’s Naxalite Movement: how did it begin, and will it ever end?

The UNO and the civilized West have turned a deaf ear to the Kashmiris’ demand for an international probe into the nameless-graves issue in Kashmir. Even the USA is listless to the issue.

India is currently hobnobbing with the USA in the field of civil nuclear cooperation. It is sure that, in the unipolar world, the world community will not turn its attention to its gory tactics for repressing minorities in various Indian states. Efforts by human-rights organizations to wake up UN conscience have not been fruitful.

Read more: US and India sign BECA, putting Pakistan in a vulnerable position

It is high time the Kashmiris demand for a fair inquiry into fate of missing persons, and associated issues of fake encounters and custodial killing is accepted by the UNO. Unless the demand is met, the golden words in the Charter of Human Rights will continue to caricature humanity.

Without international intervention, there is no possibility that the Indian army and security forces will stop their reign of terror against minorities, including Kashmiris.

Mr. Amjed Jaaved has been contributing free lance for over fifty years. His articles stand published in dailies at home (The News, Nation, etc)and abroad (Nepal. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, et. al.). He is author of eight e-books including Terrorism, Jihad, Nukes and other Issues in Focus. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.