By Muslim Mirror Staff
Conflict has entered the eighth decade in Kashmir. Thousands have been killed. Many more thousands injured and there have been well documented cases of use of rape as a weapon of war by the security forces to thwart what can – at least now- be easily classified as a popular movement. But why are Indians silent on this genocide committed in the name of their’ national security’ and ‘sovereignty’?
Kashmir has been a disputed and divided territory with human rights abuses by Indian security forces well documented since 90’s.
Human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir are grave to say least. The allegations range from mass killings, forced disappearances, torture, rape and sexual abuse to political repression and suppression of freedom of speech. Many number of massacres have taken place in the region since 1990. The Indian Army, Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security personnel and various pro- government militia have been accused and held accountable for committing severe human rights abuses against Kashmiri civilians.
A WikiLeaks issue has also accused India of systemic human rights abuses, it stated that US diplomats possessed evidence of the apparent widespread use of torture by Indian police and security forces.
In September 1990 the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act was enacted in Jammu and Kashmir after passing in the Parliament of India to handle the rise in Kashmir Insurgency. Human rights group Amnesty claim that the special powers under (AFSPA) gives the security force immunity from alleged violations committedand condemn it.] United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has also many a time urged India to repeal AFSPA and to investigate the disappearances in Kashmir.
International NGO’s as well as the US state department have documented excesses such as disappearances, torture and arbitrary executions carried out during so called ‘counter terrorism’ operations.
Human rights watch has also accused the Indian security forces of using children as spies and messengers, India army have targeted reporters and human rights activists, they have also been accused of committing over 200 rapes in an attempt to intimidate the local population. Wikileaks cables are reported to contain material stating that the International Committee of the Red Cross briefed US officials in India, alleging that India “condoned” torture and that “sexual penetration” formed part of the maltreatment of victims.
The ICRC alleged that of the 1296 detainees interviewed, 681 had reported of being tortured. Of those, 304 individuals complained of sexual torture/abuse.
In 2005 Médecins Sans Frontières conducted a survey in Kashmir which found that the number of people who had witnessed a rape in Kashmir since 1989 was comparably far higher than the number of people who had witnessed a rape in other conflict zones such as Chechnya and Sri Lanka. The survey found that 13% of respondents had witnessed rape and 11.6% of the interviewees had themselves been victims of sexual abuse since 1989.
In October 2011, the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir apologised for the release of names, parentages and addresses of 1400 rape victims. However, no details were revealed as to whether the rapes were by security forces, militants or part of crime. Experts consider that these excesses in Kashmir do not have official sanction but are easy to commit because of the powers, to cordon and search villages and suburbs, that are vested to security forces by the law. The authorities use association with terrorists to discredit the testimony of the victims, in case the association is established.
The security forces have carried out extrajudicial killings, assaults and other human rights violations. An investigation by the Jammu and Kashmir state human rights commission has found 2730 bodies in unmarked graves at 38 sites in northern Kashmir. At least 574 of these were identified as being local people. But for how long will Indian masses remain silent towards the plight of Kashmiris?