US report urges international probe into rights abuses in IOK

Washington, March 17, 2019 (PPI-OT):The annual US report on human rights while citing widespread human rights violations by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir has called for an international probe into the rights abuses in the territory.

Quoting from the UN report on human rights in Kashmir, the 2018 US State Department’s country report notes that an estimated up to 145 civilians were killed by Indian forces between July 2016 and March.

The report shows that during 2018, various domestic and international human rights organisations continued to express serious concern at the use of pellet guns by Indian forces for crowd control purposes in occupied Kashmir.

Official government figures show that 17 individuals died from pellet gun injuries between July 2016 and August 2017. Former puppet chief minister for occupied Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti told the legislative assembly that pellet guns injured 6,221 people in Kashmir between July 2016 and February 2017.

The report notes that the draconian Indian Public Safety Act (PSA), which applies only in Jammu and Kashmir, permits state authorities to detain persons without charge or judicial review for up to two years without visitation from family members.

The report also refers to a state government report, stating that more than 1,000 prisoners were detained under the PSA between March 2016 and August 2017. According to the Kashmir High Court Bar Association, political prisoners made up one-half of all state detainees.

India also enforces the black law, Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which authorises forces in Kashmir to use deadly force in the name of maintaining law and order and arrest any person on mere suspicion without informing the detainee of the grounds for arrest.

The US report notes that there’s “considerable public support for repeal of the AFSPA.” The NGO Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative noted in its 2016 report that, of 186 complaints of human rights violations reported against the armed forces in states under the AFSPA between 2012 and 2016, 49.5 percent were from Jammu and Kashmir.

The US report also notes that the state government in Kashmir reported 9,042 injured protesters and 51 persons killed between July 2016 and February 2017. The report called for the repeal of the AFSPA, and an international probe into the human rights situation in occupied Kashmir.

The US report notes that disappearances attributed to government forces and paramilitary forces occurred in areas of conflict during the year 2018. The association of Parents of Disappeared Persons submitted inquiries for 639 cases of disappearance in the occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The US report also refers to allegations that police failed to file required arrest reports for detained persons, resulting in hundreds of unresolved disappearances. Such reports also indicated that prison guards sometimes required bribes from families to confirm the detention of their relatives.

In February the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances informed the government about 16 newly reported cases of enforced disappearances that occurred between 1990 and 1999.

Police beatings of prisoners resulted in custodial deaths. On Aug 2, 2018, activist Talib Hussain was tortured in the custody of Samba police in Kashmir and suffered a fractured skull. Hussain was a witness in the gang rape and murder case of eight-year-old Asifa Bano.

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