Evidences of the Indian Army Case

Case No. 52-2019: Indian Army & security forces

 

CHARGES

  • Crimes against Humanity
  • Genocide
  • Crimes against Peace
  • Ethnic Cleansing
  • Violations of the Rights of Women
  • Violation of Constitutional Law
  • Violation of International Human Rights Law
  • Violation of International Humanitarian Law
  • State Terrorism
  • Crimes against Democracy
  • Violation of Buddhist Law
  • Crimes against Buddhist Nation

 

LIST OF EVIDENCE

  • Evidence 1: State Repression & Human Rights Violations
  • Evidence 2: Forced Displacement of Refugees
  • Evidence 3: Mass Murder and Extrajudicial executions
  • Evidence 4: Violations of the Rights of the Child
  • Evidence 5: Mass Rape
  • Evidence 6: Apartheid and Violations against Tribal Communities
  • Evidence 7: Torture and Cruel and Inhuman Treatment
  • Evidence 8: Kidnapping and Enforced Disappearance

 

Introduction to the Case

The “Indian Army Case” originates from the judgment made by the International Buddhist Ethics Committee against Major Deepak Rao, declaring him Responsible for Violation of International Buddhist Law, Violation of the Rights of Buddhist Peoples, Violation of Buddhist Ethical Precepts, Fraud, Militarism, Crimes against Peace, Violation of Cultural Heritage, High Treason against Dharma, Supreme Offense against the International Morality and the Sanctity of Life, Violation of Human Rights, Terrorism, False Zen, Advocacy of Violence and Unethical Leadership, Violations of Constitutional Law and Customary Law, Violation of Canon Law, Discrimination and Slander. Since Deepak Rao has the honorary rank of “Major” in the Indian Army, such institution was requested to annul that rank and intervene in order to face the crimes of this dangerous individual. The Indian Army was even asked to confirm whether or not this institution supports the terrible actions carried out by Deepak Rao and his paramilitary group against the International Buddhist Sangha. However, the Indian Army decided to ignore these requirements, answering that the Law of the Indian Territory should intervene. Thus, given the complicity of the Indian Army toward the crimes of Major Deepak Rao, it was decided to carry out the present investigation of the Case against the Indian Army for Human Rights Violations.

 

Evidence 1: State Repression & Human Rights Violations

Indian People’s Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights: “Under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, all people have the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Since the UAIL project was introduced, these rights no longer seem to apply in Kashipur. Police and company goondas are using violent and unjustified force to disrupt villagers who assemble in peaceful protest against the project or participate in acts of civil disobedience, stifling freedom of assembly and expression. Force is used even when police permission has been requested and granted in advance for the meeting or event. (…) On 16 December 2000, two armed police platoons attacked a peaceful anti-mining meeting in Maikanch village, located at the bottom of the Baphlimali Hills where the proposed mine is to be located. The police opened fire and began shooting at the crowd. Eight people were severely injured and three unarmed adivasi men were killed: Abhilasha Jhodia (25), Raghunath Jhodia (18), and Damodar Jhodia (43). (…) While arrests take place during clashes at protests and meetings, they are also occurring arbitrarily in market places, during village raids and even when people are simply walking on the roads. The APDR reported that no one could reach the weekly village markets for fear of being arrested and the PUCL report claims that the Officer in Charge at Tikiri police station openly admitted that the police set traps for people by confiscating valuable items from their homes, and then arresting them when they come to the station to claim them. (…) Unfortunately, the violence that is a hallmark of the struggle in Kashipur is not unique. State repression has been the hallmark of bauxite-mining projects in Orissa and this underscores a coordinated effort to ensure that bauxite-mining projects proceed as planned, with or without the consent of the local people. (…) What more proof is needed to convince anyone that bauxite mining in Orissa is synonymous with arrests, intimidation, and death for people living in project areas; rather than development? Findings: The influx of police and paramilitary forces to the area, village raids by armed forces, the violation of the right to peaceful assembly, and the widespread and arbitrary arrests indicate that there is large-scale repression of dissent in the area, involving disproportionate force, intimidation and harassment. The collusion of the Government of Orissa and UAIL in repressing the voices and desires of the local people explains the culture of impunity surrounding incidences of violence. (…) Reports indicate that arrests are continuing and there has been no progress in gaining the release of those in detention under false charges. In fact, two more people were arrested in the middle of the night soon after the Tribunal’s visit to the area. Ironically, these people remain behind bars not for committing a crime, but for trying to expose one.”[1]

 

Testimony of Bhagban Majhi: “On December 1, 2004, the government tried to set up a police thana and barracks on D. Karol road. This when Tikiri thana lies within a 10 km radius and Dongasil police post lies within 5 km. What’s the need for all this? We told them that we need hospitals and schools, not police posts. Instead our presence was declared illegal and we were warned that our women would be raped. Police again fired in the air. We were also lathicharged. Two women were severely injured and four men were arrested and taken away.”[2]

 

M Y Naqash, Senior Leader, All party Hurriyat Conference: “The right to self-determination is a basic human right enshrined in the UN charter. This independent people’s tribunal set here today is listening to the heinous crimes committed by Indians in uniform over Kashmir’s civil population. State sponsored terrorism is on its peak. People of Kashmir have been subjected to cruelty at the hands of Indian army for past two decades now, regardless of their age and gender. All this continues unabated and is the policy of the Indian establishment to unleash the reign of terror in Kashmir. In the guise of draconian laws like AFSPA, DAA, PSA, Indian establishment has given unaccountable power and authority to its security forces to detain, molest, and rape women. It is our humble submission to the Tribunal that Kashmiri people want their inherent right to be restored… We appeal to the jury members to mention it in the report that the Kashmiri people want freedom from the politico territorial occupation of India. And also I ask all the jury members sitting here in the panel to argue for repealing the draconian law.”[3]

 

Prof. Hameeda Nayeem, Professor of English, Department of English, University Of Kashmir: “Let me begin with the source of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. In the backdrop of the increasing dominance of the military nation state, the actual role of the military is not confined to that of external defence. On the contrary, the military is used as a means to neutralize domestic challenges to the state while the nature of these challenges is diverse and historically contingent, what is important to note is the negotiation of these challenges through military rather than institutional means-a trend that propels the military into an increasingly political role within the state. In a context characterized by the elimination of the distinction between war and human rights abuse (Kaldor 2001,08), the military function as an agent of the state not only not bound by the rules of war, the rule of law or by the Geneva convention, but in fact empowered to violate each with impunity Kashmir exemplifies the intersection between militarization for external defence and use of the military for domestic repression that has transformed the Indian state into a source of deep insecurity for the citizens – as instruments of the persistent violator of human rights and converted the Indian military into an illegitimate agent of repression. Both in turn seriously undermine the democratic credential of the state. In 1989-90 the slogan for azadi not only symbolized popular protest against the denial of democracy in Kashmir but also a growing desire for freedom from Indian rule over Kashmir, right over land and the restoration of dignity that the Kashmiris felt had been violated by the Indian State. As simmering resentment transformed into mass rebellion, Kashmir is stripped under the shadow of a virtual military rule – marking its descent into a ‘state’ of militarization from which it is yet to emerge. The State military processes are not separate from but embedded within Kashmir’s society. Militarisation in Kashmir, characterized by the use of the military as an agent of domestic repression and the dissolution of civil-military distinctions. Since 1990 Kashmir is subject to a range of legislative provisions –AFSPA, NSA, PSA, TADA. AFSPA violates the non-derogable provisions of international human rights law including the right to life, the right to be free from arbitrary deprivation of liberty, and from torture and cruel inhuman, and degrading punishment as enshrined in International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which India is signatory. The AFSPA also violates Art 21 of the Indian Constitution. PSA contravenes India’s own constitutional provisions, the Geneva convention and Art 9 & 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The extraordinary powers invested with the military in Kashmir are reinforced by an institutional context that restricts civil jurisdiction over military authority. The National Human Rights Commission or its local counterpart lacks power of scrutiny or jurisdiction over the military. The access of International Red Cross to detention centres in Kashmir is restricted. Repeated requests by UN Special Rapporteur and Amnesty International to visit Kashmir have met with official refusal.  Violence by the state parallels violence by members of militant groups who are guilty of kidnapping, killing and rape of women – both Hindus and Muslims.  “Brutal as militants’ violence can be, it cannot justify state violence. The essential focus is the political context of militant violence.” –  Patanjali Vardarajan  (…) Kashmir’s institutional context symbolizes the contradiction between the Indian State’s claim to democracy and legitimacy and its undemocratic and illegitimate violation of the rule of law. This contradiction is not a post 1989-90 feature, but a policy endorsed by successive regimes in New Delhi. As Kanabiran captures the contradiction, “Freedom of speech, assembly and association in the State can be suspended at anytime on ground of security”. No judicial review of such suspensions would be allowed – it is a state of judicial paralysis.  The impunity accorded to the military undermines the integrity of Kashmir’s judiciary and extinguishes hope for justice for large numbers. Kashmir’s courts remain spectators to a reign of repression. In 1993 there were 7000 habeas corpus petitions pending in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. (Vardarajan 1993-24) By the year 2001 in Kashmir there were 350000 civilians under detention in Kashmir (Oberio 2001, 196). Interrogation centres run by military and Para military forces remain beyond judicial scrutiny, be it for those who are in the custody irrespective of being detained legally or illegally or for those who have disappeared in army custody and whose whereabouts are unknown till date. But I have great hope that this report will create an opening in the mindset of Indians and help restoring civilian and democratic powers that have been denied to the Kashmiri people. Not the state, but the Indian people who have to come together and put moral pressure on the government. Once you give Kashmiris what is due to them, you are not bowing down to Pakistani pressure, but you are accepting the inalienable rights of the Kashmiri people that have been upheld by the UN resolutions and by JN. If you listen to Kashmiris’ genuine aspirations… please make a distinction between your fight with Pakistan and what is due to Kashmiris.”[4]

 

Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir: “In Kashmir, there is one soldier for every twenty people. There are 5,00,000 armed troops, 3,00,000 army men, 70,000 Rashtriya Rifle soldiers, 1,30,000 central police forces as against the total population of 1 crore. In the past 20 years, a generation of Kashmiris has grown with soldiers at every street corner “often even in their living rooms” (Sunday Times of India, 13th June, 2010). The grievance of the people is that instead of confining the role of the military and security forces to that of external defence and as against militants, it is regularly and continuously used for domestic repression; (…) This excessive militarization has resulted in wiping out all space for the exercise of democratic rights by the people, the result being terrorization of the people at large. This has resulted in ruthless action on all dissent, and at the same time the military indulges in acts of violence against people with impunity.  We are of the view that all these acts of violence against innocent people are violations under the Geneva Convention, 1949, to which India is a party. The provisions of the Common Art.3 of the Four Conventions dealing with “armed conflicts not of an international character” occurring within a State require the parties to treat humanely all persons taking no part, or not being able to take active part in the hostilities….; and further the parties are prohibited from indulging in violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, and cruel treatment and torture.  There is a further Protocol II of June 1977 for Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts which further reiterates that all persons who do not take any direct part in hostilities are “entitled to respect for their person, honour and convictions and religious practices.” They shall “in all circumstances” be treated humanely without any adverse distinction. Art.13 says: “The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from military operations.” To give effect to this protection, the Protocol says: “The Civilian population as such as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence, the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.” It is unfortunate that the State, which has sponsored these armed forces who have indulged in killings, loot, arson and rape of innocent victims, has not kept these provisions of the Convention in mind. (…) Militarisation is invariably accompanied by Draconian laws.  Together they have such a cascading effect that all human rights and democratic rights get washed away. This is what happened in Manipur, Assam, Kashmir and other places.  In Manipur, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, has been in force for five decades. It was first enacted to contain Naga dissidence. It was introduced in Assam in 1980 and in Kashmir in 1987. Section 4 of the Act states that armed forces officers have only to form an “opinion” to consider what may be necessary, and then on the basis of such “opinion” they “can fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing death against any person” and they can “arrest, without warrant any person” and “enter and search without warrant any premises” at any time, and use force to achieve this objective. S.6 of the Act gives them full protection against any prosecution or legal proceedings in respect of anything done or “purported to be done” in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act. The result is that in all these States, and of course, in Kashmir, arbitrary arrests, detention, torture and custodial deaths, rape and midnight raids into homes and disappearances have become routine.  The other Act which is resorted to silence all protest and dissent is the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978. This law is especially draconian in nature, falling far short of meeting international human rights standards, and has become notorious for its rampant misuse at the hands of the armed forces. Under this Act, the maximum period of detention is two years, without trial, for “persons acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State.” What would constitute such an action is again left to the better judgement of the arresting agency or official, thereby giving sweeping powers to the security forces to arrest and detain at their pleasure.  Prisons in Jammu and Kashmir and beyond are full of detainees booked under the infamous PSA, with reports suggesting that even minors have been arrested and detained under this law on a number of occasions. Furthermore, very often the PSA is slapped on a person again and again, at the end of successive periods of two years, thereby making the actual period of detention much longer. Farooq Ahmed Dar, one such detainee, had to spend sixteen years in prison before he was finally released in 2006. There have been various instances where political leaders and common people have been slapped with successive detention orders despite the fact that Courts keep on quashing them. This is done only with a purpose and intention not to release the detenue.”[5]

 

International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir: “The First Geneva Convention (GCI), Article 17, the Third Geneva Convention (GCIII), Article 120, and the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV), Article 130, adjudicate that parties with custody of those wounded, ill, interned, and/or prisoners of war that die must attend to the bodies, and where possible attend to them in accordance with “the rites of the religion to which they belonged.” GCIII, Article 121, mandates that “an official enquiry by the Detaining Power” be undertaken in instances where prisoners of war are injured, or killed,   or where the cause of death is unknown.  Within the purview of these conventions, the Indian state must be required to undertake an inquiry into the unknown graves. However, while India is a party to the Geneva Conventions, it is not a signatory to Hague II or Protocol I or II of the Geneva Conventions.  The formal wars between India and Pakistan must be held subject to established protocols, which are understood to be a part of the customary law of nations. However, in the continuing conflict, the Indian military and paramilitary forces have not established transparent protocols relating to jurisdiction and criminal liability in Kashmir regarding prisoners of war, enemy prisoners of war, or combatants, insurgents, and guerrillas that are held in prolonged custody or killed. (…)India’s security forces have occupied 10,54,721 kanals of land in Indian-held Jammu and Kashmir.  On this land, 671 security camps have been established in Kashmir. The structure and placement of the camps enforce contact between women, children, and security forces and create contexts in which gendered violence is regularized.  The widespread use of torture in detention camps and interrogation centres, in particular against men and male youth, has impacted 60,000+. As many as 1,00,000 have been orphaned. (…)Mental health professionals note that incalculable numbers have experienced gendered and sexualized violence, including the use of rape as a means of torture. Gendered violence has been utilized to shame and punish the culture. Male youth and men refusing to participate in the sexual servitude of women have been sodomized and men have been forced to witness rapes of women and girl family members. Women whose male partners are missing, “halfwidows” and widows have been victimized. “Half-widows” do not qualify for state support, such as pensions offered to “widows,” while they are marginalized from securing property rights under prevalent structures of property ownership customary in heteronormative contexts in South Asia, including in dominant interpretations of Islamic law. (…) Extensive surveillance and the practice of illegal and long detentions by the legal system remain regularized. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced, including approximately 2,50,000 Kashmiri Pandits of Hindu descent. International organizations and institutions, that are allowed access to other places, are not permitted to visit Kashmir. The denial of passports to human rights defenders and journalists continues to sustain disconnection and isolation. (…) Forms of militarized domination in Kashmir are infused with gender and racialized dynamics, wherein Muslims are portrayed as “violent,” “anti-national,” and “enemy.” These discourses present the conflict as significantly a religious one, in stark contrast with Kashmir civil society. Predominantly, among Kashmiris, identity and culture is viewed as syncretic and inclusive of diverse faith traditions. (…)The Indian state permitted Hindu nationalists to riot in Jammu while perpetrating armed violence on unarmed protesters in Kashmir. Reminiscent of the early 1990s, curfews, accompanied by shoot-at-sight orders, were imposed in Kashmir, resulting in 60 deaths, as 2,000 civilians were injured (approximately 600 injured by bullets).  Doctors, ambulances, hospitals, and journalists were targeted by India’s security forces. (…)Working on the issue of unmarked, unnamed, and mass graves in a continuing conflict zone poses specific methodological challenges, and issues in security. In June 2008, IPTK undertook investigations in Kupwara and Baramulla. In July 2008, the European Parliament passed a resolution on the graves issue in Kashmir, and the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights convened a special hearing on the graves issue in Kashmir at which IPTK Conveners Angana Chatterji and Parvez Imroz testified. During this process, IPTK Conveners Angana Chatterji, Parvez Imroz, and Zahir-Ud-Din were targeted, and IPTK Liaison Khurram Parvez was extensively monitored.  On June 20, 2008, Chatterji and Imroz were detained by state forces while undertaking investigations in Kupwara district.  On June 30, 2008, Imroz and his family were targeted, reportedly by security personnel, and a grenade hurled at their home.”[6]

 

ACHR: “NHRC’s failure to address torture:  The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) established under the Human Rights Protection Act of 1993 has been mandated to address human rights violations including torture.  (…) NHRC’s overall record is mixed. With regard to the eradication of torture ACHR has identified a number of very serious failings on the part of the NHRC. The first concern is what appears to be an institutional preference for the award of interim monetary relief despite powers to seek prosecution of the perpetrators of torture. ACHR will examine this preference in terms of international standards.  The second concern is perhaps more serious and relates to the NHRC dismissing cases of torture where a prima facie case exists; and in dismissing the case the NHRC has chosen to deny the complainants’ access to key evidence as well as denying the complainant a hearing. Under Section 13 of the Human Rights Protection Act, NHRC has the powers of a civil court for investigation purposes.  Hence, NHRC is equivalent to a tribunal and while adjudicating the cases, complainants have the statutory and constitutional right to receive a copy of all the documents made available to the NHRC. The complainant has the constitutional right to a hearing before the NHRC passes a final order. ACHR has documented numerous occasions where the NHRC has denied both rights.  ACHR has been forced to file applications under the Right to Information Act to access information on complaints it has submitted. The information subsequently provided to ACHR under the RTI Act by the NHRC raises very serious concerns as the state responses (previously denied to ACHR) to the NHRC confirm that torture took place. Given that the NHRC dismissed the case, it has in effect denied that torture took place, despite the evidence. (…) ACHR remains concerns over NHRC’s reliance on interim monetary relief and a failure to initiate prosecution (…) NHRC only awards compensation and has failed to recommend criminal prosecution even in prima facie cases of torture. ACHR’s analysis suggests that the NHRC appears to have restricted its role to that of awarding immediate monetary compensation to relatives of victims of human rights violations. (…) ACHR has examined a number of orders of the NHRC awarding compensation with regard to the deaths in police custody from 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2006.  And in a great many cases examined by ACHR once immediate relief is paid, NHRC closes the complaint with the observation: “Since ‘immediate relief’ has been granted to the next of kin of the deceased, no further action by the Commission is called for. The file is closed”. However the absence of recommendation for final compensation or indeed further prosecution is a notable concern. (…) ACHR’s analysis suggests that the NHRC appears to have restricted its role to that of awarding immediate monetary relief to relatives of victims of human rights violations.  ACHR acknowledges that compensation is a vital part of the provision of redress to victims of human rights violations and their relatives. However, based on international standards, adequate and effective reparation for victims should in ACHR’s view incorporate the following:  1. Restitution: steps should be taken to restore the victim to the situation they were in before the violation occurred, including restoration of their legal rights, social status, family life, place of residence, property and employment; 2. Compensation: steps should be taken to compensate for any economically assessable damage resulting from violations including physical or mental harm, emotional distress, lost educational opportunities, loss of earnings, legal and/or medical costs; 3. Rehabilitation: steps should be taken to ensure medical and psychological care if necessary as well as legal and social services; 4. Satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition: steps should be taken to ensure cessation of continuing violations, public disclosure of truth behind violations, official declaration of responsibility and/or apologies, public acknowledgement of violations, as well as judicial or administrative sanctions, and preventive measures including human rights training. (…) The components of redress are outlined in Article 2 of the ICCPR as well as several other international standards. ACHR has particular concern with regard to the fourth requirement. It appears that the NHRC has closed cases where torture has taken place, and in numerous cases where in the process of reaching these conclusions the NHRC has denied the complainants access to the documents as well as failing to hear their complaint. (…) Under Section 19 of the Human Rights Protection Act, NHRC cannot investigate human rights violations by the armed forces. It merely transfers the complaints to the concerned authorities for their comments and appropriate actions. However, the fact that NHRC does not provide equal time, equal opportunity and equal access to the [documents] to the complainants implies that NHRC fails to establish accountability. (…) The failure to bring to justice those responsible for abuses or to provide redress for the victims prolongs the ordeal of the relatives, who may continue to face harassment and further human rights violations. It sends a worrying message to victims of abuses and their families that undermines the confidence in the rule of law. It sends a message to perpetrators of human rights violations of an expectation of continued impunity. The cases cited in this report raise very serious questions that unless promptly addressed will damage the credibility of the organization and the perception of its independence.”[7]

 

 

 

International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM), Indian Council of South America (CISA), Indigenous Peoples and Nations Coalition (IPNC), International Council for Human Rights (ICHR), International Educational Development, Association of Humanitarian Lawyers, International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW): “There are a host of endemic problems with the ability of the Indian government to respect its human rights obligations. From systemic use of torture by the police to a lax approach to tackling the inherent discrimination that is part and parcel of the caste system the government of India is failing to fulfill its human rights obligations on many issues and has failed to undertake many of the recommendations that were the product of its first UPR.  For 65 years the Government of India has stationed a military presence in the state of Jammu & Kashmir steadfastly refusing to honor the repeated requests of the United Nations to offer a plebiscite to the inhabitants. In that time tens of thousands of civilians have lost their lives at the hands of the Indian forces stationed there. The deployment persistently ranks as the largest deployment of military and para-military personnel anywhere on earth numbering in excess of 500,000 personnel. Coupled with this there are a number of laws that are specifically used in Jammu & Kashmir that give, in the clearest of terms, near complete immunity from prosecution for acts contrary to human rights norms; the most serious of which include extra-judicial execution, torture, rape, arbitrary arrest and detention, disappearance, restriction of the press and freedom of speech, and the denial of the right of freedom of assembly.  Laws such as the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the Criminal Procedure Code, and the National Security Act serve to allow the forces stationed in J&K to carry out human rights violations at whim. The most telling consequence of the application of these laws may be the persistent discovery of mass graves throughout the state of Jammu & Kashmir; currently the number of bodies proven to be in mass graves in the state numbers almost 3000 but is likely to be much higher as only a small area has currently been investigated.   In the summer of 2010 over 120 people were killed throughout Jammu & Kashmir whilst protesting the presence of Indian troops. Many thousands were arrested with many of those being held under the draconian Public Safety Act. Along with these deaths came overt acts of torture and mistreatment of detainees, many of whom now require constant medical attention; attention that is unavailable. (…) The AFSPA [Armed Forces Special Powers Act], introduced in “disturbed areas” in 1958, but tailored to J&K [Jammu and Kashmir] in 1990, has bestowed sweeping powers upon the armed forces that operate in J&K and has allowed them to act with impunity while carrying out acts of torture and extra judicial execution. This in turn facilitates acts of enforced disappearance as evidence is hidden by disposing of the bodies. The act violates many of the non-derogatory principles of the International Human Rights law and norms; principally the right to life, the right to remedy, the right to be free from arbitrary deprivation of liberty and from torture and facilitates/represents cruel inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. All of these rights are enshrined in the ICCPR and other human right treaties. (…) Section 4 of AFSPA gives sweeping powers to the “armed forces” that facilitate gross human rights violations with impunity as reproduced below:  “Special powers of the armed forces”. Any commissioned officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer or any other person of equivalent rank in the armed forces may, in a disturbed area;   a) If he is of opinion that it is necessary so to do for the maintenance of public order, after giving such due warning as he may consider necessary, fire upon or otherwise sue force, even to the causing of death, against any person who is acting in contravention of any law or order for the time being in force in the disturbed area prohibiting the assembly of five or more persons or the carrying of weapons or of things capable of being used as weapons or of fire arms, ammunition or explosive substances;   b) If he is of opinion that it is necessary so to do, destroy any arms dump, prepared or fortified position or shelter from which armed attacks are made or are likely to be made or are attempted to be made, or any structure used as training camp for armed volunteers or utilized as a hide-out by armed gangs or absconds wanted for any offence;   c) Arrest, without warrant, any persons who has committed a cognizable offence or against whom a reasonable suspicion exists that he has committed or is about to commit a cognizable offence and may use such force as may be necessary to effect the arrest:   d) Enter and search, without warrant, any premises to make any such arrest as aforesaid or to recover any person believed to be wrongful restrained or confined or any property reasonably suspected to be stolen property or any arms, ammunition or explosive substances believed to be unlawful kept in such premises and may for that purpose use such force as may be necessary, and seize any such property, arm, ammunition or explosive substances;   e) Stop, search and seize any vehicle or vessel reasonably suspected to be carrying any person who is a proclaimed offender, or any persons who has committed a non-cognizable offence, or against whom a reasonable suspicion exits that he has committed or is about to commit a non-cognizable offence, or any person who is carrying any arms, ammunition or explosive substance believed to be unlawfully held by him, and may, for that purpose, use or seizure, as the case may be.   Contrary to ICCPR and UDHR, no person can take action against a member of the armed force that is suspected of having committed a crime, purported to be done under the act, without the express permission of the federal government. (…) Section 197 of the CPC has been used to block the trial in civilian courts of members of the armed forces alleged to be responsible for human rights abuses.   It states that: “No court shall take cognizance of any offence alleged to have been committed by any member of the Armed Forces of the Union while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duty, except with the previous sanction of the Central Government”.   Human Rights Watch obtained a copy of a standard letter that is issued by the Government of India in response to requests to launch a prosecution that states that “after due consideration of the facts and the circumstances of the case” the government has “decided not to grant sanction to prosecute” (…) The Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was aggressively used in the 1990’s and 2000’s giving the police force blanket authority to book mostly innocents on alleged terrorist activities leading to arbitrary detention, torture and execution.  Section 3 (5) of the Act criminalizes membership of a “terrorist gang or terrorist organization”. The section fails to define clearly what constitutes “membership” of a “terrorist gang” or a “terrorist organization”. It does not require evidence that the person accused of being a member has been involved in any offence. His guilt is only having membership which is not defined.  The provision violates the international standards regarding the requirement of certainty in criminal law.   Section 14 of the Act allows the investigating officer to require any person to furnish information to the investigating officer which he considers to be relevant for the purpose of this Act. Section 14 (1) states:   “Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, the officer investigating any offence under this Act with prior approval in writing of an officer not below the rank of a superintendent of Police, may require any officer or authority of the central government or a State Government or a local authority or a rank or a company or a firm or any other institution, establishment, organization or any individual to furnish information in their possession in relation to such offence, on points or matters, where the investigating officer has reason to believe that such information will be useful for, or relevant to the purpose of this Act.”   This section infringes the freedom of person and protection of journalists under law. Further this section does not exclude the lawyers explicitly from the obligation to disclose information obtained from their clients.   Section 23 (3) of the Act authorizes executive to determine the issues relating to jurisdiction of Special Courts. The judiciary has no jurisdiction over these issues. The Special Courts are not independent from the executive power. This provision is contrary with the right to a trial before a competent, impartial and independent tribunal, and Principle 3 of the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary which states: “The judiciary shall have jurisdiction over all issues of a judicial nature and shall have exclusive authority to decide whether an issue submitted for its decision is within its competence as defined by law.”   The Act provides for trial in camera. Section 30 (1) of the Act declares:   “Notwithstanding anything contained in the code, the proceedings under this Act may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, be held in camera if the Special Court desires.”   The trial procedures under the POTA violate International Standards of due process. This provision is in violation to International Standards and inconsistent to Article 14 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Person Under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (Section 36 Sub Section 1) and Article 10 and 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which entitles everyone to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal by law.  Further, these require that all court hearings and judgments, including criminal proceedings be public. This practice has substantially increased the fake trials and arbitrary arrests and imprisonment of the Kashmiri people.   Section 30 (2) of the Act allows to keep the identity and address of any witness in secret. The permission to keep the identity and address of any witness secret has resulted in fake trials and has been frequently used for imprisonment of the people for years together. This provision deprives the accused of the right his or her defense, to obtain the necessary information to challenge the reliability and to undertake cross- examination. The provision is illegal, volatile to International Standards and is directly contrary to Article 14(3) of International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights which declares: “To examine or have examined the witness against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witness…”   The Act under Section 32 (1) allows the confession made to a Public Officer to be admissible in the trial. This provision increases the use of torture. Confession in Police custody in India is widely extracted through torture.  Under the Indian Evidence Act, a confession in front of a police officer is no confession.  This provision of POTA is also inconsistent with Article (14 (3) of the International Covenant and Civil Political Rights which requires everyone shall be entitled to the guarantee of not being compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt.  Section 48 (7) reverses the presumption of innocence. It is now on the shoulders of the accused to prove that he is innocent. This is in violation to Article 14 (2) 206 ICCPR and Article 11 of UDHR and Principle 36 of The Body of Principles for the Protection of All Person Under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.  The Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act 1978 (PSA) Amended 1987 & 1990 falls short of the recognized norms of justice, such as equality before law, the right of the accused of appearance before a Magistrate within 24 hours of arrest, fair trial in public, access to counsel, cross examination of witnesses, appeal against conviction, protection from being tried under retrospective application of law and many other such provisions. This Act refers specifically to the territory of Jammu & Kashmir and is not applicable outside of that territory; however there are other examples of tailored versions of the public safety acts that apply to other parts of India. For the purposes of this document only an abbreviated analysis of the PSA is applicable. This analysis aims to outline how those provisions, based on impunity and lack of a requirement of evidence or trial, allow Indian forces to more easily enact an enforced execution and shield the perpetrators from justice.  The PSA is an overly broad law that actively allows preventative detention for a period of up to two years for the exceptionally broad, “acting in a manner that is prejudicial to the security of the state or the maintenance of public order.” The PSA is therefore permitted to be used to detain people for all manner of acts as seen fit by the arresting officer or the magistrate in front of whom the papers are brought. There are numerous examples of arrests being made for what is essentially nothing more than the exercise of the right to free speech and right to assembly.  There is also an impunity clause in the PSA which states that:  “No suit, prosecution or any other legal proceeding shall lie against any person for anything done or intended to be done in good faith in pursuance of the provisions of this Act”.  Those who are arrested under the PSA can be held for two years without charge and there is considerable documentation where the judiciary openly states that the victim is being held in “preventative detention”. There are also a considerable number of cases in which those detained under the PSA, once released, are immediately re-arrested often on the same charge as it is deemed by the arresting authority that the judiciary was incorrect in the quashing of the original PSA order. However, those instances are outside the scope of this document and, as such, will not be examined in detail.  No accurate figures for those detained under the PSA are available as there are no records which are certainly kept. In 2005 some 443 habeas corpus petitions were lodged to challenge detentions for that year.  This figure is not representative of the total as family members and victims are frequently threatened and coerced into not fighting at all.  Under Section 8 of the Act, the Government has the power to detain any person with a view to prevent him from acting in a manner deemed “prejudicial to maintenance of public order” or “to the security of the State”. The period of detention is twelve months in the case of a person acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order and two years in the case of a person acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State. Under this Act, people are held in detention not on the grounds that they have committed any offence under law, but purely on the purported presumption that they may in future commit acts that are harmful to the maintenance of public order or to the security of the State.  The use of vague and ambiguous definitions in this Act is contrary to the principles of security of the person as said down in Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person) and Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Everyone has the right to liberty and security of the person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention…) This Act not only facilitates arbitrary arrest and detention but also encourages the torture in custody and extra judicial, summary and arbitrary executions, including force encounter.  Under sub section (1) of section 13 of the Act, when a person is detained in pursuance of the detention order, the authority making the detention order shall not later than five days communicate to him the grounds on which the order has been made. However, in January 1990, the Governor of the State Jammu & Kashmir amended the section 13, removing this particular requirement. Now under Section 13 (2) the duty to inform the detainee of the grounds for his detention does not “require the authority to disclose facts which it considers to be against the Public interest to disclose”.  The Provision is inconsistent with International Human Rights standards and the Article 9 (2) of International Covenant on civil and Political Rights which states: “Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest of the reason for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.”  The suspension of legal Safeguards relating to arrest and detention facilitates torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. ICCPR prohibits torture and Article 4 lays down that no derogation from this article may be made under any circumstances, not even in times of emergency.  Under the PSA, there is no provision for the victim to compensation for unlawful arrest or detention. This is inconsistent to Article 9 (5) of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which lays down: “Anyone who has been victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation”The National Security Act 1980 (NSA) permits administrative detention of any person for a period of one year. Under Section 8(2) of this Act, the authorities are empowered not to disclose the grounds of detention to the detainee. This provision is in direct contravention of Article 14 (3)(a) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)  …To be informed promptly and in detail in a language which he understands of the nature and cause of the charge against him. ”  In considering India’s second periodic report in 1988, the members of the UN Human Rights Committee were of the opinion that the National Security Act (NSA) derogated the rights guaranteed under the Article 9 of the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights which states, “1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrested or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty…”  India and the Convention Against Torture:  The practice of the police and the armed forces using torture as a means to extract confessions is widely accepted as commonplace throughout India and the surrounding disputed territories. There is ample evidence that there is a culture of denial or a refusal to accept that torture is both commonplace and accepted as a legitimate tool by those that use it. Current laws and legislation that are in place in India are contrary to international human rights norms, they promote and encourage the use of torture by the police, military and para-military forces, there is a lack of accountability for those who commit torture and the penalties, in the exceptionally rare instances that a perpetrator is prosecuted, are minimal.  It is telling that the government in India is yet to ratify the UN Convention Against Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (UNCAT) despite saying that this was a priority during its universal periodic review in 2008. The Indian government tacitly accepts that the problem of torture is so widespread that it is simply unable to ratify and follow the principles of the UNCAT. In an apparent attempt to make progress towards the signing of the UNCAT India has written a Prevention of Torture Bill which, as shown below, is deeply flawed and offers little hope that the judiciary will stop the use of torture in the near future.  The Indian National Human Rights Commission, despite questions over its impartiality and ability to function, has recorded some 16,836 custodial deaths in years from 1994 up until 2008. That amounts to over three custodial deaths per day across India. These figures apply only to deaths in policy custody as there is no mechanism for the recording of deaths in military custody; this is of particular relevance in the disputed territories.  The experience of IHRAAM, and the International Council for Human Rights, indicates that in the state of Jammu & Kashmir the number of custodial deaths in this time period is likely to be in the region of the 10,000. Therefore, in the experience of these organisations, the figure produced by the NHRC is woefully under represented despite its already high number. Worryingly the number of custodial deaths in India rose year on year from 2000 up until 2008 with the figures at 1,037 and 1,977 respectively.  Furthermore, the NHRC does not record, and has no power to act upon, instances where torture takes place but does not result in death. Our research shows that the number of incidences of torture in J&K is certainly in excess of 100,000 in the time period for which the NHRC has released statistics.  Furthermore it is the practice of the NHRC to only accept a complaint of custodial death from one source. In practice this results in the seemingly obscure custom of the police making the complaint upon themselves before the family of the victim is aware of the death. The family are then unable to pursue the case and predictably deaths are often noted suicide or similar.  It is the experience of this organisation that those who are tortured and released are later intimidated by the armed forces should they express a desire to seek redress. Furthermore, those families that have taken possession of a loved one that has died in custody are subject to the same fear and intimidation in order to prevent them lodging a case either internally or with the mechanism of the OHCHR.  UNCAT:  It is useful to highlight Article 2 of the UNCAT: Article 2  Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.  No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.  An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.  Prevention of Torture Bill.  The prevention of Torture Bill is seen within India as a stepping stone to the eventual ratification of the UNCAT. However, the bill, comprising less than 500 words, falls short of the provisions set out the UNCAT on several key issues and will fail to adequately reduce instances of torture across India. Most notably there is no mention of the likely sentences or punishment for those convicted of causing death by torture, in fact there is no mention of death by torture at all.  The bill does not address, at any point articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 12, 14 and 15 of UNCAT. Furthermore the penalties envisioned by the bill are often less than those that could potentially handed out by the very legislation that it seek to remedy such as the criminal procedure code. These contradictions will serve to increase the time taken to prosecute or resolve cases and will likely result in the continuation of the woefully inadequate conviction rate.  IHRAAM, and the International Council for Human Rights, concludes that current measures being undertaken by the Indian government will fail to adequately reduce instances of torture, and death from torture, in police or military custody. Furthermore, while the efforts of the NHRC and the potential introduction of the Prevention of Torture Bill may appear to show promise at first glance the reality is somewhat different. The year on year increase in recorded custodial deaths is a worrying trend, a trend that is unlikely to be reversed with the Prevention of Torture Bill. A more positive trend would be to repeal those laws that allow immunity for the armed forces and to modify existing complaint procedures for the police.  Furthermore, punishment for those who commit torture should be considerably increased and amendments should be made to those procedures that significantly reduce the likelihood of the guilty being held to account. Critically, if the Government of India is to progress towards the ratification of the UNCAT, sweeping modifications to legislation will be required in order to meet the obligations of the convention.  The Shopian Case:  On the 29th of May 2009 two sisters disappeared in the Shopian district of Kashmir. Less than 24 hours later their bodies were discovered within sight of a para-military outpost just a few kilometers from where they were last seen. As the evidence stacked up against the Indian forces stationed in the area a it is suspected that a mass coverup was undertaken by the Government of India to ensure that none of their forces could be found guilty. This involved intimidation of witnesses, falsification of evidence and the persistent release of mis-information in the hope that the populous would not place blame upon the Indian Government. The space afforded in this shadow report does not allow a detailed examination of the case but IHRAAM has previously submitted document A/HRC/15/NGO/7 which has a more detailed review of the case. It is telling that though the crime took place over two years ago a perpetrator has yet to be prosecuted for this crime. If, as is widely accepted, it was indeed members of the Indian para-military forces that carried out this act, then it is clear evidence that the Government of India is complicit in the rape and murder of two young women. Furthermore, their considered effort to cover up this act shows that they have no wish to seek justice. Cases such as this, which are numerous during the six decade long Kashmir conflict are clear evidence that the Government of India is failing to undertake its human rights commitments seriously.  Mass Graves:  In mid 2008 almost 1000 bodies were discovered in just two districts of Indian Administered Kashmir. This was closely followed by the European Parliament passing the Urgency Resolution on Mass Graves in Kashmir which called upon the government of India to sanction an impartial investigation into the graves with a view to discovering the identities of the victims. Until this date no such investigation has been carried out and the Government of India continues to state that the bodies are those of para-militaries. More recently around 2000 bodies were discovered in several more districts over 500 of which were proven to be local people who had disappeared over the previous two decades. IHRAAM calls upon the OHCHR to request more information relating to why the Government of India has failed to properly investigate these graves.  Disappearance:  India signed the International Convention for Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances in February 2007, but has failed to ratify the convention. The crime of Enforced Involuntary Disappearances not codified as a distinct offence in Indian penal laws. It is believed that a minimum of 8000 Kashmiris have disappeared to date though accurate figures are of course impossible to obtain at this time. On the 18th of August 2009 official figures released by the pro-India Jammu & Kashmir state assembly said 3,429 persons had disappeared between 1990 and July 2009, with only 110 persons missing after arrest by the security forces. The practice of torture extra-judicial killings, summary execution and enforced disappearance is reported by multiple member states of the United Nations in their own human rights reports as well as many reports submitted to the Human Rights Council. Disappearances are commonplace with many occurring with the last knows whereabouts of the victim being in the hands of Indian military or paramilitary forces. Numerous, continuous and frequent instances of torture are reported ranging from a beating in the street up to death by electrocution in custody. Arbitrary arrests are commonplace and seen by many as a daily risk in Indian Administered Kashmir. It is likely that acts such as arbitrary arrest and torture lead to the victim then disappearing. As highlighted above, it is believed that the bodies of several thousand of the disappeared are in mass graves dotted around Kashmir, only some of which have been discovered at this time.”[8]

 

Amnesty International: “Human rights violations have risen dramatically in Jammu and Kashmir since late 1989, the start of the campaign for secession or for the state to join Pakistan. Many thousands of Kashmiris are arbitrarily detained under special laws that lack vital legal safeguards and provide the security forces with sweeping powers to arrest and detain. They are held for months or years without charge or trial. Torture by the security forces is a daily routine and so brutal that hundreds have died in custody as a result. Scores of women claim that they have been raped.  Efforts by relatives to use legal avenues to obtain redress have been persistently frustrated: court orders to protect detainees are routinely flouted and the legal machinery in the state has broken down. A judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court said in October 1994 that the rule of law in the state had ceased to exist.  Hundreds of civilians, including women and children, have been extrajudicially executed.  Often these deliberate killings have been disguised by officials claiming they occurred in “encounters” or “cross-fire”. They continue to be regularly reported. Such killings and hundreds of deaths in custody — by far the highest in any Indian state — are facilitated by laws that provide the security forces with virtual immunity from prosecution. They also allow the security forces to shoot to kill. In December 1994 Amnesty International detailed 128 cases of “disappearance” in the state, very few of which have been clarified by the government, and the numbers continue to rise, as do reports of other, grave human rights violations. They have increased further since security forces’ operations intensified in mid-1992. The Kashmir Times reported in November 1994: “Reports of violations of human rights are pouring in from across the Valley [of Kashmir] and the authorities seem not [to be] responding to the reports”. In Amnesty International’s view, there is a consistent pattern of gross violations of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir. The situation has reached alarming proportions. (…) Three Indian security forces operate in Jammu and Kashmir: the army and the paramilitary Border Security Forces (BSF) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). Thousands of security force personnel are deployed in the state. Allegations of human rights violations have implicated all three forces, but most concern the BSF. The local police are suspected by officials of sympathizing with secessionist groups. (…) Torture: Torture in Jammu and Kashmir is of exceptional brutality and explains the appalling number of people who have died in custody of the security forces. In areas where the security forces are engaged in counter-insurgency operations, the entire civilian population is at risk. Torture includes beatings and electric shocks, hanging people upside down for many hours, crushing their legs with heavy rollers, and burning parts of their body. It has left people disabled for life: Amnesty International knows of several victims whose legs had to be amputated as a result of torture. This happened to Manzoor Ahmed Ganai, who died within weeks of having his legs amputated in February 1993. Soldiers had set light to his legs with paraffin and had suspended him upside down for around 24 hours. A doctor treating him in Srinagar’s Bone and Joint Hospital said he could have been saved had he received timely medical treatment. The government informed Amnesty International that “often such reports are circulated to deflect attention from terrorist activities”, and assured Amnesty International that the allegations of his torture would be investigated. However, Amnesty International was never given the results of the investigation, or informed whether any such investigation took place at all.  Medical evidence, including data from foreign doctors examining torture victims in the state, corroborates a number of the torture allegations. Torture has also been documented by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture. Even the police have testified to the torture of suspects in several cases. Nevertheless the Indian Government routinely denies all allegations that its troops are responsible for torture. There have been a handful of exceptions in cases of rape.  Virtually no members of the security forces have been brought to justice for torturing detainees in their custody. (…) The security forces operating in Jammu and Kashmir believe they can act with total impunity, and some of them have told visiting journalists as much — a reporter who had just been released from torture in detention told a correspondent that his interrogators had threatened him saying: “Remember we are capable of doing anything, we can kill anyone in custody“.”[9]

 

Human Rights Watch:Arbitrary detentions:  Arbitrary, illegal, and indefinite detention of alleged militants is a significant problem in Jammu and Kashmir. Lawyers from the High Court Bar Association of Jammu and Kashmir told Human Rights Watch that in cases of alleged militancy, the army, paramilitaries, and police often detain individuals without any legal basis. And they resist the judicial application of provisions in the Indian legal code designed to ensure against arbitrary detention. These include bringing persons promptly before a magistrate, ensuring access to lawyers, and providing a prompt trial.  The police say that prosecutions are stymied because they often find it difficult to find witnesses willing to testify against alleged militants, either out of support for the militants or because they fear retribution. But it is the obligation of the authorities to address such prosecutorial concerns; prolonged, indefinite detention is not the solution.  At least 4,500 alleged militants remain in jail without trial. Many have been waiting ten or more years without being tried. The failure to be tried “without undue delay” violates international legal standards and effectively turns the presumption of innocence on its head. (…)Under international law, preventive (or administrative) detention is permissible during a declared state of emergency that threatens the life of the nation. No such emergency has been declared in Jammu and Kashmir, nor has India, a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, made a formal notification, as the ICCPR requires, that a state of emergency exists and that it was derogating from the Covenant.  Preventive detention increases the likelihood of rights violations of detainees compared to those held under judicial supervision. It erodes guarantees prohibiting incommunicado detention and ensuring the right to be informed about the reasons for the deprivation of liberty, and to challenge the legality of the detention in a court of law. Preventive detention also increases the prospect that a detainee will be subjected to torture and other ill-treatment during interrogation and confinement, be deprived of the right to a fair and impartial trial if tried, and suffer enforced disappearance. (…) In addition to the loss of liberty and hardship of being detained in poor detention facilities, the delay in securing a release can cause great hardship for family members who rely on the detainee for the family income. Unlike in some cases of unlawful killings by the security forces, no compensation is offered for arbitrary detentions, even when a detention order is quashed by the courts or there is undue delay in releasing a detainee after a court order is issued. (…) Detention of Mohammad Ayub Gujri, November 2003:  In May 2003, Mohammad Ayub, a tourist taxi driver from Pattan, Baramulla, applied for a job with the police. After a thorough check by intelligence agencies to ensure that he had no militant affiliations, Ayub was taken on as a constable and enrolled in the required nine-month training program at the Police Training School in Kuthwa.  In November 2003, Mohammad Ayub’s family was informed by some of his fellow students that he had been arrested for murder. Although bail was granted in the murder case, Ayub was not released. Instead he was detained under the PSA. In September 2004, Ayub was acquitted in the murder case. But he remained in detention under the PSA.  Ayub’s detention was challenged in the High Court. The police claimed that Ayub had been arrested from his home in Pattan on January 26, 2004, for a grenade attack and for transporting militants. But on January 26, 2004, say his relatives, Ayub was already in jail facing murder charges and could not possibly have been in Pattan. According to his father, Noor-ud-din Gujri:  My son is being held on false charges. He was thoroughly verified by the government before he was recruited and he has no links with the militants. He was in jail when this grenade attack took place. If they can prove he is guilty, I will say, “Keep him in jail for the rest of his life.” But there is no decision. Either the judge is not there or there is some other excuse. We have no hope that he will ever be released.  As it was impossible for Ayub to have been in Pattan at the time of the grenade attack, his detention was quashed in March 2005 and he was released. However, he was not reinstated to his police job. ”[10]

 

Asia Watch (A Division of Human Rights Watch) & Physicians for Human Rights: “Indian army and security forces operating in Kashmir have systematically violated international human rights and humanitarian law by summarily executing detainees and killing civilians in reprisal attacks. Extrajudicial executions and disappearances in Kashmir number at least in the hundreds.  Government forces have also violated international human rights law by using lethal force against peaceful demonstrators. Security legislation authorizing the security forces to shoot to kill and protecting them from prosecution has encouraged such abuses.  Most detainees taken into custody by the security forces in Kashmir are tortured. Torture is practiced not only to coerce detainees to reveal information but also to punish detainees who are believed to support or sympathize with the militants and to create a climate of political repression. Methods of torture include prolonged beatings, electric shock, burning with heated objects and crushing the muscles with a wooden roller. Detainees are generally held in temporary detention centers, controlled by the various security forces, without access to the courts, relatives or medical care.  Rape often occurs during reprisal attacks on civilians. In such attacks, security forces engage in collective punishment against the civilian population by assaulting residents. Rape is also used as a means of targetting women whom the security forces accuse of being militant sympathizers. The security forces have also engaged in the wanton destruction of civilian property, primarily by burning down residential neighborhoods.  The security forces have violated international humanitarian law protecting medical neutrality by obstructing the provision of care to the sick and wounded.  Health professionals have been detained, assaulted and harassed while attempting to perform their duties. Security forces have also raided hospitals and have forced doctors at gunpoint to identify recent trauma patients, who, because of their injuries, are then accused of militant activity. Injured patients have been arrested from hospitals, in some cases after being disconnected from intravenous medications or other treatments. (…) The security forces have frequently engaged in indiscriminate attacks on civilians, shooting unarmed civilians at times when there was no fighting going on and the action appears to be entirely unprovoked. They have also assaulted civilians with the clear intent of causing injury or pain. In some cases, these incidents have occurred during crackdowns when security forces have conducted search operations in residents’ homes. (…) On October 14, 1992, S., 31, a resident of Srinagar, who was five months pregnant at the time, was at home, when BSF troops posted at a bunker some 70 to 100 meters away opened fire. She was shot in the left thigh. Neighbors took her by auto rickshaw to a hospital. Two other women and a young man were also wounded. One man, Abdul Aziz, was killed and another, S.N. Islam, was wounded. Witnesses reported no other firing in the area at the time. When PHR examined S., her left thigh was bandaged, and the X-ray showed injury to the soft tissue.  On October 5, 1992, R., 19, a resident of Nowhatta, Srinagar, was participating in a funeral procession when two security vehicles arrived at about 12:30 p.m. and the security forces ordered the crowd to disperse. R. heard someone in the procession say, “We have to take the bodies to the martyrs’ graveyard.” One of the soldiers replied, “Do what you will,” and then the soldiers opened fire. R. was shot in both arms. When examined at the hospital on October 15, R. had comminuted (shattered) fractures to both arms.  In April 1991, Z., 60, a resident of Fatehgar, Baramulla, was at home along with her son during a crackdown by the security forces. She stated that troops entered her house and grabbed her son. When he pleaded that he was not involved with the militants, they shot him point blank in the leg. He suffered a fracture of the lower leg. He has repeatedly been in the hospital for a comminuted fracture of the right lower leg.  On October 12, 1992, at 2:00 p.m., Z., a resident of Anantnag, had just left her home when she was shot from a security force bunker. She stated that there was no crackdown underway at the time. She suffered a comminuted fracture of the right upper arm.  On October 15, 1992, Mohammad R., a resident of Sopore was beaten by BSF troops when they came to search his house. He stated that they accused him of being a militant and that they forcibly removed his clothes and beat him with rifle butts. He was dragged to a nearby river where a CBI officer named Malik put sand in his mouth. He was released and at about 6:00 a.m. on October 16 and treated at the hospital for abrasions and contusions on his face and extremities. (…) On February 2, 1990, T., 17, a resident of Narwarah Idgah, Srinagar, left her house to visit her teacher’s house at about 10:00 a.m. As she crossed the street an Indian Army soldier approached her and shot her in the head from about 20 feet.  The soldiers then left the area. T. suffered brain damage resulting in speech impairment and paralysis of the right side of her body. (…) Raids on Hospitals:  Since the escalation of the conflict in 1990, the security forces operating in Kashmir have repeatedly violated the neutrality of hospitals, clinics and other facilities. Doctors in Kashmir described frequent raids during which security personnel have cordoned off hospitals, sometimes for days at a time, to search for injured patients whom they suspect of militant activity. During hospital raids, injured patients have been arrested from hospitals, in some cases after being disconnected from intravenous medications or other treatments. International humanitarian law does not preclude such searches, but it does prohibit the security forces from engaging in abuses while conducting them.  If the security forces have received information that someone who has committed a crime is receiving treatment in a hospital, they may search for and arrest the person, but only if they do so without endangering the patient’s health.  Witnesses testified that in one particularly cruel incident early in 1990, Indian army doctors ordered the medical staff at the Saura Medical Institute to transfer all patients with recent injuries to them so that their cases could be reviewed. Physicians at the Institute complied with the order, but objected to the transfer of one patient in the intensive care unit who was awaiting surgery for a liver abscess.  At the time, the infection had spread to the bloodstream (a condition known as sepsis) and the patient required life-sustaining cardiac pressor agents to maintain his blood pressure. Despite the patient’s precarious condition, the hospital staff were forced to remove him from the intensive care unit and pressor support. The patient died three hours after he was disconnected from his medication and before he was able to be returned to the intensive care unit. The crackdown reportedly lasted for seventeen days, during which time no one was allowed to enter or exit the hospital grounds. According to hospital staff, five dialysis patients who were not permitted to enter the hospital compound died as a result.  Medical workers are routinely verbally harassed and some have been beaten and detained. The security forces have also deliberately destroyed medical equipment and supplies, and have opened fire within hospital premises and inside hospitals, apparently to intimidate hospital staff.  These raids have continued. Doctors interviewed by the PHR/Asia Watch team in October 1992 at the sub-district hospital in Shopian described two raids on the facility in the two months prior to the PHR/Asia Watch visit. The security forces had confiscated medications, destroyed equipment, and forced doctors to identify the injured. No patients were detained during those raids, however.  A doctor who worked at the emergency center of the district hospital in Sopore told Asia Watch/PHR that the hospital had been raided ten times between August and October 1992 and that security forces had opened fire inside the hospital even as physicians were attempting to care for patients. He described one crackdown in which the staff had been trapped inside the hospital for three days. A physician at the Saura Medical Institute stated that the facility was subjected to more than twelve raids between April 1991 and April 1992. On five occasions, hospital employees were detained during these raids. During a six-hour crackdown at the hospital hostel in April 1991, an Indian army contingent of some 800 surrounded the facility. The forces which entered demanded the medical staff to “show us the arms.” They beat three attendants with the butts of their rifles. An ambulance driver was also beaten.  According to a doctor at the Srinagar Medical College, during a raid in August 1992, no personnel were allowed to enter or exit the hospital grounds for three days and night, which severely interfered with patient care. The doctor estimated that there had been twenty raids on the hospital since April 1992. During these crackdowns, the security forces first surrounded the premises, then entered the hospital while discharging their weapons both outside and inside the building, and searched for recently injured patients. An inspection of the hospital by the PHR/Asia Watch team revealed bullet marks at the building’s entrance and around the windows of the hospital. There were half a dozen such marks outside the doctors’ emergency on-call room. Gunshot marks were also visible inside the hallways of the Medical College hospital and inside its wards. Doctors at the Bone and Joint Hospital, an orthopedic hospital, reported that the hospital had been raided three or four times between May and October 1992 and that on several occasions, patients were forcibly taken from the hospital, even from the operating theater. During these raids, the hospital was surrounded by as many as one hundred soldiers, and the entire complex searched, including the residents’ and doctors’ living quarters. One doctor who witnessed numerous raids told PHR/Asia Watch that security officers often check the surgical registries themselves and rifle through medical records and admission documents to seek out recent cases of injuries, apparently because they believe that anyone injured may be a militant.  Consequently, patients with injuries often refuse to be admitted to the hospital. Another doctor estimated that one third of those injured who required hospitalization refused admission and are examined only as outpatients because they fear they may be accused of being militants. If they are admitted, many leave at the first sign of a raid because they fear they may be arrested. He said that patients who have injuries resulting from torture or beatings request that the physician attribute the cause to a motor vehicle accident for the records and not to the security forces out of fear of reprisals. (…) Health care workers have been murdered, assaulted, illegally detained and harassed by government security forces. They are routinely subjected to such abuses because they are suspected of treating militants, and are therefore believed to be supporting the demands of the militant groups. They have also been forced to falsify reports of deaths. Doctors and other health care workers told PHR/Asia Watch that they may have to travel past fifty or more military bunkers and checkpoints on their way to and from hospitals. The fact that they carry identification cards or travel in clearly marked medical vehicles has not protected them. In fact, the cards are often confiscated and several doctors who have been stopped by security forces have been told, “The only use for this card will be to identify your dead body.” In one of the most recent cases, Dr. Farooq Ahmed Ashai, Chief Orthopedic Surgeon at the Bone and Joint Hospital in Srinagar, was returning home from his brother Nazir Ashai’s home in Rambagh, Srinagar, at around 7:30 p.m. on February 18, when he was shot and killed by Indian paramilitary troops. The car in which he, his wife and daughter were traveling is marked by a three-inch cross on the front and rear windows. Government officials have stated that Dr. Ashai was killed in “cross-fire” following a militant grenade attack on the security forces. According to other reports, the grenade attack occurred a half-hour to an hour earlier. The cases described below represent a small sample of other instances of attacks on medical workers that have taken place in Kashmir. (…) On the strength and consistency of this testimony, and the irrefutable medical and other physical evidence we gathered, PHR and Asia Watch have determined that the Indian security forces have committed widespread and systematic human rights violations in Kashmir.”[11]

Ewn.co.za: “The Muslim Lawyers Association lodged an official complaint with the NPA calling on authorities to arrest the Indian Prime Minister when he attends the Brics Summit later this month in Johannesburg.  The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has confirmed it will be investigating Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged involvement in war crimes and human rights violations in Kashmir.  The Muslim Lawyers Association lodged an official complaint with the NPA calling on authorities to arrest Modi when he attends the Brics Summit later this month in Johannesburg.  The organisation contends there is sufficient evidence to establish a case against Modi for alleged extra-judicial murders, rape and other human right violations.  In a letter to the association, the NPA says it’s decided to focus on last month’s report by the United Nations while investigating the allegations against Modi.  Association spokesperson Yousha Tayob says they welcome the decision.  “The acknowledgement of the complaint and the allocation of a docket and a case number … indicating that they the NPA will investigate is a positive response and we remain hopeful that something will arise from this.”[12]

The Guardian: “American Justice Center filed suit on Thursday, with plaintiffs accusing Modi of failing to stop religious riots in Gujarat 2002.  A federal court in New York has summoned India’s prime minister to respond to a lawsuit accusing him of human rights abuses, casting a shadow over the Indian leader’s first trip to the US. on Friday as head of government.  The lawsuit against Narendra Modi stems from long-standing allegations that he didn’t do enough to stop devastating religious riots in his home state of Gujarat in 2002, when he served as chief minister there. The human rights group American Justice Center filed the suit Thursday in Manhattan federal court on behalf of two unnamed survivors of the violence.  The plaintiffs are seeking monetary and punitive damages and a judgment that Modi’s conduct amounted to genocide when he was chief minister of Gujarat.  The legal case will be an annoyance to Modi but is unlikely to have a significant impact on his visit. (…) The lawsuit says, “There is evidence to support the conclusion that Minister Modi committed both acts of intentional and malicious direction to authorities in India to kill and maim innocent persons of the Muslim faith.”  The plaintiffs said the suit was filed in a U.S. court because “it is clear that justice for the plaintiffs cannot be had in India because of the condoning of this genocidal act of state-sanctioned terrorism against the Muslim people. (…) Allegations that he was complicit in devastating religious riots in 2002 have haunted him for years. As chief minister of Gujarat state, he was in command in 2002 when Hindu mobs rampaged through Muslim neighborhoods, towns and villages. More than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed. It was some of the worst religious violence India has seen since its independence from Britain in 1947. The riots erupted after a fire killed 60 passengers on a train packed with Hindu pilgrims.”[13]

Michael Safi (The Guardian): “Gen. Bipin Rawat says Kashmir is a ‘dirty war’ that requires ‘innovations’ after man tied to front of 4×4 and driven through town.  India’s army chief has been accused of sanctioning the use of human shields after he defended soldiers in southern Kashmir who tied a civilian to their 4×4 to deter violent protests.  Footage of Farooq Ahmad Dar, 26, bound to the army vehicle first circulated in April, leading to separate military and police investigations and condemnation from human rights groups.  On Sunday, Gen Bipin Rawat, India’s chief of army staff, said his soldiers were fighting a non-traditional war in Kashmir that required “innovations”“The rules of engagements are there when the adversary comes face to face and fights with you,” he told the Press Trust of India. But Kashmir was “a dirty war”, he added. “You fight a dirty war with innovations.”  Rawat expressed frustration about the pressures faced by his soldiers, required to police their own citizens in an environment the Indian government has described as “warlike”“I wish these people, instead of throwing stones at us, were firing weapons at us. Then I would have been happy. Then I could do what I [want],” he said. (…) Dar says he was detained while passing through a town where women were throwing stones at soldiers. He alleges he was beaten, tied to a spare tyre on the bonnet of the vehicle and driven through neighbouring villages for up to five hours.  In footage of the incident, a soldier can be heard telling villagers: “This will be the fate of people who throw stones.”  The executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, tweeted that Rawat had supported the use of human shields.  The day Dar was tied to the vehicle, byelections were marred by violent protests in which Indian security forces killed eight people. Turnout for the vote was the lowest in two decades, but Dar was among the few who cast a ballot.  Nearly 100 civilians were killed last July and August during the most violent summer in Kashmir in five years. More than a dozen people have been killed this year in clashes between security forces and protesters armed with stones and sometimes crude explosives.  Curfews and internet bans were imposed across Kashmir, including in the city of Srinagar at the weekend, after protests following the killing of a senior militant leader by Indian security forces.  Last week, the army major who ordered Dar to be tied to the vehicle was awarded a commendation for his counter-insurgency work in the region.   Unusually, the officer, Nitin Leetul Gogoi, was permitted to speak to journalists to defend his actions. He claimed that he tied Dar to the vehicle in order to prevent violent protests from escalating further and accused him of instigating demonstrations.  Rawat said he gave Gogoi the award, despite him being under investigation, in order to bolster army morale.  “People are throwing stones at us, people are throwing petrol bombs at us,” he said. “If my men ask me what do we do, should I say just wait and die? (…) The Hindustan Times called Rawat’s remarks “highly regrettable”.  “It is one thing for hypernationalistic paper patriots to celebrate Maj Gogoi with unthinking enthusiasm, but coming from the army chief, this is a message with potentially dangerous consequences,” the newspaper said.”[14]

Mirza Waheed (The Guardian): “A bloody summer of protest in Kashmir has been met with a ruthless response from Indian security forces, who fired hundreds of thousands of metal pellets into crowds of civilians, leaving hundreds blinded. (…) Since July, when the killing of a young militant leader sparked a furious civilian uprising across the Kashmir valley, the Indian state has responded with singular ruthlessness, killing more than 90 people. Most shocking of all has been the breaking up of demonstrations with “non-lethal” pellet ammunition, which has blinded hundreds of Kashmiri civilians.  In four months, 17,000 adults and children have been injured, nearly five thousand have been arrested, and an entire population spent the summer under the longest curfew in the history of curfews in Kashmir. (…) On 8 July, a militant rebel leader, Burhan Wani, was shot dead by Indian armed forces and police in a remote Kashmir village. The killing sparked a series of spontaneous demonstrations and protests, which, in a matter of days, turned into a reinvigorated popular revolt against India’s dominion over this disputed state. (…) As Kashmiris took to the streets, police and paramilitaries were deployed in large numbers across the region. Thousands of young protesters charged at the armed forces with stones and slogans demanding freedom. Indian forces responded with lethal effect, firing bullets, CS gas, and metal pellets into the crowds. In less than four days, nearly 50 people were killed and thousands injured. More people took to the streets to protest against these killings, and the Indian forces and Kashmiri police killed and injured more of them. A cycle of protests connected to the funerals of those protesters were, in turn, fired upon, resulting in yet more killings and blindings. By the end of July, India was faced with a full-scale popular revolt in Kashmir. (…)The most recent figures put the number of dead at 94, including a young Kashmiri academic who was battered to death by Indian soldiers, and an 11-year-old boy, whose body, riddled with hundreds of pellets, was found on the outskirts of Srinagar, the joint capital of Kashmir, in mid-September. Shockingly, more than 500 people, most of them young, were shot in the face with the pump-action “pellet guns” that the Indian forces routinely use to suppress protests. These weapons discharge hundreds of small metal pellets, or birdshot, capable of piercing the eye.   As the uprising continued, the armed forces, by their own admission, fired nearly 4,000 cartridges at stone-throwing demonstrators, crowds protesting against police brutality, and even onlookers. This means that they sent, by one recent estimate, 1.3m metal balls hurtling towards public gatherings predominantly made up of young unarmed people.  Children as young as four and five now have multiple pellets in their retinas, blinding them partially, or fully, for life. At the start of September, doctors at Kashmir’s main hospital reported that on average, one person had their eyes ruptured by pellets every other hour since 9 July. “It means 12 eye surgeries per day,” one doctor told a local newspaper. “It is shocking.” (…) This was an unprecedented expression of state violence. There is no other recorded instance of a modern democracy systematically and wilfully shooting at people to blind them. At the end of August, according to data obtained by one of India’s national newspapers, nearly 6,000 civilians had been injured, and at least 972 of them had suffered injuries to their eyes.  According to official records at SMHS, the main hospital in Srinagar, 570 people sought treatment after their eyeballs were ruptured by metal pellets. Ophthalmologists at the hospital performed more surgeries in three days – from 10 to 12 July – than they had in the past three years. Many of the wounded were protesters, but not all. Not one of them deserved to be robbed of their sight. (…) As the showers of metal pellets were unleashed upon protesters, bystanders and homebound schoolchildren, hospitals in Kashmir began to resemble scenes from the great wars of the 20th century. Rows of beds with blindfolded boys and girls on them, parents waiting anxiously, doctors and paramedics in attendance around the clock. On occasion, police and spies also infiltrated the wards to compile profiles of the injured, in order to place them under surveillance after their release. The wounded were brought in by the dozen, like birds in the hunting season. (…)The protocol for the use of these crowd control weapons is to aim at the legs to disperse demonstrators. But it seems that the paramilitaries and the police have been deliberately firing into faces. Some may only have minor wounds, some will suffer limited loss of vision, some will lose one eye, some both, and some will be impaired for life, but the pitiless assault on protesting adolescents forces us to ask one question: is the Indian state happy to blind a generation?  It is inconceivable that policy mandarins in Delhi or their advisers in Kashmir could be unaware of the destructive power of “non-lethal weapons”. (…) Many countries have banned police from using ammunition meant for hunting animals. The multidirectional spray of pellets was designed to catch prey in flight. But many countries have continued to use them as a means of force to control civilian demonstrators. (…) An ophthalmologist at the main hospital in Kashmir told the Indian Express in July: “For the first time the foreign bodies are irregular edged, which causes more damage once it strikes the eye.” Irregular, sharp edges? I had assumed that the pellets fired at protesters – like rubber or plastic bullets, were round discoid things. It turns out that there exist different kinds of pellets, and in 2016, some Indian forces are using the jagged variety – which inflict greater damage to flesh and eyes alike, and which doctors say is far more difficult to remove. (…) So we might ask: what if the armed forces stationed in Kashmir had fired live bullets instead? Imagine the death toll! But this doesn’t compute: in 2016, the security forces have already killed nearly 100 civilians. Is that an acceptable number?”[15]

Stephanie Nebehay: “The U.N. report focuses mainly on serious violations committed in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir from July 2016 to April 2018. Activists estimate that up to 145 civilians were killed by security forces and up to 20 civilians killed by armed groups in the same period, it said.  “In responding to demonstrations that started in 2016, Indian security forces used excessive force that led to unlawful killings and a very high number of injuries,” the report said.  U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein called for maximum restraint and denounced the lack of prosecutions of Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir due to a 1990 law giving them what he called “virtual immunity”.  In a statement, Zeid called for the Human Rights Council – which opens a three-week session in Geneva on Monday – to launch a commission of inquiry into all violations. Alleged sites of mass graves in the Kashmir Valley and Jammu region should be investigated, he said.”[16]

Kashmirwatch.com: “India must stop its human right violations and crimes against humanity in Indian Occupied Kashmir says Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir.  Speaking to a seminar on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day organized by the Kashmir Liberation Cell, the President said that implantation of non-Kashmiri settlers in settlements in IOK were a violation of Articles 27 and 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a grave breach of Additional Protocol I. He said that India’s construction of illegal settlements for Kashmiri pundits and former army personnel in orders to transform the demography of Jammu and Kashmir are in clear violation of international laws and conventions.  The President said that the tale of Kashmir is a tragedy and is the gravest human rights issue facing the world today. The planned massacre of Kashmiris at the hands of the Indian forces is synonymous to a genocide and is tantamount to war crimes, he said, adding that Kashmiris have been made homeless in their native land. “The word ‘violations’ is a [euphemism] considering the horrendous war crimes being carried out in Kashmir”, said President Masood.  President Azad Kashmir said that India has been using chemical weapons in IOK and evidence in this regard has come forward of its use on the populations of Anantnag and Pulwama. The suffering of the Kashmiris is not an event of yesteryears but the barbarity continues to this day.  The President commended the efforts of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Cell and the Kashmir Media Services for helping document the atrocities and violations committed in IOK. He added that we need to regularly update the data and ultimately use it in enlightening the international organizations of the horrendous war crimes taking place in IOK at the hands of the Indian Occupation Forces. The President said that in the near future effective steps will be taken to include the Kashmir issue in the syllabi of schools and universities to enable the younger generations to better understand the conflict.  President AJK said that India has taken up a three pronged war against Pakistan; firstly, by killing our Kashmiri brothers and sisters in IOK; secondly, cross border shelling on civilian population in AJK; and thirdly, engaging in a proxy war by carrying out acts of terrorism in various territories of Pakistan. This year alone, he said, India has committed over 1550 cross border violations killing over 60 civilians and injuring hundreds of others in Azad Kashmir.  President Masood Khan said that through 5000 village committees comprising 30,000 armed RSS sponsored goons, India is terrorizing the local population of IOK and forcing them to evacuate their homes and properties. The President added that the Muslims, especially the Gujjar population in Jammu-numbering around one million-are the main victims of the genocide, forced disappearances and evacuations carried out by Indian forces.  Lamenting the dual standards of the International Community, the President said that the world has intervened when it came to East Timur, South Sudan and Yemen; but have yet to take a significant and concrete stance on Kashmir due to various strategic, political and economic interests with India. He said, “Upholding the rights of every human being in accordance to UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the duty of every UN member nation and India must be brought to justice for the serious human right violations committed in IOK.”  The President said that the people of Kashmir are the most unarmed people and are not involved in any sort of terrorism. Their unarmed struggle, he added, for their right to self-determination has been demonized by India as an act of terrorism. The President said that the people of Kashmir have sacrificed their lives not to maintain the status quo but to attain their freedom through the exercise of their right to self-determination.  (…) The world must know that this conflict is not of a bilateral issue between Pakistan and India, as the people of Kashmir are the main stakeholders and will decide their political destiny in light of the resolutions of the United Nation Security Council, said President AJK. He urged the UN to implement its resolutions and the UN secretary General must use his good office to mediate a peaceful, just and democratic solution to the human rights crisis in Kashmir.”[17]

Amrit Wilson (The Guardian): “Two human rights groups have accused the Indian government of an “institutional cover-up” to avoid punishing dozens of high-ranking military and police officials implicated killings, disappearances, torture and sexual violence in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.  A report by the International Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir and the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) has identified more than 900 individuals whom it blames for a range of human rights abuses carried out by Indian security forces between 1990 and 2014. They include 150 officers of the rank of major or above.  “The people alleged to be involved in these crimes cannot commit them individually. Others will have supported them or could have stopped them. We looked at officers at a higher level who knew about the human rights abuses. This was a systematic tactic and policy,” said Khurram Parvez, one of the report’s authors. (…)There have long been allegations of torture and arbitrary detention by Indian security forces during the conflict. In 2010, leaked diplomatic cables revealed a briefing by the the International Committee of the Red Cross to US officials that details a range of abuses in detention facilities run by the Indian army as well as by local police and paramilitaries.   A relative of Auqib Ahmad Bhat mourns on seeing his dead body during his funeral in Balpora. According to relatives, Bhat, 22, who was a water-tanker driver ferrying water to Indian army camps, was beaten to death by Indian paramilitaries. However, police have denied the charge and say he was killed in a road accident. (…) Last week six soldiers, including a colonel and a captain, were given life sentences by a court martial for their role in the 2010 killing of six local Kashmiri civilians, whom they had falsely claimed were extremist infiltrators in order to gain a cash reward. The incident prompted widespread rioting and anger. (…) Parvez, of the Kashmir group, said it was too early to judge the impact of the recent convictions. “In other cases there have been similar judgments but they have been quashed on appeal and the men involved reinstated. We will have to see what happens now,” he said.  The report documents the extrajudicial killings of 1,080 people and enforced disappearances of 172 people in detail as well as further cases of torture and sexual violence. It identifies 972 individual perpetrators, including hundreds of paramilitaries and auxiliaries who worked alongside military forces. (…) A spokesman for the Indian army in Kashmir said he had no comment to make on allegations of human rights abuses by military personnel.”[18]

Zamir Akram: “The 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, etnical racial or religious groups, as such; killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and forcibly transforming children of the group to another group.” The history of Indian occupation of Kashmir since 1948 amply demonstrates that India has been in gross violation of the Genocide Convention. Indeed, it has also been in violation of the UN charter relating to the inalienable right of peoples to self-determination and resolutions of the UN Security Council that it initially accepted, which categorically state “that the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the UN.”  Since the Indian occupation of Kashmir on the basis of a fraudulent instrument of accession, which has never been made public, Delhi has refused to allow the Kashmiri people to decide their own future. (…) Since the 1990 uprising, according to Kashmir Media Service, nearly 100,000 Kashmiri Muslims have been killed; 22,000 women have been widowed and 105,000 children have been orphaned. More than 6,000 unmarked mass graves have been found of people killed in fake encounters while 10,000 women have been raped by Indian security forces using rape as an instrument of policy, which was recognised by Amnesty International several years ago. In the latest phase of violence, over 200 unarmed people have been killed and over 20,000 injured while scores of women and children have been blinded by use of pellet guns. The Indian army has also resorted to use of human shields, the most famous case being that of Farooq Ahmed Dar, who was tied to the bonnet of a military jeep and paraded for 25kms and for which the responsible army officer was commended by the Indian army chief no less. The New York Times termed this cruelty and cowardice’ while the head of Human Rights Watch tweeted that the army chief has showcased criminal leadership. (…)To perpetrate their reign of terror, 700,000 Indian troops in the valley have been empowered by draconian laws, especially the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which have been denounced by international human rights organisations, the UN and its special procedures responsible for human rights and even members of Indian civil society.”[19]

Reuters: “Indian authorities revised up on Friday the death toll from nearly two decades of insurgency in Kashmir to more than 47,000 people. The figure does not include people who disappeared as a result of the conflict. A human rights group puts the number of missing Kashmiris at 10,000, although authorities say many of them may have vanished to join the insurgency. (…) Previously, officials had put the death toll at more than 43,000. Kashmir’s main separatist group, the All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference, says more than 100,000 people have died since the insurgency broke out in 1989.”[20]

US Department of State: “Major human rights problems included reported extrajudicial killings of persons in custody, killings of protesters, and torture and rape by police and other security forces. Investigations into individual abuses and legal punishment for perpetrators occurred, but for many abuses, a lack of accountability due to weak law enforcement, a lack of trained police, and an overburdened court system created an atmosphere of impunity; lengthy court backlogs prolong the latter. Poor prison conditions and lengthy detentions were significant problems. (…)There were numerous reports that the government and its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings, including extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals and insurgents, especially in areas of conflict such as Jammu and Kashmir, the Northeastern States, and the Naxalite belt[.] (…)Most encounter killings, in which security forces and police extrajudicially killed alleged criminals or insurgents, occurred in areas in conflict, but the practice reportedly occurred elsewhere in the country as well. (…)In March a number of media outlets reported that in response to a Right to Information (RTI) request the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) provided data indicating that 1,224 of the 2,560 police encounter cases reviewed since 1993 had been staged by security forces. Despite the NHRC’s published recommendations that the Criminal Investigations Department investigate all police encounter deaths, many states did not follow the guidelines and continued to conduct internal reviews only at the discretion of senior officers.   The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) reported that on January 21 Manipur security personnel abducted and killed a shop owner in Chekon. Memcha Fazeruddin stated that her husband’s body was returned with 15 bullet holes, but the body was clad in combat dress that was free of any bullet holes, which suggested tampering with the body. Police claimed that Fazeruddin had been shot in an encounter with troops from the 33 Assam Rifles in Kwakta Khuman and that they had found arms and ammunition on his body. In a meeting set up by community members, the Manipur chief minister assured Fezeruddin’s wife that he would give her family compensation and find a suitable job for one of her relatives. The AHRC stated that the official did not offer to investigate the matter.  On March 14, according to the ACHR, members of the Manipur State Police Commando Unit arrested Chongtham Nanao. The next morning police informed the local village head that they had recovered a dead body from the location of an alleged exchange of gunfire between police and armed militants. Nanao’s relatives later identified his body. The local media stated that a combined team of Thoubal Police Commandos and 21 Assam Rifles were involved in the killing.  Also according to the AHRC, on April 8, Irengbam Gunindro was abducted and killed in Manipur. The local police reported that evening that they had killed him in an armed encounter. On April 10, a local daily newspaper quoted the inspector general of the Assam Rifles as saying that the 28 Assam Rifles killed Gunindro in an encounter killing and that a nine-millimeter pistol had been recovered from Gunindro’s body. According to his family, Gunindro had no known history of previous involvement with police and no known prior criminal record. (…)In September the state government reinstated the four police officials allegedly involved in the May 2009 killing of Neelofar Jan and Asiya Jan in the Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir. On June 28, Shakeel Ahmad Ahangar, Neelofar’s husband and Asiya’s brother, filed a petition to reinstate inquiry into the killings of the two women. The petition remained pending before a Srinagar court at year’s end. Relatives and police discovered the bodies of Neelofar and Asiya in a stream, and local residents and examining doctors alleged that Indian Security Forces gang-raped and killed Neelofar and Asiya. In addition several government officials stated that police involvement in the killings could not be ruled out. In July 2009 the High Court ordered the arrest of four police officers on charges of suppressing and destroying evidence in the case. In September 2009 the court granted bail to the officers, and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took charge of the case from the Special Investigation Team. In December 2009 the CBI submitted its report to the High Court, concluding the women died of drowning and ruling out foul play. The report prompted renewed protests and a general strike in the state. The CBI formally concluded its investigations into the incident, dismissing charges against police. (…)On September 9, the CBI charged nine members from the Manipur Rapid Action Police Force with the July 2009 killing of Chongkham Sanjit in Imphal. Officials initially claimed they shot him after he fired on them, but a local photographer published pictures of the incident that showed police escorting Sanjit calmly into a pharmacy. When police emerged from the pharmacy, a witness photographed the officers dragging Sanjit’s corpse to a waiting truck. Although the CBI charged them with the nonbailable offence of murder, none were arrested, and on September 27, the chief judicial magistrate granted them bail, despite the opposition of the CBI. At the end of the year, seven of the nine were suspended; two remained working as law enforcement officers.  Custodial deaths, in which prisoners were killed or died in police custody, also remained a serious problem, and authorities often delayed or failed to pursue prosecutions against members of the police or security forces. In April the AHRC reported that, “according to the [most recent] statistics submitted to parliament by the MHA … under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule from 2004-2005 to 2007-2008, prison custody deaths increased by 70.72 percent”; there was no current data regarding custodial deaths. While the NHRC published guidelines that directed all the state governments to report to it within 48 hours all cases of deaths in police actions, state governments did not consistently comply with the guidelines. In addition the armed forces were not required to report custodial deaths to the NHRC, and the commission did not have the power to investigate the armed forces. The NHRC was empowered to seek only reports from the central government regarding deaths in custody, and the central government was not bound by its recommendations. (…)There were media reports and allegations by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) of excessive use of force by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) along the India-Bangladesh border. According to the NGO Odhikar, between 2000 and the end of the year, the BSF killed approximately 1,000 Bangladeshi nationals. The BSF usually explained these killings by stating that those individuals were evading arrest or that security force members had to fire in self-defense. Human Rights Watch (HRW) found that those who were killed had been armed only with sickles, sticks, and knives, which are tools commonly carried by villagers. HRW also reported that the BSF seldom mentioned injuries received by its own personnel, which suggested that the BSF may have used lethal force instead of attempting arrest. In many cases those killed had been shot in the back, indicating that they may have been shot while running away. There also were reports that Bangladesh Border Guards engaged in shootings along the border as well.  On January 21, according to Odhikar, a Bangladesh human rights organization, Indian forces detained and tortured a 15-year-old boy whose family lived adjacent to the border. The boy was swimming in the river that demarcates the border. After his release the boy died from the injuries that he reportedly sustained during torture.  On February 5, according to HRW, the BSF killed Bangladeshi Farid Hossian, who reportedly crossed the border illegally to transport a cow into Bangladesh. An autopsy revealed he had bullet wounds to his chest. (…) Disappearance:  There were reports that police throughout the country failed to file required arrest reports for detained persons, resulting in hundreds of unresolved and unreported disappearances. Police and government officials typically denied these claims. The central government reported that state government screening committees that determined which detainees were eligible for release provided information about detainees to their families, but credible sources stated that families often needed to bribe prison guards to confirm detention of their relatives.  Disappearances attributed to governmental forces occurred in areas of conflict during the year (…) Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment:  The law generally does not permit authorities to admit into evidence confessions that have been coerced, but NGOs and citizens alleged that authorities used torture to coerce confessions, which in some instances were submitted as evidentiary support for death sentences. Authorities allegedly also used torture to extort money or as summary punishment. The ACHR stated in its April report, Torture in India 2010, “[t]orture in police custody remains a widespread and systematic practice in the country” and “[t]he lack of any effective system of independent monitoring of all places of detention facilitates torture.” NGOs asserted that custodial torture was common in Tamil Nadu, and credible sources claimed police stations in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, and Chandigarh used torture to obtain desired testimony. The AHRC claimed police used torture and assault in Kerala and Gujarat as a means of criminal investigation. While guidelines against torture exist, states reportedly continued to use it to extract information or obtain statements from those in custody.  A report by the AHRC detailed inhuman and degrading treatment of a woman from Delhi’s Mayapuri area. On May 22, the woman went to the Rajouri Garden Police Outpost in Delhi to inquire about her two sons (ages 10 and 12 years old) who had been detained at police station on accusations that they had stolen money. The AHRC stated that police used torture and abuse to force the 12-year-old boy to confess and return the money. On May 23, the officers reportedly forced the mother to strip naked and ordered her to have sex with her son. Upon her refusal one of the officers ordered the woman to have sex with him. The woman later filed a complaint with the Office of the Delhi Police Commissioner, who suspended three of the officers. The assistant sub-inspector who was in charge of the outpost was transferred as a result of the incident.  According to an October 29 report by India Today, an unknown source filmed three men in khaki clothing torturing a fraud suspect inside a police station in Punjab’s Jalandhar district. The report stated that police officers made the suspect lie face-down on the floor and beat him with belts, causing the victim serious injuries. The district police instituted a probe and suspended three police personnel after the film became public.  (…)  No action was taken by Delhi police regarding the human rights complaint filed in 2009 by Joel Elliott, a journalist who has written for The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, and other publications. Elliott suffered severe wounds on his head, legs, and back and a black eye when police allegedly beat and tortured him during the six to seven hours he was in custody. (…)Prison conditions were frequently life threatening and did not meet international standards. Prisons were severely overcrowded, sanitation and other environmental conditions often did not meet international standards, and food and medical care were inadequate. The state’s 64 prisons were designed to 40,000 prisoners but reportedly housed approximately 90,000 prisoners during the year. India Today also indicated that the average capacity of each of the 58 district jails, five central jails, and one model jail in the state’s 73 districts was 500 to 800 inmates, but each contained approximately 2,400 to 3,000 inmates. According to the report, the overcrowding caused extremely inhuman conditions in most facilities, which reportedly caused high rates of disease and the deaths of an average of 300 inmates per year in the various state prisons. (…) Killings: (…) There were reports that government security forces committed extrajudicial killings of persons in custody, including staging encounter killings to cover up the deaths of captured militants. Human rights groups claimed police refused to turn over bodies in cases of suspected staged encounters. (…) On April 24, personnel of the Rashtriya Rifles paramilitary force allegedly killed civilian Ghulam Muhammad Kalas and injured four others in Shopian district, Jammu and Kashmir. (…) Physical Abuse, Punishment, and Torture:  There were reports that government security forces tortured, raped, and mistreated insurgents and alleged terrorists in custody and injured demonstrators. All parties to the conflicts injured civilians on occasion. (…) On September 5, police registered a case against Battalion 46 of the Rashtriya Rifles for opening fire and causing injury to five civilians in Baramulla, Jammu and Kashmir.  On September 14, Amnesty International urged authorities to carry out an effective investigation into a three-minute video clip, allegedly recorded by one of the security force members, that showed Jammu and Kashmir police and CRPF personnel herding at least four naked youth to a nearby police station. (…)Freedom of Speech and Press: (…) Individuals could generally criticize the government publicly or privately without reprisal; however, on June 29, the Jammu and Kashmir government blocked SMS in North Kashmir and, on June 30, expanded its blockage to all parts of Jammu and Kashmir.  Official justified the blockage as a measure to prevent “antinational” elements and separatists from “misusing” the service. The ban was lifted on December 22. (…) On July 1, the Jammu and Kashmir government banned publication of three daily newspapers after allegations of inflammatory reporting. The ban was lifted on July 6.  On July 30, the Jammu and Kashmir government banned transmissions of two local television channels accused of broadcasting “provocative” telecasts and creating law and order problems. The channels allegedly violated the 1995 Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act and were restricted to broadcasting news for only 15 minutes at a predetermined time.  Journalists experienced violence and harassment as a result of their reporting during the year.  On January 7, police in Srinagar fired upon Amaan Farooq and Yawar Nazir after demanding the journalists cease photographing the scene following a battle between police and armed militants. Police assaulted three other journalists at the scene. (…) The central government banned some books from being imported or sold in the country because they contained material that government censors deemed inflammatory and apt to provoke communal or religious tensions. (…)The government continued to apply restrictions to the travel and activities of a few visiting experts and scholars. Academic guidelines issued by the Ministry of Human Resources Development in 2003 required all central universities to obtain the ministry’s permission before organizing “all forms of foreign collaborations and other international academic exchange activities,” including seminars, conferences, workshops, guest lectures, and research. (…) [Violations against Women] Women in conflict situations, such as in Jammu and Kashmir, and vulnerable women, including lower-caste or tribal women, were often victims of rape.”[21]

Human Rights Watch: “The Indian authorities have done little to curb human rights violations by their army and security forces. In the rare cases in which investigations of abuses have taken place, the most severe punishments have generally been limited to dismissals or suspensions from duty. Security officers have also offered bribes and have threatened individuals and families in an attempt to prevent them from pressing charges. (…)The government has also forcibly recruited some paramilitary group members by detaining members of their families as hostages until the former militants agree to work with the security forces. The security forces have also recruited former militants who were themselves detained and tortured by the security forces. Human Rights Watch interviewed many detainees who were told by the security forces that the torture would end if they agreed to work with their captors.   The number of former militants in the state-sponsored militias is impossible to determine. There are reported to be four or five groups operating throughout the valley, and while each works with one or more of the security forces operating in Kashmir (…)  The BSF and the Rashtriya Rifles are financing their own paramilitaries. According to one press report, competition to claim a greater number of surrendered weapons and recruits has led to friction between army forces and Border Security Force (BSF).   In March 1996, the Indian biweekly newsmagazine India Today highlighted the role of paramilitary groups:  [They have become the] centerpiece of the counterinsurgency operations in the Valley … Used initially as intelligence sources-to help in flushing-out operations-they are now also being used as “prowlers”: they take part in the security forces’ armed encounters with militants.”…In fact, the security forces are raising “small armies” of surrendered militants in the Valley and, in the militancy-affected areas of Doda, are relying on them to even neutralize hard-core outfits like the Harkat-ul-Ansar (HUA), the Hizbul Mujahedin and the Lashkar-e-Toiba, all dominated by battle-hardened Afghan mercenaries. The police too are helping, though in a limited way … “Special Operation Groups” comprising the police and the surrendered militants, holding high-powered wireless sets, masquerade as ultras [militants] and catch the genuine ones by surprise. (…) STATE-SPONSORED “RENEGADE” MILITIAS:  Both regular, uniformed Indian army and federal security forces and state-sponsored paramilitary groups have committed serious and widespread human rights violations in Kashmir. These violations have characterized the behavior of regular troops since the conflict began in 1990. While reports of some kinds of abuse have decreased since 1994, such as the indiscriminate use of lethal force against unarmed demonstrators, other abuses, notably summary executions and torture, show no sign of abatement, due in part to the activities of the state-sponsored militias. As noted above, these groups operate without any accountability. Wearing no uniforms, their members cannot be easily identified. There is no one to whom civilians may register complaints about the group’s behavior. As one Kashmiri doctor told Human Rights Watch/Asia, “When someone misbehaved, he was wearing a uniform, so he was accountable. We could call his commander. Now, when these renegades misbehave, there is no one to call. No one accepts responsibility for them, though we know the government is sponsoring them.”  Human Rights Watch/Asia obtained overwhelming evidence of the fact that these groups are organized, armed and protected by the Indian army and other security forces and operate under their command and protection, despite the Indian government’s claims to the contrary. The government uses the groups in a number of ways: as informers who watch and report on the activities of the militants; as spies to infiltrate existing militant organizations; or as members of paramilitary “renegade” organizations to attack members of Jamaat-e Islami and Hezb-ul Mujahidin and other militant groups. Members of these militias are also used to support Indian government policies. (…) Government officials routinely deny that these groups do anything more than act as informants for the security forces. In a March 1996 report in the national daily Hindu, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary Ashok Kumar denied allegations that the government was providing arms to surrendered militants, stating that “[t]he government will not be party to such a racket. We are not giving arms to the illegal persons.” That statement was contradicted by Lt. Gen. (Retd.) D.D. Saklani, adviser to the state governor, who told reporters that the government was going to provide the surrendered militants with licenses for 12-bore guns [shotguns]. In a report published in the Times of India on March 9, 1996, Colonel K. P. Ramesh of the Rashtriya Rifles stated that surrendered militants were provided arms for their protection and given reward money for providing information.  During the Human Rights Watch/Asia visit to Kashmir in January 1996, we were informed that these groups have been armed by the government. On several occasions, Human Rights Watch/Asia observed members of these groups moving about openly carrying automatic weapons, in full view of security personnel, even though under the government’s rehabilitation program, all surrendered militants are required to hand over their weapons. In one case investigated by Human Rights Watch/Asia, members of Ikhwan-ul Muslimoon, who had detained a hospital worker they suspected of militant sympathies, ordered his colleagues to buy him a pistol so that they could confiscate it and pretend to the security forces that they had succeeded in getting a militant to surrender. (…)The state-sponsored groups operate with impunity. In an interview with Human Rights Watch/Asia, Police Inspector General Gopal Sharma claimed that “surrendering [did] not relieve [former militants] of legal responsibility for their crimes,” and that some had been prosecuted, “but convictions [were] hard to come by.” However, another police officer responsible for investigating the activities of these groups contradicted Sharma’s assertion, complaining that Army and BSF officers had also secured the release of paramilitary force members when they had been arrested by local police. He told Human Rights Watch/Asia:   The government has recruited criminals who loot and steal and extort and these criminals are living in security force camps. This is the third force-the renegades. It is completely true that they exist. … It is 100 percent true that police investigate crimes, arrest individuals and then the army interferes and lets them go so they can work with the army as renegade forces.   According to a report in India Today, the government’s policy of using surrendered militants for counterinsurgency efforts “has heightened the enmity between the various security agencies operating in Kashmir -mainly the Border Security Force (BSF) and the army-with each trying to score a point by notching up a higher tally of surrendered militants.” Militants who have surrendered to the army have been beaten by BSF forces for not surrendering to them. The BSF reportedly told some of them to obtain new weapons so that they could surrender again, and the BSF could get the credit. (…)Victims of abuse by these groups have testified that the government has deliberately avoided arresting members of these groups even when there was clear evidence of their committing crimes. Residents angry at extortion by the groups have demanded that the administration either disarm the groups or give them uniforms. After four journalists were abducted by Ikhwan-ul Muslimoon forces in July 1995, the security forces made no effort to apprehend leaders of the group, even after Koko Parray acknowledged publicly that he had ordered the kidnaping. Parray was even permitted to hold a press conference on the incident.  The security forces have also been complicit in these crimes. During the journalists’ kidnaping, Ikhwan forces were waved through security checkpoints after they had given a prearranged password. The paramilitaries operate in close proximity to army and BSF camps. Some members of these groups have been housed in the camps. (…) Attacks on Human Rights ActivistsThe Murder of Jalil Andrabi: The body of Jalil Andrabi, a prominent human rights lawyer and pro-independence political activist associated with the JKLF, was found in the Kursuraj Bagh area of Srinagar on the banks of the Jhelum river on the morning of March 27, 1996. According to press reports, the body was in a burlap bag. Andrabi, who was forty-two, had been shot in the head and his eyes had been gouged out. He had apparently been dead for at least one week. According to eye-witnesses, Andrabi was detained at about 6:00 pm on March 8 by a Rashtriya Rifles unit of the army which intercepted his car a few hundred yards from his home in Srinagar. On March 9, the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association filed a habeas corpus petition in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, and the court ordered the army to produce Andrabi. However, the army denied that Andrabi was in custody. Over the next two weeks, the court continued to grant the government extensions for replying to the petition.   The murder sparked widespread protests in Kashmir and condemnation from civil liberties groups in India and abroad. In Srinagar, a protest march led by JKLF leader Yasin Malik was broken up by police who beat up members of the crowd, smashed a number of reporters’ cameras and seized the body. The police also fired shots in the air to disperse the crowd. In a statement released on March 29, the United States condemned the murder and called for a “full and transparent investigation.” On April 2, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Jose Ayala Lasso called on the government of India to “undertake a thorough investigation … with a view to establishing the facts and imposing sanctions on those found guilty of the crime.” On April 3, India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) announced that it would send a team to Kashmir to investigate the killing.   Andrabi had previously received death threats from government-sponsored so-called “renegade” forces. (…) The incident followed several other attacks on human rights activists in Kashmir, and about a week before the incident, Andrabi had told Human Rights Watch/Asia that he had received warnings that he “would be next.” Since 1984, Andrabi had filed petitions in the High Court on behalf of detainees and had publicized the fact that the security forces routinely ignored High Court orders to produce detainees in court. At the time he was abducted, he was preparing for a trip to Geneva to attend the meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Commission where he hoped to raise concern about the human rights situation in Kashmir. (…) The Attempted Assassination of Mian Abdul Qayoom:  Mian Abdul Qayoom, forty-six, was until April 1995 the president of the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association and one of Kashmir’s most prominent human rights monitors. Under his direction, the bar association produced voluminous records of human rights violations by Indian security forces in Kashmir. On April 22, 1995, he was shot by two unidentified gunmen. (…) Qayoom had received a warning that he would be killed. He told Human Rights Watch/Asia that on June 30, 1994, while he was in court in Srinagar, a Jammu and Kashmir policeman handed Qayoom a paper marked “secret” in which unnamed sources claimed that Hezb-ul Mujahidin planned to kill Qayoom because of his alleged association with the JKLF. However, Qayoom was not associated with the JKLF but with the Jamaat-e Islami, a banned political party which is pro-Pakistan; the militant organization Hezb-ul Mujahedin is aligned with the Jamaat. After seeing this paper, Qayoom filed a FIR charging that government forces were conspiring to kill him. He also informed the NHRC and Delhi-based human rights activists of the incident.  Qayoom had been arrested on several occasions because of his human rights work and his public statements supporting self-determination in Kashmir. On July 29, 1990, while he was still president of the bar association and president of a political grouping of eleven parties supporting independence, he was arrested by the BSF in Pulwama and charged under the Public Safety Act with making a statement calling for self-determination for Jammu and Kashmir.   He was detained for nearly two years. His detention was challenged by the Bar Association in the High Court, and on February 14, 1991, the court declared the detention unconstitutional and directed the superintendent of district jails in Jammu to release him. Qayoom was released but before he could leave the jail he was rearrested and taken to the Joint Interrogation Center (JIC) in Jammu. On March 1, the court approved an application for bail, but again, before he could be released, he was ordered detained under the PSA for another year. On February 15, 1992, fifteen days before the detention order was to expire, Qayoom was again rearrested on the same grounds for which he had obtained bail in 1991. He was finally released on February 23, 1992, when the Supreme Court of India rejected the government’s appeal of the bail order.  Upon release in March 1992, Qayoom was re-elected president of the bar association. He continued to focus on human rights cases, visiting jails, filing petitions on behalf of detainees, and meeting with international visitors and monitors. In April 1993, when he tried to go on the haj (Muslim pilgrimage) in Saudi Arabia, he and his wife were stopped at the New Delhi airport. In 1994, he was granted permission to go on the haj, but when he returned, he was detained for three hours and his passport was impounded.  He stated that his house had been raided some twenty times since 1990; the most recent was in June 29, 1994, when BSF soldiers searched it in the middle of the night. According to advocates in Srinagar, the bar association virtually ceased functioning after Qayoom’s shooting.  Human Rights Watch/Asia requested information from the government of India about the incident. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) stated that the attack on Qayoom “was a sequel to intergang rivalry.” The NHRC provided no other information or evidence to clarify this statement, except to say that a police investigation in stillunderway. “Intergang rivalry” is the standard phrase used by the government to downplay abuses by state-sponsored militias. The Home Ministry confirmed that a police investigation was continuing. As of May, 1996, no one had been charged in the shooting of Mian Abdul Qayoom.   These attacks on Andrabi and Qayoom were the latest in a pattern of attacks on human rights monitors. In 1992-1993, three leading human rights activists were killed in Srinagar. (…) On February 18, 1993, Dr. Farooq Ahmed Ashai, an orthopedic surgeon who documented cases of torture and indiscriminate assaults on civilians, was shot by Central Reserve Police Force troops, who fired at his car, which was marked with a red cross, apparently in retaliation for an earlier militant attack. The troops then reportedly delayed his being taken promptly to a hospital for emergency care. He died shortly after finally reaching the hospital. On March 3, Dr. Abdul Ahad Guru, a leading member of the militant Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) who had documented abuses by Indian security forces, was abducted by unidentified gunmen and shot dead. The government of India has never made public any action it has taken to investigate these killings and prosecute those responsible.”[22]

 

Evidence 2: Forced Displacement of Refugees

Fortify Rights: “Indian authorities beat and threatened Rohingya refugees, forcing some to flee to Bangladesh in recent days and weeks. (…) Fortify Rights interviewed six Rohingya refugees—including two women—who fled from India to Bangladesh. All six are recognized as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in India. Indian authorities threatened to return them to Myanmar and beat one of them. (…) Indian border security forces reportedly forced 31 Rohingya refugees towards Bangladesh this week. According to Reuters, the Bangladesh authorities blocked the group from entering Bangladesh, trapping them on the India-Bangladesh border in a “no man’s land” area near the Bangladesh District of Brahmanbaria. Indian authorities subsequently arrested them, and the refugees are now reportedly being held in Indian custody in Tripura State. (…) More than 1,300 Rohingya Muslim refugees crossed into Bangladesh from India since May 2018, according to Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Abul Kalam. However, the numbers are believed to be much higher.  According to the Government of India, there are an estimated 40,000 Rohingya refugees living in scattered settlements throughout India, largely in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Rajasthan. There are an estimated 18,000 Rohingya refugees registered with UNHCR in India. Many Rohingya in India escaped mass atrocities committed in Myanmar in 2012, 2016, and 2017.  On October 1, 2018, the Indian government ordered state level officials to collect biometric data from Rohingya. This process is believed to be part of a government plan to identify and deport all Rohingya from India, raising fear among Rohingya refugees that the Indian authorities will refoule or forcibly return them to Myanmar where they face persecution. (…) A Rohingya refugee man, 42, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh told Fortify Rights how Indian border guards stopped him and 15 other Rohingya as they attempted to flee from India to Bangladesh in November 2018. He told Fortify Rights: They threatened to send us back to Myanmar. They took three of us men to another room at the border post and beat us. They hit me many times with a wooden rod. I was bruised on my back, neck, and arms. For days, I was in pain and could not sleep. After one night, they let us go to Bangladesh.  Rohingya in India also face threats from Indian citizens. (…) Under customary international law, the principle of non-refoulement prohibits states from returning any person on its territory or under its jurisdiction to a country where they may face persecution.  (…) The U.N. Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance E. Tendayi Achiume in October 2018 called on the Indian government to uphold the principle of non-refoulement, saying, “We urge the Government of India to abide by the international norm of non-refoulement and protect the rights of asylum seekers and refugees including Rohingyas,””[23]

 

Article 3 of the U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment: “No State Party shall expel, return (‘refoule’) or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he [or she] would be in danger of being subjected to torture.”[24]

 

Rohingya refugee man: “We have to pay bribes, and the authorities threaten to force us back to Myanmar. My UNHCR card does not help anymore. The Indian authorities came to my house to try to force me to fill out a form with all my biometric information to send me back to Myanmar. After this I was very fearful. I fled.”[25]

Dr. Hla Kyaw, Chairman of the European Rohingya Council: “We, the European Rohingya Council (ERC), are the “Voice of the Rohingya”, and are first and foremost grateful to you and the people of India, as you have hosted the Rohingya refugees – “the most forgotten people in the world”. As India was a founding member of the United Nations and has been an elected member of the UN Security Council throughout the decades, ERC writes to you today, standing in the encouragement with our mutually shared humanitarian concerns for the Rohingya people.  We are concerned about the news that India is planning to deport 40,000 Rohingya people out of your country. This is very concerning to ERC. Similarly, we have voiced previously when the state authority of Bangladesh shared the plan to remove all of the Rohingya people living in Bangladesh and put them on the uninhabitable Bangladesh island of Thangar Char in the Bay of Bengal. ERC, and many other countries and organizations already have made a stance on this as an unacceptable and inhumane treatment of “the most forgotten people in the world”.  The reality of why so many thousands of Rohingya people leave Myanmar for neighboring countries is simply due to the Rohingya are enduring a genocide and crimes against humanity.  Yes, U.N. has failed to prove this. However, another humanitarian body, Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT), has established the Tribunal on Myanmar to determine the decade-long Myanmar’s systematic persecution of Rohingya amounts to genocide. The International State Crime Initiative (ISCI) has created a panel of specialists and testimony providers. On March 7, 2017, the judgement of the PPT concluded that the National League for Democracy (NLD), the military of Myanmar, and the State Counsellor Aung Suu Kyi are responsible for the crimes against humanity and genocide of the Rohingya people in Myanmar.  Recently, U.N. has established a Fact-Finding-Mission (FFM) to investigate Myanmar’s human rights violations of Rohingya since October 2016, conducted in the name of security operations. Until this moment, State Counsellor Daw Aung Suu Kyi has refused to let the investigation team into Myanmar. As India is a current member of U.N. Human Rights Council, ERC is hopeful that you will proactively join the European Union and the United States of America to support in getting the special investigation team into Myanmar to investigate Myanmar’s human rights abuses against Rohingya.  Your Permanent Representative to the United Nations, His Excellency Syed Akbaruddin must be sharing with you the realities of the Rohingyas’ plight within Myanmar and India.  The reason for what has been happening for decades is what fuels the exodus, and why you are dealing with the influx of Rohingya in India.  The Rohingya people in India are not immigrant; they are not in violation of visiting India without your permission. They are refugees that ran away from their genocide.  The European Rohingya Council (ERC) hopes that you will encourage the humanitarian part of you to stand up for the Rohingya people and cease the deportation plan. We are encouraged that India has been a long standing member of U.N. and will come down on the side of humanity and deal with what you have been facing within India in a different method – different from politics, racial divide, economic challenges and geographic divisions; but on the side of humanity that the Rohingya people justly deserve as they endure their genocide.  Sincerely yours,  Dr. Hla Kyaw  Chairman, The European Rohingya Council”[26]

Matthew Smith: “India should urgently protect Rohingya genocide survivors seeking safety and not force them out of the country (…) Refugees should never be imprisoned based on their status as refugees. Prime Minister Modi’s government should immediately release detained refugees, provide the U.N. access to them, and protect all survivors of atrocities.”[27]

Fortify Rights: “U.N. experts have found that conditions are not conducive for Rohingya to return to Myanmar. For example, on October 24, 2018, the U.N. Fact Finding Mission Chair Marzuki Darusman warned that the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who remain in Myanmar still face “an ongoing genocide.” Darusman and his team said the elements of genocide “continue to hold” for Rohingya in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State. In November 2018, U.N. Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee also called on Bangladesh to shelve repatriation plans due to a failure by the Myanmar authorities to guarantee respect for the rights of returning Rohingya.  In July, Fortify Rights published a 160-page report detailing how Myanmar authorities made “extensive and systematic preparations” for attacks against Rohingya civilians that constituted genocide and crimes against humanity, forcing more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh. Myanmar Army soldiers led massacres, mass rape, and mass arson attacks on Rohingya civilians. On September 18, the U.N. Fact-Finding Mission released a 444-page report calling for an international criminal tribunal to investigate and prosecute senior Myanmar military officials for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.”[28]

 

Evidence 3: Mass Murder and Extrajudicial Executions

International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian Administered Kashmir (IPTK): “The Indian state’s governance of Indian-administered Kashmir requires the use of discipline and death as techniques of social control. (…) To do so has required the domestication of Kashmiri peoples through the selective use of discipline and death as regulatory mechanisms. Discipline is affected through military presence, surveillance, punishment, and fear. Death is disbursed through “extrajudicial” means and those authorized by law. Psychosocial control is exercised through the use of death and deception to discipline the living. Discipline rewards forgetting, isolation, and depoliticization. (…) Between 1989-2009, the actions of India’s military and paramilitary forces in Kashmir have resulted in 8,000+ enforced and involuntary disappearances and 70,000+ deaths, including through extrajudicial or “fake encounter” executions, custodial brutality, and other means. (…) Mourning the dead is a habitual practise of dissent amid Kashmir civil society. The conventional and recognized cemeteries that hold Kashmir’s dead are maintained and cared for by local people and organizations. Alongside these cemeteries are other clandestine graveyards, often unnamed, unmarked, undecorated. They exist amid habitations, next to schools and homes, by the roadside and town square, in prayer grounds and forests, at the edges of fields and community cemeteries across rural and urban space. (…) The graveyards we [IPTK] investigated entomb bodies of those murdered in encounter and fake encounter killings between 1990-2009. (…) The graves, their creation and effect, belong to the present history of Kashmir, to a continuing chronicle of violence and violation. The graves are hyper-present in the local imaginary, but rarely spoken of in public. These “secrets” are hidden from/through speech. As a gravedigger in a rural town stated: “They [graves] are there to be noticed and to make us fear them [security personnel]. We all know what they are, where they are, but we cannot say so. To speak of them is treasonous.” (…) In Baramulla, of the 1,122 graves, approximately 99 percent of those buried were men. Gravediggers and caretakers were unable to give an exact count, given the extent of defacement of some of the bodies. In Kupwara, of the 1,453 graves, 1,451 were of men and 2 of women. In Bandipora, all 125 graves were of men. The context of killings in Kashmir has engendered a landscape where the death of men has rendered vulnerable the living, especially women, children, and other gender identified groups. (…) Post-death, the bodies of these victims were routinely handled by military and paramilitary personnel, including the local police. The bodies were then brought to the “secret graveyards” primarily by personnel of the Jammu and Kashmir Police. In one instance, we learned that the body had been buried on the premises of a police station. In another instance, local communities buried cadavers that had been thrown into a ditch by security forces. There are serious allegations that, in particular instances, security personnel have been involved in accepting bribes and smuggling narcotics. (…)We have been reliably informed that, prior to the delivery of bodies to the “secret graveyards” security forces personnel selected local male residents or professional gravediggers, usually those respected within the local community, and asked that graves be prepared to bury the dead. The graveyards were prevalently constructed on local religious or community owned and/or used land and dug by local residents at the coercion of security personnel. The persons preparing the graves were usually informed in advance of the number of bodies to be buried. Professional gravediggers and local residents who were forced to become gravediggers and caretakers were directed to dig the graves but were largely not supervised by security personnel during the process of digging or burial. In the process of soliciting their labour, gravediggers and caretakers were routinely intimidated and not remunerated for their services. (…)  In instances where the number of bodies brought by security personnel exceeded the initial injunction given by security personnel regarding the number of graves to be prepared, more than one body was buried in each grave. Further, when the killings took place in certain conditions, the bodies involved in those killings were buried together, as noted below. In the 2,700 graves we investigated, the body count was 2,943+. Within the 2,700 graves, 154 graves contained two bodies each and 23 graves contained more than two cadavers. Within these 23 graves, the number of bodies ranged from 3 to 17. (…)In identifying Kashmiri Muslims as dangerous anti-national elements and targeting this population as an internal enemy, the Indian state’s governance systemically perpetuates, and makes visible, death as strategy to achieve its specific political and nationalistic objectives.  The message to the people of Kashmir, through these strategies of governance that produce and circulate death, is You are our enemy. (…) “Safety” is made synonymous with submission to violent governance. Through these dynamics, the Indian state seeks to domesticate the local Kashmiri population and integrate Kashmir into its national identity and territory. (…) “Externally,” the Indian state also seeks to control the 550 kilometre Indian Kashmir border along the 740 kilometre-long disputed Line of Control (also ceasefire line), which today coheres with the territorial demarcations established at the end of the 1947-1948 war between India and Pakistan, also known as the “First Kashmir War.” (…)The graves in Kashmir include bodies of extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary executions, as well as massacres committed by the Indian military and paramilitary forces. These executions have necessitated collaborations between the armed forces, the paramilitary forces such as the Central Reserve Police Force, and the state police. (…) In Kashmir, the graves IPTK investigated contain the bodies of victims of extrajudicial executions and unproven “encounter” killings by India’s military and paramilitary forces.  These graves adhere to a spatiality wherein their “location” or “limit” are not confined to individual graves but extend across the entirety of the space of the graveyard in which the bodies have been collectively interned. (…) The discourse of the Indian armed forces detailing their fight against “terrorists” and infiltrators in Kashmir reverberates loudly even as the actual identities of those killed in encounters are obfuscated and the bodies of those killed remain hidden. This conceals the interposing of “encounter” with “fake encounter” killings. Civilian killings are portrayed as “encounter” deaths to legitimate militarization. Militarization, in turn, is used to enable civilian killings. (…) Local residents who were solicited and forcibly employed to dig the graves were Muslim men who were often given body counts but not specific instructions about how the graves should be constructed. The graves were constructed by local gravediggers and caretakers, buried individually when possible, and specifically not en mass, in keeping with Islamic religious sensibilities. In instances where the body count exceeded the graves prepared, more than one dead were placed within a single grave. Security forces permitted local diggers to conform to religious sensibilities to produce the intended, yet diffused and clandestine, effect of mass death.  Those buried in the graves in Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara were interred over an extended timeframe. Individual dead were interred contiguously in a gravesite in a manner that used the religious sensibilities of the local community to configure a collective display of death and fear across an expanse of land. Information about the graveyards of the unknown dead in one community circulates through informal information networks to others. This collective display functions allegorically, as retribution and warning, to discipline civil society. (…) In Regipora, on the mountainside, adjacent to the premises of the Government Middle School is a graveyard holding 260 graves of which two have been identified. In Tumina Chak, Chowkibal, the graveyard holds 34 nameless graves buried by locals since its establishment in 2004. In its vicinity is a cantonment of Rashtriya Rifles (military unit) and the 33 Battalion Camp of the Border Security Force. (…)The Kalarus Main (Martyrs) graveyard was constructed on land belonging to the local mosque in June 1993, for the burial of a local woman, identified as Guljan, who was killed by security forces during a firing incident. A resident testified: “Since then, other bodies have been buried here. The army used to tie those killed to their vehicles and drag them down from the hilly areas. The dragging mutilated the bodies. Whenever we asked about the identity of the slain brought to our village, the police often answered that the bodies were of unidentified foreign militants who got killed during different encounters with army and other security agencies in the frontier areas of Kupwara.”(…) Trehgam village in Kupwara district is located approximately 105 kilometres from Srinagar. It is home to Mohammad Maqbool Bhat, celebrated by Kashmiris as a freedom fighter for independence. Bhat was a principal organizer-activist of the Jammu Kashmir National Liberation Front (JKNLF). He was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of India and received the death penalty by hanging on February 11, 1984, in Delhi.  A “martyrs” graveyard, as it is named by residents in Trehgam, holds an empty grave with a gravestone, marking the continued demand for the return of Bhat’s body. The graveyard also holds 100 graves, of which 82 are unidentified. The burials took place between 1990-2005. (…) A local community member stated that: “When police brought the dead bodies they often claimed that the bodies were of unidentified foreign militants who, according to them, were killed in different counter-insurgency operations between army and other paramilitary forces. Generally there are no name plaques or epitaphs on the graves of unidentified persons, but we keep the soil heaped on them to keep them marked. A few such heaps had been flattened over time and we once wanted to reconstruct them but we were not allowed to do so by security forces.”  Another resident testified that: “Whosoever was killed in our area was being brought to our village for burial. We do not know whether the dead were locals or foreigners, militants or civilians but, as per their appearance, they seemed to be local Kashmiris. Most of the dead bodies brought here were mutilated and disfigured. Mostly, the dead were undressed, their hands were tied with rope, their throats had been slit, and they had amputated legs or arms and mutilated faces, probably for concealing their identity. (…) Family members have erected gravestones on some of the identified graves to commemorate the dead. IPTK noted that a number of these stones were broken. Local community members clarified that armed forces officers had sent security personnel to deface and destroy the gravestones.  A community member stated: “Once a completely scorched dead body was brought from Gagnoosa village and was handed over to us. The deceased had been scorched by army troops in the grass in Gagnoosa and then we buried that charred body here. To avoid the flattening of graves, at times we placed stones on a few graves. The army officer, Major Arora, smashed those stones and said that these are the graves of terrorists and they do not deserve sanctity.  The dead bodies had been buried from 1990 to 2005. The Auqaf committee arranges the shroud, wood, and other materials for performing the last rites of the dead bodies and our village performs this deed on humane grounds.” (…) On April 29, 2007, armed forces claimed the killing of four militants of the Lashkar-e-Toiba. The First Information Report [No. 101/07, dated April 29, 2007] filed by the police stated that the deceased were “four Pakistani terrorists identified as 1. Abu-Safayan, 2. Abu-Hafiz, 3. Abu-Sadiq, 4. Abu-Ashraf…”  Three of the four male bodies were buried in Sedarpora village in the Kandi area, Kupwara district. The three bodies were later identified to be residents of Kashmir, killed in fake encounters. The names of the deceased were Reyaz Ahmad Bhat, resident of Kalashpora, Srinagar district; Manzoor Ahmad Wagay, resident of Letar, Pulwama district; and Sartaj Ahmad Ganai, resident of Tikipora, Shopian district. The identity of the fourth body has not been ascertained.  The bodies of Manzoor Ahmad Wagay, 18 years of age, and Sartaj Ahmad Ganai, 17 years of age were exhumed and identified. Reyaz Bhat was identified through a complex process. Reyaz Ahmad Bhat and Manzoor Ahmad Wagay were identified as ordinary civilians. Sartaj Ahmad Ganai was identified as a local militant.  Sartaj Ahmad Ganai’s family stated that he had been a carpenter and a farmer. (…) The Bhat family stated on record that Reyaz Ahmad Bhat, 19 years of age, had been missing since April 25, 2007. Informal lines of communication are circulated across Kashmir to assist families with possible identification of their dead. Through such networks, Bhat’s family learned about the four bodies that were buried at Sedarpora. It took them approximately four months to gain access to the photographs on file with the police station.  Reyaz Ahmad Bhat was identified by Javeed Ahmed Bhat, his brother, as a resident of Kalashpora, Srinagar, based on police photographs taken by the police following his death.  The caretaker of the graveyard at Sedarpora village then confirmed the particular grave where the individual named Reyaz Ahmad Bhat had been buried. Javeed Ahmed Bhat spoke of grieving, of his imprisonment and beatings at the police station as he attempted to locate his brother. Bhat’s family stated that Reyaz Ahmad Bhat had never been involved in militancy. (…) A resident of [Kralpora] stated: “We established this graveyard in 1990 when six mutilated bodies were brought here for burial. The army with the help of coolies [porters] fetched these bodies here and handed them over to us for burial. These bodies were chained at the ankles and wrists and they had injuries all over them. It seemed as if they had been dragged down from the jungles. The security agencies then informed us that the dead got killed during an encounter with them in the Rangwar area. It was also told that all the six deceased belonged to the South Kashmir’s district Anantnag.” (…) Another resident added: “Out of the total 205 burials of unidentified bodies, about 15-20 bodies were mutilated or disfigured. In 2005, five mutilated dead bodies were handed to us.  The bodies, according to the police, were of unidentified foreign militants fetched here from Dardpora area. According to the police, these people had been killed in a gun battle there. On another occasion, some flesh and body parts of a slain person were brought here in a sack for burial.” A caretaker stated: “Initially I myself was taking photographs of the bodies with an intention to keep a record source for identification of the deceased. I had dozens of photos with me and a few times families from downtown Srinagar came here and identified the bodies of their slain from those photos. All those photos and other testimonials recovered from the dead were taken away by the army, police, and other [state] agencies during various raids at my house.” (…) Baramulla is the largest district in Kashmir with respect to population and area. A place with a heavy military presence, Baramulla district houses 29 camps of the Indian armed forces.  Many of these camps contain interrogation centres. There are numerous allegations and reports of instances of perpetration of torture in these camps. In Baramulla district, only 245 instances of disappearances have been confirmed between 1989 and 2006. (…) Ziyarat Ameer Sahib at Sheeri holds three graves. A local resident stated: “On November 9, 1991, police brought four unidentified dead bodies to our village. The dead, according to police, were militants, killed in an encounter on the Line of Control. The bodies were disfigured. One of the dead bodies was identified as that of Mazoor Ahmad. Mazoor Ahmad had left the house a few days ago and we were searching him continuously but found nothing and could not locate him. The police had kept him in their custody for two days before the killing.” (…)In Raja Mohalla, located in the Uri area in Baramulla district, a graveyard was established in the early 1990s. A portion of it has been used to bury unidentified persons while the other side is used for regular village burials. A community member stated: “In the graveyard there are 22 graves of unidentified persons. These dead bodies were brought to the village in the year 1996 and 1997 by the police and were handed over to us for burial. Whenever the dead bodies were brought to our village, local inhabitants came out of their homes and performed the last rites. Police usually claimed that these dead bodies were of unidentified foreign militants killed in different encounters.” (…) Quazipora village is on a hillside. There, a graveyard holds dead bodies of 13 unidentified persons. A resident of Quazipora stated: “In 1991, there was an encounter in the Sarya area.  The army cordoned off whole of our area and nobody was allowed to move out of the house. After the daylong firing the army brought 13 dead bodies and handed over them to us. The army ordered 5-6 persons from the village to bury the dead. We were not allowed to perform their funeral prayers. The army told us to just dig out the land and put the bodies there. We buried the bodies on village land on the roadside. One family from Khawajabagh in Baramulla came to identify one of the bodies. The body was exhumed but the body was so mutilated that it could not be identified.” (…) In Kichama, Sheeri, the main graveyard (A) contains 105 graves. Adjacent to this are 60 graves (B). Together (A) and (B) hold 230 bodies buried between 1994-2003. Graveyard caretakers stated that 60 graves (B), each holding 2 bodies, are less distinguishable and flattened. A local community member in Kichama, Sheeri, stated: “Keeping them flattened was helpful in preventing their destruction by the security forces who were not able to spot the graves of newly buried unnamed bodies. Not only this, but animals were damaging some graves here that were appearing in the form of heaps or marked with stones.”  A local community member in Kichama, Sheeri, stated: “We have buried 230 dead bodies here. Police and army have been claiming that the dead bodies we buried in this graveyard were all unidentified foreign militants. These persons were claimed to be killed in the border areas of Uri while crossing the Line of Control. We performed the last rituals and buried them in the land situated on the fringe of the hill near our village.” (…) According to local residents, a disproportionate number of bodies were damaged and faces were mutilated. A village resident stated: “Once the bones of three persons were brought to the village. These persons claimed as militants were burnt to death and bodies charred in a house during an encounter with the troops at Baramulla. We put those bones in a single grave. The clothes worn on all the dead bodies were torn and the labels on them had been removed. We tied these clothes around tree trunks and on the nearby fence poles of the graveyard. Some amulets were also recovered from these dead bodies. We also tied these amulets with the trees.”  A resident stated: “We began to bury these dead bodies at a time when five militants were killed in Tangmarg on May 4, 1994. The dead bodies of these militants were brought to Baramulla by the army. The army then took these bodies to the jungle and they were about to cremate them. I received information regarding the dead bodies from one of my friends, who is a police official. I called the Superintendent of Police of Baramulla on the phone and requested him to bring the dead bodies to our village for burial, as otherwise the army would cremate them. The Superintendent got the dead bodies from the possession of the army and sent them to our village and we buried them in our village.”   The resident added, “Many a times I have been arrested and tortured by the army. Army soldiers frequently harassed me as they were accusing me for having affiliation with the militancy and for receiving Rupees 35,000 from Pakistan for every burial. Finally when too many in the village were persecuted and harassed by the army, the villagers decided not to bury these unidentified dead bodies. By year 2002 local people stopped burying even their dead here because the graveyard was completely filled with dead bodies. Since then the dead bodies are buried in Chehal village.”  Another resident added: “There are many other cemeteries in the jungle areas of Baramulla and Kupwara districts. At some places in the border areas, there are big ditches, where the dead bodies of alleged unidentified foreign militants are thrown.”   Two dead bodies that were part of a triple murder case were buried in Kichama, Sheeri (A) in 1999. These two bodies were exhumed later. Following the exhumation, these graves were filled with two other bodies. [Note: The two bodies that were part of the triple murder case have not been included in IPTK’s count of the 105 graves in Kichama, Sheeri (A).] According to family members: “On June 23, 1999, at about 7:45 p.m., Special Task Force personnel apprehended three young men riding on a scooter. The three were from Srinagar, Ghulam Rasool Matoo, a resident of Nawa Kadal area, Javaid Ahmad Shah of Lal Bazar, and Nazir Ahmad Gilkar from Nowhatta. They were returning from a marriage celebration. The trio was dragged to the police station in Soura and detained. Inside the police station, it is alleged that the Station House Officer, along with his six accomplices, tortured them and later killed them.”  Further, family members stated: “The bodies of Ghulam Rasool Matoo and Javaid Ahmad Shah were exhumed from Kichama, Baramulla, after eight days of their burial. The families were able to exhume the two bodies and bury them in their ancestral graveyards. Nazir Ahmad Gilkar’s body was found from the Dal Lake in Srinagar. The case was widely reported in the media creating pressure on the government to order an inquiry. The accused were identified and the case went to the court of law. The case continues, it has been eight years.  Three people were murdered. Eight years later, the case continues from one hearing to another, bringing no relief to the memory of the deceased.” (…) In Bazipora, Ajas, a local graveyard is situated on the right side of the Srinagar-Bandipora road, approximately 45 kilometres from Srinagar. In one instance, residents stated that officers of the Special Operations Group at Ganderbal and 13th Battalion of the Rashtriya Rifles had reportedly handed them a bullet-riddled dead body, claiming it to be that of a foreign militant killed in an encounter on the outskirts of Bazipora. On February 3, 2007, body was exhumed and identified to be that of Showkat Ahmad Kataria.  Showkat Ahmad Kataria was disappeared on the evening of October 4, 2006, from Alamgari Bazar in Srinagar, while performing the tasks of an Imam (priest) at a local mosque, Masjid Aalamgari Bazar. He was killed in a fake encounter on October 5, 2006. (…) Premised on investigations into the scope and expanse of unknown, unmarked, and mass graves, and the extrajudicial events that led to these massified killings and burials between 1990 and 2009, IPTK notes that the political and military actions of state in Indianadministered Jammu and Kashmir have regularized states of exception, and systemically enforced extra-legal governance. (…) We note as well that a mass grave itself may be a violation of international law, as per the Geneva Conventions.”[29]

Shujaat Bukhari (thehindu.com): “International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice, a human rights group, on Wednesday demanded an independent probe into the unmarked mass graves in Kashmir and immediate halt to committing such crimes.  The probe was demanded at a news conference in Srinagar called to release the report which claimed that 2,700 ‘unknown, unmarked, and mass graves,’ containing at least 2,900 bodies, in 55 villages in three districts — Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara — of North Kashmir have been probed. It claimed 87.9 percent of the cadavers in the graves were unnamed. The group sought intervention of National Human Rights Commission as well as State Human Rights Commission and maintained that the copies of the report have been sent to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah as well and will be sent to functionaries in the government of India. “Government should not ignore the report and look into this on priority,” said Angana Chatterji, Convenor of IPTK. Dr. Chatterji, who is also professor of cultural and social anthropology at California Centre for Integral Studies, said “Of the 2700 graves, 2,373 (87.9 percent) were unnamed. 154 graves contained two bodies each and 23 contained more than two cadavers. Within these 23 graves, the number of bodies ranged from 3 to 17,”  She said that a mass grave may be identified as containing more than one, and usually unidentified, human cadaver. The group has given 32 recommendations for the government and International organisations to ponder over.  Scholars, she said, refer to mass graves as resulting from Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, or Genocide. “If the intent of a mass grave is to execute death with impunity, with intent to kill more than one, and to forge an unremitting representation of death, then, to that extent, the graves in Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara are part of a collective burial by India’s military and paramilitary, creating a landscape of ‘mass burial.’  Dr. Chatterji said post-death, the bodies of the victims were routinely handled by military and paramilitary personnel, including the local police. She said that the bodies were then brought to “secret graveyards” primarily by personnel of the State Police.  “The graves were constructed by local gravediggers and caretakers, buried individually when possible, and specifically, not en mass, in keeping with Islamic religious sensibilities,” she added.  She said armed forces and the State Police routinely claim the dead buried in unknown and unmarked graves to be “foreign militants.” The report, she said, also examines 50 alleged “encounter” killings by Indian security forces in numerous districts in Kashmir.  “Of these persons, 39 were of Muslim descent; 4 were of Hindu descent; 7 were not determined. Of these cases, 49 were labeled militants/foreign insurgents by forces and one body was drowned,’ she added.  The IPTK convener said that they have been able to study only partial areas within 3 out of the 10 districts in Kashmir, and our findings and very preliminary evidence point to the severity of existing conditions.  “If independent investigations were to be undertaken in all 10 districts, it is reasonable to assume that over 8,000 enforced disappearances since 1989 would correlate with the number of bodies in unknown, unmarked, and mass graves,” said Dr. Chatterji, flanked by other members of the group.  The group alleged that the international community and institutions have not examined the supposition of crimes against humanity in the State. “We note that the United Nations and its member states have remained ineffective in containing and halting the adverse consequences of the Indian state’s militarization in Kashmir,” she added, clarifying that the group wants world to know what was happening in Kashmir.  The group asked that evidence from ‘unknown, unmarked, and mass graves’ be used to seek justice, through the sentencing of criminals and other judicial and social processes.  “As well, the existence of these graves, and how they came to be, may be understood as indicative of the effects and issue of militarization, and the issues pertaining to militarization itself must be addressed seriously and expeditiously,” she added. The independent group alleged that the violence and militarization in Kashmir, between 1989-2009, have resulted in over 70,000 deaths, including through extrajudicial or “fake encounter” executions, custodial brutality, and other means. “In the enduring conflict, 6, 67,000 military and paramilitary personnel continue to act with impunity to regulate movement, law, and order across Kashmir,” she added.”[30]

The Guardian: “For 22 years [Kashmir] has endured a regime of torture and disappeared civilians. Now a local laywer is discovering their unmarked graves and challenging India’s abuses. (…) [In] April 2010, an Indian army major from the 4 Rajputana Rifles arrived at a remote police post (…) Major Opinder Singh “seemed in a hurry”, a duty policeman recalled. Up in the heights of the Pir Panjal range, down through which the major had descended, it was snowing and his boots let in water. “The officer reported that the previous night his men had killed three Pakistani terrorists who had crossed over into our Machil sector,” the policeman recalled. “Where are the bodies?” the policeman had asked, filling in a First Information Report that started a criminal enquiry. “They were buried where they were shot,” the major retorted, before taking off in his jeep. (…) Machil, the sector in which Singh had sprung his operation, was especially treacherous, consisting of a clutch of isolated villages strung along the Line of Control (LoC), a high-altitude ceasefire line that had split Kashmir in 1972. Up here in the thin air, India had created a fearsome barrier, made lethal with the help of Israeli technology, a partially electrified series of fences connected to motion detectors, surrounded by a heavily mined no-man’s land.  On 30 April, 2010, an armed forces spokesman in Srinagar, Kashmir’s summer capital, confirmed Singh’s story. “Three militants have been killed in a shootout,” said Lieutenant Colonel JS Brar, detailing how three AK-47s, one Pakistani pistol, ammunition, cigarettes, chocolates, dates, two water bottles, a Kenwood radio and 1,000 Pakistani rupees had been recovered. The standard-issue infiltration kit. The corpseless triple-death inquiry was an open and shut case.  However, a few days later, at Panzalla police station, 30 miles from Machil, a simple missing case was causing everyone problems. Three Kashmiri families from nearby Nadihal village had turned up to report the disappearance of their sons: Mohammad, 19, Riyaz, 20, and Shahzad, 27, an apple farmer, a herder and a labourer. They had not seen them since 28 April and would not be calmed by detectives. Soon, their appeals drew the attention of Kashmir’s most dogged human rights lawyer, Parvez Imroz, whose response to what would become known as the “Machil Encounter” was about to create a watershed in Kashmir. (…) Imroz had become a fixture at the high court in Srinagar, filing thousands of habeas corpus actions (…) on behalf of families who claimed their relatives had vanished while in the custody of the Indian security forces. (…) Imroz was able to estimate that 8,000 Kashmiri non-combatants had vanished from army custody in a state the size of Ireland – four times more than disappeared under Pinochet in Chile. “The military grip has been suffocating,” he told the Guardian, “and making someone vanish sows far more fear than spilling their blood”. (…) While surveying disappearance cases in villages across two of Kashmir’s 23 districts, including Baramulla, from where the three Nadihal men would vanish in 2010, villagers showed him a hitherto unknown network of unmarked and mass graves: muddy pits and mossy mounds, pock-marking pine forests and orchards. According to eyewitnesses, all had been dug under the gaze of the Indian security forces and all contained the bodies of local men. Some were fresh, others decayed, hinting at a covert slaughter that went back many years.  Imroz widened his search, mapping almost 1,000 locations. He was shocked by the implications. Indian law requires that the police probe every violent death and that corpses be identified. But in the village of Bimyar, white-haired Atta Muhammad Khan came forward to describe how he had been forced to inter 203 unidentified bodies under cover of the night – men whose identities and crimes were unstated. “Some corpses were disfigured. Others were burnt. We did not ask questions.” It was a similar story in Kichama village, where the lawyer mapped 235 unmarked graves and in Bijhama, where 200 more unidentified corpses had been interred. In Srinagar, Imroz’s team alerted the government’s State Human Rights Commission (SHRC). “We suspected the missing of Kashmir were buried at these secret sites,” he said, publishing a report, Facts Under Ground.  An official response came two months later, just after 10pm on 30 June, 2008. Imroz had at last married Rukhsana, a business woman, and they now had two children, his daughter Zeenish, 12, and a boy, Tauqir, aged seven. The family lived in Kralpora, a tree-lined suburb eight miles from Srinagar city centre. No one called round on the offchance. Rukhsana heard a rap at the door and glanced outside to see that their security lights had been smashed. “I knew what this meant,” she said, the door knock immediately conjuring memories of murdered friends. Imroz ran to the back of the house and shouted for his brother, Sheikh Mushtaq Ahmad, who lived next door.  As Ahmad emerged with a torch, a shot was fired, narrowly missing his son. A stranger screamed: “Put that light out.” Then, a grenade exploded, shrapnel pitting the front door. Tear gas shells followed, waking neighbours who unlocked the village mosque. The imam mobilised residents to surround Imroz’s house, as an armoured vehicle and two jeeps from the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force and police Special Task Force, took off. “They had come to kill us,” Rukhsana recalled. “We need protection,” she said. Who do you need protection from, I asked her. “From our own government of course. It’s jungle law.”  After the attack, Human Rights Watch called on India to “protect Parvez Imroz, an award-winning human rights lawyer” and his case was raised in the European parliament. His family pleaded for him to quit. “I was terrified,” the lawyer conceded. “I was starting to have horrible dreams. But being silent is a crime.”  Imroz and his team redoubled their efforts, spreading their net across 55 villages in three districts, Bandipora, Baramulla and Kupwara. An ad-hoc inquiry run by volunteers and funded by donations saw the number of unmarked and mass graves mapped rise to 2,700. Inside them were 2,943 bodies; 80% of them unidentified. “These were hellish images from a war that no one has ever reported,” said Imroz. “We suspected this to be prima-facie evidence of war crimes,” he added. “Who are the dead, how did they die, in whose hands and who interred them?”  The SHRC finally agreed to an inquiry. Soon, it had its work cut out. Using RTI laws, the police were forced to concede that they had lodged 2,683 cases for the covertly interred in just three districts. And a new deposition submitted by Imroz’s field workers covering two more districts, Rajoori and Poonch, mapped 3,844 more unmarked and mass graves, taking the total number to more than 6,000. There are still another 16 districts yet to be surveyed, leaving Imroz to wonder how many violent deaths and surreptitious burials have been concealed across Kashmir. Finally, last September, the SHRC made an announcement, stating that Imroz’s discovery was correct: “There is every possibility that unidentified dead bodies buried in various unmarked graves … may contain the victims of enforced disappearances.” The UN weighed in this year, a report to the Human Rights Council warning India of its obligations under human rights treaties and laws. Kashmiri families had a “right to know the truth” and that “when the disappeared person is found to be dead, the right … to have the remains of their loved one returned to them, and to dispose of those remains according to their own tradition, religion or culture”.  After the Nadihal men disappeared, Imroz’s field worker, Parvaiz Matta, travelled to the village. He found an eyewitness, Fayaz Wani, a close friend of the missing men. Wani finally revealed the Indian army had offered the men jobs, in a deal brokered by a Special Police Officer (SPO), who had given them a sum equivalent to £7 each, “as a show of good will”, before taking them to a remote army camp in Machil.  The families of the missing men filed a complaint against the SPO, Bashir Lone. “This man broke down, admitting his role, claiming that nine soldiers at a remote army camp had shot the three men, so they could claim reward money,” Matta said. (The army routinely gives financial rewards to soldiers who kill militants.) On 28 May, 2010, three bodies were exhumed from unmarked graves close to the camp, some of those already mapped by Imroz, and in which the government said were foreign fighters. Their families identified Shahzad, Riyaz and Mohammad by their clothes. The Nadihal cash-for-killing story and news of a legion of unidentified dead lying in unmarked graves, sent hundreds of thousands of demonstrators on to the streets in the summer of 2010. Sensing the building anger, the army and central government in New Delhi promised an inquiry, offering, without irony, talks to anyone in Kashmir “who renounced violence”. However, when no answers came, Kashmir went into convulsions, as crowds of youths armed with stones ambushed soldiers, police and paramilitaries who returned fire with live rounds. I arrived in Kashmir shortly after. More than 100 demonstrators had been killed, many of them children. International news channels briefly took an interest, asking if Kashmir was experiencing its own Arab Spring. But the cameras left quickly, as a vicious crackdown began clearing the streets: the government’s own statistics showing that more than 5,300 Kashmiri youths, many of them children, were arrested. [31]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “In a press release dated 21 December 2006, the West Bastar Divisional Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) made the following allegations of human rights violations by the security forces and the Salwa Judum activists:  On 9 June 2006, police killed 20-years-old Teko Munno in a fake encounter at Devarpalli village.  On 13 July 2006, a joint operation team of Central Reserve Police Forces and Special Police Officers shot dead 22-year-old Hemla Pandey and Punem Gutto (45 years) of Puladi village while they were working at the fields. Hemla Pandey has been so badly riddled with bullets that her unborn baby slipped out of her womb through the bullet wounds.  On 11 August 2006, a combing operation team of CRPF and Salwa Judum activists tortured to death an eleven-year-old Aayom Bujjo of Bellamnenda village while she was herding cattle. The perpetrators allegedly cut the tongue of the victim.  On 28 August 2006, CRPF jawans shot dead a pregnant woman, Marvi Mondo (25 years) of Gornom village in a fake encounter. On the same day, another 25-year-old woman, Marvi Lakmi of the same village was killed in fake encounter.  On 30 November 2006, police gangraped Bhogami Radhe (30-years) of Dorum village and shot her dead in a fake encounter at Darepal village. ”[32]

 

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC): “This report presents [Special Rapporteur’s] main findings and proposes recommendations to ensure better protection of the right to life in India. (…) the level of extrajudicial executions in this country still raises serious concern. This includes deaths resulting from excessive use of force by security officers, and legislation that is permissive of such use of force and hampers accountability.  (…) Vulnerable persons, including women, are at particular risk of killing. Impunity represents a major challenge. (…)The Special Rapporteur received a series of complaints regarding deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by security officers with little adherence to the principles of proportionality and necessity as defined under international human rights law standards. According to these principles, use of force by security officers should be proportional to the legitimate objective to be achieved, and lethal force may only be used as a last resort in order to protect other life. (…)The official statistics of India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) indicate that 109 civilian deaths occurred in the country due to police firing in 2011. The largest number of civilian casualties were found in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, mostly in the context of riot control, as well as during alleged anti-extremism and anti-terrorist activities. (…)Section 46 of the Indian Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) authorizes law enforcement officials to use “all means necessary” to perform an arrest which is forcibly resisted. (…) 100 deaths were caused due to excessive use of force against demonstrators in Jammu and Kashmir in 2010.[33] (…) “fake encounters” entail that suspected criminals or persons alleged to be terrorists or insurgents, and in some cases individuals for whose apprehension an award is granted, are fatally shot by the security officers. A “shootout scene” is staged afterwards. The scene portrays those killed as the aggressors who had first opened fire. The security officers allege in this regard that they returned fire in self-defence. (…)The Special Rapporteur heard inter alia of the encounter case that occurred on 30 April 2010, in the Machil Sector, Kupwara District of Jammu and Kashmir, where three young individuals were killed by the armed forces. Alleged to be terrorists, the individuals were later identified as civilians who went missing from their village Nadihal in Baramullah and had allegedly been exchanged for money to some members of the Army so they could be killed in a fake encounter for which awards were offered. The outcomes of the criminal case launched against the security officers involved are still pending. (…)Several victims who made presentations to the Special Rapporteur on this issue emphasized the need to know the truth, and to “clear the names” of loved ones who had been labelled “terrorists” and killed in “fake encounters”. (…) According to the NCRB data for 2011, over 100 deaths occurred in police custody in India. In this regard, formal accusations were brought against a total of 14 police officers; none of them have been convicted. (…) A report released by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) presented statistics gathered by the NHRC on deaths in custody in terms of which 1,504 cases of deaths in police custody and 12,727 cases of deaths in judicial custody were reported from 2001 to 2010. ACHR suggested that in the majority of deaths in police custody, the death was preceded by torture and occurred within the first 48 hours of arrest. These statistics may not reflect the full extent of custodial deaths in India, given that not all deaths may be reported to the NHRC. The Armed Forces are, for instance, not required to convey such information to the NHRC.  (…) During confidential interviews held throughout the visit, the Special Rapporteur was informed of several cases of individuals unlawfully taken into custody, severely beaten and taken to hospital where they subsequently died. He was informed that no steps had been taken to bring perpetrators of these acts to account. (…) [The Special Rapporteur] heard that relatives are not informed immediately of the death, representatives of human rights organizations may not be present during the autopsy, and relatives are pressured to cremate the body, thereby destroying valuable evidence. In addition, autopsies are carried out by executive rather than judicial magistrates, who are not qualified to oversee such inquiries. (…)The death penalty may still be imposed in India, although a de facto moratorium on executions had been in place since 2004. The Special Rapporteur notes with concern, however, that this situation changed several months after his visit. In this regard, India voted in November 2012 against a General Assembly draft resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty and executed the first person since 2004. (…)  The Special Rapporteur was informed that in 2005, in response to Naxalite violence, a vigilante group called “Salwa Judum” was established, supported by the central and local authorities. The group has been reportedly responsible for significant acts of violence. It has been frequently accused of targeting civilians, who are forced to take sides, and thus exposed to violations from all sides involved in the violence occurring in the affected areas. (…)  The Special Rapporteur heard that in particular the Dalits, the representatives of lower castes, tribes and poorer communities, as well as women are exposed to difficulties in registering FIRs. Individuals who wish to report violations by security officers face similar challenges which dissuade them from complaining and impede the accountability of State agents.  The burden of initiating civil, criminal or writ proceedings in cases of unlawful killings is frequently placed on the victim’s family. Their vulnerable status often cripples their ability to seek and secure accountability. Families of victims are not always aware of their rights in respect of the investigation of the death of the victim. The lack of knowledge of such rights forecloses the very opportunity to enjoy these rights themselves. (…) The Special Rapporteur is concerned with the obstacles to hold public servants, including members of the security forces, accountable, particularly due to statutory immunities provisions. Section 197 of the CPC requires prior sanction from the concerned government before cognizance can be taken of any offence by a public servant for criminal prosecution. This provision effectively renders a public servant immune from criminal prosecution. It has led to a context where public officers evade liability as a matter of course, which encourages a culture of impunity and further recurrence of violations.  The situation is aggravated by the fact that security officers who committed human rights violations are frequently promoted rather than brought to justice. The Special Rapporteur has heard of the case of Mr. Sumedh Singh Saini, accused of human rights violations committed in Punjab in the 1990s, who was promoted in March 2012 to Director General of Police in Punjab. Promoting rather than prosecuting perpetrators of human rights violations is not unique to Punjab. The Special Rapporteur heard this complaint from families of victims throughout the country. (…) Families of victims face further difficulties as they lack full and easy access to autopsy reports, death certificates and other relevant documentation. Several accounts were given to the Special Rapporteur of post-mortem examinations taking an unnecessarily long time before being conducted and the subsequent deterioration of evidence, their inadequate conduct, as well as of an inability of the families to obtain death certificates for a very long period. (…) Concerns have been voiced to the Special Rapporteur on unmarked graves found in Jammu and Kashmir containing bodies of victims of extrajudicial executions from the 1990 to 2009 period. The Special Rapporteur was informed that a total of 2,700 unmarked graves containing over 2,943 bodies have been discovered, some of these graves containing more than one body.  (…) The Special Rapporteur was presented with several cases of enforced disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir, and the difficulties to seek accountability and redress in those cases. The Government has estimated that 4,000 people have gone missing, and claimed in exchanges with the Special Rapporteur that a large portion of those allegedly missing crossed the border to join armed groups in Pakistan. (…) The main patterns of unlawful killings in India at present involve, inter alia, killings resulting from various instances of excessive use of force by the security forces, those occurring in the context of attacks by various armed groups, and killings of vulnerable persons.  Impunity is the central problem. The obstacles to accountability, especially the need for prior sanction of prosecutions of civil servants, should be removed. [34]

 

Indian People’s Tribunal on Environment & Human Rights: “Irrespective of age and sex, the Army men handle old and young alike even though they do not have any connection with militants. He gave an example of Mr. Jalil Andrabi a leading lawyer and human rights activist. He was pulled out from his vehicle in front of his family and taken into custody. After some days his body was found mutilated. According to Tahir, the number of widows and orphans is increasing day by day. There are around 10,000 widows between the age group of 18 to 25 years.”[35]

 

Independent People’s Tribunal: “There have been a large number of custodial killings since the conflict began. The pattern in most cases is similar even though the perpetrators may be from different forces serving the Indian state. The cases cited represent the dominant form of this method of violation of human rights. We are citing testimonies of victims, relatives of victims and others with first-hand information to illustrate our findings.”[36]

 

Testimony of Gh Qadir Pandit’s brother: “On the 22nd of May Gh Qadir Pandit, my brother, was taken into custody along with others. While in custody, he was stripped naked, tortured and hung upside down. When we went searching for him at the army camp where he was believed to have been taken, they told us that he had already been killed. An FIR was filed at the police station Bandipora. The sessions court later concluded “custodial death” of the victim that was reported to the High Court of J&K. The high court directed the concerned sessions court to start investigations after three years of our filing the case. Also, there is a jurisdictional ambiguity as to which police station is supposed to investigate into the matter, and therefore a few police stations refused to file the FIR. At this I filed an application in the high court seeking directions to specify the police station concerned in the case, but no orders were passed. However, I was so fatigued following up the matter that we finally chose not to file the contempt petition. I was drained by litigation – mentally and physically. I was also so disillusioned with the justice delivery system in Kashmir that I thought it best not to follow up the case any further.”[37]

 

Testimony of Saleema Begum, sister of victim Nazir Ahmad Gilkar: “On 29th of June 1999, my brother Nazir Ahmad Gilkar was returning from a marriage party, where he had accompanied the bride to her marital home, along with two others – Javed Ahmad Shah and Hilal Ahmad Mattoo – who were his fellow riders on a motorcycle (DL3C 7771). Javed Ahmad had about Rs.47000 in his pocket (which was the money gifted to the bride that was supposed to be given back to the bride’s parents) and some gold ornaments, Nazir Ahmad was also carrying Rs.15000 and so was Hilal Ahmad. Everyone from the contingent returned home save these three men. We suspected Rashid Billa – who was the then SDPO at Soura (and is now an SP) and was feared in the area for having killed about 512 persons extra judicially – may have been involved in taking them into his custody. A group of twenty persons from the neighborhood went to the police station at Soura in order to search for the men. The station had been barricaded from all sides. At this point, Javed Ahmad’s wife saw parked in the ground of the police station the bike that the three had been riding on. When we demanded to meet the detainees, STF personnel chased after us and fired gunshots in air. When we returned to the police station the next morning, the station Munshi yelled at us that we should better search for my brother’s dead body in the villages. We were visiting Hazratbal Shrine when we got to know that a dead body had been recovered from a local nallah and that two other boys had been killed in Baramulla and were not locals. We then went to Baramulla where we found out that the vehicle that had brought the men to Baramulla was from Soura. We then continued searching for the third body that was recovered from the nallah. When we finally found the third body, which belonged to my brother, we found that a wire was tied around his neck and the other end was tied to gunnysacks. He had been brutally hanged and torture marks were visible on his body. (Breaks down, and is taken away from the podium in a semi-conscious state)  The case was transferred to Jammu Lower Court. Our testimony was required in the court, so we went to Jammu. We went to represent ourselves as witnesses, but the same day the matter was transferred to the TADA court. This was another obstacle for us; we started being harassed. That is why we didn’t follow the case. Rashid Billa is involved in 512 murders, but to date, no case has been registered against him. He is currently in Punjab.”[38]

 

Testimony of Zaina Begum, mother of a victim: “18-year-old Imtiaz was working in a bakery in Kulgam district. Around midnight the Special Task Force of J&K police forced entry into our house. All the family members were locked up in one room except my two sons, Imtiaz and Javed. They were taken into another room in the house where they were tortured, as the rest of us could hear their painful shrieks. The STF personnel then took my sons with them as they left the house. After some time, one of my sons was brought back but the other one, Imtiaz, was not. I then went to the local politician, Mehbooba Mufti, asking for her intervention, seeking release of my son; but no appointment was given. We then went back to the local police station where the police assured us that my son would be released by 6 o’clock that evening. In the evening, a constable arrived at our house and said that a male member of the family should accompany him to the police station. We then learnt that they had killed my teenage son. Till 9:30 in the night we were struggling with the police to get my son’s dead body. They were refusing to let us have it until we signed a document that said that my son was a militant. They threatened to kill our entire family if we didn’t do it. However, we resisted the pressure and refused to concede to the absolutely false charge that was being levelled against my son. When we finally received the body, it was mauled. His legs had been amputated. Can you imagine what trauma I would have gone through after seeing my young son’s body so ruthlessly mutilated? My brother-in-law then lodged an FIR in Kulgam, about 30 kms from Bijbehara town. But we were constantly threatened by the police to withdraw it. The threats and harassment were so distressing that we finally had to withdraw the FIR. No postmortem was conducted on my son’s body.”[39]

 

Testimony of Hajra Begum: “My son was a baker by profession. I don’t remember the date, but I remember that 14 RR battalion raided our house. The next day, I went to the army camp, where I saw my son in custody. On the same day, in the evening, RR people again raided the house and we were told that my son had escaped from custody. The youngest son was also taken into custody on the pretext that perhaps the elder son will come back. The next day, I lodged an FIR in the police station at Bandipora. In retaliation the army people put some gunpowder on our house and blew it up. The same people told us the next day that there was a firing incident in Chattergam area, where some boys were killed and my son Bashir was one of them. Nazir, the other son was released later.”[40]

 

Testimony of Mir Hafizulla: “I am a legal advisor to the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons formed by Praveen ji. I hope that these kinds of tribunals when set up should be able to discharge their duty well. I completely fail in understanding why Jaleel Andrabi’s case was not handed over to the CBI. His murderer is till date living in open in California and the Indian Government has till date not been able to do anything about it.  Srinagar has the largest number of disappearance cases and extrajudicial killings. The Government of India is not taking any initiative for the inquiry or seting up of a commission to look into disappearances cases in Kashmir, which is the greatest issue in Jammu & Kashmir.  The incidents are not isolated and the policy is institutionalized. It’s under the guise of draconian laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Disturbed Areas Act and Public Safety Act that army in Kashmir is enjoying power without any accountability and suspicion forms enough grounds to execute those powers. The state government has no mandate to hold an inquiry or probe in any matter that is headed by central government and is carried out by its armed forces. Though an inquiry commission could be set up under the constitution of the unión” government, the Prime Minister and the Home Minister of India claim that the level of violence has decreased. Also there was an emphasis made that there will be zero tolerance for any human rights violation. But last month alone we had six extra judicial killings, which included two minor students in Kashmir. [41]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “Children are routinely picked up and extrajudicially killed including in alleged fake encounters. In this report, ACHR provided 15 cases of extrajudicial execution of children. In a number of cases, extrajudicial executions have been established by the National Human Rights Commission. Two emblematic cases are given below:  Case 1: Killing of Rakhal Gaur (13) by CRPF, Assam   On 8 December 2011 morning, Cobra commandoes of the Central Reserve Police Force reportedly shot dead 13-year-old Rakhal Gaur at his village, Malasi Namkhi Gaur village under Dolamara police station in Karbi Anglong district of Assam. On 9 December 2011, ACHR filed a complaint with the NHRC urging its immediate and appropriate intervention. NHRC registered the complaint (Case NO.348/3/8/2011- PF) and issued notice to Director General, CRPF, New Delhi and Superintendent of Police, Karbi Anglong district, Assam calling for reports within four weeks. (…) Case 2: Killing of 15-year-old Jatan Reang by Assam Rifles, Assam35 On the night of 14 May 2010, Jatan Reang (15 years) was killed in firing by the personnel of 14th Assam Rifles and arbitrarily arrested four other tribal villagers at Gudgudi village under Katli Chara Police Station in Hailakandi district, Assam. The five tribal villagers including the deceased (Jatan Reang) were returning from Boirabi bazaar when they were ambushed by the 14th Assam Rifles from North Tripura over a bridge at Gudgudi village at around 10 PM on 14 May 2010. The 14th Assam Rifles personnel opened fire indiscriminately without any provocation and killed Jatan Reang although they were unarmed and innocent. Following the killing of Jatan Reang, the Assam Rifles personnel arrested the four other Reang tribal villagers and handed them over to Katli Chara police station. On 23 July 2010 ACHR filed a complaint with the NHRC urging its immediate and appropriate intervention. The NHRC registered the complaint as Case No.170/3/21/2010-PF/UC and issued notice to the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. During the course of proceeding, the NHRC received the Magisterial Enquiry Report, Investigation Report of the Superintendent of Police, Hailakandi, and the Post-Mortem Report. The reports confirmed that the minor was fired at from point blank range by a jawan and injured his right thigh. But, the minor was not provided medical care and he died on account of excessive bleeding. (…) Extrajudicial killings of children. Children are routinely picked up and extrajudicially killed including in alleged fake encounters in particular in Manipur. During the fact finding visit of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and Asian Centre for Human Rights visit to Manipur from 18–20 May 2012, human rights organizations submitted a list of 92 cases of extrajudicial executions of children. (…) Case 1: Killing of Ahanthem Amajao (16 years), Manipur On 29 January 2012, Ahanthem Amujao (16 years), s/o Ahanthem Basanta of Sawombung Gate Maning Leikai, Imphal East district, was killed by Manipur Police Commandos in an alleged encounter at Khuman Lampak Palli in Imphal West District. Ahanthem, a school drop-out, worked as a mason to help his parents to meet a square meal for the family. On 27 January 2012 at around 4.30 pm, the deceased left his home but never returned. As the deceased did not return, relatives began searching for him. On 30 January 2012, police informed family members that Ahanthem was killed in an encounter between a team of Imphal West Police Commandos and insurgents at Khuman Lampak Palli on 29 January 2012. The family members and the locals stated that the deceased was never associated in any form with any armed group and alleged that he was tortured and killed in a fake encounter. According to the family, the body of the deceased bore marks of torture as his right arm and left hand were twisted and badly fractured. Autopsy was done at RIMS, Lamphelpat on 31 January 2012 but the report was denied to the family. (…) Case 2: Killing of Rakhal Gaur (13) by CRPF, Assam On 8 December 2011 morning, Cobra commandoes of the Central Reserve Police Force reportedly shot dead 13-year-old Rakhal Gaur at his village, Malasi Namkhi Gaur village under Dolamara police station in Karbi Anglong district of Assam.  On 9 December 2011, ACHR filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission urging its immediate and appropriate intervention. NHRC registered the complaint as Case NO.348/3/8/2011-PF and issued notice to Director General, CRPF, New Delhi and Superintendent of Police, Karbi Anglong district, Assam calling for reports within four weeks. The state government of Assam paid a compensation of Rs.300,000 (three lakhs) to the next of kin of the deceased from the Chief Minister’s Relief fund and in view of this, the NHRC closed the case.  Case 3: Tortured to death of Billo (17) in police custody, J&K On 30 August 2009, 17-year-old Billoo, a resident of Ludhiana in Punjab, died at the lock-up of Adhkuwari Police Station in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir. The minor was picked up by the police for questioning in connection with a theft and pick-pocketing case. The police claimed that Billoo committed suicide by hanging himself in the lock-up of the police station. However, the family of the deceased and the residents of the region alleged that Billoo was tortured to death during questioning in police custody. (…) Case 10: Killing of Soram Rojit, Manipur  Soram Rojit, a class XII student, was allegedly extrajudicially killed by the police at Hatta Golapati in Imphal district of Manipur on 15 February 2008. The police had claimed that the deceased was a militant and killed in an encounter. However, the villagers stated that Soram Rojit was a school student and had no links with militants and was killed in a fake encounter. (…) Case 14: Killing of 9-year-old girl by CRPF, Manipur  On 18 January 2005, three persons including two civilians – Lourembam Maipak (55) and Thokchom Puspa (9) d/o Th. Sobita were killed by the personnel of the 132nd Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at Wangoo Nongyaikhong Mapal Chingongleimakhong, Thoubal district. The CRPF who were patrolling the area which was a public place reportedly opened indiscriminate fire after unidentified men fired at them. Asian Centre for Human Rights filed a complaint with the NHRC on 20 January 2005. In its report submitted to the NHRC, the Superintendent of Police (SP), Thoubal confirmed the killing of three persons including two civilians – Lourembam Maipak (55) and Thokchom Puspa (9) daughter of Th. Sobita allegedly in an encounter between 132nd CRPF and the armed groups.”[42]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “During the night of 26th April 2007, Mr Nongmaithem Tomba alias Chingnung (36), son of Bashikongba of Kumbi Kangjeibung Mapal in Bishnupur district in Manipur, was allegedly shot dead by troops of 7th Assam Rifles while in their custody after he was picked up from his residence. His body was handed over to the Kumbi police station. The Army claimed that he had been killed in an encounter. (…) Mr Budheswar Moran alias Budhee alias Budhay, a tea-garden worker was tortured and killed in a fake encounter on 6 May 2007 by personnel of the 6th Jammu and Kashmir Rifles at Doomdooma in Tinsukia district of Asom. Initially, the army claimed that Mr Moran was a member of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and that the army personnel had recovered weapons, explosives and incriminating documents on him. Army authorities later admitted that Mr Moran’s death was “unfortunate”. They conceded he was innocent and promised to punish those officials involved. (…) On 19 August 2007, a Karbi tribal youth identified as Mr Singh Timung (21), a student of Diphu Government College, was arrested by the Assam Police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) during an anti-insurgency operation at Ingleng Kiri village in Karbi Anglong district in Asom.  The deceased was President of Borlangfar unit of the Karbi Students’ Association (KSA). He was allegedly killed after torture. The security forces claimed that he was a member of the Karbi Longri North Cachar Liberation Front. (…) On the night of 29 July 2007, Mr Maibam Ratankumar Singh (about 40) was arrested without an arrest memo (warrant) from his house at Kwakeithel Dewan Leikai Imphal. He was detained by members of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Division (stationed at Khwairapan pump house in Bishnupur district, Manipur). Mr Singh is a lecturer in the History Department at S. Kula Women’s College, Nambol Kongkham in West Imphal. The Army personnel accused him of being a member of an underground armed group. At the army camp, his arms and legs were bound by army personnel. He was then subjected to waterboarding – simulated drowning. Electric wires were attached to his feet and shocks were applied. The torture lasted for about two hours. On 30 July 2007 he was released.”[43]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “Custodial death of Munder Singh. On 4 July 2008, Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia of the Punjab and Haryana Court in the case of Basant Singh Vs. State of Punjab and Ors. directed the State Government of Punjab to pay a compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the legal heir of Munder Singh who was killed in a fake encounter while in judicial custody in 1991.  The deceased’s father Basant Singh had approached the High Court for a CBI probe into the death of his son in police custody and for adequate compensation. The petitioner had contended that his son Munder Singh was falsely implicated in two cases (FIR No. 125 dated 4-12-1990 and in FIR No. 27 dated 10-3- 1991). Both the cases were registered at Police Station Jaito. Munder Singh was arrested and was sent to Central Jail, Ferozepur on 4 June 1991. On 13 July 1991, Munder Singh was taken out from the Central Jail, Ferozepur for production in the Court at Bathinda. Thereafter his whereabouts was not known. The petitioner had alleged that his son was killed in a fake encounter while in judicial custody on 13 July 1991.  In response to the petition, the State of Punjab had filed an affidavit stating that a police party while returning with Munder Singh after the recovery of a weapon was fired upon by unidentified persons 13 July 1991. Munder Singh was caught in the crossfire while trying to escape and died on the spot. A police constable too was injured in the attack.  The High Court held that the State version on the death of Munder Singh was ‘not inspiring confidence’. In his order, Justice Ahluwalia further observed that:  “After Munder Singh was taken from Central Jail, Ferozepore and the court at Bathinda had remanded his custody to the police, it was the duty of the police to secure his life. His custody has been granted to the police under the orders of the court. To say that he died in crossfire by some unknown persons, especially when Munder Singh was involved in various cases, which had overtones of terrorist crime, such version is to be accepted with a pinch of salt”. “It is ordered that Rs 3 lakh be awarded as compensation to the legal heirs of deceased Munder Singh. The amount shall be deposited in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Faridkot, within three months after the receipt of the copy of the order.”  Custodial death of Natarajan Chettiar.  On 5 February 2008, the Madras High Court in Appellants: Rajammal Vs Respondent: State of Tamil Nadu, rep. by its Secretary, Home Department and Ors (Writ Appeal No. 1018 of 2006) increased the amount of compensation from Rs 3 lakhs to Rs 5 lakhs to the petitioner, Rajammal whose husband Natarajan Chettiar died due to torture in police custody in 1993.  In September 1993, the petitioner’s husband Natarajan Chettiar, who dealt with buying and selling of artificial diamonds and jewels on commission basis, was arrested and detained at Tiruvannamalai police station on the charge of buying alleged stolen jewels. The police allegedly demanded huge amount as bribe.  The petitioner alleged that her husband was tortured to death on 11 September 1993 and that the dead body was thrown in Thachambattu Reserve Forest. She further submitted that she is a poor widow having a large family insisting of three daughters and three sons.  The initial inquiry conducted by the RDO of Tiruvannamalai, cleared the police of any foul play. However, later, another enquiry conducted by another RDO of Tiruvannamalai held the police department responsible for the death of Mr Chettiar. The state government issued G.O.Ms. No. 741 Public (Law and Order-A) Department, dated 8.7.1996, ordering to launch criminal prosecution against the accused police officers. The single Judge of the Madras High Court has held that by virtue of the above G.O. it is clear that the state government has accepted that the deceased had died due to the torture by the police. The single Judge has ordered the respondents to pay a sum of Rs. 3 lakhs as compensation to the petitioner.”[44]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “Case 9: Extrajudicial execution of tribal woman Kunju Mushahary:  Allegation: Extrajudicial execution of 35-year-old Bodo woman, Kunju Mushahary and seriously injuring of her husband by the personnel of the Gorkha Regiment stationed at Runikhata in Chirang district in Assam on 30 November 2004.  Summary of the case: The victims were residents of Samodwisa village under Basugaon police station in the district. The security forces stated that Ms Mushahary was killed in crossfire when a patrol team was engaged in a gunfight with militants. However, family members and villagers contradicted the “crossfire” story of the Army. Kunju’s eldest daughter, Sapna Mushahary (12) who was an eyewitness to the incident said the security personnel involved in the killing of her mother did not even spare her brother. “On hearing gunshots and the cries of my parents, I rushed outside but was forced back indoors. When my younger brother Mithikhang rushed and embraced my father, they kicked him in the face,” she said. Nobody was allowed to go to the site of the killing even five hours after the incident. The villagers also accused the Army of forcing them to sign or give thumb impressions a piece of paper.  Action taken by ACHR: ACHR intervened into the case by filing a complaint with the NHRC on 8 October 2004. ACHR requested the NHRC to direct the Ministry of Defence and State government of Assam to order judicial inquiry into the incident, appropriate actions against the guilty police personnel, interim compensation of Rs 500,000 to the next of kin of the deceased. The NHRC registered the case (Case NO. 114/3/2004-2005-AF).  Result: Pursuant to the NHRC’s directions, Rs. 300,000 (three lakhs) was paid to the next of kin of deceased Kunja Muchahary. As the payment of receipt had been provided to the NHRC, it chose not to proceed further with the case. (…) Case 29: Killing of Gubalya Chakma and injuring of seven others in indiscriminate firing by BSF (…) Allegation: Killing of Gubalya Chakma (45 years) and injuring of seven others in indiscriminate firing by the personnel of 105th Border Security Force (BSF) personnel at Bulongsury village under Tlabung Sub-Division in Lunglei district of Mizoram on 15 April 2006. Summary of the case: At about 9.00 pm on 15 April 2006, a Chakma tribal Buddhist monk, Ven. Gyano Tisso Bhikkhu, was going to deliver religious sermon, called Mangal Sutra, at Bulongsury village accompanied by a devotee. Two BSF personnel – U. S. Mehta, Assistant Commandant and his driver from Khojoisury camp were traveling in a Gypsy (MZ -02- 3331) when they intercepted the Buddhist monk. Both the BSF personnel were heavily drunk. They manhandled the monk and tried to tear his holy robes. The Chakma tribal villagers protested against the misconduct by the BSF officials and did not allow the BSF jeep to leave the place. But a group of BSF personnel from Khojoisury camp arrived there and began indiscriminate lathi-charge upon the villagers without any provocation. They also indiscriminately opened fire several rounds at the unarmed villagers without any provocation and warning. While one villager was killed on the spot, seven others received bullet injuries, some of them are reported to be in serious condition at Lunglei Civil Hospital.  Action taken by ACHR: On 19 April 2006, ACHR filed a complaint with the NHRC seeking its urgent intervention. Among others, ACHR requested the NHRC to direct the Ministry of Home Affairs and the State Government of Mizoram to order a judicial probe into killing of Gubalya Chakma (45 years) and injuring of seven others; direct the Ministry of Home Affairs to immediately suspend the concerned commanding officer of the BSF and initiate stern action against him and other BSF personnel responsible for indiscriminate firing at the unarmed civilians; direct the Ministry of Home Affairs and the State Government of Mizoram to provide a compensation of Rs 5,00000 (five lakhs) to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 100000 (one lakh) each to the injured persons and to provide free treatment of all the injured persons till their complete recovery. The NHRC registered the case (Case Number: 3/16/2006-2007-PF). Result: In response to the Commission’s proceedings, the AC (Ops) Operations Directorate of BSF vide letter dated 30.6.2008 sent the report of Deputy Inspector General (Operations) BSF dated 20.2.2007. The report admitted that Ummed Singh Mehta, Assistant Commandant manhandled the Buddhist monk. All the BSF personnel involved in the incident were tried by General Security Force Court (GSFC) on 12 January 2007. Assistant Commandant U S Mehta and Inspector N.B. Bhatt were found guilty for excessive use of force and punished by forfeiture of 10 years and three years past service for the purpose of pension respectively. The NHRC issued show cause notice to the Secretary, Home, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India as to why compensation be not awarded to the next of kin of the deceased and victims.  The case is still pending before the NHRC. (…) Case 17: Killing of Farooq Ahmad Wani and Ghulam Hassan Mughloo by army:  Allegation: Killing of two persons identified as Farooq Ahmad Wani and Ghulam Hassan Mughloo, and injuring of over a dozen others in indiscriminate firing by the Rashtriya Rifles personnel during a cordon and search operation at Chatroo-Dangerpora in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir on 29 November 2004. Summary of the case: On the morning of 29 November 2004, the Rashtriya Rifles personnel cordoned off the Chatroo-Dangerpora village and launched search operation against the alleged militants that lasted till afternoon. Since they could not have a morsel of food since the morning, an elderly person who was very hungry insisted to have something to eat. At this, the Rashtriya Rifles personnel allegedly beat the elderly person. The other villagers protested against the action against the elderly person and held demonstrations. They too were hit with gun butts. As they continued to protest, the security forces opened fire injuring 14 persons. They also assaulted the villagers and prevented them for some time from taking the injured ones to the hospital for treatment. As a result, Farooq Ahmad Wani and Ghulam Hassan Mughloo succumbed to their injuries. The Army, however, denied the allegations of the local villagers. A spokesman of Victor Force told a local news agency CNS that militants opened fire on security forces in the village during a search operation and in the return fire three civilians were injured.  Action taken by ACHR: On 5 December 2004, ACHR filed a complaint with the NHRC seeking its immediate intervention. Among others, ACHR requested the NHRC to direct the state government of Jammu and Kashmir and the Ministry of Defence to order a judicial probe into the firing by the security forces leading to death of two villagers; direct the investigation wing of the NHRC to conduct an investigation into the extra judicial executions; direct the Ministry of Defence to suspend the guilty security personnel with immediate effect and take punitive actions against them; and provide a compensation of Rs. 5,00000 (five lakhs) to each family of the deceased and Rs 1,00000 (one lakh) each to those injured in the firing. The NHRC registered the case (Case No. 143/9/2004-2005-AF).  Result: The two deceased persons’ family members were given financial relief of Rs. 100,000 each as per the State Government’s policy. In view of this, the NHRC decided not to proceed further with the case.”[45]

 

Human Rights Watch: “The Indian government has never taken effective measures to end these extrajudicial killings. (…) In most cases, the victims of these killings are picked up during “crackdowns” — cordon-and-search operations in which the security forces surround neighborhoods or villages and compel all male adults and teen-aged boys to assemble for identification. Hooded informants point out alleged militants or militant sympathizers. Those pointed out are detained; almost inevitably, a certain number are executed within hours of their arrest. These executions are not aberrations; they are not the occasional excesses of overzealous security officers. These killings are calculated and deliberate, and they are carried out as a matter of policy. (…) Information on the following cases has been obtained from human rights groups in Kashmir, including the PUCL, the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association, the People’s Basic Rights Protection Committee and People’s Commission of Enquiry, a human rights body headed by Justice Bahauddin Farooqi, and from Human Rights Watch/Asia’s independent contacts. This list is illustrative; it does not represent a complete register of deaths in custody, but only those cases about which we were to obtain detailed information by early August 1994.  Bashir Ahmad Khatana, a resident of Wandipora Kokarnag, Anantnag, was arrested by the army during a crackdown in August 1993. His family reportedly approached the army officers, asking permission to see Khatana, but this was refused. On March 28, 1994, after the army unit had moved camp, a decomposed body was found in the area, which was later identified as Bashir Ahmad Khatana.  On December 12, 1993, Abdul Gani Waza, 45, a resident of Tawheed Gunj, Baramulla, was arrested by the 163rd battalion of the BSF from his tea stall and chicken shop near Tashkent Chowk in Baramulla. According to neighboring shopkeepers and other witnesses, the day before, on December 11, Waza had gotten into an argument with members of the battalion who had come to his shop to buy chicken. The BSF reportedly threatened Waza and left his shop without making any purchase. Waza was arrested by the same BSF battalion the next morning at about 11:00 A.M. On December 13, his body was handed over to the local police. The post mortem report concluded that Waza had been tortured. Police registered a case of murder has been registered against the battalion. To Human Rights Watch/Asia’s knowledge, no action has been taken against the BSF battalion responsible.  On March 17, 1994, security forces arrested a number of persons during crackdown operations in Montipora Dharn, Anantnag, including Ghulam Nabi and Farooq Ahmad. On March 25, the bodies of all three were handed over to the families through the local police. All of the bodies had bullet wounds.  Mohammad Abdullah Mir, a sixty-year-old resident of Rigipora in district Kupwara, was arrested by security forces along with his son Abdul Majid on March 22, 1994. He was found shot dead three days later. Local demonstrations were held against Mir’s killing. It is not known what has become of his son.  Abdul Aziz Bhat, a resident of Lal Bazar in Srinagar was arrested by security forces during crackdown operations in Baghwanpora in the presence of a large number of people on March 25, 1994. His body was handed over to his family on the same day. The body bore bullet wounds. Demonstrations against the killing were held in the neighborhood.  Ghulam Nabi, a resident of Larkipora, was arrested by security forces on March 11, 1994. His body was recovered near a stream on March 26.  Abdul Rashid Bhat, a resident of Fatehpora, Baramulla, was arrested at about 6:30 A.M. on March 28, 1994, during a search operation by the 15th Punjab unit of the Indian army at Daradadapora, Baramulla. His body was handed over to local police at about 10:30 P.M. that night. He had been shot at close range.  On March 28, 1994, Mohammad Jamal Teli and Ghulam Ahmad Dar were arrested by security forces during a crackdown at Batagund, Kupwara. Their bodies were handed over to their families on March 29, 1994. Riyaz Ahmad, a resident of Rajbagh, Srinagar, was arrested by security forces during a crackdown on March 29, 1994, in the presence of assembled people from the neighborhood. The police handed over his body to his family on the same day. Protests were held against the killing.  On March 29, 1994, Mohammad “Sultan” Abdullah, a resident of Dradpora, Baramulla, was taken into custody by security forces in the presence of a number of people from the neighborhood who were assembled during a crackdown. According to a report by the Bar Association, he was shot dead in their presence.  Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, a seventy-year-old resident of Machawa, Badgam, was taken into custody by security forces during a crackdown on March 29, 1994. His body was later handed over to his family.  Demonstrations were held against the killing.  Nawaz Ahmad Wani, a resident of Ray Kapran, Shopian, was arrested by security forces at Kapran during a crackdown on April 5, 1994. His body was handed over to his family on April 6.  Mohammad Ashraf Bhat, a resident of Mala Hangal, Baramulla, was arrested by security forces on April 8, 1994 during search operations. His body was handed over to his family later that day. It bore bullet wounds.  Fayaz Ahmad Magloo, 26, a resident of Gani Hamam, Baramulla, was arrested by the BSF at about 11:30 P.M on April 8, 1994, near Stadium Colony. Also arrested were Mohammad Ashraf Ganiee, Farooq Ahmad Gujree and Javed Ahmad Pandit — three alleged members of the militant group Hezb-ul Mujahidin. The men had surrendered after the BSF surrounded Pandit’s house and had threatened to blow it up unless the four turned themselves in. Magloo was killed in their custody in the early hours of April 9 and his body was handed over to his family that day.  After the arrest, Magloo was taken by the BSF to the home of Mohammad Shaban Nadroo, where he was told to point out an alleged arms cache. Witnesses reported that when he failed to do so, the BSF told him that he should be “ready to die.”  Magloo’s body was handed over to local police at about 4:00 P.M. on April 9. The post mortem indicated that he had been burned with heated objects and given electric shock to his genitals. He also had deep cuts in his thighs, chest and abdomen. The police registered a case against the BSF, but to Human Rights Watch/Asia’s knowledge, no action has been taken against the BSF in this case. After this the Baramulla Bar Association called for a strike to protest against the killing. People of the neighborhood observed a strike from April 9 until April 13.   Ghulam Mohammad Wani, a 65-year-old resident of Seel Rawat, Berwah, Badgam, was arrested during a crackdown operation. His body was handed over to his family on April 11, 1994.  Abdul Majid, a resident of Gadapora, Shopian and Mumtaz Ahmad, a resident of Watu, Baramulla, were taken into custody during search operations at Watu Noor-A-Bad on April 12 or 13, 1994. Later the same day, their bodies were handed over to their families.  Mustaq Ahmad Wani, a resident of Seer Sopore, was arrested during a crackdown by the 27th Rajput Rifles, an army unit, on April 14, 1994. His body was handed over to his family through the local police on April 16.  Mohammad Ashraf Tantray, a resident of Boniyar, Baramulla, was arrested during search operations on April 15, 1994. He was shot dead shortly after the arrest, and his body handed over to people of the neighborhood. Demonstrations were held and a strike observed to protest the killing.  Manzoor Ahmad  Sheikh, a resident of Hewan, and Ghulam Nabi (“Naba Jony”), a resident of Sheeri Baramulla, were taken into custody during a crackdown on April 15, 1994. The arrest was witnessed by a number of people from the area who had been made to assemble for identification.  After about four hours, the bodies of the two men were found near a stream in the same area. They had both been shot.  Khursheed Ahmad Magloo, a resident of Bata Muran, Ompora, was arrested on April 16, 1994, during a crackdown, and shot dead shortly afterwards. His body was handed over to his family on the same day. Demonstrations were held in the neighborhood to protest against the killing.  On April 16, 1994, Mohammad Ayub Parray, a resident of Gabarpora, Mohammad Yousf Dar (son of Abdul Gani) and Mohammad Yousaf Dar (son of Ghulam Mohammad), residents of Vesru, and Ali Mohammad Khandy, a resident of Mujapather Keller of Pulwama district, were arrested during a crackdown and shot dead on the same day. Demonstrations were held to protest the custodial killings.  Ghulam Qadir Lone, “Omar”, a resident of Lagripora, Sopore, was taken into custody during a crackdown on April 16, 1994, and shot dead shortly after arrest. His body was handed over to the local police.  On April 17, 1994, the BSF launched a crackdown in the Batmaloo area of Srinagar. Men from the neighborhood were ordered to assemble at the old bus stand, where they were paraded before hooded informants.  Among those arrested was Rafiq Ahmad Pahloo. The next day his body was handed over to the local police. It had deep cuts in the legs, and a bullet wound in the abdomen.  Ghulam Rasool Chopan, a resident of Amar Garh, Sopore, was taken into custody by security forces on April 18, 1994, and shot dead almost immediately after arrest.  Ghulam Mohiuddin, a resident of Shopian, was taken into custody during a crackdown at Chatroos on April 19, 1994. According to the Bar Association, he was shot and killed later that day.  Bashir Ahmad Lone, a resident of Natipora, Sopore, was taken into custody by security forces during a crackdown at Tujar Sharief on April 19, 1994. His body was returned to his family on April 20, 1994. The body bore bullet wounds.  On April 24, 1994, Farooq Ahmad Reshi, 20, Ali Mohammad Bhat, 19, Fayaz Ahmad Dar, 21, and Javeed Ahmad Shah, 20, all residents of Ashajee Pora, Anantnag, were taken into custody by security forces in the presence of a number of people assembled during a crackdown. The four men were shot dead shortly after their arrest. The bodies were handed over to their families by the local police.  Abdul Rashid Parray, a resident of Kawoosa, Badgam, was taken into custody by security forces during a crackdown on April 25, 1994. He was shot dead shortly after the arrest.  On April 26, 1994, Mohammad Yousf Dar, 28, a tractor driver and resident of Barsoo, Tral, was halted on the road by security forces at about 1:45 p.m. The troops then dragged Dar out of the vehicle, and the officer in charge shot at him at the close range, killing him instantly.  Mohammad “Parbat” Shafi, a resident of Wanapu, Anantnag, was taken into custody during a crackdown on April 27, 1994. Two hours later, his body was handed over to his family. The body bore bullet wounds.  Abdul Rashid Bhat, a resident of Khiter Cheek, Qazigund, Anantnag, was taken into custody on April 28, 1994 at Qazigund. His body, which bore bullet wounds and other injuries, was later found near Malik-A-Bad.  Farooq Ahmad Darzi, a resident of That Kandi, Kulgam, was taken into custody on April 28, 1994 during a crackdown at Devsar, Kulgam. He was shot dead shortly after arrest. His body was handed over to his family on the same day by the local police. Demonstrations were held against the killing.  Mohammad Iqbal, a thirty-four-year-old civil engineer, and Bashir Ahmad, both residents of Anantnag, were taken into custody by security forces during a crackdown on April 30, 1994. The Bar Association interviewed a young girl from the neighborhood who said the arrested men were taken before an officer of the rank of Major who ordered his forces to kill them. The security forces then shot both men dead.  On May 3, 1994, during a crackdown operation at Shashipora Budgam, the security forces arrested three men, Khurshid  Ahmad  Wani, Mohammad  Altaf Mir and Nissar  Ahmad Hajam, in the presence of local residents. All three were residents of Budgam district. On May 4, their bodies were handed over to their relations. All of the bodies bore bullet wounds.  On May 4, 1994, Khurshid  Ahmad  Wani, Mohammad  Altaf Mir and Nissar  Ahmad  Hajam, all residents of district Budgam were arrested during a crackdown at Hassipora, Budgam. The next day the bodies of the three men were handed over to their families. All of the bodies bore bullet wounds.  On May 6, 1994, Hamidullah, a resident of Batmaran Shaheed Marg Gandibal of district Anantnag was taken into custody by security forces at Frisal. Later that day, his body was handed over to family by the local police. Protests were held against the custodial death.  Farooq Ahmad and Ghulam Mohammad Mir, residents of district Baramulla, were arrested during a crackdown at Wangam Rafiabad on May 9, 1994. Their bodies were handed over to their families later that day. On May 9, 1994, Farooq Ahmad and Ghulam Mohammad Mir were arrested by security forces during a crackdown operation in Wangam Rafiabad, Sopore. The bodies were handed over to their families later that day. The bodies bore bullet wounds. The killings prompted protests by people of the neighborhood.  On May 18, 1994, Ali Mohammad Hajam, a resident of Rawalpora, and Ghulam Rasool Gazi, a resident of Nadihal, Handwara, were arrested during a crackdown at Gandichabootra, Baramulla. Later that day, the bodies of the two men were handed over to their families by the local police.  Firdoos Ahmad Begh, a resident of Dangerpora, Baramulla, was arrested by the 26th Punjab Rifles, an army unit at Watlab Camp during a crackdown May 18, 1994. His body was handed over to his family on May 19.  People of the neighborhood held demonstrations against the custodial death.  Ghulam Mohammad Wani, a resident of Chatergam, Shopian, was arrested on May 20, 1994. His body was handed over to his family on the same day. Naseer Ahmad Khan, a fifteen-year-old resident of Gurgadi Mohalla, Srinagar, was taken into custody at Nawhatta on May 21, 1994, as he was coming out of a shop. Witnesses reported that the security forces took him to a nearby area called Malkah and shot him dead. Protests were held against the custodial killing.  Mohammad Afzal, a resident of Tarzova, Sopore, and “Shah Baz” (Mohammad Abdullah) were taken into custody by security forces during search operations on May 21, 1994 at Palhallan, Pattan. Both men were shot dead later that day.  On May 21, 1994, Mohammad Afzal, resident of Tarzova, Sopore, and Shahbaz Ahmad were detained by the security forces during search operations in Palhallan, Pattan. Their bodies were handed over to their families later that day.  Khurshed Ahmad, a resident of Phalgam, Anantnag, was taken into custody by security forces on May 22, 1994. He was found shot dead later that day.  Nazir Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Pampore of Pulwama was arrested by security forces on May 25, 1994 and shot dead on the same day. His body was found at Kakpora with bullet injuries to the face.  Riyaz Ahmad Sofi, a resident of Noor Bagh, Srinagar, was arrested by security forces during a crackdown on May 25, 1994. The arrest was witnessed by a number of people assembled in the area. Sofi was reported to be recovering from previous injuries at the time of the arrest. His body was handed over to his family later that day.  Mulvi Ghulam Hassan, a resident of Badgam district, was arrested by security forces on May 26, 1994, and shot dead on the same day. When his family received his body, people from the neighborhood protested against the killing and observed a strike on May 27.  Mohammad Abas, a resident of Zinapora of Pulwama, was arrested by security forces during a crackdown on May 26, 1994. He was reportedly beaten as he was being arrested. His body was handed over to his family on May 27.  Ali Asgar, a resident of Uri Gundanwari of Baramulla district, was arrested by the 11th grade Mohara army unit on May 19, 1994, from his residence at Gundanwari. On May 21, the army unit lodged a report with the local police, claiming that Asgar had escaped from custody. On May 26, Asgar’s relatives discovered his body near a stream. The body bore multiple wounds.  On May 28, 1994, Ali Mohammad Hajam, resident of Rawalpora, and Ghulam Rasool Gazi, resident of Nadihel, Handwara, were arrested by security forces during a crackdown operation in Gundichabootra, Baramulla.  Their bodies were handed over to their families on the same day. The bodies bore bullet wounds.  On May 28, 1994, during crackdown operations in Delina Janwari, Baramulla, Ghulam Ahmad Lone, a resident of Palhalan, and Farooq Ahmad Wani, a resident of Chandipora, were taken into custody by the security forces. Both men were shot dead later that day, and their bodies handed over to their families. On May 28, 1994, Ghulam Ahmad Lone, a resident of Palhalan Pattan, and Farooq Ahmad Wani, a resident of Chandipora of Baramulla district, were arrested by security forces during a crackdown at Adipora Delina. Their bodies were handed over to their families on May 28. Both men had been shot dead.  On May 31, 1994, Gulzar Ahmad Dar and Abdul Qayoon Malik, both residents of Sopore, were arrested by security forces during a crackdown operation in Nowpora, Sopore, and taken to some undisclosed place. Later that day, their bodies were recovered and handed over to their families.  Mohammad  Sultan, a resident of Razan Sonamarg, Srinagar, was arrested by security forces during a crackdown on June 4, 1994. His body was handed over to his family later that day by the local police.  Mohammad Saleem, a resident of Mir Gund, Anantnag, was arrested by security forces on May 23, 1994. His body, which bore multiple injuries, was handed over to his family by the local police on June 4.  Syeed Ali Asgar, a resident of Chandanwari, Baramulla, was arrested on May 9, 1994. His body was found in a river in the area on June 6, 1994. A FIR on the killing has been filed with the local police.  Abu Tariq and Farooq Ahmad Shah, both residents of Duru Shah-a-Bad of Shopian, were arrested by security forces during search operations on June 6, 1994. Their bodies were handed over to their families on June 7.  On June 11, 1994, Showkat Ahmad Lone and Mohammad Ashraf were arrested by security forces during a crackdown at Behrampora, Baramulla. The bodies of the two men were handed over to their families later that day. (…) On March 21, 1994, Taja Begum, a resident of Sheeri, Anantnag, was assaulted by security forces during a neighborhood crackdown when she asked for the release of her son. The soldiers beat her with their rifle butts.  According to the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association, she died shortly thereafter as a result of injuries caused by the beatings. A procession and strike was organized in the neighborhood to protest against the killing.  Nazir Ahmed Rahi told human rights monitors about an incident when a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) unit deliberately fired at his wife and he as they lay prone on the ground. His wife was killed and he was injured.  On April 8, as we were on our way to visit my brother, a grenade exploded near the Rambagh bridge. It had been thrown by a militant at a passing truck, but missed. The CRPF (stationed near the fly-over bridge) opened fire, killing the militant. We were about five hundred meters away at the time. After that, we crossed the road to Barzalla, and came near the security forces. The CRPF ordered us to lie on the ground for our protection. The CRPF opened fire again, and I was shot in the arm and chest. My wife was killed. On the television news it was reported that we had been shot in “cross-fire.”[46]

 

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: “Indian security forces responded to protests with force, which led to casualties and a wide range of alleged related human rights violations throughout the summer of 2016 and into 2018. (…)In responding to demonstrations that started in July 2016, Indian security forces used excessive force that led to unlawful killings and a very high number of injuries. Civil society estimates are that 130 to 145 civilians were killed by security forces between mid-July 2016 and end of March 2018, and 16 to 20 civilians were killed by armed groups in the same period. One of most dangerous weapons used against protesters during the unrest in 2016 was the pellet-firing shotgun, which is a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun that fires metal pellets. (…) Between January 2016 and April 2018, civil society organizations have accused members of armed groups of numerous attacks against civilians, off-duty police personnel and army personnel on leave, including the killing of 16 to 20 civilians. (…) The killing of civilians between 2016 and 2018 raises the question of whether security forces resorted to excessive use of force to respond to protesters, some of whom were throwing rocks. (…) In responding to demonstrations that started in July 2016, Indian security forces used excessive force that led to unlawful killings and a very high number of injuries. The peak of the unrest occurred between July and December 2016. Civil society estimates are that 130 to 145 civilians were killed by security forces between mid-July 2016 and end of March 2018, and 16 to 20 civilians killed by armed groups in the same period. There have been conflicting estimates by authorities on the number of people killed during that period. (…) However, on 12 January 2018, the state government of Jammu and Kashmir informed the state assembly that 51 people had been killed during the unrest in the Kashmir region between 8 July 2016 and 27 February 2017. The state government also said that 9,042 people had been injured during protests in the same period including through injuries sustained from the use of bullets, metal pellets and chemical shells. (…) Civil society groups estimate that between 90 and 105 people were killed during the unrest between July and December 2016. According to Srinagar-based Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), 105 people were killed in the period following protests that spread across the Kashmir Valley after 8 July 2016. It claims deaths were caused by injuries from pellet shotguns, bullets, tear gas shells, as well as by drowning, inhaling chemical shell fumes and shooting by unidentified gunmen. (…) Although not as intense and widespread as in 2016, protests across the Kashmir Valley continued throughout 2017 and into 2018, with several instances of violent clashes between protesters and security forces. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti told the state assembly on 23 January 2018 that 172 people had been killed since 2016: 105 in “law and order problems” (85 in 2016 and 20 in 2017); and 67 people in “militancy related incidents” (19 in 2016 and 48 in 2017). (…) According to human rights groups, a large proportion of those killed during the 2016 unrest died from bullet wounds. (…)There appear to be two distinct patterns concerning the casualties reported from “encounter sites”: 1) what authorities have called “accidental killings” involve people not taking part in protests who are “caught or hit in crossfire” or hit by a “stray bullet”, but Kashmiri civil society organizations and journalists have questioned the narrative of these supposedly accidental killings;  and 2) authorities claiming that some of those killed were helping members of armed groups, including protesters throwing stones at security forces. (…) JKCCS reported 19 people were killed near armed encounter sites in 2017 including 4 women and 1 girl. (…) Civilian killings near armed encounter sites and excessive use of force against protesters continued sporadically in 2018. These killings triggered several large protests across the Kashmir Valley that included long spells of strikes and demonstrations by college students. For instance, on 27 January 2018, three civilians were reportedly killed and several injured in Shopian district when Indian Army personnel fired at protesters, some of whom were reportedly throwing stones at security forces.  An army spokesperson told the media on the same day that the soldiers fired at the protesters in self-defence. The Corps Commander of Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lieutenant General A.K. Bhatt stated his soldiers would only resort to firing in case of high provocation or danger to their lives.”[47]

 

Human Rights Watch: “Deaths of criminal suspects in custody occurs too often in India. In response to this longstanding problem, Indian authorities including the courts and the National Human Rights Commission have set out detailed procedures to prevent and punish police use of torture and ill-treatment. However, Indian police still often torture suspects to punish them, gather information, or coerce confessions.  According to the National Crime Records Bureau, between 2010 and 2015, 591 people died in police custody. Police blame most of the deaths on suicide, illness, or natural causes.  For instance, of the 97 custody deaths reported by Indian authorities in 2015, police records list only 6 as due to physical assault by police; 34 are listed as suicides, 11 as deaths due to illness, 9 as natural deaths, and 12 as deaths during hospitalization or treatment. However, in many such cases, family members allege that the deaths were the result of torture. (…) Police investigators often close cases relying solely on the accounts of the implicated police officers. Maja Daruwala, executive director of the New Delhi-based rights organization Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, which has long campaigned for police reform, said that even though police deny that they engage in cover-ups to protect officers who commit abuse, there are serious gaps in both accountability and supervision: “The police as an organization has to decide whether shielding bad policing, illegal policing, and what amounts to murder is of value to their efficiency.” (…) For instance, police in Hyderabad failed to register the arrest of B. Janardhan after they picked him up on August 2, 2009. Family members said they saw him in police custody on August 3, when four policemen brought him briefly to his house. They said he was handcuffed and that the officers repeatedly beat him. On August 4, Janardhan died while in police custody. The police refused to admit to any wrongdoing, telling family members, “What could we do? He died of a heart attack.” But Janardhan’s brother Sadanand said that the body had injuries from apparent police beatings. The police initially denied that Janardhan was illegally detained for two days, but following protests, the police chief admitted that his officers were negligent and Janardhan should have been brought to the police station, with his arrest duly noted, instead of being taken on a search operation.  As in Janardhan’s case, Indian police often bypass Supreme Court rules to prevent custodial abuse set out in the case of D.K. Basu v. West Bengal nearly two decades ago in 1997. Since incorporated into the amended Code of Criminal Procedure, the rules call for the police to identify themselves clearly when making an arrest; prepare a memo of arrest with the date and time of arrest that is signed by an independent witness and countersigned by the arrested person; and ensure that next of kin are informed of the arrest and the place of detention.  The rules require arrested persons to be medically examined after being taken into custody, with the doctor listing any pre-existing injuries—any new injuries will point to police abuse in custody. Another important check on police abuse is the requirement that every arrested person is produced before a magistrate within 24 hours. The magistrates have a duty to prevent overreach of police powers by inspecting arrest-related documents and ensuring the wellbeing of suspects by directly questioning them.  In practice, these protections have not prevented the worst custodial abuses. According to government data, in 67 of 97 deaths in custody in 2015, the police either failed to produce the suspects before a magistrate within 24 hours as required by law, or the suspects died within 24 hours of being arrested.  Agnelo Valdaris and three co-accused in April 2014 were beaten by police in Mumbai so they would confess to stealing goods. While the suspects said they were warned from saying anything during the mandatory medical check-up, the medical report includes a record that Valdaris told the doctor his injuries were a result of police beatings. Before he could be produced before a magistrate, the police said that Valdaris was hit and killed by a train while trying to escape—a conclusion his co-accused found implausible given his physical condition. “The police personnel killed my son because they were scared that he was going to complain about the torture to the magistrate,” Valdaris’s father told Human Rights Watch. (…) Human Rights Watch research, court decisions, and media accounts show that these steps are frequently ignored. According to government data, a judicial inquiry was conducted in only 31 of the 97 custodial deaths reported in 2015. In 26 cases, there was not even an autopsy of the deceased. In some states, an executive magistrate—who belongs to the executive branch of the government as do the police, and therefore is not independent and is likely to face pressures not to act impartially—conducts the investigation rather than a judicial magistrate. (…) After Shyamu Singh died in police custody on April 15, 2012, in Uttar Pradesh state, police said that Singh had committed suicide. But his brother who was arrested with him said that after their arrest, both were stripped down to their underwear and tortured: [The police officers] put us down on the floor. Four people held me down and one man poured water down my nose continuously. I couldn’t breathe.  Once they stopped on me, they started on Shyamu. Shyamu fell unconscious. So they started worrying and talking among themselves that he is going to die. One of the men got a little packet and put the contents in Shyamu’s mouth.  Shyamu Singh died in the hospital. The police dismissed allegations of death from torture after holding a cursory internal investigation. The state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) conducted an initial investigation and concluded in 2014 that seven police officers were responsible for torturing Singh and poisoning him to death. However, a final inquiry report submitted a year later cleared all seven. (…) B. Janardhan, 29, worked for a private security firm as a supervisor in Hyderabad city. On August 4, 2009, Janardhan died while in police custody. His family alleges he was detained illegally and died from police torture. According to his older brother, B. Sadanand, when Janardhan was initially picked up on August 2, the family did not know that it was the police since the men were in civilian clothes and did not identify themselves. Sadanand said:  I used to live next door. My sister came and woke me up saying they are taking our brother away. By the time I came they had taken him away. No one knows who came and picked him up. At that time, we didn’t know if they were policemen. We just knew that some people kidnapped him.  The next morning, on August 3, Sadanand went to the closest police station, Golconda, and lodged a missing person complaint. The police told him that they had relayed the message to all police stations on wireless but were unable to find his brother. According to Sadanand, on the morning of August 4, a sub-inspector from Golconda police station told him that his brother might be at the L.B. Nagar police station. Sadanand told Human Rights Watch that when he went to L.B. Nagar police station, he did not find Janardhan there either.  Family members said that while Sadanand was still at the L.B. Nagar police station, four policemen in civilian clothes brought Janardhan briefly to his house. The family members allege that Janardhan was handcuffed, and that the officers repeatedly beat him.  Sadanand alleged that police confiscated the family television set, a gold ring, and a gold chain, but later returned the television. That evening, on August 4, his family learned from a news broadcast that Janardhan had died. Sadanand told Human Rights Watch:  The news said that he died in L.B. Nagar police station due to heart attack. So then we went to L.B. Nagar police station. Lots of people from media were there. For three hours, the police officials kept telling us: “We will give you justice. What could we do? He died of a heart attack.”  Sadanand alleged that Janardhan’s body had injuries from an apparent police beating on his legs, soles of the feet, and genitals, and that the severe beating by the police after his arrest caused his death. (…) The family of Senthil Kumar, 33, alleges that he died from a severe beating by the police at the Vadamadurai police station in Dindigul district in Tamil Nadu state. The police assert that Kumar died of a heart attack a few hours after he was arrested on the night of April 5, 2010. (…) Kumar’s mother and brother told Human Rights Watch that they witnessed Kumar’s arrest by six policemen—half of them in uniform—at about 11 p.m. on April 4 at the local temple where a festival was underway, and not at 1 a.m. as the police asserted. His brother, Sasi Kumar, said the police did not have an arrest warrant and did not show one when asked, instead beating up his brother. The family members followed the police to Vadamadurai police station but were not allowed to enter. His mother, Saraswathi, said she could hear her son’s voice screaming in pain from inside.  “I asked the DSP [deputy superintendent of police] Maheswaran about the sounds,” Saraswathi said. “And he replied through the window grill, ‘Don’t worry this is not your son’s voice. You go, your son will reach home in the morning.’” Kumar’s family left the station that night but were informed the next morning by a friend that the police had taken Senthil Kumar to the government hospital, where he died. (…) Police in Raninagar arrested Rajib Molla, 21, on February 15, 2014, in Murshidabad district in West Bengal state. He died the same day. The police assert that he committed suicide, but his wife, Reba Bibi, alleges his death was due to police torture. Reba Bibi said that on the morning of February 15, about five police officers in civilian clothes came to their house. The police officials said they had an arrest warrant but did not show it to the family. Reba Bibi added that the police did not prepare an arrest memo or tell the family members why Molla was being arrested or where they were taking him. Reba Bibi and her mother-in-law went to the Raninagar police station that evening to see Molla but were not allowed to meet him. Reba Bibi said when she asked the policemen if they had beaten him, one of them said to her, “Not enough. We will beat him a lot more in the coming days.” She said they could see Molla being beaten by four policemen from a window: “We could see that his hands were tied at the back and he was being beaten up. They were beating him with boots and slapping him. They also beat him with sticks.”  Reba Bibi and her mother-in-law first received news of Molla’s death that evening from villagers who said they had seen it on local television news. They went to the police station to inquire and were told that Molla had been admitted to Godhanpara primary hospital. But when they went to the hospital, they did not find him there. Meanwhile, villagers gathered at the police station after hearing the news of Molla’s death, to demand his body. The family was finally informed by the village headman that they should collect Molla’s body from the district hospital at Berhampore. There, they found the body lying outside the mortuary under a tree, covered by a tarpaulin sheet. His wife told Human Rights Watch that her husband’s body had a bruise on his neck, and there were injury marks on his back and on the soles of his feet. “His eye was swollen and there were stains on his clothes,” she said. The post-mortem report concluded that he died due to “hanging,” and did not note any external injuries on his body other than on his neck. (…) On May 8, 2011, at about 10:30 p.m., four policemen from the Civil Lines police station came to 59-year-old Abdul Aziz’s house in Aligarh city in Uttar Pradesh state and took him with them. The family alleges that the police refused to show an arrest warrant or divulge details of why Aziz was being arrested or where they were taking him. When Aziz’s family members reached the police station, they were told that Aziz had taken ill and that they had taken him to the J.N. Medical College. When his son Jamshed asked the chief medical officer at the hospital what his father was being treated for, he was told Aziz had been declared dead on arrival. The police reported that Aziz died of a heart attack, but his family believes he died from mistreatment. The hospital’s medical report supported the police version and said it was a case of “cardiac arrest in police custody,” but the autopsy report noted an abrasion on his neck and concluded he died due to “asphyxia as a result of strangulation.” (…) Obaidur Rahman, 52, a farmer in Sonakul village in Malda district in West Bengal, was wanted by the police in a criminal case arising out of a land dispute with his neighbor. Rahman’s family alleges that police arrested him on January 21, 2015, and he died within 24 hours from police abuse. The police, however, deny taking him into custody, saying that he fell ill while he was outside the police station and that they merely brought him to the hospital.  According to Rahman’s family, the police arrested him on January 21 from his daughter’s house in Balupur village at about 8:30 p.m. The family alleged the police beat him up while arresting him. The policemen did not have an arrest warrant with them, nor did they provide any information regarding where and why they were taking him, his wife, Sanoara Begum, told Human Rights Watch. She said that family members who were with him recognized that the police were from Harishchandrapur police station so assumed he had been taken there. His daughter received a call from the police around midnight that night informing them that Rahman’s condition was serious and they should visit Malda hospital. (…) [The case of] Safikul Haque, West Bengal: In a third case described above, Safikul Haque, arrested by West Bengal police in December 2012 and allegedly beaten with a stick and kicked, complained while in police custody of pain in his spine and chest, and of breathlessness. According to his wife, Haque was denied medical care for five days. She said: He was unable to stand. He used to talk to me [in police lock-up] while sitting on the floor. He had to swallow the food with water. He said he was unable to eat. He had headaches, stomach pain, but they didn’t allow me to give him any medicines. When Haque was remanded to judicial custody on December 12, 2012, the judge directed that he receive medical assistance at the prison hospital. However, his health continued to deteriorate, his wife said. On January 7, 2013, Haque was taken to the Berhampore hospital for a checkup and treatment, where he died the same evening. His wife told Human Rights Watch that when she saw him at the hospital he was in considerable pain:  When I went to him, he told me to say prayers for him and at the same time cursed the superintendent of police. He told me he had congestion and couldn’t breathe. He was badly bruised. When he removed his shirt, I found dark bruises from a lathi [heavy stick]. His chest was full of dark bruises and I also saw marks on his thighs and legs. I asked him about the bruises on his chest and he said they were from police boots.  A judicial inquiry found that Haque died of cardiogenic shock arising from a respiratory problem, and noted that there was a delay by the prison authorities in taking him to a hospital, albeit unintentional. The National Human Rights Commission noted that the magistrate’s inquiry showed that the prison authorities had been negligent in not ensuring medical help for Haque in time. (…) Shaik Hyder, 25, of Nagaram village, Nizamabad district in Telangana state, was arrested by the police on March 21, 2015, for alleged bicycle theft. He died the same day in police custody, according to the police as a result of injuries sustained when he tried to escape. Hyder’s family alleges that he died because of brutal beatings by the police. They say police failed to get him timely medical treatment, and that he lay injured within police premises for hours before the police gave them permission to take him to a hospital.  According to the First Information Report (FIR) filed by the police against Hyder, he was booked under penal code sections 379 and 511 following a complaint for theft at 1:30 p.m. on March 21. Police at Nizamabad Town One police station filed a second FIR against Hyder at 3 p.m. under penal code section 224, alleging resistance to lawful apprehension. According to the second FIR, this incident took place at 1:45 p.m.  Hyder’s relatives dispute the police timeline. They said the police called them at about 1 p.m. to inform them of the arrest. When Hyder’s sister and younger brother reached the police station at about 2 p.m., they said they were kept waiting for an hour before being taken behind the station where Hyder lay unconscious on the ground, covered with a tarpaulin sheet. They believe that the second FIR was filed to cover up Hyder’s death from police abuse. His sister, Ajmeri Begum, told Human Rights Watch:  We went there and asked where he was. [The policemen] kept us standing outside for one hour. They were busy playing games on their mobile phones and laughing.… They pushed me out of the police station. They took my younger brother behind the police station. There, [Hyder] was lying under the tree almost unconscious.  Despite Hyder’s serious injuries, the police did not take him to a hospital. Instead, the police put Hyder in an auto-rickshaw and asked his sister and brother to take him to a nearby hospital. After two hours at the hospital, the doctors there asked the family to take Hyder to a hospital in Hyderabad city for better care. The police arranged for an ambulance to take Hyder to Hyderabad, where he was declared dead on arrival. According to the postmortem report, Hyder’s death was caused by a deep and sharp cut on the sole of his left foot and the ensuing complications. The report concluded that the cut was caused by a “jump on the sharp edged broken ceramic lavatory basin material.” This supported the police version of events, according to which Hyder sustained injuries while trying to escape by climbing the police station compound wall. (…) [The Case of] Rajib Molla, West Bengal: Police filed a case of unnatural death due to suicide on February 15, 2014. Molla’s wife, Reba Bibi, filed a written complaint with the superintendent of police in Murshidabad district alleging Molla was murdered in police custody, but no action was taken.  Reba Bibi then filed a petition in April 2014 at the magistrate’s court in Lalbagh, Murshidabad district, accusing four police officials at the Raninagar police station of killing her husband in custody. The court, after recording witness statements, found prima facie evidence to proceed against the accused police personnel for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and issued summons to them. But the accused police officials filed a criminal revision challenging the order in the sessions court at Lalbagh. At a January 2016 hearing of the criminal revision application, the state’s public prosecutor, Shaukat Ali, pointed to section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and argued that government sanction was required to prosecute the police.  Reba Bibi’s lawyer argued that the public prosecutor should not have appeared for the accused because doing so was a violation of legal ethics. According to Kirity Roy, the secretary of the rights group Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), the actions of the public prosecutor in this case “shows that the accused police personnel are backed by their official powers and supported by the government machinery.” On February 1, 2016, the sessions court allowed the criminal revision application and set aside the April 2014 order, asking the magistrate’s court to hold a further inquiry relying on materials relevant to Molla’s death. The inquiry was pending at time of writing. (…)Indian police often torture criminal suspects to punish them, to gather information, or to coerce confessions. Despite changes in laws and guidelines and the promise of police reforms since 1997, official data shows at least 591 people died in police custody between 2010 and 2015. While police blame most of the deaths on suicide, illness, or natural causes, in many such cases family members allege that the deaths were the result of torture; allegations sometimes supported by independent investigations. Bound by Brotherhoodexamines the reasons for the continuing impunity for custodial deaths in India, and recommends steps that authorities should take to end it. It details the scope of the problem drawing on in-depth Human Rights Watch investigations into 17 custodial deaths that occurred between 2009 and 2015. In most of these cases, family members, with the assistance of lawyers and activists, were able to seek new inquiries, thus providing access to witness testimonies, autopsy reports, or police statements. In each of the 17 cases, the police did not follow proper arrest procedures—including documenting the arrest, notifying family members, or producing the suspect before a magistrate within 24 hours—which made the suspect more vulnerable to abuse and may have contributed to a belief by police that any mistreatment could be covered up. In most of the cases, investigating authorities, mainly the police, failed to take steps that could have helped ensure accountability for the deaths.”[48]

 

Police constable testifying in Julfar Shaikh’s custodial death investigation, Mumbai, March 2013: “This is what I have to say about the wounds on the body of the said accused. Since he was a hard core criminal, he refused to give any information. It was essential to get that information from him, that’s why [the police] used the “truth seeking” belt and beat him up in front of me. He was so weak after the beating that when he got up to drink water, he was dizzy with pain and collapsed against the window, breaking his lower jaw.”[49]

 

Human Rights Watch: “Indian army and paramilitary forces have been responsible for innumerable and serious violations of human rights in Kashmir. Extrajudicial executions are widespread. Police and army officials have told Human Rights Watch that alleged militants taken into custody are often executed instead of being brought to trial because they believe that keeping hardcore militants in jail is a security risk. Most of those summarily executed are falsely reported to have died during armed clashes between the army and militants in what are euphemistically called “encounter killings.” A well-known example is the murder of five men who were identified by the police and army as the militants responsible for the massacre of thirty-six Sikhs in Chattisinghpora in 2000 and then killed in a supposed armed encounter. Forensic tests ordered by the state government later showed them to be local villagers who were innocent of the Sikh massacre.  In many other cases Indian security forces have shot civilians under the authority of laws such as the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, which allow lethal force to be used “against any person who is acting in contravention of any law or order for the time being in force in the disturbed area.” For example, on February 23, 2006, soldiers in Handwara shot at a group playing cricket, suspecting that a militant was hiding among them, and killed four boys, including an eight-year-old. Even the army has admitted that the extraordinary powers to shoot have led to “mistakes.” The army described as an “error of judgment” the July 2005 killing of three teenage boys in Kupwara who had sneaked away to smoke a cigarette at night and were shot without warning by troops. Such mistakes, which are not uncommon, greatly inflame public passions in Jammu and Kashmir. (…) The Beijbehara killings: On October 22, 1993, at least thirty-seven people were killed when personnel from the 74th Battalion Border Security Force (BSF) opened fire to disperse more than ten thousand people marching on the National Highway in Beijbehara in Jammu and Kashmir. The protestors were demonstrating against an earlier incident of firing on protestors near the Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar.  One eyewitness recalled the events to Human Rights Watch:  The people had gathered on the National Highway which passes through Beijbehara town. It was like this even then, narrow, with shops on both sides of the road. There were thousands of people shouting slogans. But it was peaceful…. The BSF just opened fire without any warning. It was terrible. There were so many people lying on the ground. Others were running in panic…. This road, this very road, was full of blood. (…) Chattisinghpora massacre and ensuing killings:  On March 20, 2000, on the eve of a visit by then U.S. President Bill Clinton to India, armed men in Indian army uniforms entered the village of Chattisinghpora in Anantnag district at night. The villagers, most of them Sikhs, were told that it was a routine investigation and identity check. Male residents were asked to come out of their homes with their identification cards.  Once they were lined up outside, however, the gunmen opened fire, killing thirty-six and injuring several others. It was the first time in more than a decade of violence in Jammu and Kashmir that the Sikh community had come under attack. (…) In August 2000, the government said that it had evidence that the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba was behind the killings.  In response to a notice from the National Human Rights Commission, the director general of police of Jammu and Kashmir, Gurbachan Jagat, said a case had been registered and investigations were in progress. The commission said that according to information received from the government of India:  Of the twenty accused persons identified in connection with the killing of 35 Sikhs, 6 were killed in subsequent encounters; 2 were further detained under the Public Safety Act and 12 were absconding. A charge sheet has been filed in the case on 13 November 2000. The report stated three Pakistani nationals belonging to Lashkar-e-Toiba had confessed their involvement in the killings.  On March 25, 2000, the security forces claimed that five militants responsible for the massacre had been killed in an armed encounter at Pathirabal. The encounter was later found to have been fabricated; the dead men were ordinary villagers. On April 3, 2000, security forces opened fire on a demonstration in Brakpora to protest the killing of the five villagers, this time killing eight civilians.  Pathirabal killings: On March 25, 2000, five days after the Chattisinghpora massacre, Farooq Khan, senior superintendent of police in Anantnag, claimed that security forces had killed the militants responsible for the killings in an operation in Pathirabal, Panchalthan. Describing the joint operations by the police led by Khan and the army’s 7th Rashtriya Rifles led by Col. Ajay Saxena, Khan told journalists that assault rifles, grenades, and two wireless sets had been recovered from the militants who all belonged to the Abu Maaz unit of a foreign militant group. They had been hiding inside a hut that later caught fire. Director General of Police Jagat said a member of the Hizb-ul-Mujahedin had provided information about the militant hideout. All of the militants were “probably foreigners,” he said, adding: “It is certain that they were the killers.” The daily update for March 25, 2000, on an army website claims: “5 foreign terrorists (Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba group) killed. These terrorists were involved in the massacre of 36 innocent Sikhs on the night of 20 March.”  The army handed over the bodies to the police and filed a police report.  The bodies were badly mutilated, with three completely charred and another that had been decapitated. All of them were buried by the police.  Meanwhile, a number of villagers had been abducted on March 24, 2000, from three different places in the area, and missing person complaints had been lodged at the local police station. After hearing about the killing of so-called militants, villagers went to the site of the killings, where they found some items of clothing belonging to two of the five missing men. Local residents of the area insisted that those killed were not militants but the abducted men who had then been murdered in a fake encounter, and the bodies burned to prevent identification.  An army spokesman, however, said: “Genuine terrorists have been killed. Do not give much credence to these reports about a fake encounter. People are twisting facts.””  Refusing to believe the official version, the villagers held several protests. On April 1, 2000, the Chief Judicial Magistrate ordered Deputy Superintendent of Police Sheikh Abdul Rahman to investigate the matter to ascertain whether the dead men were civilians or armed gunmen. An inquiry was also launched into the disappearance of the five villagers. At the same time, the district magistrate ordered that the bodies be exhumed for identification.  The bodies were finally exhumed on April 6-7, 2000. Although badly burnt, relatives identified the bodies. However, the identification was not conclusive.  (…) [M]any Kashmiris believe that Farooq Khan [Senior Superintendent of Police] knows what happened, even if he did not take part in the faked armed encounter, and has therefore obstructed justice. They base their opinion on an earlier report of a commission headed by Justice S. R. Pandian set up to inquire into the Barakpora incident described below2 which said that the security forces had deliberately obliterated evidence of the Pathirabal operation by completely charring three of the five bodies… and leaving one of the remaining with missing of the entire upper portion of the body over and above the chest including the head—all with a malafide intention of getting rid of even the last traces of physical identity and finally burying all the dead bodies in various places within a radius of 2 to 2 ½ km and far away from the scene of the alleged encounter.   During inquiries by Justice Pandian, Senior Superintendent Farooq Khan said that the police could not be held responsible for the events at Pathirabal. The operation in which the five villagers were killed, he said, was conducted by the army. On questioning, he clarified that although the operation at Pathirabal had been conducted jointly by the police and the army, police representatives had “accompanied the Army, but [had] not necessarily [taken part] in the actual shoot out.” He said that although representatives of the police had been with the commandant of the unit, “Army operations are always led by their officers. (…) Barakpora killings: After the March 25, 2000 killing of the five alleged foreign militants in Pathirabal, villagers went to the site of the encounter. As described above, villagers immediately began a protest, insisting that the encounter was faked and that five innocent villagers had been killed.  They persisted in challenging the “encounter” and demanded that the bodies be exhumed, insisting that the police had picked up and “disappeared” ordinary citizens; their demands over the following few days led to the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s offer to exhume the bodies.  On April 3, 2000, several hundred demonstrators set out on a march to the district headquarters in Anantnag to present a petition to the deputy commissioner to speed up the exhumation. At a junction of three streets was the Brakpora Camp, composed of one building housing police personnel, and another the 54th Battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force, who were jointly involved in combating militancy in the area.  The police and Central Police Reserve Force at the camp opened fire on the procession, killing eight people and injuring at least fifteen. The police claimed that they had opened fire because the protesters had hurled stones at them and that some militants, posing as unarmed demonstrators, had fired on the military camp prompting return fire.  The police also blamed the deaths of unarmed protestors on militants, stating that those killed had been shot from behind, a claim disputed by eyewitnesses.  There were angry protests in the state assembly, with legislators insisting that those responsible for firing on the demonstration be punished. Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, after visiting Brakpora, suspended several police officers implicated in the shooting and also ordered that three senior officers from the district, including the deputy inspector-general of police, senior superintendent of police and the deputy commissioner, be transferred. (…) Former High Court judge S.R. Pandian was asked to head the commission set up to investigate the police shooting. His report, issued on October 27, 2000, concluded that:  There can be no second opinion that the incident that had taken place in front of the SOG [Special Operations Group] and CRPF Camp at Brakpora/Bulbul Nowgam, Anantnag is nothing but a sort of butchery [by the troops] in which eight innocent persons had laid down their lives and 14 persons sustained injuries, some of them very seriously. The loss to life is irrevocable. (…) Justice Pandian, who also examined the causes that led to the incident at Brakpora, said that its “direct root causes” were linked to the Chattisinghpora massacre and the faked encounter killings in Pathirabal.  His commission fixed responsibility on seven people: three policemen and four members of the CRPF.  Both officers in-charge, Ashok Kumar of the state police and R. P. Roy of the CRPF, were held responsible. The commission findings were unequivocal, stating that the shooting was “nothing short of an unwarranted brutal attack amounting to murder, attempt to murder and causing grievous and simple hurt, without any justification and authority.”(…) Nearly six years on, the three policemen have yet to be arrested or charged. There is no information available about any action taken against CRPF personnel. (…) The most alarming human rights problem in Jammu and Kashmir remains the high number of unlawful killings by security forces.  During fighting between government forces and militants, the laws of war—specifically common article 3 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and customary laws of war—apply. The laws of war prohibit attacks on civilians and attacks that do not discriminate between civilians and valid military targets. Civilians have been victims of fighting in which they were shot in the crossfire, but they have also been subjected to laws of war violations in which the security forces did not take all feasible precautions to distinguish between civilians and militants. The security forces have then often sought to claim that those shot were militants or civilians who died in crossfire. (…) Another recent example of a disputed case is the death of Abdul Wali Khatana, Maulvi Mohammad Farooq, and Mohammad Farooq in Batgund Heepora village on January 17, 2006. Villagers told the Public Commission on Human Rights that the three men, who were associated with a local madrassah (Islamic school), were taken into custody four days earlier and later executed. The army said that the men were members of the Hizb-ul-Mujahedin and were killed in an ambush. According to army spokesman Col. V.K. Batra, Khatana had indeed been called for questioning by the 7th Rashtriya Rifles, but he left the army camp and went underground. According to the army the three militants were killed after an exchange of fire; a pistol and two rifles were allegedly recovered from the militants.  The villagers refused to accept this version and held protest demonstrations until district authorities promised an inquiry.  Two other cases investigated by Human Rights Watch are illustrative. According to an army report filed with the police, Mohammad Ibrahim Dar and Ishfaq Ahmad Rather were killed by the 2nd Rashtriya Rifles in Lawaypora in Srinagar in an armed encounter on September 29, 2005.  Relatives of Mohammad Ibrahim, a Hizb-ul-Mujahedin commander, insisted that he had been arrested and then killed in a faked encounter. So did the brother of Ishfaq Ahmad, another Hizb-ul-Mujahedin commander who was allegedly killed in the same encounter.  It is difficult, as in most such cases, to establish exactly what happened, but Salima Ganai, Mohammad Ibrahim’s sister, said that when his body was handed over to the family, it bore signs of torture. (…) In some cases the photograph of a missing Kashmiri turns up in the newspaper or police station as that of a dead “foreign militant” killed in an encounter. In such cases (some of which are described below), the family of the deceased may file a complaint or appeal for exhumation of the body to identify the victim and hold proper burial ceremonies. (…) Killing of three youths in Vilgam, Kupwara, July 24, 2005: Bilal Ahmed Sheikh, Shabir Ahmed Shah, Wasim Ahmed Wani, and Manzoor Ahmed Shah were attending the wedding festivities of Manzoor Ahmed’s elder brother. (…)Close to midnight, they slipped out and walked a short distance to the outskirts of the village, where hidden from disapproving adults, they lit a cigarette. (…) The groom, Farooq Ahmed Shah, remembers the sudden sound of gunfire. Everyone was shocked. (…) As soon as the firing stopped, the villagers scurried home to safety. The parents of the youths worried about their sons, but assumed that they had decided to stay with a friend. At about 4 a.m. soldiers arrived at the home of Farooq Ahmed Shah. “They said my brother had been injured and asked my father to come with them to the hospital.” (…) By then, the other youths had already been discovered as missing. At around 9:30 a.m., the village headman returned with some soldiers and told the villagers that the army had opened fire, claiming to have mistaken the four teenagers for militants. Three of them, Bilal Ahmed, Shabir Ahmed, and Wasim Ahmed, had been killed. Manzoor Ahmed was in hospital with critical injuries.  The army apologized for the incident and offered 300,000 rupees (U.S.$6,500) in compensation for each of the three deaths. (…) Killing of Parvez Ahmad Dar, Kangan, Pulwama, July 20, 2005: Just four days before the incident at Vilgam, sixteen-year-old Parvez Ahmad Dar went with his father and uncle to open irrigation channels into their paddy field in Kangan village. Water is in short supply and villagers take turns to use the precious resource. While returning, Parvez Ahmad fell behind his father and uncle, who walked ahead carrying an oil lantern, a rule at night in rural Jammu and Kashmir to distinguish villagers from militants, who tend to use flashlights. According to Kabir Ahmad Dar, the victim’s uncle:  We heard firing and we went into a neighbor’s hut for safety. We did not know where the boy was, but we thought he must have run to the village. At 6 a.m. the army said there was a crackdown and called everyone outside. There was a major with the soldiers and he said there had been crossfiring. We said there was no crossfire. The firing had come from only one side…. We wanted to go search for my nephew who was not in the village. The major refused to let us go…. He said that my nephew was a militant and had been shot while running away. When we started shouting then he finally admitted that a child had been killed by mistake.  The villagers ran to the field and found Parvez Ahmad lying there. He had been shot in the back. The villagers insist that the troops had opened fire without provocation. But Lt. Gen. S.S. Dhillon, the commanding officer of the 15th Corps, said that Parvez Ahmad was killed in “retaliatory fire” and that there was “a big difference between the July 20 and July 24 incidents.”  An inquiry was promised after protests by the villagers, but if it actually took place the results have not been made public. (…) Killing of Mohammad Ramzan Dar, Gundipora, Budgam, June 6, 2005: According to his family, Mohammad Ramzan Dar suffered from a psychological disorder and was therefore unfit for regular jobs. The village had appointed him caretaker of the local mosque, to help support his family. Mohammad Ramzan woke as usual at 3:30 a.m. on June 6, 2005, so that he could be in the mosque in time to call to morning prayers. Many of the villagers woke up soon after because they heard gunfire. As is usual, everyone stayed inside as long as the firing continued so that they would not be caught in crossfire.  In the morning there was no call to prayer, but some of the villagers went to the mosque on time. Outside the mosque, they found the body of Mohammad Ramzan. He had been shot in the head and chest. After villagers protested, police and district authorities promised an inquiry. According to Mohammad Ismail Dar, brother of Mohammad Ramzan, the authorities later said that the killing was a mistake: We were told that the 34th Rashtriya Rifles had planned an ambush in the area. My brother was not right in the head and he used to talk to himself. The soldiers heard voices and opened fire thinking that there were militants near the mosque.  The family received compensation. Mohammad Ismail Dar noted the connection between the wide powers of the security forces to use lethal force and the tragedies that ensued:  I am willing to believe that this incident was a mistake. But how can the army go around shooting people like this? These mistakes should not happen. It is because, in Kashmir, the army can shoot whom they like.   Killing of Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Mohammad Rafiq Mattal and Feroz Ahmad Bhat, April21, 2005: Zulfiqar Ali Khan left his home in Galiban village around noon on April 21, 2005, after walking his daughter to school. He went to Baramulla town, about fifteen kilometers away, to talk to his father’s doctor and run some errands related to his apple trade. Around 4 p.m. he met a neighbor who was also in Baramulla and said that he was soon heading back home. Meanwhile, he had bought vegetables and, meeting a local constable, sent the bag of vegetables back home with him because the constable was going back to the village immediately.  Later that day, according to a report lodged by the army with the police, Zulfiqar Ali Khan crossed the Line of Control into Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and then back again that night into Jammu and Kashmir state with other militants. The report alleged that they were intercepted and killed in an armed encounter near the Choroonda post in Uri, about sixty kilometers from Baramulla town.  Zulfiqar Ali Khan’s family say that the army is lying. His father, Sardar Kabir Ahmed Khan, says that villagers near Choroonda told him that they saw a car with darkened windows drive past at around 7 p.m. Soon afterwards they heard shots. Sardar Kabir Khan believes that the security forces abducted two other men, Mohammad Rafiq Mattal and Feroz Ahmad Bhat, before picking up Zulfiqar Ali from Baramulla, drove to Choroonda, and then made them walk near the border and opened fire, killing them. Sardar Kabir Khan asks some basic questions:  How, between 4 p.m. and midnight can someone go across the border, meet up with militants, and come back? There are so many soldiers in the area. None of them could see him? My son had been injured in a bomb blast attack some weeks before he died. He could not walk very well. Yet, we are supposed to believe he just strolled across a heavily mined border which is fenced and guarded. And lastly, you should have seen my son’s body. His boots were polished. His clothes were ironed. This, even though he had allegedly trekked across the border. Twice. I think it is obvious. My son was murdered.  Zulfiqar Ali’s younger brother, Firdaus Ali Khan, was killed by the army in 1993. Their father said sadly:  The army came to his shop and said, “You have been feeding militants.” Then they walked him down the hill, shot him and walked away. At that time, there was no choice but to feed militants. They had guns. Also, they used to threaten to kill me. But the army brutally killed my boy. Now, they have killed my older son. My home is now empty.  Three other men were killed in the same encounter in which Zulfiqar Ali was killed. Their relatives also insisted to Human Rights Watch that the men had been killed in a faked encounter. One of the men, Feroz Ahmad Bhat, had been identified by the army as a Pakistani militant and buried. His father, Habibullah Bhat, recognized his son from a police photograph of the corpse and sought an exhumation. He said that, “At the police station, they said that the army had delivered the bodies of militants killed at the border. They said that only one was a Kashmiri. The others were Pakistani and had already been buried. They showed us the picture of the dead Pakistani militants. I identified my son from the picture.”  Habibullah Bhat said he tried to file a police complaint so that these deaths could be properly investigated, but was refused. “At the police station they say they cannot file a report because my son was a militant and killed in an encounter. They say that I have no case for complaint.” (…) Killing of Nazir Ahmad Dar, December 29, 2004The Border Security Force stopped a bus at a checkpost in Kharpora village on the morning of December 29, 2004. As is usual, the passengers were asked to disembark for routine checking. Two militants traveling in the bus opened fire. One soldier was injured. Other soldiers at the checkpost opened fire in response. In the exchange of fire one militant was killed while the other escaped.  According to Nazir Ahmad Dar’s brother-in-law, also called Nazir Ahmad Dar, when villagers heard the gunshots, they ran away in fright. Nazir Ahmad and his neighbors began to run as well. As they passed the road where the bus had been stopped, a stray bullet hit Nazir Ahmad in the leg. He still continued to limp to safety. He was stopped by BSF guards who were checking identity cards to ensure that the escaped militant was not hiding among the villagers. When Nazir Ahmad arrived, he too pulled out his identity card. His brother-in-law said there were some neighbors present who saw what happened next:  Nazir Ahmad was walking slowly. The BSF men asked him why he was limping. He told the soldiers that he had been hit by a bullet as he was running past the bus. But the soldiers must have thought that he was the escaped militant because they immediately pointed their guns at him. Our neighbor, who was standing there, heard Nazir Ahmad say, “I am not a militant. You can arrest me and check.” Instead, they opened fire and killed him.  The villagers went to the local police station. According to the brother-in-law, several eyewitnesses said that they had heard Nazir Ahmad offer to surrender. That night, members of the BSF came to the village. They met the eyewitnesses and the family. They visited the victim’s sister and brother-in-law as well:  They said, “We will settle with you. Change your statement to say that he was asked to surrender but did not stop.” They offered money. But I said that my brother-in-law has small children. If we take your money, tomorrow the militants will come and ask why we settled. They will kill the children. (…) Soldiers pressured them to change their statements. Finally, the villagers complained to the local police. (…) No eyewitness or relative was ever called to testify in any court of inquiry about the incident. The district authorities paid the routine 100,000 rupee (roughly U.S.$2,300) compensation handed out in cases of death due to crossfire. As far as anyone knows, the case is now closed. (…) Killing of Abdul Rashid, October 17, 2004:   Around midnight on October 16-17, 2004, security forces arrived at the home of thirty-six-yearold Abdul Rashid. His wife, Taja Bano, told Human Rights Watch:  They knocked on the doors and then asked for some tea. Four men walked inside. They were in uniform and carrying weapons. But they had black cloths tied around their faces. There were others outside… They asked for my husband and they said they would talk to him outside. I do not know what they said to him. We were not allowed to go out. When they were leaving, one of them said that my husband would be back soon. He was going to show them something. In the morning, we found that they had poured the tea in the drain. My husband had not returned.  The family does not know whether the security forces belonged to the army, the paramilitaries, or the police (they were told by neighbors that the men belonged to the Special Operations Group, SOG, a counter-insurgency unit of the state police). The next day, villagers found a body lying near the road and some of them identified it as Abdul Rashid. He had been shot. (…) The local police certified That Abdul Rashid, a laborer and father of seven, had no links with the militants. (…) Abdul Rashid’s family believes that the security forces killed him because his wife’s brother, Mohammad Yusuf Sheikh, was a militant. Taja Bano said that Mohammad Yusuf did not keep in touch with his family, but the security forces were unwilling to believe this[.] (…) Says Abdul Rashid’s mother, Saja Bano: “We are poor. My son is dead. I was scared that they would come and kill my grandson as well.” (…) She had good reason to fear further violence from the security forces. Her daughter-in-law says that after Mohammad Yusuf had joined the Hizb-ul-Mujahedin in the late 1990s, the security forces would often harass his brother, Bashir Ahmed Sheikh, about Mohammad Yusuf’s whereabouts. (…) According to Taja Bano, Bashir Ahmed “disappeared” on February 17, 2003. His body was later handed over to the family with bullet wounds. She blames the security forces for his death, saying that some neighbors had seen Bashir Ahmed being taken into custody by security forces in Srinagar.  In June 2005, Taja Bano heard rumors that Mohammad Yusuf Sheikh had been killed in an armed encounter. (…) Killings of Syed Yaseen Shah and Mohammad Anwar Shah, April 20, 2004:  In March 2004, Mohammad Anwar Shah, a Muslim cleric, brought his ill mother from their mountain village in Chootwaliwar, Gandherbal, to Srinagar to see a doctor. While he left his mother with his sister, Mohammad Anwar stayed with his cousin, Syed Yaseen Shah, also a cleric, who worked at a Srinagar mosque.  On March 28 the two men left Syed Yaseen Shah’s house in the morning. According to Syed Yaseen’s wife, they had fixed an appointment to discuss Mohammad Anwar’s mother’s case with a Srinagar doctor. They left saying they would be home for lunch. They never returned.  An acquaintance told Syed Yaseen’s wife that the two men had been seen being arrested near Srinagar’s Iqbal Park by security forces. So their relatives went to various army camps asking if the two men were in custody, but to no avail. Says Mohammad Anwar’s brother, Syed Mohammad Ismail Shah: “We searched everywhere. For three months, we were running from here to there.”  In June 2004, the family heard about the death of two militants in Lolab on April 20, 2004. In a police report, the 18th Rashtriya Rifles claimed to have killed two foreign militants, whom they named as Abu Faisal and Jaffar Ali, in an encounter. Both bodies had been buried in Lolab by the Lalpur police. Although the names are not mentioned, the army website lists the killing of the two militants, along with a list of weapons that were recovered.  The family went to the Lalpur police station, where they were shown photographs of the dead “foreign” militants. The dead were their relatives: “Abu Faisal” was Mohammad Anwar, and “Jaffar Ali” was Syed Yaseen. Mohammad Ismail told Human Rights Watch that he then appealed to the district magistrate, asking for exhumation of the bodies so that proper burial ceremonies could take place. A week later, the bodies were exhumed in the presence of local police and government doctors. Relatives identified both bodies, which were consequently handed over to be buried in the family graveyard. (…) Killing of Zohar Ahmad Lone, Budgam, October 4, 2004:  On October 4, 2004, seventeen-year-old Zohar Ahmad Lone and four others from his village were summoned by soldiers belonging to the 35th Rashtriya Rifles. They were taken to the next village, Naslapora, where two militants were holed up in a house. The house had been surrounded by troops who were calling out to the militants, asking them to surrender. Zohar Ahmad and the others were then told to walk up to the house and ask the militants to surrender. As soon as they reached the door, the militants opened fire. One of Zohar Ahmad’s friends was injured and fell to the ground. Frightened, Zohar Ahmad turned around and started running away. Some soldiers standing at the back opened fire, probably mistaking him for one of the militants, and killed him.  Soldiers then took Zohar Ahmed’s body to the local police station and said that Zohar Ahmad had been killed in crossfire. The operation continued, and the two militants were killed. (…) Killing of Abdul Hamid Ganie, Gandherbal:  On September 11, 2003, several police officers belonging to the Special Operations Group came to the home of Abdul Hamid Ganie, a former militant who had been appointed as a special police officer (a scheme to generate employment by informally hiring Kashmiris, particularly militants who have surrendered, into the police force to do administrative work or man checkposts).  According to his brother, Abdul Rashid Ganie, Abdul Hamid told his wife before leaving that the officers needed him for a police operation.  The next day, the SOG handed Abdul Hamid’s body to the local police station and filed a report, claiming that Abdul Hamid was a militant who had agreed to help the police locate weapons hoarded by his group, but on the way an exchange of fire with armed gunmen had broken out and Abdul Hamid had been killed in the crossfire.  Abdul Rashid Ganie told Human Rights Watch that he found bruises and strangulation marks on his brother’s body. He claims that Abdul Hamid was tortured and then murdered because of a quarrel Abdul Rashid had with a local official from the SOG about money. This man, accompanied by his colleagues, had come in search of Abdul Rashid, but he was not home. The next day they picked up his younger brother, Abdul Hamid, instead.  They wanted revenge and so they tortured my brother and then they killed him. His ribs and legs were fractured and there was a red mark around his neck. They must have strangled him. (…) Abdul Hamid’s body was exhumed for autopsy and several villagers and eyewitnesses were interviewed. Based on the resulting report, on March 1, 2004, the district magistrate wrote to the superintendent of police in Gandherbal that “the findings of the enquiry reveal that the death… took place while in the custody of SOG personnel, Gandherbal.” Saying that SOG personnel had claimed that Abdul Hamid died while accompanying a raiding party, the report said that “this aspect had been found doubtful during the enquiry,” and the magistrate instructed the superintendent of police to initiate proceedings against the “delinquent officials.”  The district authorities instructed the police to lodge a complaint of murder against thirteen men, but as of February 2006 it did not appear that any charges have been filed.  All were still employed by the state police. They have, according to family members, threatened them on several occasions to withdraw the case. As Abdul Rashid told Human Rights Watch: “They say, ‘It has been one year. Look. Nothing happened to us. But you have seen what we did to your brother. We will do the same to you and to your children.’”  Killing of Farooq Ahmad Khan, September 3, 2003On August 19, 2003, Farooq Ahmad Khan, who worked in a Srinagar bakery, was taken into custody along with his employer, Bashir Ahmed Sofi, by soldiers from the 18th Rashtriya Rifles. According to Farooq Ahmad’s father, Bashir Ahmed Sofi had quarreled with another employee who had possibly provided false information about Bashir Ahmed to the security forces. The father thinks Farooq Ahmad was taken because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  According to Farooq Ahmad’s father, Bashir Ahmed was released a few hours after being arrested. He said he was asked for information about militants operating in the area, and that he had been separated from Farooq Ahmad soon after arrest. When Farooq Ahmad failed to return, Bashir Ahmed informed Farooq Ahmad’s relatives of his arrest. Farooq Ahmad belonged to a poor farmer family of ten from a border area of Jammu and Kashmir. Wali Mohammad Khan, Farooq Ahmad’s father, rushed to Srinagar, where he went to local police stations to ask about his son, but he was unable to locate him. With hardly any money to pay lawyers, bribe officials, or survive in a big city, the family was forced to postpone a daughter’s wedding.  Some villagers suggested that Farooq Ahmad’s father contact the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP). On January 15, 2004, the APDP helped Wali Mohammad file a habeas corpus petition. The army denied having arrested Farooq Ahmad.  Meanwhile, a relative gave Wali Mohammad a September 3, 2003 copy of the Urdu-language newspaper Al Safa, which carried a news report that one Imtiaz Ahmad, a Pakistani militant from Kala Khan in Punjab, had been shot in an “encounter.” The article said that:  One militant, a suicide bomber, was killed by BSF 57 BN [57th Battalion of the Border Security Force] yesterday at Ishpur, Nishat, Srinagar. He was asked to stop when he behaved suspiciously but instead, he started firing at BSF officials. In retaliation BSF personnel also opened fire resulting in his death…. A rifle and three hand grenades were recovered from him.  According to Wali Mohammad, the accompanying photograph of the killed militant was that of his son, Farooq Ahmad.  I saw the photograph only in October and went to the police station. I showed them the photograph and told them it was my son. The police officer said that this man was a fidayeen [suicide bomber] from Pakistan called Imtiaz. I said that my son is not called Imtiaz but this is his picture. (…) Finally, on January 3, 2005, the district magistrate ordered the exhumation of the body for DNA sampling to establish its identity. The exhumation took place on April 11, 2005. The forensic results of the DNA test were still being awaited ten months later, as of February 2006. Parvez Imroz of the APDP and Wali Mohammad’s lawyer said they would file an appeal in the Indian Supreme Court.  Killing of Mohammad Bashir Ahmed Sheikh, Rustan Beerwah, Budgam, July 17, 2003:  After Mohammad Yusuf Ahmed Sheikh became a militant in 1990, his family was constantly harassed by security agencies. His two younger brothers, Mohammed Bashir Ahmed Sheikh and Mohammed Tariq Ahmed Sheikh, were often taken away to illegal detention centers in police and army barracks for interrogation. In 1996, Tariq Ahmed was beaten so badly that he lost his hearing. (…) In July 2003, Bashir Ahmed was once again summoned for interrogation by the Special Operations Group of the state police. He was told to come to the Harinawaz camp. He took a bus there on July 10, 2003. He then “disappeared.” His family contacted the police and placed a notice in the local papers. According to his mother, Fatima Begum, a week later someone from Batamalloo, a neighborhood in Srinagar, contacted the family to say that he had seen security officials arrest Bashir Ahmed at the Batamalloo bus stop on July 10, 2003, as soon as he got off the bus. (…) Following Bashir Ahmed’s “disappearance,” his relatives and neighbors held protest demonstrations. The local police promised to inquire. On the afternoon of July 18, 2003, they told the family that Bashir Ahmed had been killed in an armed encounter in Gandherbal, near Srinagar. As is the law, the Rashtriya Rifles had filed a report at the nearest police station in Gandherbal, reporting an armed encounter on July 17, 2003, in the surrounding forest in which a militant had been killed; arms and ammunition were recovered after the killing. They claimed that the militant was Bashir Ahmed. His mother disputes this as impossible:  Bashir Ahmed was handicapped after he fell from the tree. His hands were almost useless. He could barely hold a cup of tea and could certainly not carry heavy weapons. The army is lying.  Fatima Begum went to Gandherbal, where she identified the body. Bashir Ahmed’s body was handed over to his family. Relatives and neighbors held more demonstrations insisting that Bashir Ahmed had been killed in a faked encounter. (…) Fatima Begum and other relatives went several times to the district headquarters to ask about the promised inquiry, but (…) members of a local unit of the Special Operations Group visited her home repeatedly and threatened her and her family. (…) The police used to raid our house all the time. They even hit me when I protested. I even went to Mehbooba Mufti [President of the PDP] and told her, “Please, blow us up with explosives, but put an end to this.”  In despair, the family has decided not to pursue the case. (…) Killing of Javed Ahmad Magray, Nowgam, May 1, 2003:  Javed Ahmad Magray, a seventeen-year-old student, was studying in his room late at night when his mother last saw him. The following morning, he was missing. His family initially thought that he had left for school early. But his teacher reported him absent. They then assumed he was at the mosque. But when neighbors returned from morning prayers, they said that he had not shown up there. By then neighbors had gathered. Some of them said they had heard gunshots the previous night. When they and the family went outside to the road, they found blood stains and a tooth. The crowd immediately began to shout slogans, assuming the worst.  According to the district magistrate’s inquiry report, Javed Ahmad’s father, Ghulam Nabi Magray, testified that “the army officer in charge of the area came before the mob and stated that the deceased Javed Ahmad Magray is in their custody and asked we people to come along, so that we can meet him at the Army Camp near my house.” At the army camp in Soeting, the official told them to contact the Nowgam police station. At the police station, the family learned that an injured “militant,” who had bullet wounds to his legs, shoulders, and mouth, had been brought to the police station at around 2:30 a.m. by Lieutenant Verma of the 119th Assam Regiment, and had been taken to hospital. The “militant” did not survive his injuries. When his relatives rushed to the hospital, the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, they identified the body as Javed Ahmad Magray.  According to the district magistrate’s August 2003 report, a copy of which was obtained by Human Rights Watch, relatives and neighbors of Javed Ahmad, his teachers, the inspector of the Nowgam police station, and representatives of the army took part in the investigation. Nissar Ahmad Shah, chief of the Nowgam police station, deposed that on May 1, 2003, at 2:30 a.m., Lieutenant Verma of the 119th Assam Regiment from the Soiteng Camp arrived at the police station with a written report. According to Nissar Ahmad’s testimony, the army reported that “their party was on patrol of the area and at 0030 hours four persons opened fire and on retaliation one militant was wounded and the other three taking benefit of heavy rains and darkness succeeded in running away.” A pistol and some bullets were reportedly recovered and handed over to the police. The police registered a First Information Report (FIR) based on a written report from Major Vastavo of the 119th Assam Regiment and sent the injured militant to hospital. Shah also testified that the police station had no record that Javed Ahmad was involved in “anti-national activity or militancy.” The report states that the district magistrate met with Javed Ahmad’s teachers, all of whom testified that the boy was a regular student and that there had been no complaints about militant activity against him.  After recording the statements of neighbors, teachers, parents and police, the magistrate then sent a questionnaire to Major Vastavo. In his response, Major Vastavo said that Javed Ahmad had been wounded in an armed encounter. He also said the patrol party involved in the encounter had been led by Subedar Surinder Sinha of the 119th Infantry Battalion of Assam Regiment. In response to another question, Vastavo said that the army had not received any adverse reports about Javed Ahmad before the incident. (…) The magistrate then called Subedar Surinder Sinha to record his statement. Although summoned twice, he failed to show up. The army, in a letter to the magistrate, said that Subedar Sinha’s unit had been moved and suggested that further correspondence should be sent to another army address. A subsequent letter duly sent was returned undelivered after sixteen days, leading the magistrate to conclude: “This clearly indicates that the said Subedar on one or the other pretext is unnecessarily delaying to get his statement recorded.”  The magistrate’s report states:  From the reports/statements/documents and statements of witnesses, I am of the opinion that the deceased was reading in the ground story of his residential house during night hours. The residential house being on the road, the patrolling party headed by Subedar Surinder Sinha of 119 Bn of Assam Regiment dragged the boy out of the window… for keeping the light on and fired at him on the road, afterwards informing his superior officers who took the deceased person to the police station in a critical condition and registered the FIR. The deceased boy was not a militant nor involved in anti-national activity as per the report of the SHO [station house officer] and even the concerned army. The deceased was killed without justification by Subedar S. Sinha and his army men. Being head of the patrolling party, the said Subedar managed to go away from Srinagar and did not respond to letters deliberately though he was aware of everything.[50]

Arif Shafi Wani:It was a hell….. I saw paramilitary men firing with machine guns on civilians and there was only blood and bodies around, recounted Farooq Ahmad, one of the survivors of Hawal massacre.  Over 60 civilians were killed and hundreds injured when paramilitary forces opened indiscriminate firing on the funeral procession of Kashmir’s prominent religious and political leader, Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq, on May 21, 1990, at Hawal in Shaher-e-Khaas here. Despite passing of 25 years, the horrific memories of the massacre are still fresh among the survivors—who still await justice to the victims.  After Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq, who was attacked on the same day by unidentified gunmen at his Nigeen residence, breathed his last at SKIMS, people from different areas of Kashmir rushed there to have his last glimpse.  Within hours, thousands of people gathered at SKIMS and carried his body in a massive procession towards MirwaizManzil at RajouriKadal. “When the procession reached Hawal, the paramilitary personnel stationed in a camp at Islamia College mounted machine guns on the wall of the college and pointed them towards the peaceful procession,” Farooq said.   “After a few seconds, the personnel fired indiscriminately on the procession without any provocation. I found myself amidst bodies and blood,” he said as tears welled in his eyes.   “Scores of injured people including children and women were wreathing in pain and crying for help,” he said and broke down, pointing towards the massacre spot.  “I was so shocked on witnessing the mayhem that I hardly realized that a bullet had hit my right hand. One of my fingers was hanging just by a vein. I tried to help other injured, but I could not move due to heavy loss of blood,” he said.  Nazir Ahmad Baba, another eyewitness recounted, “The paramilitary men trampled many injured to death. Initially when the personnel stopped the funeral procession, an aged woman argued with a senior officer of paramilitary forces. The officer trained his pistol on her chest and opened fire. The woman fell on the ground and died instantly. For some moments, there was pin drop silence. Suddenly, the personnel took positions and fired indiscriminately on the procession,” Baba said.  “I saw many paramilitary men trampling the injured persons, leading to their death. They did not even spare the bodies. They acted like savages, dancing, shouting slogans while firing on the civilians,” he said.  Mustering courage, Baba with the help of other persons rushed some injured to hospital. “We ferried some of the injured on handcarts to SKIMS. Some of them succumbed on the way,” he said.  “After the massacre, the personnel suddenly started to check the bodies. They fired on chests and heads of several injured including children from point blank range. I was hiding near the bodies. However, the paramilitary men spotted me and fired a volley of bullets. I received bullets in my abdomen,” said Abdul Latief, a survivor.  The witnesses said the body of Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq also received several bullets. “Many people who were shouldering Mirwaiz’s coffin were hit by bullets. But as they fell on ground, other persons braving bullets shouldered the coffin. Later, we took the body through lanes to MirwaizManzil at RajouriKadal. The body had received several bullets in the firing at Hawal,” said Muhammad Shafi, a witness.  Pointing towards a memorial for the martyrs of Hawal, Farooq Ahmad said, “People seem to have forgotten their sacrifices. They faced bullets not for jobs, roads or monetary benefit but self-respect of Kashmiris. I wish Kashmiris will not let their sacrifices go in vain,” he said, reading the names of the victims carved on the memorial.  The then state government had announced a ‘time-bound’ inquiry into the massacre within a period of two months. However, in reply to an RTI application in 2013, the then Divisional Commissioner Kashmir stated that a criminal case under FIR No. 35/1990 was registered into the incident at Nowhatta police station. “However, there is no information with the department as to whether there was any inquiry either judicial or magisterial ordered by the government or not,” he had stated.  On a petition by a human rights activist, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) in 2014 had ordered time bound inquiry into the massacre and sought a report from the government within two months.  “Despite various communications addressed to the DGP, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and also from Secretary of the Commission, authorities are unmoved. In view of the insensitive approach adopted by the authorities, the Commission is left with no option but to entrust the inquiry to the investigative wing of this Commission,” the SHRC had stated. However, the inquiry could not be completed as SHRC has been rendered defunct for past over a year after expiry of the term of its chairperson and members.  Prominent human rights activist and lawyer, Parvez Imroz, said, “Police filed the final report into the case in 2013. They have stated that the civilians at Hawal were killed in cross firing. The case can be reopened if the families of victims pursue the case.”  Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the conglomerate will seek reopening of the case. “We will take legal recourse to bring the accused troopers to book. It is highly unfortunate and shameful that more than 60 human beings who were mourners and pallbearers were massacred in cold blood by the forces of biggest democracy of the world,” he said.  “It is one of the worst instances of State terrorism. Justice to them and their families has been denied as no one was held accountable. But the martyrs of Hawal are the brave hearts of our nation whose supreme sacrifice we salute,” Mirwaiz added.”[51]

Shahid Rafiq: “The survivors allege that the [Kupwara] massacre was carried out by the soldiers to punish the people for observing shutdown on January 26. (…)It was on 27 January 1994 that 27 civilians, mostly traders of Kupwara town, fell to bullets of Army men here adding to the long list of killings of innocent civilians in such massacres carried out by forces in the Valley. (…) Gulam Hassan, a trader of Kupwara town: “A patrol party of Punjab regiment of Army had warned the shopkeepers on the eve of January 26 of dire consequences if they observe strike and didn’t celebrate the R-day. On 24 January 1994 some Army men and policemen entered into a verbal duel near old bridge Kupwara and soldiers threatened police of dire consequences after Jan 26 passes off peacefully. Next day on Jan 25 some Army personnel called out worshipers from Jamia Masjid Kupwara and thrashed them including Imam of the Masjid. On Jan 26 as usual people of Kupwara observed complete shutdown. Next day early in the morning we met the then district magistrate Kupwara Yaseen Shah at his residential quarter and brought the excesses and thrashing of Imam into his notice who assured us that matter will be taken up with the concerned army higher ups.”  “We returned after meeting the DC. As we were about to reach the old bridge a single firing shot was heard which was followed by a rain of bullets. All were seen running for safety, the firing lasted at least for an hour. I hid in a vegetable shop. After a lull I came out of the shop and there were horrific scenes of bloodbath all around.”  “Among the 27 people killed by Army, mostly were traders, some government employees and a policeman. As many as 38 persons were injured, some left handicapped for life.”  GULAM MOHI-UD-DIN MIR:  “It was a foggy morning of Jan 27. The shopkeepers had hardly opened their shops. I was accompanying my brother Gulam Nabi Malik, working in social forestry department, who was going to attend his duties at Divisional Forest Office Zangli. As we reached near SDH Kupwara around 10:30 a.m. we heard some gun shots and within seconds there was firing from all directions. A soldier at hospital road aimed at my brother who was wearing a Khaki jacket and shot at him. Several bullets pierced his chest and he fell on ground. He started bleeding profusely. I was not allowed to lift my brother and take it to hospital which was hardly 50 yards away from the spot. Resultantly, my brother died on the spot. I along with some other people took shelter on the upper storey of a medical shop and watching all this from a small door.  As the firing stopped, vehicles carrying injured started rushing towards the hospital, I saw an Army officer stopping a vehicle and asking the names and profession of the people.  As a vehicle carrying injured was stopped on the hospital gate, a man was asked by the Army officer to get down from the vehicle. He was shot dead on spot. Later he was identified as Khazr Muhammad of Cheerkote (Lolab) who had argued with the officer that he was an employee in DC office Kupwara and he was taking his injured relative to hospital.  I still remember the Army officer firing at Khazr Muhammad from a point blank range. I also took my brother to the hospital where doctors said that he was brought dead. There I saw 18 bodies including bodies of two policemen who were in uniform. Later 9 more injured succumbed to their injuries.”  (…) MUHAMAMD MAQBOOL PIR (Employee of Fire and Emergency Service):  “I was posted at Sopore and was waiting for bus in Kupwara bus stand. Army convoy was passing from by-pass, suddenly some gun shots were heard and indiscriminate firing from forces from all sides started. I ran to take shelter near a bus, but a bullet hit me. I took refuge in a house at Dar Mohalla, the house belonged to Sanaullah Malik. I was provided first aid by the inmates.  Around 4 pm there was a crack down and I along with other people were taken for an identification parade. When troops saw me bleeding I was immediately arrested, blindfolded and hand cuffed and taken to Zangli Army garrison. I pleaded before them that I was an employee in fire service department and not a militant. But they didn’t listen to me and I was tortured.  The then DC Kupwara Yaseen Shah reached Zangli and asked Army to free me, but I wasn’t. Next day I was again bundled in Army jeep and taken to Drugmulla interrogation centre, from there I was taken to Badamibagh Army cantonment and kept in an interrogation centre for 19 days.” (…) After the incident, police registered a case FIR No: 19/94 under Sections 302, 307 dated 27-01-1994 in police station Kupwara.”[52]

Arif Shafi Wani: “For Muhammad Farooq Wani, 61—the lone survivor of the Gaw Kadal massacre of January 21, 1990—the anniversary of the gory incident reopens his wounds.
“It was like hell,” Wani says, as he recalls the massacre in which 51 persons were killed when New Delhi had sent in Jagmohan as Governor of J&K to quell pro-freedom protests.
On January 20, 1990, the troopers of paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) had barged into several houses in an old city locality called Chota Bazar and conducted wanton arrests besides molesting some women. Apprehending protests against the incident, the administration led by Jagmohan imposed restrictions in Srinagar on January 21, 1990.
Wani was then working as Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE) in the Public Health Engineering department. On the ill-fated day, there was water crisis in Old City and Wani’s immediate officer had instructed him to collect a curfew pass from Deputy Commissioner’s office here to visit the affected areas.  Wani was stopped by CRPF troopers near Jehangir Chowk and directed to take another route to the DC office. “As curfew was strictly imposed, I decided to go to my uncle’s home at Mandar Bagh and subsequently reach the DC office from there,” he told Greater Kashmir.  He says as he passed through the deserted lanes of Lal Chowk, he saw hundreds of people including women peacefully protesting at Gaw Kadal against the Chotta Bazar incident.   “The procession started to march towards Gaw Kadal (bridge) and I just tried to make my way through it. Suddenly, the CRPF troopers opened fire on the procession,” Wani recalls. “There were injured people all around. Sensing intentions of the CRPF troopers, I tried to jump into Chuntkul water channel from Gaw Kadal. Suddenly a man pushed me from behind. I remained in the bridge only while he jumped into Chuntkul,” he recalls.
Laying flat on Gaw Kadal, Wani witnessed the first massacre of Kashmiris, which is being remembered every year as the Gaw Kadal massacre.  “The injured were wreathing in pain and asking for water. It was horrible to see troopers laughing and kicking the injured. Suddenly, they started to pump bullets on heads of the injured persons, killing them instantly,” Wani said, as his face seethes in anger and eyes become moist. “I could see blood all around and hear last moans of death everywhere.”  Trapped among the bodies, Wani was yet to see the worst. In the melee, he says, a Kangri (traditional Kashmiri firepot) of a protestor, who was among the dead later, had broken. “My face started to burn as it touched hot ash and charcoal of the Kangri. I tried to roll my head to other side but unfortunately a trooper spotted me,” he says. “The trooper shouted ‘Sir Yeh Zinda Hai’ (Sir he is still alive) while pointing towards me among the bodies.”    As a stein gun totting CRPF officer rushed toward Wani, he says he become nervous.  “He aimed his gun towards me and I pleaded ‘Sir, please don’t shoot, I am an officer on duty.’ But he came close and hit me on my face,” Wani says. “The officer told me ‘Yahan Pakistan Mangta Hai’ (Do you want Pakistan in Kashmir?). I thought he does not understand English. I told him ‘Bhagwaan ki Kasam Hai, Mujhe Goli Mat Maro, Mein Duty Pe Hoon (Please don’t shoot at me, I am on duty).”  Narrating this sequence, Wani pauses and abruptly starts again. “The officer indiscriminately opened fire on me. There was burning sensation on my back. I recited Kalima and remembered my family including two little daughters,” Wani says.
“I had received most of the bullets on my back and right arm and was gradually losing sensation,” he says.  Wani’s diminishing hope for survival got revived when three constables of Jammu and Kashmir police reached the spot.  “On seeing the bodies, the cops became emotional and anger against the massacre was palpable on their faces. However, the CRPF troopers fired in the air and slapped the cops, chasing them away from the spot,” he says.
With each passing second and blood oozing from his wounds, Wani was fast losing hope for survival. In the meantime, another CRPF officer reached the spot. “He spotted me alive and placed his gun on my head. He placed his finger on trigger and was about to fire but he was interrupted by the CRPF officer who had fired at me. ‘Goli Zaya Mat Karo, Isko Aisay Hi Marnay Do (Don’t waste your bullets. Let him die like this,” recounts Wani. “Before leaving he kicked my face very hard.” For around half-an hour, Wani said all he could hear was thumping sound of troopers’ boots and chirping of birds. “Suddenly, CRPF brought a truck and started loading bodies in it. I pleaded with a trooper to place me in the truck with the bodies. He held my muffler and dragged me like an animal into the truck,” Wani says.  After travelling for some five minutes, the truck reached the Police Control Room here. Still in the vehicle, Wani says he “got a sort of energy” after hearing conservations around in Kashmiri. “Somebody lifted the tarpaulin from back side of the truck and started to unload the bodies. Finding me alive, a Kashmir policeman instantly called a doctor posted at PCR who declared that I had the chances of survival if I could be operated upon immediately,” he says.  Within few minutes, Wani was rushed to SMHS hospital where he was operated upon for around three hours under supervision of a team of doctors. “I had received 16 bullets mostly on my back. After operation, many people whom I even didn’t know, kissed and hugged me,” he says. He vividly remembers a teenager who held his blood soaked shoes with his chest. “He stood beside me in the hospital. I told him to call my residence landline and tell my family that I will be home next day. However, he could not control his emotions and told my sister about the incident. She had fainted and then he narrated the incident to my wife. She rushed to the hospital,” he says.    Wani was later shifted to Bone and Joints Hospital and admitted in a separate post operative room. He says a team of international journalists led by Mark Tully came to Srinagar to interact with survivors of the massacre. “Dr Farooq Ahmad Ashai introduced these journalists to me as I could speak in English. The team wept after hearing my ordeal and reported it in various international newspapers and magazines,” he says.  Though official figures put the number of fatalities at 21, human rights groups say 51 persons were killed in the massacre. Police in FIR no 3/90 registered at Kralkhud Police Station under RPC 307, 148, 149, 188 and 153 stated that the CRPF troopers had opened fire to stop “unruly mob raising anti-India and anti-forces slogans” heading towards Lal Chowk at Gaw Kadal.  24 years down the line since the incident, Wani has served on various posts including Managing Director JK Cements and Chief Engineer (PWD)  “It is painful that the accused CRPF troopers are yet to be punished. It is ironical that police has till date not even recorded my statement despite being the lone survivor of the massacre. I am ready to testify against the accused even now,” he says.  Wani says he was offered reward for bravery by Hamid-ul-lah Khan, advisor to then Governor Jagmohan. “I told him I don’t need any reward but I only want punishment to the accused troopers who fired upon and killed unarmed protestors,” he says. “This will be the biggest tribute to the victims,” he says, taking a deep breath.”[53]

Kashmir Observer: “On 22 Oct 1993, 51 peaceful protesters were killed by BSF in Bijbehara town of South Kashmir. (…)Twenty-three years have passed but the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel from 74th Battalion responsible for butchering Islamabad (Anantnag) district have not been brought to book. Among those killed, 25 were students.  According to locals thousands of people had gathered in the town that day after Friday prayers to protest against the siege of Hazratbal Shrine in Srinagar where some militants were holed up.  “As the peaceful march reached near Goriwan locality, paramilitary BSF personnel blocked the road and did not allow the protestors to proceed. As anti-India slogans reverberated in air, the BSF men fired on the unarmed protestors, killing at least 40 persons on the spot and injuring more than 200 others,” the locals told news agency CNS.  “BSF personnel resorted to indiscriminate firing for more than 10 minutes. Even those people were targeted and shot at who had come forward to carry the dead and injured. Hospital ambulances and medical staff were also denied access to the injured persons.”  Soon after the massacre, the government claimed that BSF personnel fired in self-defense as a group of armed militants fired at them, a claim refuted by eyewitnesses and human rights organizations.  On November 13, 1993, Inquiry Magistrate submitted a report vide number EN/BFC/93/23-24 and concluded that firing on the procession was absolutely unprovoked and the claim made by the troopers that they fired in self defence after militant firing is baseless and concocted.  The inquiry report further stated that the security personnel have committed offence out of vengeance and their barbarous act was deliberate and well planned. The report indicted Deputy Commandant of BSF, JK Radola, for tacit approval given by him for indiscriminate and un-provoked firing. Despite the magisterial inquiry, justice has been eluding the families of the victims from past 23 years.  Government of India conducted two enquiries and the National Human Rights Commission also conducted a probe. In March 1994 the government indicted the BSF for firing on crowd without provocation and charged 13 BSF officers with murder. A General Security Force Court Trial conducted in 1996, however, led to their acquittal. When the NHRC sought to examine the transcripts of the trials in order to satisfy itself that the BSF had made a genuine attempt to secure convictions, then Vajpayee-led Indian government refused.  The NHRC then moved to Supreme Court for a review. In September 2000, the Supreme Court dismissed the case. (CNS) (…) “Bijbehara massacre was gruesome. BSF firing on innocent civilians was unjustified. Most unfortunate part was that police lied about the incident and claimed that BSF fired upon protesters in self-defence while the fact was that BSF butchered protesters without any justification,” Wajahat Habibullah who was the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir in 1993 told news agency CNS adding that he tried his best to persuade Government of India to prosecute the BSF men responsible for the gory massacre.   “I was told that some men responsible for the act have been punished but information was never made to public. When I insisted that information should be made public about the court of inquiry I was told that it will go against the interest of national security,” he said and added that it is an open fact that killers were not punished even though Justice Ranganathan Mishra and Justice Verma had vehemently pitched for the prosecution of guilty BSF men,” he said.  Pertinently, Border Security Force (BSF) personnel from 74th Battalion had killed 51 peaceful protestors in Bijbehara town of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district on 22 October 1993 when they were protesting against Hazratbal siege.  Wajahat Habibullah said that it was a fabricate lie on part of police that shortly after the massacre claimed that BSF men fired in self defence after militants attacked them. “I being the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir at that time visited the spot and found that no militant had fired upon the BSF men. It was a blatant lie,” he said. (CNS)”[54]

Amnesty International: “Amnesty International urges the Government of India to launch urgent investigations into hundreds of unidentified graves discovered since 2006 in Jammu and Kashmir.  The investigation must be independent, impartial and follow international standards. The grave sites are believed to contain the remains of victims of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other abuses which occurred in the context of armed conflict persisting in the state since 1989. The graves of at least 940 persons have reportedly been found in 18 villages in Uri district alone.  Unlawful killings, enforced disappearances and torture are violations of both international human rights law and international humanitarian law, set out in treaties to which India is a state party and in customary international law. They also constitute international crimes. Amnesty International calls on the Government of India to comply with its international obligations in this regard, as well as act on the commitment displayed through its signing of the United Nations’ Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances on 6 February 2007 by ordering prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations into all past and current allegations of enforced disappearances.  A report issued on 29 March 2008 by the Srinagar-based Association of the Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), Facts under Ground, indicated the existence of multiple graves in localities which, because of their proximity of the Line of Control with Pakistan, are not accessible without the specific permission on the security forces. In response to the report army spokespersons again claimed that those found buried were armed rebels and “foreign militants” killed lawfully in armed encounters with military forces. However the report detailed testimonies from local villagers saying that most of those buried were local residents hailing from the state. These are serious allegations that must be fully investigated.  While the report alleges that more than 8,000 persons have gone missing in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989, the central and state authorities state that the total amounts to less than 4.000, and that most of these went to Pakistan to join armed opposition groups. In 2006 a state police report confirmed the deaths in custody of 331 persons and also 111 enforced disappearances following detention since 1989. (…) Amnesty International reiterates its grave concern that the state has failed to take responsibility to ascertain the fate or the whereabouts of a majority of the disappeared persons, especially in response to habeas corpus petitions filed in the state’s courts.  In addition, while Amnesty International has welcomed efforts of the judiciary in a number of high profile cases – including the Chattisingpura case in which a series of court hearings established that the security service had extrajudicially executed five local residents while claiming lawful use of force against suspected “foreign militants” – the organisation remains concerned that judicial inquiries into individual complaints are rare and the rights of victim to justice and redress remains unfulfilled.”[55]

Mohsin Mohi Ud-Din (Huffington Post):“Everything is dead. The curfew has kept us in our homes for the last two weeks. No work, no bread, no milk, no school. More than five people have been killed in the last 24 hours,” said sources speaking with me over the phone from Srinagar, Kashmir. Adding fuel to the fire, earlier this year it was revealed that Indian paramilitary forces were engaged in staging fake encounter killings by kidnapping Kashmiri civilians and reporting the murders of the civilians as armed encounters with foreign militants/terrorists. With a continuing lack of justice and accountability suffocating Kashmiri civil society, Kashmir may grow more vulnerable to falling under a resurgence of armed uprising and religious radicalization that currently plagues the region, namely in Afghanistan and Pakistan. (…)This article is about the young teenagers who have been murdered this month and the 2,900 mass graves that have not been investigated or reported on. (…) Several weeks ago, a 17 year old Kashmir student, Tufail Ahmad Matoo, was walking home amidst a routine and civil anti-India protest by Kashmiris in the embattled region of Indian Occupied Kashmir. He was carrying his books. Like many Kashmiri youth of today, Tufail grew up having to endure an environment of indiscriminant arrests and killings by state security forces as well as militants. Today, an entire generation of young Kashmiris like Tufail have grown up witnessing the murder of over 70,000 people and the kidnappings and disappearances of over 8,000 Kashmiris, since 1989. The actions of both Pakistani backed- militants and Indian Security Apparatuses have marginalized the rights and needs of the Kashmiri people. Yet Tufail, like most Kashmiri youth, was focusing on his studies as means of escape. Unfortunately, like thousands of young Kashmiri boys before him, Tufail’s life was cut short when he was shot in the head by a rubber bullet from Indian security forces and police last month. The killing of Tufail sparked civil protests across the Kashmir valley for the last several weeks. Two more Kashmiri youth were murdered by state security forces during funeral processions and civil protests in the days following Tufail’s murder last month. As recently as this week, three more innocent Kashmiris have been killed, including a 16 year old boy who was murdered when security forces opened fire on protesters at a funeral procession of a 17 year old boy murdered Tuesday. (…)One day later, during the funeral procession for Rafiq Bangroo, the deceased’s neighbor, Javaid Malla, 20, was shot and killed by security forces. Once again, curfews and civil shutdowns have left schools and businesses closed and the valley at a stand still. Indian paramilitary and police forces have been opening fire on protesters and taking men and boys into custody. This past Monday, 17 year old Muzaffar Bhat disappeared after troops chased him and a group of young boys throwing stones. Muzzafar’s body was found the next day and he was allegedley beaten to death. At the funeral procession for Muzaffar, a 16 year old boy, Abrar Khan, was murdered by police during mass civil protests against the alleged killings. Some 15 Kashmiri civilians have been killed by Indian security forces since June. Kashmiris are again locked down under the gun of security forces that operate brutally with impunity. The beatings and shoot-to-kill tactics of state security forces legalized under draconian security laws continue to marginalize the basic rights, (such as the to life and movement), of millions of women and children of Kashmir.  The murders of several Kashmiri youth this past month by security forces clearly exhibits the widespread and systematic practice of shoot-to-kill strategies conducted by the state security apparatuses of India. Soldiers and state security forces are able to use bullets to combat stones and slogans under the protection of Indian security legislation, such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, AFSPA, which grants Indian paramilitary and police forces license to detain, shoot, and torture at will with virtual protection from being prosecuted by civilian courts and international bodies. (…) Kashmir’s history has seen over 70,000 casualties and 8,000 + documented enforced disappearances since 1989. As is often the case, reports in the media about Kashmir often document Indian soldiers’ killings of militants as advertised by the state security forces of India. Yet, the international community and media remain silent on documented civilian killings as well as fake encounter killings in which Kashmiri civilians are killed in custody and pawned to the international community as ‘foreign militants/terrorists’. The practice of fake encounter killings is widespread throughout the valley as it rewards Indian forces legitimacy in the eyes of the media that India’s military presence in the Kashmir valley is imperative to stopping the ‘militancy’. Consequently, Kashmir remains one of the most militarized areas in the world with over 500,000 Indian paramilitary forces policing a population under draconian security laws.  Examples of fake encounter killings are as recent as April 2010. The International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian Administered Kashmir has reported that Shahzad Ahmad (27 years old), Riyaz Ahmad (20 years old), and Mohammad Shafi (19 years old) were executed in a fake encounter in Kupwara District. The men were last seen in the custody of special-counter-insurgency personnel. The family reported the men missing after several days. At the same time, the military reported that security forces killed three foreign militants in the area. After a police investigation, the bodies of the three alleged foreign militants were found. Army personnel are reported to have pressured local police to report the bodies as those of foreign militants. Once the bodies were exhumed however, it was concluded that the bodies were Kashmiri civilians, not foreign terrorists and autopsies showed the bodies to have been shot at close range, execution style. ( It must be noted that rarely do police investigations into arbitrary arrests and kidnappings yield results.) The murders of the three Kashmiri men have since been authenticated as fake encounters. In another example on April 14, a 70 year old Kashmiri pan-handler met the same fate and he too was mislabeled by the Indian security forces as a foreign militant. The indiscriminate killing of three youth in the past eleven days is evidence enough of widespread human rights abuse in Kashmir. Yet, there are thousands of more stories of fake encounter killings in Kashmir that are evidence to crimes by state security forces. Such widespread and systematic practices constitute crimes against humanity.  Adding urgency to the conflict in Kashmir is the recent discovery of over 2,700 unmarked graves in Kashmir. The Kashmir People’s Tribunal recently documented the graves in a report titled Buried Evidence, authored by the conveners of the International Kashmir People’s Tribunal , Dr. Angana Cahtterji and Parvez Imroz, two leading human rights investigators in South East Asia. The Tribunal reported over 2,900 bodies across 55 villages contained in over 2,700 mass graves. Since the release of the report, Indian security forces refuse an investigation into identifying the bodies. They claim the bodies to be those of foreign terrorists. (State security forces have also made attempts on the lives of both conveners from the Tribunal.) Of the few bodies that were exhumed, it was found that the bodies of the alleged foreign terrorists in fact were authenticated fake encounters in which Kashmiri civilians, who had been reported missing by their families, were taken into custody by security forces and then executed. The slain men were not foreign terrorists, but Kashmiris. The Kashmir People’s Tribunal reports “ it is reasonable to contend that the 8,000 + enforced and involuntary disappearances since 1989 would correlate to the number of bodies found in unknown, unmarked, and mass graves across Kashmir.” Lawyers have filed thousands of petitions and the civilian population continues to engage in civil protests for accountability, however, the calls for justice and accountability remain unanswered. Consequently, young Kashmiri boys, like 17 year-old Tufail, continue to be victims of indiscriminant killings by the state security forces. (…)For every boy like Tufail that is killed, there risks more youth falling vulnerable to taking up the gun as a result of legislated political and physical oppression. One loss of an innocent young life is on its own deplorable, and yet, two more Kashmiri youth had been killed by Indian security forces in that same week, last month. This week, four more innocents were murdered during funeral processions and protests, among them two more 17 and 16 year old boys. The international community must demand more accountability from the world’s largest democracy, India. As long as there exists such widespread and systematic extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances, the youth of today, who have seen nothing but failed political and judicial processes, will take to the gun and we may see a resurgence of the armed militant movement that devastated Kashmir and the region in 1989. (…) Kashmiri civilians are repeatedly murdered by Indian forces and then pawned to the international community as foreign terrorists. This should no longer be a tolerated enterprise for India’s militarization of Kashmir. Kashmiri mothers, fathers, and the youth are against terrorism being that Kashmiris are themselves the main victims of grenade attacks by Pakistani-backed militants, as well as, the bullets and mortars of Indian state security forces. The Kashmiri people remain strong and they hold on to a hope that the Obama Administration and UN bodies will pressure India to: demilitarize the valley; repeal repressive security legislation; and account for human rights violations committed over the last 20 years. However, as Kashmiri youth continue to be murdered by state security forces this week, the avenues for legal and political resolution seem less attainable for the everyday Kashmiri. (…) Kashmiris believe in democracy and civil society and that is why they continue to carry out civil protests amidst the bullets and batons of brutal of state security apparatuses.”[56]

Lydia Polgreen (NY Times): “Thousands of bullet-riddled bodies are buried in dozens of unmarked graves across Kashmir, a state human rights commission inquiry has concluded, many of them likely to be those of civilians who disappeared more than a decade ago in a brutal insurgency.  The inquiry, the result of three years of investigative work by senior police officers working for the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission, brings the first official acknowledgment that civilians might have been buried in mass graves in Kashmir, a region claimed by both India and Pakistan where insurgents waged a bloody battle for independence in the early 1990s.  The report sheds new light on a grim chapter in the history of the troubled region and confirms a 2008 report by a Kashmiri human rights organization that found hundreds of bodies buried in the Kashmir Valley.  (…)  According to the report, the bodies of hundreds of men described as unidentified militants were buried in unmarked graves. But of the more than 2,000 bodies, 574 were identified as local residents.   “There is every probability that these unidentified dead bodies buried in various unmarked graves at 38 places of North Kashmir may contain the dead bodies of enforced disappearances,” the report said.  The report catalogs 2,156 bodies found in graves in four districts of Kashmir that had been at the heart of the insurgency.”[57]

Human Rights Watch: “Most extrajudicial killings carried out by Indian security forces in Kashmir occur after “crackdowns”- cordon and search operations during which all the men of a neighborhood or village are called to assemble for an identification parade in front of hooded informers. Those whom the informers point out are taken away for torture and interrogation, and some are simply taken away and shot. Officials in Kashmir routinely claim that the detainee was killed in an “encounter” with the security forces, or was shot trying to escape. Human rights groups in Kashmir have documented hundreds of such killings . In its annual report covering events of 1995, the U.S. State Department stated that “[H]uman rights groups consider credible reports that dozens of such killings occur every month.” Detainees have also disappeared in the custody of the security forces.  Since 1994, there have been fewer incidents in which government forces engaged in reprisal killings of civilians or used lethal force on a large scale against peaceful demonstrators. However, incidents in which the security forces have opened fire on civilians during crackdowns have continued. In the two cases described below, those who were shot were clearly identified as civilians. As with other summary executions, the authorities generally claim that civilian casualties during such operations result from “cross-fire.”  Security legislation has increased the likelihood of such abuses by authorizing the security forces to shoot to kill and to destroy civilian property. Under these laws, the security forces are protected from prosecution for human rights violations. (…) The Killing of Mohammad B. and Sheikh Y.: On January 20, 1995, Indian army forces of the 2nd Grenades unit conducted a crackdown in Batmaloo, Srinagar. At least two men taken into custody by the soldiers were summarily executed. Ghulam B., forty-eight, described the killing of his brother, Mohammad, a forty-two-year-old businessman.  At about 10:00 am on January 20, 1995, I was in my house in Batmaloo, Srinagar, along with my mother and father, Mohammad and his wife and children, and a servant. Mohammad was on the phone to Delhi when we heard gunfire outside, and we all went into a single room. Fifteen minutes later, there was a knock on the door. Four uniformed army soldiers of the 2nd Grenades came inside and pulled my ninety-year-old father, Mohammad, the servant and me outside. The soldiers were accusing us of being “terrorists.” They accused Mohammad of being Afghan.  Leaving the father at the house, the soldiers took the men with them, along with a nephew, G. Some twenty-five soldiers were gathered around outside. They ordered the men to get shovels and shovel snow for half an hour. Then four of the soldiers took Ghulam and broke down the door of a nearby house belonging to Ghulam’s uncle. Ghulam and Mohammad were made to search some six other houses; the soldiers were looking for guns and militants. The search went on for half an hour. Ghulam told Human Rights Watch:  From time to time, the soldiers would hit me and point their guns at my head and tell me they would kill me. Several times while I was with soldiers, they came under gunfire [from militant forces] and they would force me to stand in front of them as they ran and returned fire.  At 11:30am, the soldiers completed the searches of six houses and took Ghulam to a more populated neighborhood in the same area. At that point, he saw the soldiers take Mohammad away. An announcement was made through the loudspeakers at the mosque that everyone in the area should come out of their houses and assemble outside the graveyard. Ghulam continued to search apartments in the area with the soldiers and six other civilians.  At about 4:00 pm Ghulam was with the soldier when they again came under heavy gunfire. The soldiers fired back, again using him as shield. A number of soldiers were injured in the fire, and Ghulam and other civilians were ordered to carry the wounded soldiers to army vehicles at the main intersection. As they began to do so, one of the civilians, Hassan Shah, a retired policeman who was over sixty, was shot in the arm.  We asked permission to carry Shah to the SMHS hospital, half a kilometer way, on foot and by auto rickshaw. Mohinder Singh, commander of the 2nd Grenades, allowed us to do so. I ran away to mysister’s house and phoned my mother. She asked me, “Where is your brother? I told her I did not know. I stayed at my sister’s house that night.  The crackdown was on a Friday. On Saturday, in Nagerwal, residents reported that two bodies had been thrown out of the window of a nearby school at 4:00 pm on the day of the crackdown, and that the bodies were riddled with bullets.  On Saturday, Ghulam went to the Ram Munshi Bagh police station and found Mohammad’s body. He described the condition of the body:  There was blood around the mouth and blood on his hands. There were two other bodies there as well. I asked for the body back, and the police had me sign a paper for it.  A neighbor, Sheikh A., was with Mohammad after the soldiers took him away. He told Human Rights Watch that the soldiers came to his house and ordered him and his nineteen-year-old son, Sheikh Y., to come with them.  At 9:00am I was in my house with my wife, son and daughter. Sheikh Y. went outside to buy some food, but returned to say that the army was nearby. All of us went upstairs to the second floor. The soldiers knocked on the door, entered the house and yelled for all of us to come downstairs or we would be killed. The soldiers took me and my son outside and took us in the direction of the government middle school in Lachmanpara, which is commonly used as an interrogation center during crackdowns. Before we arrived at the school, the soldiers told me to go to the graveyard nearby. I went and found twenty-five or thirty other people sitting there. I could hear the soldiers questioning my son. They were accusing him of firing on soldiers. My son denied it. Then a soldier took him inside the school. As I sat in the graveyard, I could hear cries from my son inside the school. I stood up, but Mohammad, who was with him in the graveyard, warned me to sit down, as the soldiers were nervous and might shoot me.  A short while later, the soldiers came up with an informer who surveyed the group of men seated at the graveyard, then pointed at Mohammad and said to the soldiers, “Take him, he is a militant.” The soldiers told Mohammad to stand up and called him an “Afghani [sic] militant.” Mohammad told them he had a grinding machine and was a businessman, not a militant. The soldiers took him into the school. Then the soldiers took Sheikh A. and the others in the graveyard and made them sit in snow. They were kept at the graveyard until 9:00 pm.  In the afternoon some people were taken from the cemetery and were made to carry metal pipes. When they were brought back to the cemetery, they told Sheikh A. that the soldiers had used the pipes to spray kerosene on the mosque in the area, which the soldiers had then burned down. Later in the afternoon, Sheikh A. was also made to carry pipes, and he saw the mosque burning. Then he was brought back to the cemetery. At 9:00 pm the men were allowed to go home. Sheikh A. returned with a gas lamp to search inside the school, but was unable to find anyone. Later that night a neighbor told him that two bodies had been thrown from one of the school’s windows. He examined the site and found blood on the snow nearby but no bodies. Later that night, at Jammu and Kashmir, he learned from a police officer that three civilians from Batmaloo had been killed earlier that day in “crossfire” between the army and the militants. Sheikh A. told Human Rights Watch/Asia:  The following day, in the morning, I went to the police station at Ram Munshi Bagh, but I was told that the bodies were not there, but were at the Joint Interrogation Center, Sonawar. I went there, but they were not there. I went back to the police station where I saw trucks with the bodies of my son, Mohammad and a third man. After that I went to the police station to file an FIR against the army for the deaths of my son and Mohammad. But I was told by a friend, who is a police officer, that he hadbeen told not to accept any FIRs against the army or security forces. Then I went to the district magistrate, who ordered the police to accept the FIR. So the police registered the FIR on February 7, 1995The Killing of Ghulam Ahmed Bhat:  Ghulam Ahmed Bhat, eighteen, was killed by troops of the Seventh Battallion of the BSF on December 21, 1995. As a result of a childhood illness, Ghulam had been unable to hear or speak since he was four years old.  At about 10:00am on December 21, Ghulam was standing in a lane in front of the house in Bulbulankar, Nawakadal, in Srinagar, along with his mother and a number of other people. The neighborhood was unusually crowded because a procession was planned in honor of Kurshid Ahmed Bhat, chief of the Al Jihad Force who was killed on December 17, 1995. A crackdown was just beginning, and BSF troops from the Seventh Battallion, under Commander “Peter” Sharma, entered the neighborhood. Seeing the BSF soldiers running, Ghulam started to run and his mother ran after him to protect him.  After running along a long, narrow lane, Ghulam stopped and tried to show the soldiers that he was deaf and dumb. Then he started running again. Ghulam’s mother told Human Rights Watch/Asia:  Three soldiers came after him, and one fired a machine gun burst, killing him. One soldier then kicked the body to make sure he was dead. I began crying, but the soldiers would not allow me to take Ghulam’s body. About half an hour after he was shot, two or three BSF soldiers came to the area. One put a pistol on Ghulam’s chest; and the other one put bullets in the pocket of his pheran. At 2:00pm, the crackdown was lifted, and the Jammu and Kashmir police arrived. They screamed at the BSF that the boy was not a militant and that they should not have killed him.  The police took the body to the police station. At 5:00pm, the body was brought home by neighbors. There was a bullet wound in the back of the head. At the time the body was handed over from police, the mother’s brother, Mohammad Siddiq, was made to sign a blank paper. The next morning, two shopkeepers and a neighbor came to the mother’s house and said they were coming on behalf of Commander “Peter” Sharma and said that he would pay her Rs. 200,000 not to bring a case against the BSF in court. She did not accept, and filed a case against the BSF.  The Killing of Khurshid Ahmed Bhat:  Khurshid Ahmed Bhat, alias “Khalid Javeed,” former head of Jihad Force, was killed after being taken into custody by BSF forces on December 18, 1995. At 9:30pm, a patrol party of several BSF vehicles came to the neighborhood of Butyar, in Srinagar. From his upstairs window, N.D., a witness, saw BSF troops encircling the house of one of his neighbors. At 10:30 pm, they entered the house and N.D. heard cries coming from the house. N.D. told Human Rights Watch/Asia: The BSF brought my neighbor and his son out of the house and into the inner courtyard. They beat them and asked them where Javeed was. They said they did not know. One of the soldiers knocked the father to the ground, and when his wife came out and pleaded with the soldiers not to beat her husband and son, one soldier ripped off the top portion of her pheran and struck her on the chest. When the daughter came out the soldier did the same to her. At this point, Khurshid Ahmed Bhat walked out of the house. The soldiers immediately hit him with their rifles on his thighs and on the back of his head. Blood came out of his mouth. The soldiers then took hold of the daughter and told Khurshid to “”engage in nasty acts with her.” He refused and said “I am the man you want, that’s it.”  The soldiers put Bhat into a truck and drove away. They left at midnight. The next morning, BSF soldiers came to the area and fired shots into the air for more than half an hour, and then withdrew. Shortly after that, the Jammu and Kashmir police came and told the residents that a dead body had been found, and they needed someone to come and identify it. N.D. went with others from the neighborhood to see the body at the local police station. N.D. described the condition of the body:  There was a lot of blood and several wounds on the forehead and nose, a cut in the mouth, wounds on the back and chest, cuts on the legs and arms, and a broken elbow.   Human Rights Watch/Asia saw photographs of the body. There was a bullet wound in the forehead, a bullet wound on the nose and a large open wound on the back of the head. There were also scrapes and cuts on the chest and mouth.  In an official report of the killing, the government claimed that Bhat died in an encounter with security forces.  Bhat’s relatives have stated that they were approached by BSF Commander “Peter” Sharma, whose troops were responsible for the murder, and offered money not to bring a case in court. The family refused and has registered a case against the BSF. To Human Rights Watch/Asia’s knowledge, no investigation has taken place.  The Shooting of Ghulam M.:  In some cases, the security forces have opened fire on civilians even after the civilians have identified themselves. Ghulam M. was shot and injured by BSF soldiers outside his home in Ganderbal, thirty kilometers north of Srinagar, on December 6, 1995.  At about 8:00pm, I heard gunfire near my house. An hour later, I went outside to my shop to make sure that my two sons, who worked there, were safe. I was accompanied by a cousin and another son. We were carrying a gas light. As we reached the shop, we saw a soldier wearing white military boots lying on the road. He called out, “Who are you?” I replied that we were civilians. Then shots rang out. I was hit by a bullet in the right knee. My son cried out, “You’ve shot my father,” and the BSF soldier yelled abusive language at him.  Ghulam M. was taken to the Bone and Joint Hospital, and his right leg was amputated from above the knee.”[58]

BBC: “Rights group Human Rights Watch has urged India to hold an independent inquiry into the unmarked graves found in Indian-administered Kashmir.  Earlier, the state human right commission said it had evidence that 2,156 bodies had been buried in 40 graves over the last 20 years.  The commission is the first government body to confirm what others have previously alleged.   Its report is yet to be submitted but it has been widely leaked in the media.   The commission’s investigation focused on four northern, mountainous districts and involved scrutinising police, mosque and graveyard records, interviewing police and local people and cross-referencing information.  “For years, Kashmiris have been lamenting their lost loved ones, their pleas ignored or dismissed as the government and army claimed that they had gone to Pakistan to become militants,” Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said.  “But these graves suggest the possibility of mass murder. The authorities should immediately investigate each and every death.” Independent human rights groups have long insisted that thousands of people have mysteriously disappeared over the last two decades and never been accounted for.  Some have accused India’s security forces of abducting local people, killing them and covering up the crime by describing the dead as unknown militants when they are given for burial.  The authorities deny such accusations.  The security forces say the unidentified dead are militants who may have originally come from outside India.  They also say that many of the missing people have crossed into Pakistan-administered Kashmir to engage in militancy.”[59]

BBC: “A young Indian soldier recently stationed in Kashmir reflects on the controversial issue of ‘fake encounter’ killings – where the security forces are alleged to carry out extra-judicial killings while claiming they were caught up in gun battles with militants.  Since he gave these views to the BBC’s Urdu service, seven policemen have been charged with murder in connection with the death of a carpenter that he refers to. (…)I heard that there have been some ‘fake encounter’ killings in Ganderbal [near the summer capital, Srinagar].  It’s not that I was not aware of the fact that these things happen, but somehow the number disturbed me.  Apparently the security forces are being held responsible, and they have probably even accepted responsibility.  Some of the people who are part of the security forces are Kashmiris, some of them are even surrendered militants who fought the army at one time. I was appalled, and at the same time very sad.  The question is, why would anybody want to kill a poor carpenter? I mean how harmful can he be? The answer is so obvious that I was at first surprised and then angry at my own naivety.  The answer is the system. (…) The system in the Kashmir valley has become such that “kills” by so-called security forces are associated with medals, monetary benefits, promotions and a host of other perks.  So any organisation getting or registering more “kills” reaps the benefits.  Now, to kill a seasoned militant these days is difficult, because these guys are mercenaries and are tough.  So some elements within the security forces apparently do the next easiest thing: pick up an innocent man from the street and get him killed somewhere else.  And the saddest part about the whole thing is that even Kashmiris themselves are doing this to their own people.  Suddenly everything becomes a blur. It becomes unclear who the real enemy is. I had come to the valley with naive ideas of being able to make a difference, but in reality I can only influence not more than 10 people.  And then something like this happens, and there are villagers and more villagers protesting on the street, asking for freedom from this kind of oppression.  Obviously they will protest. Anybody would.  Even if there is no solution in sight one cannot just go and pick up people from the street and kill them. And if they do this there will be never be any solution.  I had dear friends who had nothing to do with the Kashmir problem, who were from places far away from here, who were soldiers, who died here believing they were dying for a cause because they were told so.  But now I realise they do not really want to solve the whole issue.  The big game being played here is that of money. Money being pumped in by Pakistan to wage the war and money from India to conquer it.  And as long as there is a war going on in the valley there will be unaccounted money and people to make good use of it.  I realise that we are just pawns in this game of dirty politics. And I suddenly feel small… very small.[60]

Human Rights Watch: “An inquiry by the police investigation team of the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has found 2,730 bodies dumped into unmarked graves in four of the state’s 14 districts. Thousands of Kashmiris have been forcibly disappeared during the last two decades of violence, their whereabouts unknown. The Enquiry Report of Unmarked Graves in North Kashmir, submitted by the investigating police team to the commission on July 2, 2011, said that the unidentified bodies had been buried in 38 sites in north Kashmir’s Baramulla, Bandipora, Handwara, and Kupwara districts. At least 574 have been identified as the bodies of local Kashmiris. The government had previously said that the graves held unidentified militants, most of them Pakistanis killed over the two decades of violence in Jammu and Kashmir whose bodies had been handed over to village authorities for burial. However, in response to commission inquiries, in March 2010 district police claimed that a total of 464 unidentified bodies had been buried in north Kashmir.  “For years, Kashmiris have been lamenting their lost loved ones, their pleas ignored or dismissed as the government and army claimed that they had gone to Pakistan to become militants,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “But these graves suggest the possibility of mass murder. The authorities should immediately investigate each and every death.” (…)A similar pattern of abuses and cover-up took place in the neighboring state of Punjab during counterinsurgency operations from 1984 to 1995, Human Rights Watch said. Indian security forces were implicated in thousands of killings and secret cremations to hide the evidence.  The National Human Rights Commission, which was specially empowered by the Supreme Court to address these cases, narrowed its efforts to merely establishing the identity of the people secretly cremated in three crematoria in just one district of Punjab. It rejected cases from other districts and ignored intentional violations of human rights by India’s security forces. For more than a decade, the commission has failed to investigate a single case independently, and it refuses to identify any officials responsible for the abuses. (…)Human Rights Watch also urged the immediate repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act [AFSPA], a draconian law that grants the military widespread powers to arrest people without warrant and to shoot to kill. This law has enabled security forces to engage in crimes such as enforced disappearances, Human Rights Watch said. It protects military personnel responsible for serious crimes from prosecution, creating a pervasive culture of impunity.  “Even some senior government and judicial figures believe that the AFSPA leads to abuses and offends human rights principles,” Ganguly said. “If the government is serious about justice, it needs to get rid of AFSPA immediately.””[61]

Human Rights Watch: “Recent investigations into the “disappearance” of Abdul Rahman Paddar, a carpenter who went missing in December, have shown that he was picked up in Srinagar by a special operations squad of Gandherbal district police and later killed. Although Abdul Rahman had been reported missing by his family, the police identified him as a Pakistani militant and claimed that he had been killed in an armed encounter. Abdul Rahman Paddar’s body was exhumed and identified by his relatives last month.  Four other bodies were also exhumed, including that of a street vendor and a Muslim priest, who had all “disappeared” last year. Eight policemen, including two senior officers, have been arrested for these murders. A judicial inquiry has been ordered into these fake “encounter killings,” which are executions staged to look like self-defense. (…) “Recent revelations have confirmed what families in Kashmir have been alleging all along,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Indian security forces have ‘disappeared’ countless people in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989 and staged fake encounter killings while fabricating claims that those killed were militants.”  The Association of the Parents of Disappeared Persons in Jammu and Kashmir (APDP), fearing that their relatives might have met the same fate, is now calling for an investigation into all “disappearances.” The APDP alleges that more than 10,000 people are missing in Jammu and Kashmir. The government has admitted that nearly 4,000 people are missing, but claims that some of them may have crossed into Pakistan to join militant groups. Until now, authorities have denied all responsibility for the fate or whereabouts of the “disappeared” persons in response to habeas corpus petitions.  Officially, the government has always denied allegations of staging fake encounter killings. However, according to Indian security officials who have spoken to Human Rights Watch on condition of anonymity, fake encounter killings are a common occurrence. Fake encounter killings are even encouraged through decorations, gallantry citations or promotions of personnel credited for the death of “militants.” However, it has long been alleged that these incentives lead to abuses, including the murder of innocents, as happened in the case of Abdul Rahman Paddar.”[62]

Indian People’s Tribunal on Environment & Human Rights: “In Srinagar, we visited the mother of the victim Farid. On June 28, Farid was returning home after prayers. While crossing the road he saw a jeep coming in his direction in which some military officers were travelling. Farid was apprehensive about military’s crackdown so he ran away from the jeep. The military officers mistook him as being a militant and chased him till his house. They entered his house and started looking for him. They claimed that he was an Afghani militant taking shelter in this house. When Farid’s mother told them that he was not an Afghani militant but her son they did not believe her. So deep was the distrust that inspite of showing them his Indian identity card they refused to acknowledge his identity. What followed was a cold-blooded murder of this innocent young man. The officers took him outside his house and shot him near his ear. His younger sister was watching this incident from the balcony of their house. She saw her brother being shot by the military. She tried to scream for help but guns were pointed at her from below. When we reached their house we found that Farid’s mother had virtually become insane due to shock. She was singing songs as she thought her son was to be applied haldi as he was to be married while on the other hand the people gathered there were mourning his death.”[63]

 

Human Rights Watch/Asia: “On April 2, Indian soldiers deliberately burned an injured man to death and set fires that gutted more than thirty-five buildings in Mawar Bala, Handwara in Kupwara district. Mawar is a small village located about one hundred kilometers from the Line of Control — the cease-fire line with Pakistan — and about the same distance from Srinagar. Most of the inhabitants are farmers.  On April 8, 1994, the PUCL published a report on its visit to Mawar Bala. On April 18, a team from the Kashmir Bar Association also sent a mission to Mawar. The two human rights groups separately published reports after recording the statements of a number of eye-witnesses. Mohammad L., 45, the headman of Mawar Bala, together with other witnesses including Mohammad S. L., Abdul L., Lassa L. and Gulla L., told the Bar Association that on April 1, 1994 at about 9:00 P.M Indian Army soldiers belonging to the Jack Rifles unit, stationed at Watergam and Kalam Chakla, encircled the villages of Mawar Bala, Kutlari and Khuddi and ordered the residents to remain inside their houses. The next day, at 7:00 A.M., the soldiers conducted a search of the houses in the village. At about 9:00 A.M., they reached a kuthar (a storage shed where farmers store unmilled rice); suspecting rightly that it concealed militants, they set it alight.  According to the PUCL report, when the soldiers they became suspicious that militants might be hiding inside the shed, army officer Ashok Chatal ordered his men to pack grass around the kuthar and set it on fire. When the soldiers had done so, militants inside the shed opened fire. One soldier was reportedly injured.  Mohammad L. and other witnesses told the Bar Association that the army then opened fire killing four men: Mohammad Maqbool War, 18, the son of Ghulam Ahmad War, a resident of Shurhama Lachi; Irshad Ahmad Malik, 20, the son of Habib Malik, a resident of Drugon and Nazir Ahmad Mir, the son of Mohammad Mir, a resident of Odura Chak. A fifth man, Mohammad Yousf Wani, was wounded: he was subsequently killed when the soldiers threw him into one of the burning buildings. His charred body was later found in the debris of a storage shed.  At about the same time, other soldiers began throwing an incendiary powder locally referred to as “gunpowder” on houses, cow sheds, storage sheds and shops in the area around the village mosque, and setting the buildings on fire. The soldiers remained on guard outside the burning houses until the houses and other buildings were almost totally gutted. Most of the residents escaped through their back doors or by jumping out of windows. In the process, many of them were injured. According to the PUCL report, some houses were bolted from outside by the soldiers. Some residents were ordered to come out with their hands up and were not allowed to salvage any of their personal property. Mohammad L. told PUCL that his own house was set on fire by the army and as he and his family tried to come out, the soldiers blocked their way. He stated that the soldiers start[ed] torching the village from different sides. I yelled to other villagers to jump out from their houses. My two sons … Farooq Ahmad, 14, and Abdul Qayoom, 16, were beaten when they escape[d] … They were accused of being militants. The fire brigades coming from Handwara and Sopore reached on spot at 12:30 p.m. but they were prevented by the armed personnels to extinguish the fire.  In a first information report, filed with the Handwara police station by army lieutenant M.S. Rathore on April 2, the army claimed that militants had started the fires. However, according to a report in the Kashmir Times, a defense ministry spokesman later stated that the fire was ignited by a smoke grenade thrown by the soldiers, and that the “fire spread to adjoining houses even as troops tried to put out the blaze.” But according to the PUCL report, this was untrue; in any event the kuthar was at some distance from the houses.  It is totally impossible that the fire from [the] kuthar could have engulfed the other houses situated in different directions.  The Kashmir Times report cited local residents as claiming that soldiers had used gunpowder to start fires on the houses. Both PUCL and the Bar Association team corroborated this account.  The Kashmir Times also reported that local residents stated that the troops fired indiscriminately after they were attacked by militants. The report stated that two of the men killed, Mohammad Yousef Wani and another not previously identified, Farooq Ahmad, were members of Hezb-ul Mujahidin, the most powerful militant group supporting Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. Irshad Ahmed Malik, Mohammad Maqbool War and Nazir Ahmad Mir were reported to be civilians. A total of 35 houses and other buildings were destroyed in the blaze, leaving several hundred people homeless.  Abdul R., 34, a resident of Mawar Bala, told the Bar Association that when the fire brigades reached the village at 12:00 P.M. on April 2, the soldiers did not allow them to enter the village until all the houses were gutted.  When the army revisited the village on April 3, they took the nozzles of the fire brigade into their hands and had themselves video-taped posing as saviors of the villagers.  The army unit returned to Mawar on April 3, 1994, the evening before a delegation of officials from the civil administration and Jammu and Kashmir police were due to arrive to investigate the incident. According to witnesses, army officers ordered the villagers to assemble and warned them not to make any statement against the army in front of the government officials. The army took down statements of other villagers on forms printed in Hindi, which the villagers were unable to read. Witnesses also testified that the army compelled some villagers, including Abdul R., to make false statements in front of a video camera to the effect that the fire had taken place as a result of cross-fire between the militants and the army, and threatened the villagers that if they refused, they would be killed. Similar threats were issued to local police who came to investigate the incident.  Peer Gh., the imam of the mosque, told PUCL:  I was forced to face the video camera including some other villagers and give [a] statement contrary to facts. … On the day of occurrence when the SDB (sub-district magistrate) and police party reached the spot they were forced to leave the spot or face “cross-firing.”  Despite the threats, Gulla L., a resident of Mawar Bala, told the DSP (deputy superintendent) and SHO (station house officer) of the Handwara office of the Jammu and Kashmir police in the presence of army officers that army soldiers had set fire to the houses and other buildings and that they had killed innocent people. Gulla L. stated that the next day his brother, Abdul Ahad L., was arrested by an army unit stationed at Kalam Chakla during a routine check of travellers, and was released only after the residents of Kalam Chakla held a demonstration to protest the arrest. (…) Indian security forces have continued to kill unarmed civilians in retaliation for militant attacks. In most cases, these incidents follow militant ambushes in which security forces are injured or killed. Civilians living in the area where the ambush took place are targeted for reprisal.  On March 18, 1994, at about 12:45 p.m. an army jeep belonging to the G-2 Rashtriya Rifles unit struck a land mine two kilometers away from the village of Mahand in the district of Bijbehara. The jeep was damaged and two soldiers reportedly injured. According to a report by PUCL, immediately following the mine blast, the soldiers stopped a bus that was traveling on the road toward Mahand, ordered all the passengers to disembark and then beat them. The incident was also investigated by retired Justice Bahauddin Farooqi of the human rights organization the People’s Commission of Enquiry. Later that night the soldiers returned to Mahand, cordoned off the village, and ignited gunpowder in three houses, two of which were vacant. The vacant houses belonged to Abdul Gaffar Bhat and Ghulam Mohiuddin Dar.  The third house belonged to Ghulam Qadir Wani and his brother-in-law Abdul Rahman Naiku.  Five members of his family, including three children, died in the explosion and fire.  Wani’s wife Azi and niece Jamila died later in the SMHS hospital in Srinagar. Abdul Rahman Naiku was injured in the fire. Ghulam Qadir Wani told PUCL that on the night of March 18 he was sleeping on the second floor of the house.  His wife, Azi, son Abdul Salam, 25, sister-in-law Mrs. Rathi, 35, her two children, Javid Ahmed and Jamila, and two other grandchildren, Shaista and Imtiaza, were sleeping on the ground floor.  At about 11:00 p.m. I heard voices in my compound. I got alarmed and got up and peeped through a window. I saw some army personnel numbering ten to twelve equipped with arms and knives. Frightened, I returned to bed. At 3:45 a.m. the army personnel, who had disappeared for some time, reappeared. They were shouting insults (“Salo Bahar Ajao” — Come out you bastards). I came down but I could not open the door as it was bolted from outside. The moment I went back upstairs, a blast like a thunderbolt occurred. Instant flames surrounded our house, especially the ground floor in which our family members were sleeping. Somehow I managed to jump to the ground from the back of the house. I saw some military personnel running and whistling. It was about 4:30 a.m. I could see some neighbors coming for rescue. They brought some pumps and gradually controlled the fire.  Hari Krishan, 19, a member of the only Hindu family who remained in Mahand after the conflict broke out in 1990 told PUCL:  Towards the end of the night I heard three successive blasts. I immediately tried to get out of my house to see what had actually happened, but my family did not allow me. After some time I was able to convince my parents that it was our moral duty to share the grief and sorrow of our neighbors who have always rendered their help and cooperation to us. I rushed to the spot and found that two houses have been blasted and one set on fire, roasting the family members inside. I also found the cow shed and a stable on fire wherein three horses were also roasted alive.  Other witnesses told the People’s Commission of Enquiry that they saw army soldiers running away after the explosions, and calling to each other to get away quickly.  At around noon on March 18, Ghulam Mohiuddin Sheikh was traveling by bus from Mahand to Bijbehara, when the bus was stopped by the army at the village of Satkipora, where the mine blast had taken place. He told PUCL that the soldiers attacked the passengers, beating them with rifle butts and smashing the bus windows. The soldiers threatened the passengers coming from Mahand that they would be “taught a lesson.” He continued:  On that same night while I was in my house I heard three blasts and got up. I found the house of Ghulam Qadir Wani set on fire.  According to the People’s Commission of Enquiry, the government issued a press statement about the incident on March 19 which stated that an explosive substance was thrown by some unknown militants into the house of Abdul Rahmand Naiku at Mahand, Bijbehara, as a result of which the house-owner Mst. Azi wife of Ghulam Qadir Naiku [sic] and Mst. Hamida [sic] sustained injuries, who were hospitalised. The house also caught fire which engulfed another house in which five persons were burnt alive.  Following reports in the local press which blamed the army for the incident, the government issued a second statement on March 20 denying the reports and reiterating the claim that militants were responsible for the fire.  The newspaper Hind Samachar, on the other hand, published a slightly different government version of the incident on March 30, suggesting the perpetrators had simply masqueraded as government troops. It quoted a Defense Ministry spokesman as saying that militants in military uniform set on fire two houses at Bijbehara as a result of which five persons were burnt alive.  According to PUCL and the People’s Commission of Enquiry, no government or army officials visited the village to investigate the incident.”[64]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “The term encounter killings is a euphemism used to describe extra judicial killings in which police or the military kill innocents, suspects, criminals or members of armed opposition groups in alleged encounters. Encounter killings have been a feature of law enforcement in India for decades. These again rose to public prominence in 1980s in Andhra Pradesh and Mumbai. The euphemistic nature of the problem is underlined by the fact that some of Mumbai’s police became known as ‘Encounter Specialists’. The security forces use these means to apply ‘speedy justice’ and circumvent the formal legal system.  Encounter killings contravene international law. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”   Further, Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that “Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” Article 4 of the ICCPR states that this right cannot be waived “even in times of public emergency threatening the life of the nation.”  Under Article 2(3) (a) and (b) of the ICCPR, State parties are obliged to ensure that remedies are available to the victims of human rights violations and that those remedies are effective.  The National Human Rights Commission issued “Guidelines/Procedures to be followed in dealing with deaths occurring in encounter deaths” to be followed by the State Governments in dealing with deaths occurring in encounters with the police on 29 March 1997. The Guidelines were subsequently revised on 2 December 2003. The States are required to inform the NHRC of all cases of deaths resulting from police encounters. The Commission also recommended the modified procedure to be followed by State Governments in all cases of deaths, in the course of police action. The NHRC stipulated that such cases should investigated by an independent investigating agency, such as the State Crime Branch – Criminal Investigation Department (CBCID), and whenever a specific complaint is made against the police alleging commission of a criminal act on their part, which makes out a cognisable case of culpable homicide, an FIR to this effect must be registered under appropriate Sections of the Penal Code. The NHRC recommended that these cases should be investigated by the State CBCID that a Magisterial Inquiry should be held and the family of the deceased should be involved in the inquiry. (…) About 1500 persons die in custody of the State each year. Only 4 police personnel were convicted in 2004 and 3 in 2005. In 2004, 37 personnel were charge sheeted and 25 personnel were charge-sheeted in 2005 for custodial death & other criminal offences. Impunity for these custodial crimes stands exposed from the accepted number of custodial deaths, compensation granted by the NHRC and courts based on the evidence, and the lack of corresponding prosecution of the guilty law enforcement personnel.”[65]

 

 

 

Evidence 4: Violations of the Rights of the Child

Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR): “From 15 May to 6 July 2010, Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) carried out a field investigation in Jammu and Kashmir to study the status of children in conflict with the law given widespread reports of violations of their rights. (…) [J]uveniles in Jammu and Kashmir have been consistently arrested, detained and tried as adults in contravention of national and international human rights standards. (…) The State government          of                Jammu &           Kashmir               has been illegally detaining minors under the Public Safety Act (PSA) of 1978 that provides for upto two years of preventive detention. A large, yet unknown, number of children have been detained under the PSA. The detention of these minors is illegal as the Supreme Court of India in numerous judgements held that the Juvenile Justice Act has supremacy over all other Acts while trying offences committed by children in conflict with the law;  Prisons in J&K currently have large number of juvenile prisoners and/or prisoners who have been arrested as minors but who have subsequently attained adulthood during their detention and are charged as adults in contravention with India’s national laws and international obligations (…) There    is no juvenile home       for          girls        in            Jammu and Kashmir in violation of  1997 J&K Juvenile Justice Act and all the girls taken into custody (…) Minors             in            pre-trial detention are assumed             to           be adults and are routinely detained with adult criminals, placing them at very high risk of abuse, in clear violation of national laws and international human rights standards; (…) Fayaz Ahmad Bhat (25 years old now), son of Ghulam Hassan Bhat, resident of Goori-pora, Palpora, Ganderbal, Srinagar was arrested and charged with offences under sections 302 of the Ranbir Penal Code (murder) and Sections 7 and 27 of the Indian Arms Act.  The case was registered in 1995 (FIR no. 42/1995) at the Safakadal Police Station. Fayaz Ahmad Bhat’s lawyers repeatedly claim that Fayaz is a victim of mistaken identity. They also underlined that Fayaz Ahmad Bhat was a minor at the time of the offence.  He spent closed to 3 years in the Central Jail, Srinagar and was then transferred to R S Pura, Jammu in 2009 where he remains till date. (…) It is pertinent to mention that Fayaz was just 9 years at the time of alleged offences for which he was charged with murder and acquisition or possession, or of manufacture or sale, of prohibited arms or prohibited ammunition. The counsel for the delinquent filed three applications for bail on 17 March 2009, 4 April 2009 and 20 April 2009. On 4 April 2009 the CJM Court directed that the delinquent who was detained at Central Jail, Srinagar be shifted and lodged at Juvenile/Observation Home, R S Pura, Jammu. (…)When ACHR researcher met Fayaz Ahmed at the R S Pura Juvenile Home on 3 July 2010, he alleged that he was not produced even once before the trial court since the denial of bail. There is no doubt that Fayaz’s detention without trial violates universally accepted human rights laws. Rule 8 Juveniles of J&K: Unequal before the Law &  Denied Justice in Custody of the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty provides that “Juveniles who are detained under arrest or awaiting trial (“untried”) are presumed innocent and shall be treated as such. Detention before trial shall be avoided to the extent possible and limited to exceptional circumstances. Therefore, all efforts shall be made to apply alternative measures. When preventive detention is nevertheless used, juvenile courts and investigative bodies shall give the highest priority to the most expeditious processing of such cases to ensure the shortest possible duration of detention. Untried detainees should be separated from convicted juveniles.” Fayaz is an adult of 25 years  at present.  His detention in the Juvenile Home have raised specific questions. However, when the FIR was filed 16 years ago in 1995, he was only 9 years old. His contention that he is not person being charged but a victim of mistaken identity has not been investigated even after the certificate issued by the Shanti Public School has been held as genuine by the Court and therefore, he was sent to the R S Pura Juvenile Home. No inquiry has been conducted as to whose certificate the police produced from the Government Boys High School, Dub Ganderbal to show that he was an adult. He is destined to stay in the R S Pura Juvenile Home as the State fails to ensure his expeditious trial of a case registered more than one and half decade ago. (…)Efforts to establish Juvenile Homes under the supervision of the judiciary have also failed. As Mr Moulvi Javaid, Learned District and Sessions Judge of Budgam told the Asian Centre for Human Rights: “When I was posted at Pulwama, I had built a juvenile home in the town under my supervision. After my transfer and simultaneous completion of the home, it was occupied by the security forces and is still being occupied illegally……” (…) As Jammu and Kashmir has so far failed to build a Juvenile Home for girls, all juvenile delinquent girls have to be detained either in police lock up or prisons with adult female prisoners in general jails. In June 2010, the J&K High Court specifically directed the State government to construct a Juvenile Home for Girls. Two juvenile girls, namely, Rubayya Jan and Samina Jan (names changed), daughters of Abdul Rashid Gadda were charged with attempt to murder along with other family members as per FIR No. 66/2010 under Kulgam Police Station. As per the record, on 21 March 2010, when two families had a fight on a construction site, where the family members of Abdul Rashid Gadda hit one person of the opposite family. He got seriously injured. A case of attempt to murder was registered against all the family members of Abdul Rashid including the two minor girls.  As Jammu and Kashmir has no Juvenile Home for girls, Rubayya Jan and Samina Jan were sent to judicial custody along with the other adults.”[66]

Indian People’s Tribunal on Environment & Human Rights: “Constant disturbances in the Valley have changed the entire life pattern of the inhabitants, especially children. The entire concept of childhood has undergone a radical change in the Valley. The children do not go to kindergarten, or learn nursery rhymes or play with the toys, as normal children would do. Neither are they brought up under the loving tender care of their parents in a free atmosphere. Instead their memories of childhood consist of an atmosphere surcharged with fear, terror, constant violence, unrest and constant insecurity. The Army constantly enters school premises, takes the teachers, and humiliates them in front of the students by parading them. The schools are virtually turned into Army camps, which the Army has occupied for years. The schools are therefore hardly functioning. The children are thus virtually trapped in their houses and lose the opportunity to acquire education. Minor girls often become targets of the Army. They experience sexual harassment from the Army personnel and hence are hesitant to attend schools. They live under tremendous amount of mental stress and constant insecurity. The young teenagers and college students are often taken for interrogation. Many of them are found missing after interrogation. Thus the students cannot concentrate on their curriculums. There is no fixed schedule for conducting examinations and declaring results. The students have to bear the brunt on all fronts. Some lose their family members due to violence, some have to share the financial burden of the family in absence of earning members, and some cannot attend the school colleges due to curfew orders or interrogation. Many lose their homes as the Army burns houses where they suspect the presence of militants. Thus the student community in the Valley has been deprived of having education in a free and fair atmosphere. Many of the students have taken up militancy as a result of constant harassment by the Army. Some of them have left the Valley. If this situation prevails in the Valley for a long time, one cannot predict the future of the children. (…) [Lawyers] narrated the case of trial of a boy who was accused of murdering a cloth merchant. During the trial it was proved from the available record that the deceased was already dead in 1965, when the accused was not even born. Such types of false cases are also registered against young boys, further labeling them as militants. ”[67]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “There is absolute prohibition on the recruitment of child soldiers including under the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court. During its field visit to Dantewada in March 2006, Asian Centre for Human Rights found instances of children being recruited as Special Police Officers (SPOs). Later, the Union Home Ministry reportedly issued directions not to recruit persons below 18 years as SPOs. However, the recruitment of children as SPOs continued. This has been confirmed by the National Commission for Women (NCW) after its visit to Dantewada in December 2006. The NCW stated that many of the tribal boys and girls who have been recruited as Special Police Officers to fight Naxalites “appear to be minors”. During its visit to the relief camps on 1-5 January 2007, ACHR found continued practice of recruitment of under-aged children as SPOs.”[68]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “The recruitment of child soldiers is rampant and hundreds of children remain involved in the conflicts. Both the government and the armed opposition groups have recruited children including for combat purposes since India signed the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict on 5 Nov 2004 and further ratified it on 30 November 2005. (…) Section 60 of the Madhya Pradesh Police Regulation allows recruitment of children below 18 years as “boy orderlies” of the State Police. While hundreds of children below 18 years have been recruited as “boy orderlies” in Madhya Pradesh, the State government of Chhattisgarh on a complaint filed by Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) before the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) admitted that there are approximately 300 “Balarakshaks” employed in the state police force at present and seven of them were posted with 4th Battalion of Chhattisgarh Police at Mana in Raipur. The armed battalions are engaged in counter insurgency. (…) Despite such evidence, the Government India, in its periodic report relating to Article 4 of the Optional Protocol on the recruitment of child soldiers by the armed groups, states that “India does not face either international or non-international armed conflict situations”.  The Government of India provides no information about the recruitment of child soldiers by the AOGs and virtually absolved the recruitment of child soldiers by the AOGs, which are otherwise officially designated as terrorist organizations, from the scrutiny of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. (…) In 2011, the Government of India submitted its first Periodic Report on the status of implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. The report prepared by the Ministry of Women and Child Development has failed to provide factual information on the involvement of children in armed conflict. The Government of India totally denied the existence of any armed conflict in India and therefore the involvement of children in it. The Government of India has stated, Even though India does not face armed conflict, there are legislative provisions that prevent involvement of children in armed conflict and provide care and protection to children affected by armed conflict. (…) Article 1: India’s recruitment of child soldiers Article 1 States that States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that members of their armed forces who have not attained the age of 18 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.” (…) Article 2 of the Optional Protocol to the CRC provides that “States Parties shall ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 18 years are not compulsorily recruited into their armed forces.” Article 3 of the Optional Protocol to the CRC further provides that the minimum age for the voluntary recruitment of persons into their national armed forces from shall be 18 years. (…) The Government of India in its periodic report flatly denied the applicability of Article 2 while affirming that the age for voluntary recruitment into the armed forces is 18 years. The Government of India stated as under: “6. There is no forced and coerced recruitment into the Armed Forces of India. Hence, Article 2 of the OP does not apply to India… 7. Recruitment to the Armed Forces in India is purely voluntary and a person below 18 years of age cannot be inducted directly into the Armed Forces and hence, does not take direct part in hostilities. Recruitment of jawans in the Army is carried out through open recruitment rallies and those in the age group of 18-42 years are eligible to apply.” (…) The assertions of the Government of India are not correct. Once again, the Government of India failed to report about the practices by the State Governments. As per the Madhya Pradesh Police Regulation, children below 18 years can be employed as “boy orderlies” of the Police. Section 60 of the Regulation states, “60. Boy-orderlies – A certain number of appointments as constables may be given by Superintendents to boys under the ages of 18. They are known as “boy-orderlies”, and receive half the pay of an ordinary constable. In making these appointments preference should always be given to sons or relatives of police officers, or of men who have rendered good service to Government. As soon as a boy-orderly satisfies the conditions laid down in Regulation 53, he should be given a preferential claim to appointment in the first vacancy that occurs.” (…) The Chhattisgarh Government which has similar regulation has been employing children as “Balarakshaks” (child policeman) in the State’s Police Department in blatant violation of Child Labour Act, 1986, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. On 6 April 2011, Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) filed a complaint before the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) against the employment of children as “Balarakshaks” in the police department. On 29 June 2011, the Home Department of the Government of Chhattisgarh informed the NCPCR that there are approximately 300 “Balarakshaks” employed in the state police force. The reply stated that seven of them were posted with 4th Battalion of Chhattisgarh Police at Mana in Raipur. The reply further stated that the “Balarakshaks” are appointed on compassionate ground at the demise of their parents, who served in the state police department, either due to illness or in attacks by Maoists or criminals. (…) Contrary to the periodic report before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the security forces in India often demonstrate the surrender of the child soldiers as trophies in order to expose the armed opposition groups. (…)The provisions of Fundamental Rights, as enjoined into the Constitution of India, are adequate safeguards to prevent the State from coercing the citizens to join the Armed Forces. (…) Any legal provision enabling the age of conscription to be lowered in exceptional circumstances (e.g. state of emergency). (…) For State Parties where compulsory military service has been suspended but not abolished, the minimum age of recruitment set up in the previous regime and how, and under what conditions, this previous system can be re-installed.”[69]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “there are 197 districts in India which are officially notified as affected by internal armed conflicts and the edifice of the juvenile justice does not exist in these districts. Children, irrespective of their age, in these districts are treated as adult. They are routinely subjected to gross human rights violations including arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, extrajudicial executions and sexual assaults as part of the counterinsurgency operations. Juveniles in these districts are denied access to juvenile justice unlike their counterparts in rest of the country. (…) Out of 197 conflict afflicted districts, 151 districts i.e. 76.64% of the total conflict afflicted districts do not have Observation Homes and Special Homes. This implies that juveniles who are taken into custody are kept in police lock up or camps of the army and para-military forces in clear violation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 [JJ(C&PC) Act] and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is despite the fact that Sub sections of (1) and (2) of Section 8 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 provide for establishment of “Observation Homes”/ Certification of Fit Institutions in every district or a group of district “for the temporary reception of any juvenile in conflict with law during the pendency of any inquiry regarding them under this Act”. (…) In this report, Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) cited 15 cases of arbitrary arrest, detention and torture. Though crimes of arbitrary arrest, detention and torture are difficult to establish, ACHR has obtained compensation in at least three cases (two of which are highlighted below) to establish the patterns of violence against children. (…) On 17 November 2010, Soumen Mohanty (17 years), son of Mr. Sudhir Charan Mohanty of Netaji Nagar was arrested in connection with Madhupatana police station case No. 218 dated 17.11.2010 under Sections 506/34 of Indian Penal Code and Sections 3 & 5 of the Explosive Substances Act in Cuttack, Orissa. On 23 November 2010, ACHR filed a complaint with the NHRC which forwarded it to the Orissa Human Rights Commission (OHRC) for taking necessary action. (…) The Director (Investigation) of the OHRC found that “(i) Juvenile Soumen Mohanty was taken into detention at Madhupatana poolice station on 17.11.2010 between 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm and interrogated by the police in connection with Madhupatana Police Station case no. 218 of 2010; (ii) Soumen Mohanty was “tortured physically and mentally by ASI Satayanarayan Senapati in presence of Inspector Jayant Kumar Mohapatra and Sub-Inspector, S.B. Jena, (iii) It was ASI Satyanarayan Senapati who assaulted Soumen Mohanty for which he is liable to be prosecuted under sections 341/323 IPC; (iv) Inspector Jayant Kumar Mohapatra is liable for illegal detention of Soumen Mohanty for more than 40 hours under sections 342/341/323/109 IPC; and (v) Police records were manipulated showing that Soumen Mohanty was arrested on 18.11.2010 at 8.30 pm to cover up the illegal action of Inspector Jayant Kumar Mohapatra and ASI Satyanarayan Senapati which amounts to misconduct and dereliction of duty.” (…) On 16 August 2009, 12-year-old Dipak Saikia (name changed) of Sanitpur village was tortured by Manuj Boruah, Officer In-Charge at the Sungajan police station in Golaghat district, Assam. On 16 August 2009 at about 11 am, a group of about six police personnel entered the house of the victim and dragged him out without giving any reason. He was taken to the Sungajan police station and on reaching the police station, he was ordered to sit on the floor of the verandah. Mr Manuj Boruah, Officer In-Charge of the police station tied the minor’s hands on his back with a chain and tortured him. The victim was beaten up with a stick repeatedly on his body including in the thigh, knees, foots, sole, back, arms, elbows and ears. The Officer- In-Charge also asked the minor to keep his hand on his table and was beaten on the nails. He was again hit on the head, neck and nose until Dipak became unconscious. Pursuant to a complaint filed with the NHRC by ACHR, the Superintendent of Police, Golaghat district, vide communication dated 07.12.2010 submitted a report to the NHRC confirming that the accused Sub Inspector Manuj Baruah directed his subordinate police officials to pick up the victim from his home at 10.00 am, caned him and detained him in the police station. The report of the SP further stated that accused police officer willfully omitted to make necessary entries in the General Diary of the police station, pertaining to the whole episode including the picking up of the victim, his illegal detention and subsequent release. The report further stated that a Departmental Disciplinary Proceeding has been drawn up against the accused officer for criminal misconduct and dereliction of duty. (…) Children continue to be arrested under the Public Safety Act (PSA) of Jammu and Kashmir which provides for preventive detention upto two years without trial in the name of public safety. The six emblematic cases of detention of juveniles in J&K under the Public Safety Act are given below: Case 1: On 7 February 2011, Faizan Rafeeq Hakeem was arrested for his alleged involvement in “stone-throwing.” He was 14 years, eight months and 11 days old at the time of his arrest. He was booked under the PSA and shifted to Kotbalwal Jail.  Finally, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah ordered his release. Hakeem was released on 5 April 2011. (…) Case 2: In May 2011, Murtaza Manzoor, aged 17 years, was released from jail after the High Court intervened and found his imprisonment to be unlawful. He was locked up for more than three months in administrative detention under the PSA. (…) Case 3: On 17 June 2010, 15-year-old Sheikh Akram, son of Sheikh Zulfikar of Jogilanker Rainawari. Akram and a student of Class 8th was arrested under the Public Safety Act after allegedly attending the funeral procession of Tufail Mattoo. After his arrest, Akram was granted bail by the Principal District and Sessions Court but in order to foil the bail, on 3 July 2010, District Magistrate of Srinagar Meraj Ahmad Kakroo issued orders to book him under PSA and was sent to Kote Bhalwal jail. Case 4: In November 2010, Harris Rasheed Langoo (15 years), a class 9th student, was arrested from his home at Malik Sahab Hawal for alleged involvement in stone pelting and detained under the PSA. Harris was granted bail twice by the court but continued to be detained. The first bail was granted almost a week after the arrest but police detained him on a new charge. The second bail was granted on 15 November 2010 but he was detained in a new charge.  Case 5: Omar Maqbool, aged 13 years, was detained on 27 October 2010 under the PSA and faced similar trauma of re-arrest like Harris Rasheed Langoo.  Case 6: Mushtaq Ahmad Sheikh, aged 14 years, was detained without evidence on 9 April 2010. He was granted bail after eight days, but was re-arrested on 21 April 2010. He was finally released on 10 February 2011. (…) It is clear that juveniles in conflict affected districts do not seem to be anybody’s priority and they are being denied the equal access to juvenile justice as being provided to their counterparts in the rest of the country. (…) In 1992, the Government of India ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which prescribes standards to be adhered to by all state Parties in securing the best interest of the child. India enacted the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 [hereinafter referred to as JJ(C&PC) Act] and launched various schemes for welfare of such children including the Integrated Children Protection Scheme (ICPS). The JJ(C&PC) Act was further amended in 2006 and 2011. (…)The situation is further compounded by application of special security legislations such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 which does not differentiate between children and adults. (…)The basic premise of national and international law pertaining to juveniles is the specific requirement of children in conflict with law and their requirement for special protections. The Government of India sought to incorporate these provisions under the JJ(C&PC) Act of 2000 which replaced the flawed Juvenile Justice Act of 1986. However, the JJ(C&PC) Act of 2000 has no jurisdiction in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Article 370 of the Indian Constitution provides that unless the J&K government extends Indian law by an Act of the State Legislature, the law is not applicable in J&K. (…)Juveniles in conflict with law do not get the benefit of the JJ(C&PC) Act in Jammu and Kashmir. Under the 1997 J&K Juvenile Justice Act, those who are over 16 years are not regarded as juveniles. Minors in pre-trial detention are assumed to be adults and are routinely detained with adult criminals, placing them at very high risk of abuse. In the absence of JJBs, trials are conducted by normal courts.  (…)The Army and the para-military forces have been using the AFSPA indiscriminately including against the children. (…) By ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on 11 December 1992, India accepted the legal responsibility to implement universal consensus on the rights of the child. Following the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, India adopted the JJ(C&PC) Act, 2000 to replace the archaic Juvenile Justice Act of 1986. The JJ(C&PC) Act has been defined as “an Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to juveniles in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection, by providing for proper care, protection and treatment by catering to their development needs, and by adopting a child-friendly approach in the adjudication and disposition of matters in the best interest of children and for their ultimate rehabilitation through various institutions established under this enactment”. (…)The absence of juvenile homes makes it difficult to reach out to the juveniles in vulnerable and worst insurgency affected districts. For example, government managed juvenile homes are conspicuously absent in worst insurgency affected and trafficking prone districts like Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Baksa, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Karbi Anglong, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Goalpara, Lakhimpur, Sibsagar, Golaghat, Sonitpur, Darrang, Dhemaji, Karimganj, Hailakandi, Cachar Hills and Morigaon districts. (…)In the absence of juvenile homes in the conflict afflicted districts, the juveniles had to be detained at police stations or jails. (…) Violation of the rights of the juveniles in conflict affected area. There are consistent and credible reports of violations of the rights of the juveniles in areas affected by conflicts and unrest. The law enforcement personnel remained unaware of the provisions of the JJ(C&PC) Act of 2000. Juveniles/children have been consistently arrested, detained and tortured. In many cases, they have also become victims of extrajudicial executions or encounter killings. Asian Centre for Human Rights has taken up a number of cases of violations of the rights of the juveniles with the National Human Rights Institutions. (…)The law enforcement personnel often arbitrarily pick up the children/juveniles and detain them in the police stations and jails. Due to the conflict situation, the provisions of the JJ(C&PC) Act are never applied. Many of the children are merely picked up on the suspicion of having links with armed opposition groups (AOGs). (…) Nothing clearly demonstrates the blatant and willful violation of the provisions of the JJ(C&PC) Act, 2000 than the recent case of illegal detention of three minors allegedly in conflict with law which was investigated by a team of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and Asian Centre for Human Rights during its twoday visit to Manipur from 18 – 20 May 2012. This case is under consideration of the NCPCR pursuant to a complaint filed by the Asian Centre for Human Rights.  From 14 February to 1 March 2012, four persons including three minors identified as Sonkhopao Mate (15 years), Ngamminlun Mate (17 years) and Ngambom Haokip (17 years) were arbitrary arrested and illegally detained in the custody of 36th Assam Rifles and at Lamphel police station in Imphal. Later, they were sent to judicial custody at Sajiwa Central Prison in clear violation of the provisions of the JJ(C&PC) Act, 2000. At about 7.30 pm on 14 February 2012, Sonkhopao Mate, Ngamminlun Mate, Ngambom Haokip and Paokholet Haokip (38 years), two other boys and three girls were having Maggi noodles and chatting at the residence of Sonkhopao’s cousin who is also his next door neigbhour. At that time, Jamkhothang Mate, father of Sonkhopao came there accompanied by some personnel of the 36th Assam Rifles based at Sehlon village under Khengjoy Block of Chandel district. He asked the children to come out of the house and all eight children followed the order. They saw that the house was rounded up by some AR personnel who were armed and had asked the children to accompany them. The children were neither informed as to why they were being taken to the AR camp nor allowed to talk to their family members. Then 36th Assam Rifles personnel took them to the camp, where one civilian Gajendra Singh pointed his finger at the three minors and one adult villager stating that they are the one who murdered his friend and business partner Mangal Ram. Gajendra Singh and the deceased were running a civil canteen (Variety store) under the 36th AR and their canteen was situated inside the AR camp at Sehlon village. Only at that point of time, the children came to know that they were picked up by the AR in connection with the alleged murder of late Mangal Ram. While two boys and three girls were released and allowed to go home, the three minors and the adult villager as identified by Gajendra Singh were detained the whole night at a small bunker inside the Assam Rifles’ camp fully guarded by armed personnel. During the whole night, the AR personnel allegedly denied the victims food and water. It was only in the next morning i.e. on 15 February 2012 that their family members fetched some food and water for the victims. The Assam Rifles blatantly violated Section 10 of the JJ(C&PC) Act as they have no authority under the JJ(C&PC) Act to apprehend a juvenile under any circumstance. Section 10 provides that any juvenile in conflict with the law can only be apprehended by the police who are required to place the juvenile apprehended under the charge of a Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) or a designated police officer. Proviso to Section 10 (as amended in 2006) provides that “in no case a juvenile in conflict with law shall be placed in a police lock up or lodged in a jail”. Therefore, it is not only the arrest by the Assam Rifles but detention of the victims by the AR in a bunker in their camp constitutes another blatant violation of section 10 of the JJ(C&PC) Act.  By depriving the victims of food and water and detaining them at a place unfit for normal human dwelling, the AR also committed an offence under Section 23 of the JJ(C&PC) Act. Willful deprivation of food and water and sleep are acts of cruelty and are therefore punishable under Section 23 which provides that “whoever, having the actual charge of, or control over, a juvenile or the child, assaults, abandons, exposes willfully neglects the juvenile or causes or procures him to be assaulted, abandoned, exposed or neglected in a manner likely to cause such juvenile or the child unnecessary mental or physical suffering shall be punishable with imprisonment for a team which may extend to six months, or fine, or with both.” (…) The police further committed an offence under Section 23 of the JJ(C&PC) Act by depriving the victims of food and water for the whole night. Deprivation of food and water to the victims who were tired and starved a whole day are nothing but acts of cruelty as provided under this section and are therefore punishable. While under detention in police custody, Sonkhopao fainted once and fell on the floor. Police took him to 1st Manipur Rifles’ Hospital in Imphal. He was also once taken for check up to Regional Institute of Medical Sciences but police did not give him any record of his medical treatment. (…) On 30 October 2010, three minor school girls were arrested by the police and sent to jail in Khunti district of Jharkhand. The girls were arrested from an encounter site between the police and the Maoists. The girls were charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Arms Act and the Explosives Act. The girls were treated as adults without verification of their age. They were neither produced before the Juvenile Justice Board to facilitate their stay in the juvenile home but remanded to judicial custody and sent to the Khunti jail. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights intervened into the matter following a complaint received from an NGO and asked the District Collector of Khunti district for immediate action in the case. ”[70]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “Custodial torture of children – Though the government of India has not ratified the UN Convention against Torture, it has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that expressly forbids the use of torture against children. Article 37(a) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) states: “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below 18 years of age.” Article 37(b) of CRC forbids illegal detention. It states, “(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time”. (…) Children are regularly subjected to torture, placed in illegal detention and at high risk of further violation (detained with adults). A commitment to protecting children would require a step change in the overall environment. It is difficult to see why the torture of children is likely to end before ending of general torture. (…)On 6 February 2007, Ms Banashree Malik, a minor girl of six years old (daughter of Pasupati Mondal) of Gopalnagar Paschim village in Singur, Hooghly district of West Bengal was beaten by police on accusation that her father was involved with Krishi Jami Bachao Committee an organisation resisting land acquisition by the State government on behalf of the TATA company at Singur. Some local people rescued her and she was admitted to Singur Rural Hospital as a result of the injuries sustained during the attack. (…) Police personnel of the Shastri Nagar Police Station in Patna of Bihar detained two minors identified as Rakesh (8 years old) and Rahul (6 years old) for nearly six hours without food and water for allegedly stealing berries from a local market. The minor boys say that they were beaten-up and locked up along with several convicts. It was only when the local residents and media teams arrived at the police station that both minors were released. (…) Once girls are taken into custody, the risks of sexual violence including rape and torture is high. On 15 August 2007, a 17-year-old Dalit girl identified as Seema, resident of Jagadishpur village, was arrested after she was found near the Gaur Police Station in Basti district of Uttar Pradesh. The police detained her overnight at the police station. The victim was allegedly tortured. She was released from the Gaur Police Station on 16 August 2007 without charge. She died a few hours after her release. (…) On the night of 25 December 2007, a minor girl (name withheld) was allegedly raped by Station House Officer (SHO), Manoj Rai at Raniganj police station in Jethwara in Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh. On 25 December 2007, the victim was picked up by the police while eloping with her boyfriend. She was illegally detained at the Raniganj police station by the SHO Manoj Rai. Her family tried to gain access to her but the SHO told them to return in the morning. She was illegally detained overnight. At some point in the night of 25 December 2007, Mr Rai raped the minor.”[71]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “In insurgency affected areas, children are subjected to torture. On the night of 27 June 2007, personnel of the 22nd Maratha Light Infantry allegedly tortured three minor girls – (name withheld), 17, daughter of Md Abdul Chessam, her 15-yearold sister (name withheld) and 13-year-old (name withheld) while arresting one Md Manao, 38, son of late Talibula from their house at Sekmaijin Makha Phoubakchao in Imphal of Manipur. The three minor girls demanded an arrest memo (warrant) and this apparently led to the torture. One of the victims had to be admitted to Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Imphal. The Asian Centre for Human Rights took up the case with the NHRC of India (Case No. 18/14/4/07-08/UC). In their replies to ACHR’s complaint, both the Director General of Police, Manipur and the Ministry of Defence denied the allegation. (…) On 27 June 2007, a 15-year-old daughter of Mihilal (name withheld), resident of Jarwatola village was allegedly gang raped by three police personnel of Nawadih Police Station including the Officer In Charge (OC) Mr Pramod Kumar during a anti-Naxal operation at Jarwatola village in Bokaro district of Jharkhand. Prior to the rape, the police personnel had stripped naked and then beat up her father Mihilal when he denied having any knowledge of the Maoists. ”[72]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “On 9 March 2010, Mr Ajay Maken, then Minster of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India stated in the Lok Sabha that 592 children died in Juvenile Home and Children Home from 2006 to 2010 up to 28 February 2010.  These included 4 deaths in Juvenile Home and 179 in Children Home during 2006-2007; 1 death in Juvenile Home and 204 in Children Home during 2007- 2008; 1 death in Juvenile Home and 112 in Children Home during 2008-2009; and 1 death in Juvenile Home and 90 in Children Home during 2009-2010 upto 28 February 2010.  In a shocking incident, one member of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) was found guilty of molesting children. On 8 September 2010, the state government issued an order restraining Balakrishna Masali, a member of the Child Welfare Committee II of the Bangalore Urban district, from holding sittings of the Child Welfare Committee, after he was found guilty of molesting girls by the KSCPCR. In its report the KSCPCR stated that the accused took the advantage of his position and used the opportunity to sexually molest the minor girls in the privacy of the cubicle and recommended his suspension and inquiry under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 and relevant sections of Indian Penal Code. The KSCPCR held an inquiry following a complaint by the Association for Promotion of Social Action (APSA), an NGO, alleging that the accused molested a 14 year-old girl during a 30-minute counseling session. The KSCPCR recorded the statements of four girls including the complainant lodged in the government-run girl’s home and the statement of the care-takers of the home. All the four girls alleged sexual harassment at the hand of the accused.  On 23 August 2010, a juvenile complained to the Juvenile Justice Board about the torture meted out by older children at the Juvenile Home run by an NGO Prayas at Delhi Gate. The JJ Board asked the Superintendent of the Juvenile Home, Bupinder Kumar to inquire and submit a report but the complaint became a reason for further torture for the victim. In his report submitted on 25 August 2010 Bupinder Kumar denied the boy’s charge. Instead, he pointed out that the boy’s weight had increased from 30 kg to 40 kg as he was fed well. The boy alleged that after reaching the Home, the authorities handed over the JJ Board’s order to a senior boy identified as Bhaiya who then started beating him. After Bhaiya left, others in the room kept beating him till he agreed to retract his complaint before the JJ Board. The victim was injured in his hand and head due to beating and beating marks were seen on his back. The JJ Board directed the police to register a case of torture against Bupinder Kumar and asked a Delhi High Court committee to look into the functioning of the Home.  On 28 August 2010, the Delhi government suspended a caretaker identified as Sushil Kumar at Asha Kiran, a government home for the mentally challenged, for beating five inmates with a wooden stick. They had to be admitted at Asha Kiran’s own hospital in Rohini. On the night of 26 August 2010, caretaker Sushil Kumar started beating the children after spotting them in the adult’s room. While two kids escaped with minor injuries, the five sustained serious injuries on their back, legs and even face. (…) On 29 September 2010, 14-year-old tribal boy Rajen Murmu, son of Late Paher Murmu, died due to alleged torture by the officials including Superintendent Mr. Subham Das of the “Anandashram Home for Juvenile and Child in need of Protection and Shelter” at Berhampore in Murshidabad district, West Bengal. Rajen Murmu was subjected to torture after he along with other co-inmates protested the torture and other maltreatment by the officials. To protect the accused officials, the authorities of the Home falsely implicated three inmates identified as Raj Murmu, Mangal Mardi and Bhanjan Marjit in the death of Rajen Murmu, who were friends of the deceased.”[73]

 

Evidence 5: Mass Rape

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC): “Women in India remain vulnerable and are too frequently victims of lethal violence. Sexual violence also occurs in the context of other forms of violence against women. Concern surrounding the violence exercised against women, in all its forms, has been expressed by a variety of international bodies.”[74]

Indian People’s Tribunal on Environment & Human Rights: “One night Army entered the house of Rashida Khan. Rashida was staying along with her elder married daughter Rehana and three younger daughters’ Sharifa, Shakeela and Mehak. The Army came at around 12.45 a.m. and banged the door. When nobody opened the door Army forcibly broke open the door and entered the house. Rashida went to put on fights but was told by the Army not to do so. The Army officers entered the room where Rehana and her husband were sleeping. They threw her husband out of the room and under the pretext of searching guns in the room raped her. Then they went into the adjoining room where the three younger sisters were sleeping. They asked them whether they had hidden any guns and under the guise of searching took one by one to another room and molested (raped) them. Four days after the incident Mehak the youngest sister had to be admitted to hospital. Her medical records indicated that she was suffering from Biliary Peritonitis which means her gall bladder had ruptured and its contents spilled over in peritoneal cavity leading to swelling of abdomen. She was rushed to the hospital where she had to undergo a major surgery. This proves the amount of pressure being put on this minor girl’s abdomen during molestation or even rape (as it is evident).  These girls did not admit to being rape victims, as they feared that their future prospects of marriage would be damaged. Most of the women who were victims of such incidents would not admit being raped and actually sought to underplay the incident as the stigma attached to them would make their future terribly unbearable. (…) Another case of Army atrocities on that same night was the case of Shabana in Rungret areaof Wavoosa. Shabana lived with her husband and two children in this area. Her husband was working in another village. The Army officers started knocking the door. They claimed that she had hidden some militants in her house. She refused to open the door as her husband was away. The Army personnel broke open the door and entered the house forcibly, after which they raped her. They went off after warning her not to disclose this incident to anyone or else she would end up losing her husband.  Another incident, which was narrated to us in this village, was similar to that of Shabana. Rukayya who is the next door neighbour of Shabana also went through similar trauma.  Rukayya was staying with her parents, elder brother and sister-in-law. On that fateful night, Army personnel entered her house forcibly and she met similar fate as Shabana’s. Her sisterin- law also met with the same fate. This incident got a lot of publicity and was discussed in the Assembly. One of the MLAs who belonged to National Conference said that all six were not raped, only three women were raped and three girls were molested. Thus it is evident that the ruling elite is indifferent to the plight of women.  In Badgam we were told that each and every woman in the village was tortured and interrogated. Such was the fear in the hearts of the villagers that they refused to divulge any more information to us. Some of the villagers also expressed their anxiety by saying we can’t say anything, we are under pressure, they will further torture us after your people go away.  In a village called Razven we met Khushboo. Her brother was a militant who had died a few months ago in an encounter. The Army officers tortured her and then raped her. Despite the fact that her brother was dead she was tortured and her honour was violated. Zainab another woman whose son was a militant was also repeatedly tortured though her son was dead long ago. In Razven, on June 25, 1997, during a crackdown 60-year-old Mustafa Kazi’s daughter Jameela 18 was tortured because his son was a militant, though he had died sometime ago. She had migrated from the village when we visited her house. In the same village, a group of girls whom we met, while describing the existing situation laughed and said We don’t know how long we will be beaten, troubled and tortured. During the day we laugh, but as the night fails, things are very frightening for us. (…) We observed in the above cases that it was not possible to get any hard-core documentary evidence and so, there is no scope to file a FIR. We even cross-checked in one of the police stations but found that no FIR was even filed on those particular dates. Though a day before Farid was shot dead by the Army officer there was a small complaint noted down on a plain piece of paper without any stamp of the police station. In this case the complaint was registered only because the boy’s uncle had been associated with National Conference for some time. Otherwise for ordinary people it is just not possible to register a complaint against the atrocities committed against them. (…) The retired judges said that there were many incidents of sexual abuse of women. However, documentation of these incidents was difficult, as women were scared to give the evidence’s. They narrated an incident where the forces picked up a sixteen-year-old girl in Pulwama. Her relatives were asked to come to the camp where the Army had taken her for interrogation. They had detained the girl, raped her and when her relatives succeeded in filing the case they killed her before she could appear in the court to face the trial. This incident had taken place a year ago. At Uri one woman was hiding inside her home when the forces entered the house and killed her husband. Then they captured her and consequently raped her.”[75]

 

Independent People’s Tribunal: “Rape is a particularly heinous crime. It has been used as a method of humiliating an individual and community and destroying their honour. Since the stigma never goes away, the victim is shunned and shamed for life.  (…)  Kunan Poshpora Village Mass Rape. On the intervening night of February 23 and 24, 1991, about 23 women from Kunan Poshpora village in the border district of Kupwara were raped by the troops of the 4th Rajputana Rifles during a search operation. As per reports, at around 11:00 pm in the night, army personnel in large numbers entered the village. This was followed by the segregation of women from men. While the men were asked to assemble in a village field, the women were ordered to stay put inside the houses. This is when the army men barged into the households and gang rapes followed. Reportedly, women from ages 13-80 were raped. One such woman, who is now 120 years of age stated that she was stripped naked, dragged out of her house into the snow-filled front yard and gang raped. A police investigation into the incident never occurred. (…)The judges asked the victims if any magisterial inquiry had taken place after the incident, as reports have suggested. The victims replied by saying that there were many people who came and asked questions after the incident; however, they do not know of their identities. On an aside, the victims collectively testified, that they refrained from discussing the rapes with or in presence of their sons, apprehensive that they might take matters into their own hands. They added that on the next morning of the rapes, a local resident, Abdul Ghani Dar, who was also a police constable, called a lady doctor to conduct check-ups of the victim women. (The said police constable’s cousin was also a victim and she had later conceived as a result of the rape. The foetus was later aborted). The said doctor conducted a medical check-up on all women who had been raped, and their clothes were taken to Police Station Trehgam later on. The doctor medically cleansed all of the raped women in order to prevent pregnancies. The victims stated that the police constable had taken the initiative of getting this done in order to save the village from humiliation. On 17th of February

1993 an unidentified person killed the said policeman. His parents are still alive, but his mother lost mobility and his father became a patient of depression after their son died. The victims reported that women from Kunan Poshpora faced social rejection for many years after the incident; to the extent that they were not allowed seats in public transport by fellow passengers. Instead, they were made to sit on the floor, away from the others. On being asked by the judges what they expected from the Tribunal, the victims replied in unison that they wanted the perpetrators to be punished.  The then Chief Justice of the J & K High Court, Justice Mufti Bahaud-din, led a fact-finding mission to the village and concluded that normal investigative procedures were blatantly disregarded in this case. A Press Council of India investigation followed, which called the allegations of these women ‘a well-fabricated bundle of lies’. No further investigations were conducted and the matter remains unredressed till date. The government’s handling of the case was widely criticized in national and international circles, including international human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. If such an incident would have had occurred in the rest of India, there would have been a sustained public outcry and agitation. The judiciary would also have responded. (…) Shopian Rape and Murder Case The Shopian double murder and rape case is a highly publicized recent case, which stirred up a controversy and mass protests over the government mishandling of the investigations. Following the incident, there was a Valley-wide strike that continued for about ten days. Shopian town, where the incident had actually taken place, observed a complete shutdown for 47 days. (…) Militarised environments expose women to serious forms of dehumanization. The masculinity cult that pervades military establishments are intrinsically anti-female and therefore create a hostile environment for women. Rape becomes a common feature in such a situation. In all such cases there have been no investigations.  There are complaints pending from 1991. it appears that in 1991 about 100 women, including minors and the elderly (between 13 to 80 years), the pregnant and disabled were raped in Kunan Poshpara, Kupwara by the 4th Rajputana Rifles, during a search operation. However, till today no action has been taken against the culprits, despite several reports in the newspapers and journals, and also by various NGO groups, both national and international.”[76]

 

Testimony of Bakthi W/o Mohd Siddiq: “On the night of 23rd of February 1991, our village was cordoned off by a large group of drunken army personnel at night. The next morning I came to know that other women from the village had similarly suffered. At this point, the men folk who had been assembled in the village field during the search operation the preceding night were being asked by the army to raise their hands in agreement and say it aloud that no excesses had been committed in the village, and were being filmed while doing so. This is when we women folk went over to the field in half-naked condition to make it known to the men what had happened to us. On seeing us, the men lost their cool, and refused to accept what they were being ordered to say. On getting home, the men too shared their stories of torture that had been inflicted on them by the army. Learning of the brutality that had been meted out to the women in the village, the men tried to file FIRs, which was a daunting task in context of the fear of reprisal by the concerned army men. There was no primary health centre nearby where we womenfolk could have gotten ourselves examined in order to collect medical evidence.  At the time of the incident I was 30 years old. Within a year of the incident, four women from our village – Saja, Mehtaba, Zarifa and Jana, succumbed to death stemming from the mental trauma and disgrace they had to put up with. These women had also been struggling with physical ailments subsequent to the incident. The self-humiliation resulting from our traumatic experience didn’t allow us to visit any of our relatives from other villages, nor did they pay us a visit. We also had to take our children out from their schools, for fear of being apprehended and tortured by the army. “My son and many young men from the village grew up harbouring vengeance in their hearts, for what had been done to the women in their families.”  Following the incident of mass rape in the village, proposals for marriages stopped coming from outside our village, since the news of the rapes had become common knowledge all around the Valley. As a consequence, marriages between victim relatives from within our village started to take place. Many people came to our village for documenting or reporting the wrong that was done to us, and we shared our stories with them, yet justice has eluded us to date. Now, we are disillusioned and personally I find it despairing and difficult to revisit that harrowing ordeal of ours by narrating it to people time and again. At the same time, the mental and physical pain suffered that night and after continues to haunt me. My old husband has died and now it is my last wish that the guilty army personnel be punished. I had lodged an FIR bearing No. RI/1387/83 under RPC section 376,452 & 342 at Trehgam Police Station on 2-03-1991. However, nothing came of it.”[77]

 

Testimony of Faba: “I was approximately 25 years old and a mother of two at the time of the incident. At around 11:00 pm on the night of February 23rd, army personnel barged into our house. They caught hold of my husband and were taking him away when I insisted on accompanying him. My husband stopped me by saying that I should wait for him at home as he would be back in sometime and there was nothing to worry. Therefore, I stayed back and bolted the doors of my house. After a while, there was a loud knock at the door. Noticing that the army had surrounded my house, I did not unlock the door. At this, eight to ten army men broke the door open, barged in and raped my unmarried sister and me. My sister is now suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. With great difficulty, we were eventually able to get my sister married to someone from the same village, whose family had suffered likewise. Post rape, she even delivered a baby who did not survive. After two to three months of the incident, a lady doctor was called into the village for conducting abortions on women who had conceived as a result of the rapes. My son was five to six years old at the time of the incident and he now faintly remembers what had happened to his aunt and me that night.  The women from the village tried to preserve their clothes for some time in order to substantiate rape, and showed them to the media or any other authorities who came to the village for investigating/reporting rape. Currently those clothes are in police custody.”[78]

 

Testimony of Khera: “Before the mass rape incident, the army had tortured my husband at an earlier occasion that had left him badly injured. And when he tried to file a complaint regarding this, he was again tortured. Following this, the army began to raid our house and torture my husband frequently, together with harassing the family for no particular reason. At the time of the incident, I had seven children – three sons and four daughters. Two of my daughters were nine and ten years old respectively, and my sons were in their teens. On that night around my house got surrounded by a sizeable number of army men, and a good number barged into my room while I was breast feeding my youngest daughter. They forcibly snatched my infant daughter from me and placed her near the window. They smashed the light bulbs in the room and started raping me, taking turns. I struggled to save myself, but the roomful of army men wouldn’t let me. As far as I remember, as many as five men raped me. After that I lost consciousness out of the trauma that I was experiencing. My daughter, baffled by my cries, fell out of the window and suffered multiple fractures. She became disabled from that day on. We spent a lot of money on her treatment but to no avail.”[79]

 

Testimony of Abdul Rashid Dalal: “On the 29th of May 2009, Asiya Jan (17 years) and Neelofar Jan (22 years), sister and wife of Shakeel Ahmad Ahangar respectively, went to their family orchard in Nagbal, Shopian. Since they did not return from the orchard until late in the evening, the family panicked. Shakeel Ahmad together with some relatives and friends set out to search for them, but the two women were nowhere to be found. At this, they reported the matter to the local police station at about 10 pm. Personnel from the local police station, headed by Mohammad Yasin accompanied by Shakeel and his companions, started to search for the women but again to no avail. The next morning, their bodies with visible injuries, were recovered from the highly militarized area of the town. Neelofar’s body was found upstream, close to the bridge over Nallah Rambiara (a local stream). It is a very shallow stream. After another round of search, Asiya’s body was found about 1.5 km downstream at an elevated dry spot of the stream. It is pertinent to mention that there are army camps housing the Rashtriya Rifles, Central Reserve Police Force, Special Operations Group and the J&K Police surrounding the sites of recovery of the bodies. The District Police Lines and the residential quarters of the police personnel also lie close to the site.  There had been drinks and dinner in the camp. That is when the men in uniform had forcibly taken Asiya and Neelofar to the said camp where they mercilessly gang raped and murdered the young women.  After the recovery of the bodies, large-scale protest demonstrations regarding the incident began in Shopian town and the entire Valley (of Kashmir) followed suit. The concerned Superintendent of Police, Javed Iqbal Mattoo, not only did not conduct the investigations properly, but also ascertained hushing them up. The then Divisional Commissioner Masood Samoon and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also endorsed the cause of death as ‘death by drowning’ as claimed by the police. It is noteworthy that no one has ever drowned in the said stream (Rambiara Nallah) in the recent or past history of Shopian. Right after the recovery of the bodies, began a saga of obfuscation, lies and cover ups by the police and administration. The police brazenly stated in their report that the postmortem did not reveal any marks of violence on the bodies of Asiya and Neelofer – such marks were indeed visible even to the naked eye when the bodies were recovered.  A bleeding wound on the frontal region of the skull, sharp cuts on the right side of the eyebrow and below the right eye, a sharp cut on the nasal bridge and a profusely bleeding left nostril were all visible.  The police had also falsely stated that one Sub Inspector Gazi Abdul Kareem was leading the search team, instead of Mohammad Yasin. The police coupled this with the circulation of fake postmortem reports. Then a constable, Mohammad Yasin Ganaie (No 538/ spn) who was part of the police’s plan to distort the truth, wrote an anonymous letter stating that he had an affair with Asiya, which was not approved by her brother Shakeel and therefore he (Shakeel) was the one who had murdered the women. Also, a group of migratory shepherds, who were camping near the orchard where Asiya and Neelofar had gone, were forced to leave before the dawn of 30th May 2009. All of these facts and circumstances point towards the attempts of the police in botching the investigation of the rape and murder. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) was constituted by the then D.S.P South Kashmir on 30/05/2009 and was headed by Mushtaq Ahmad Shah, D.S.P Awantipora. But the SIT also seconded the police version of the facts amid ongoing mass resentment displayed through continued Valley wide protests. Prefaced with the intensity of public opinion following the mismanagement of the investigation and destruction of evidence and more particularly, in view of the circumstances in which the bodies of the women victims were found, the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah instituted a Public Inquiry Commission (Jan Commission) on 01/06/2009. The Commission was however vested with only recommendatory powers and its mandate was to inquire into the causes and circumstances relative to the rape and murder of the victim, to verify the veracity of the investigations carried and the involvement of the state machinery into botching them up. The District Bar Association followed suit by constituting a ‘fact finding mission’ headed by its senior members. Advocate Mohd Yousuf Bhat and the Chairman of the Kashmir Bar Association, Advocate Mian Abdul Qayoom preferred a Public Interest Litigation (PIL OWP 515 of 2009) in the High Court of J&K, among other things praying for the registration of FIR and preservation of evidence. Despite this, the concerned police, including the SIT, failed to file an FIR for ‘any’ penal offence, let alone rape and murder for about a week. After continued public pressure, especially from the population of Shopian town, P.S. Shopian finally filed a case under Sec 376 RPC (Ranbir Penal Code) on 06/06/2009 vide FIR No.112 of 2009 and on 08/06/2009 offences under sections 302,326,342,201 and 120 B RPC were incorporated. On 8th of June 2009, the DGP formed another SIT in which three more members were inducted by the Division Bench of the high court. The investigation of this SIT also moved at a snail’s pace and in turn started the harassment and intimidation of the bereaved family on one pretext or the other. They also did not preserve evidence including the samples collected during the postmortem of the women. On June 21st, the Jan Commission submitted its interim report recommending administrative action against Shopian Police for destruction of evidence, failure to file FIR in a timely manner and the loss of critical evidence.  The final report of the Jan Commission that came out on the 10th of July refuted the theory of ‘death by drowning’ and observed that the murder was committed in order to destroy evidence of rape. It also laid down that the bodies had been recovered from an area on which surveillance is maintained by the armed forces on a day and night basis. It would be inconceivable, that a civilian could have deposited two bodies at two spots under the strong vigil of the army, unless the army was conniving in the matter.  The Commission also put on record that there was enough material on the file to conclude that the involvement of security agencies in the matter could not be ruled out. The police investigation team headed by Dr Haseeb Mughal, instead of helping the Commission in locating involved persons, made disparaging remarks about the victims.  During the course of the investigation, a Delhi-based newspaper revealed that the forensic investigation in the Shopian Case was fabricated and that the DNA samples were not actually collected from the bodies of the victims. The government reacted by transferring the investigation of the case from the SIT to the CBI. The CBI further worsened matters by filing a charge sheet against 13 lawyers, doctors, a civilian and the brother of Asiya – Shakeel Ahmad Ahangar – in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar on 10th of December 2009, for offences punishable under Sections 120-B read with 167,193,194 and 195-A RPC and concluded the investigation by saying that the cause of death was drowning, therefore ruling out rape and murder of Asiya and Neelofar. The CBI hushed up the case by putting the blame on all those advocating for justice to the victims and by coercing the witnesses to withdraw the statements made by them before the Jan Commission. The Majlis-e-Mashawarat, a neutral and apolitical body, was constituted on 09/06/09 for spearheading a campaign aimed at procuring justice for the victims. The Independent Women’s Initiative for Justice (IWJIJ), another independent body, carried out a detailed investigation regarding the matter and negated the theory of death by drowning as declared by the CBI. Majlis-e-Mashawrat has requested the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights in Kashmir to probe the matter. The Tribunal while accepting the request approached the chief minister of the state for collection of evidentiary material.”[80]

 

Testimony of Shakeel Ahmad Dar: “On 20th of April 2002, my mother, namely Ashmali, was on her way to a farm for grazing cattle. On her way a few army personnel chased and sexually assaulted her. When my mother returned home, marks of sexual violence were apparent on her body. I immediately took her to the nearby hospital where she succumbed to the violence committed on her by the army personnel. The cause of death in the medical report showed cardiac arrest. At that point of time, my siblings and I were too young to take any action or register an FIR against the perpetrator. However, after the incident I registered a complaint with the tehsildar, but to no avail. My family, especially my sister was persistently threatened by the army personnel of that area to withdraw the case and not to follow it. Since postmortem was not conducted on my mother’s body so no evidence could be found. I was threatened by 42 Rashtriya Rifle of Army not to take up case further or follow any going on proceedings.”[81]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “Rape is a widely reported violation during anti-insurgency operations. On 19 August 2007, a 17-year-old girl was allegedly raped by Mr Ajay Kumar of 27th Rashtriya Rifles at Daskal village in Jammu district of Jammu and Kashmir. The accused was arrested by the police on 21 August 2007.  Very few cases of rape and torture lead to action by the authorities. On the morning of 20 August 2007, 11 tribal women were allegedly gang raped by the Greyhound policemen during anti-Naxalite operations at Vakapalli village under Nurmati panchayat in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh. According to the victims, 21 Greyhound policemen entered the village around 0600 hours and raided their houses on suspicion of association with Naxalites. While some of the women were raped in their homes, others were raped in the fields. Ten of the victims were between 20-30 years and one was 45 years old. The police allegedly tried to hush up the incident. They failed to conduct an identification parade of the suspects, although the victims have claimed that they could identify the rapists. On 30 August 2007, the National Human Rights Commission took suo motu cognizance of the incident and sent notice to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Vishakhapatnam district and the Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh to submit a factual report within four weeks. But to date, no action has been taken to identify and prosecute the rapists. (…) On the night of 27 August 2007, a 42-year-old Karbi tribal woman was raped by a soldier of the Bihar regiment at Mansingh Bey village under Hauraghat Police Station under Karbi Anglong district of Asom. A group from the regiment went to the Mansingh Bey village during a counter -insurgency operation. Two soldier entered Longsing Bey’s house. They tied Longsing Bey’s hands, blindfolded him and made him sit on the veranda at gunpoint. Later, one of the soldiers allegedly raped Longsing Bey’s sister.”[82]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights:Rape of Elangbam Ongbi Ahanjaobi.  On 12 August 2008, the Imphal bench of Guwahati High Court directed the Army and the Central government to pay Rs 2 lakhs to a rape victim identified as Elangbam Ongbi Ahanjaobi of Takyel Khongbal Khumanthem Leikai in Manipur on 1 August 1996.  The victim was raped by two havildars of the 2nd Mahar Regiment identified as Apparao Mariba Waghmare and Vithal Domaji Kalane in front of her physically handicapped son at her home during a army combing operation in the Takyel area.  The accused havildars, Apparao Mariba Waghmare and Vithal Domaji Kalane were sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment through a summary court martial on 5 June 1997. However, no compensation was awarded to the victim. After the conviction, Ahanjaobi submitted an application to the army authorities seeking compensation of Rs 10 lakh. However, the army turned down the request.”[83]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “In the early hours of 22 January 2010, four tribal women belonging to Khond tribe were allegedly raped by the personnel of Greyhounds Special Police at Baaluguda village under Munchingput Police Station in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh during an anti-Naxal operation. Following pressure, a criminal case was registered against the special police team on 26 January 2010. (…) On 8 July 2010, a medical examination was conducted on six women from Jungalmahal area who were allegedly raped by security forces on 30 June 2010. The six victims, aged between 25 to 50 years, alleged that the security forces raped them during a raid at their houses at Jungalmahal area under Jhargram Subdivision in West Midnapore district of West Bengal following an encounter with Maoists.”[84]

 

Asia Watch & Physicians for Human Rights: “Since the government crackdown against militants in Kashmir began in earnest in January 1990, reports of rape by security personnel have become more frequent. Rape most often occurs during crackdowns, cordon-and-search operations during which men are held for identification in parks or schoolyards while security forces search their homes. In these situations, the security forces frequently engage in collective punishment against the civilian population, most frequently by beating or otherwise assaulting residents, and burning their homes.  Rape is used as a means of targetting women whom the security forces accuse of being militant sympathizers; in raping them, the security forces are attempting to punish and humiliate the entire community. (…) Rape has also occurred frequently during reprisal attacks on civilians following militant ambushes.   In these cases, any civilians who reside in the area become the target of retaliation. Anyone within range may be shot; homes and other property burned, and women raped.  In some cases, women who have been raped have been accused of providing food or shelter to militants or have been ordered to identify their male relatives as militants.  In other cases, the motivation for the abuse is not explicit. In many attacks, the selection of victims is seemingly arbitrary and the women, like other civilians assaulted or killed, are targeted simply because they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Since most cases of rape take place during cordon-and-search operations, just living in a certain area can put women at risk of rape. (…) There are no reliable statistics on the number of rapes committed by security forces in Kashmir. Human rights groups have documented many cases since 1990, but because many of the incidents have occurred in remote villages, it is impossible to confirm any precise number. There can be no doubt that the use of rape is common and routinely goes unpunished. (…) Although there is no evidence that rape is sanctioned as a matter of government policy in Kashmir, by failing to prosecute and punish those responsible, or make known any action taken against security forces charged with rape, the Indian authorities have signalled that the practice of rape is tolerated, if not condoned. Indeed, in responding to reports by the press and human rights groups about incidents of rape, government officials unfailingly attempt to dismiss the testimony of the women by accusing them of being militant sympathizers. (…) Reports of rape by Indian security forces in Kashmir emerged soon after the government’s crackdown began in January 1990. Despite evidence that army and paramilitary forces were engaging in widespread rape, few of the incidents were ever investigated by the authorities.  Those that were reported did not result in criminal prosecutions of the security forces involved. (…) In one well-publicized case, in May 1990 a young bride, Mubina Gani, was detained and raped by BSF soldiers while she was traveling from the wedding to her husband’s home. Her aunt was also raped. The security forces had also fired on the party, killing one man and wounding several others.  The government claimed that the party had been caught in “cross-fire.” After the incident was publicized in the local and international press, Indian authorities ordered the police to conduct an inquiry. Although the inquiry concluded that the women had been raped, the security forces were never prosecuted. (…)  The reported rape on February 23, 1991, of women from the village of Kunan Poshpora by army soldiers of the Fourth Rajputana Rifles became the focus of a government campaign to acquit the army of charges of human rights violations. The incident provides a telling example of the government’s failure to ensure that charges of human rights violations committed by members of its armed forces are properly investigated and those responsible held to account.  The rapes allegedly occurred during a search operation in the village conducted by the army unit. The village headman and other village leaders claimed that they reported the rapes to army officials on February 27, and that the officials denied the charges and took no further action.  Officials countered that no clear complaint was made. A local magistrate who visited the village requested that the commissioner order a more comprehensive investigation, only to be told that officials in Delhi had denied the charges without checking with officials in the state. A police investigation that was eventually ordered never commenced because the police officer assigned to conduct it was on leave at the time and was then transferred by his superiors. (…) Those who have attempted to document incidents of rape have also been abused by Indian security  forces.  In November 1990, Dr. K., a surgeon at the Anantnag District Hospital, was arrested after he had  made arrangements for a gynecologist to examine seven women who had alleged that they had been raped by security forces.  The women, who had been brought to the hospital while Dr. K. was on night duty, reported that the security forces had broken up a wedding and raped all of them, including the bride. On November 29, Dr. K. was arrested from his home by members of the CRPF who had surrounded his house. The CRPF blindfolded him along with two friends who were with him at the time and took them to a military camp.  The security forces asked Dr. K., “Why did you call the gynecologist?” When he replied, “I treat people irrespective of who they are,” they proceeded to beat him with lathis (canes) and a metal belt.  His friends were also beaten in this way. The three men were detained for four days. (…) Rape in Shopian: On the night of October 10, 1992, an army unit of the 22nd Grenadiers entered the village of Chak Saidapora, about four kilometers south of the town of Shopian, district Pulwama, on a search operation for suspected militants. During the operation, at least six and probably nine women, including an eleven-year old girl and a 60-year-old woman, were gang-raped by several of the army soldiers.  Asia Watch and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) interviewed a gynecologist and assistant surgeon at the Shopian District Hospital who examined seven of the women on October 11 and the remaining two on October 12. The doctor stated that seven of the women were brought to the hospital at 1:30 p.m. by the Station House Officer (SHO) of the local Jammu and Kashmir police station in Shopian. She told PHR/Asia Watch:  All of the women were weeping. They told me that “something bad” had happened at about midnight, that 25 army men had come into the village and into their homes. They told me that the soldiers had accused them of feeding and sheltering the militants, and asked them how many militants stay there.   The doctor conducted semen tests and examined the seven women separately that day. Because the SHO had mentioned nine cases, the next day, October 12, the doctor went to the village where the rapes reportedly occurred to locate the other two, N., 20, and her sister A., 18. She examined both of the young women, but did not conduct a slide test for sperm at that time. On October 14, the Assistant Subinspector of the Jammu and Kashmir police station in Shopian, Ghulam Nabi, brought A. and N. to the hospital for complete examinations. The doctor described to PHR/Asia Watch the following findings for all nine women:  Z., 11, had abrasions and bruises on her chest and face.  Her vaginal area was tender, and she had a ruptured hymen with a one half centimeter vaginal tear.  Blood from the tear had coagulated. The semen test was positive.  S., 60, had no marks of injury elsewhere on her body but was very tender around the vagina. The semen test was positive.  H., 30, had abrasions and bruises on her face and in the genital area. The semen test was positive.  N., 20, was also tender around the vagina and had a torn hymen.  P. had marks on her chest and abdomen. The semen test was positive.  A., 18, was very tender around the vagina. Her hymen had been torn.  The semen tests for G., S., and A.B. were negative, but they exhibited similar tenderness and some marks of injury.  The doctor told Asia Watch/ PHR that she gave a copy of the medical report to the local police Station House Officer. On October 12, an army official came to the hospital to ask about the incident and she told him the findings of the examinations.  Asia Watch and PHR interviewed the nine women, who narrated following accounts:   S., about 25, testified that on the night of October 10 she was in the house that was owned by her father in law, who is about 70, and his wife. Both of her in-laws in the house at the time.  S.’s father-in-law told Asia Watch/ PHR that during the night, there was knocking at the door and three soldiers entered and asked, “Where are the womenfolk?” She continued, I told them they are sleeping.  They went into that room to search it and as they started searching they told me to get out. I was taken away by other soldiers.   S. told Asia Watch/PHR:  One soldier kept guard on the door and two of them raped me. They said, “We have orders from our officers to rape you.”  I said, “You can shoot me but don’t rape me.” They were there about half an hour. Two raped me and two raped [her sister-in-law] H. Then they left.  Their father in law was released about half an hour later.  A. and N. told Asia Watch/PHR that lived nearby and were asleep when at around midnight about eight or nine soldiers came to the house.  Their brother went to the door and said, “The army has come to search our house.” Four soldiers entered the house and ordered the father and brother to be taken out of house. The soldiers entered a room where the women were sleeping. A. and N. told PHR/Asia Watch:  They did not say anything when they came in but they were talking among themselves but we could not understand. They covered my eyes and mouth with cloths and told us to lie down.  N. and A. said they had been raped by each of the soldiers.  The soldiers struck their 10-year-old sister in-law with rifle butts and sent her out of the room.  P. told PHR/ Asia Watch that there was a knock at the door of her in-laws’ house at about midnight.   When my father-in-law answered, he was sent away.  Three soldiers came into the room, and told me to put my daughter aside.  When I refused, he picked her up and put in her in a corner. I told him not to touch me and he said, “We have orders, what can we do?” All three of them raped me.  Z. told PHR/ Asia Watch that four soldiers came to the house, but only two came inside while two remained outside. She said that when her father opened the door, the soldiers kicked him and sent him away.  At that point, Z. broke down and was not able to continue.  G. stated that three soldiers entered her house and took her husband outside. Only one came into her room.  He told me, “I have to search you.” I told him women are not searched, but he said, “I have orders,” and he tore off my clothes and raped me.  S.B. stated that three soldiers came into her room and told her to take off her clothes. When she protested that she was an old woman, one of them kicked her in the chest and she fell. Then he put one hand over her mouth pulled off her salwar (loose trousers), and raped her.  In response to requests by Asia Watch and PHR for information from the government about the incident, authorities have stated that the army unit, normally stationed in Chak Saidapora, “conducted search operations in the village on specific information that some militants were hiding there.” They stated that the search was carried out “from 0010 hours to 0145 hours during which seven houses were searched in the presence of an elderly man.”  Senior government officials have also admitted that the search was carried out in violation of military regulations prohibiting soldiers from entering villages after dark. (…) PHR/Asia Watch were provided with specific medical evidence and testimony on all nine cases.  Hospital authorities also stated that the evidence was also provided to army officials and was, presumably, a significant factor in the government’s decision to order a police investigation into the case.   The government statement has specifically attempted to discredit the testimony of the 11-year-old Z.,  stating that “During the enquiry she was not found to have any visible signs or marks of injury or any  physical excesses nor did she display any fear or anger and appeared to be oblivious of the alleged  incident.” In fact, the doctor who examined Z. the day after the incident confirmed that her hymen was torn, that blood had coagulated around the tear and that she was very tender around the vaginal area.  When Z. described to PHR/Asia Watch how she was raped, she broke down and was unable to continue speaking.”[85]

 

Seema Kazi: “Since 1990 there were frequent reports of rape by security forces in Kashmir. An intrusive and repressive military presence, immunity from prosecution for soldiers guilty of rape and sexual abuse, the weakening of local civilian and judicial authority, an uncritical and compliant national media, fears of retributive violence by perpetrators, social ostracism of rape victims and cultural notions of female ‘honour’ prevent rape victims from talking about their trauma or pressing charges against the guilty. Legal immunity provided to security forces pre-empts the possibility of independent investigation of sexual crimes or prosecution of the guilty. With the exception of Kashmiri and sections of Indian civil society there is little public debate regarding rape by State forces in Kashmir. (…) A Medicins Sans Frontieres (2006) empirical study in Kashmir found that the number of people who had witnessed a rape in Kashmir since 1989-1990 was comparably far higher than in other conflict zones such as Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka and Chechnya:  Since 1989 many people had heard about cases of rape (63%). Most had heard about more than five incidents of rape (59.9%). The number that had actually witnessed a rape since 1989 was also high (13%) in comparison to other conflict areas. One in twenty (5.1%) had witnessed rape more than five times. (…) For instance the allegation of mass-rape at the twin villages of Kunan Poshpora, Kupwara district, north Kashmir on 23-24 February 1991 by soldiers of the Rajputana Rifles (RR) was initially denied by government authorities. State denial was followed by a Press Council of India report exonerating the Army of any wrong doing. Twenty-four years later, at a public event, S.M Yasin, the first local government official to have visited Kunan Poshpora after the alleged mass-rape, recalled the testimony of a woman who was kept under jackboots by the army men while her daughter and daughter-in-law were being gang-raped; he also recounted being warned about being on the army’s hit list and offered incentives by way of cash and promotion in return for altering his report on the alleged rape that indicted security forces. (…) In instances where rape survivors managed to initiate legal action against the alleged perpetrators, State authorities step in to subvert the course of justice. A case in point was the alleged rape and murder of two young women in the town of Shopian in 2009 upon which State personnel manipulated and distorted crucial ocular evidence, and facilitated the destruction of vital forensic evidence.  Another example of State-led stonewalling of judicial process was the Kunan Poshpora case that was re-opened in 2013. Victims’ quest for justice was repeatedly thwarted and stonewalled by the administration, police and local courts. Furthermore, State authorities are also known to restrict public knowledge of rape by security forces through forced isolation of the victim. For instance, in an allegation of rape by two army men at Gujjardoga hamlet in Manzgam district of South Kashmir in 2011, Army authorities declared the complainant Ruqaiya Bano mentally unfit.  The entire village was subject to undeclared curfew with extra paramilitary deployment around it; Ruqaiya’s house was placed under a round-the-clock vigil and no civil or media person was allowed to enter the premises. (…) Much like in Iraq, rape by Indian security forces in Kashmir cannot be explained away as ‘rare’ albeit “regrettable excesses” as claimed by military authorities.  Nor should documented acknowledgement by individual soldiers that they “followed orders” to rape women in Kashmir be ignored. Both reflect official acquiescence and tolerance, if not implicit consent for the practice. The institutional response to sexual crimes by State forces raises grave questions regarding the legality of the State and the question of justice for victims of sexual crimes in Kashmir. (…)The subordination of the police to military authority constantly frustrates rape victims from seeking legal recourse. Complaints or First Information Reports (FIRs) related to rape by security forces are not accepted or filed by the police. An FIR is the first step towards judicial recourse for victims and its non-acceptance pre-empts precisely this possibility. In his study of impunity for security forces in Kashmir, Ashok Agrwaal, a legal scholar, noted that in numerous cases of human rights abuse, including rape by security forces, the police refused to register complaints claiming they were under instruction not to undertake any action on complaints against security forces. The neutralization of the police thus achieved subverted due process and extinguished the possibility of justice for victims.  Among the most egregious examples of the subversion of police authority facilitated by the AFSPA was the mass-rape of women in the twin villages of Kunan Poshpora. Police investigation into the crime never commenced because the police officer assigned to the case was on leave at the time and was subsequently transferred by his superiors; the case was subsequently closed by the Director, Prosecution on the ground that the perpetrators were untraceable.  After a visit to Kunan Poshpora, Justice Bahauddin Farooqi, former Chief Justice of the J&K High Court, quoted earlier, noted that:  In his 43 years on the bench, he had never seen a case in which normal investigative procedures were ignored as this one.

 

Global Press Institute: “Located in the remote northern district of Kupwara, Kunan Poshpora looks like any other village in Indian-administered Kashmir. But on Feb. 23, 1991 something happened here that would change this village forever. That night, villagers say that Indian troops laid siege to their village. The army assembled the men at several locations in the town and then entered homes. “There were too many of them,” says Saleema, a middle-aged woman whose last name was withheld to protect her safety. “Our lawn was filled with the army. They broke lamps, drank alcohol.” She says she tried to flee but turned back to rescue one of her children. “I tried to flee, but one of my children was left in the house,” she says. “I came back [to] get him, and they caught me. I tried to flee again but couldn’t.” She says the soldiers terrorized her and the other women in their homes for nearly 12 hours. “We were violated,” she says. “The army entered our houses at 10 in the evening and left at 9 in the morning. First, they took out the men, and only God knows what they did to us then.” She says that no one in the village was spared. “There were screams everywhere – from almost every house in the village,” she says. Despite the high number of women who were raped, she says that many declined to report the incidents because of the stigma suffered by the women who did. “My sister who was unmarried was here,” she says. “She was raped, too. I didn’t disclose her name, thinking who will marry her then?” Because of this stigma, Saleema is reluctant to go into many more details about the night. “Only God knows what happened to us that night,” she says. “It is an embarrassment talking about it again and again.” Twenty years later, the night still haunts the residents. Men narrate tales of physical torture during their detention that night. “It was a tragedy for the entire village,” Saleema says. “We could hear cries from every house. The men were away, unawares.” Villagers say that army soldiers stormed the village two decades ago, torturing the men and raping the women. The army denied the allegations, and the government determined that evidence was insufficient. But international organizations criticize the lack of prompt, thorough and independent investigations into the villagers’ claims. Sociologists say the event has had severe socio-cultural effects, with villagers saying that the night destroyed their prospects for education, marriage and relations with other villages. (…)The men of Kunan Poshpora say that the soldiers took them out of their homes to different places in the village. They say that they beat and tortured them throughout the night. Abel Dar, an elderly resident, pulls up his shirt sleeve to show the scars on his arm from the night. “All men were taken out of their homes, except little boys,” he says. “We were all mercilessly beaten. They asked no questions – just beat us all night.” But Dar says that what he found out at his home when he returned the next day. was much worse. His elderly mother, wife, two sisters-in-law, daughter-in-law, aunts and cousins had all been raped. His mother was in her 80s, and his daughter-in-law was just 18. “My daughter-in-law was very beautiful,” he says. “They took her along and released her next day around 1 p.m. My wife had to be operated upon after that incident. I had to spend a lot on her treatment.” His daughter-in-law, a newlywed, was the last of the women in the family to be released. “It was the 11th day of my marriage,” says Dar’s daughter-in-law who requested anonymity to protect her family. “I was still a bride.” She says the soldiers broke in during the night. “We were in our rooms,” she says. “They broke doors and windows. They broke the door of the cattle shed to get into our house. We, the three women of the house, huddled in a single room.” She says they had already taken the men away earlier in the evening. “The men were taken out in the evening, and we had locked the doors then,” she says. “Then there was chaos. There was no light, and we could only hear cries.” Then, they took her from her home. “They took me along to another village, and I was raped again and again. They left me three villages away at around 1 p.m. the next day.” Another victim, Saja, whose last name was also withheld, says her daughter needed surgery after the siege. “My daughter was stepped over in the dark by the security forces,” she says. “Her legs were broken, and then she was kept in cold in the snow. I had to sell my land to get her operated upon.” After the rapes were reported the army denied the allegations, but the villagers’ protests forced local police to address their complaints. A top district official at the time, S.M. Yasin, wrote in his report to the government that the armed forces had “behaved like beasts.” But even such admissions from government officials failed to secure justice for the victims. The army asked the Press Council of India, which aims to preserve the freedom of the press, to investigate the incident. The council’s investigation deemed the allegations “baseless” and the medical evidence “worthless.” A report by Asia Watch, a division of Human Rights Watch, questions the investigation, though, stating that it served more to deflect domestic and international criticism than uncover the truth. “The alacrity with which Indian military and government authorities in Kashmir discredited the allegations of rape and their failure to follow through with procedures that would provide critical evidence for any prosecution – in particular prompt independent medical examinations of the alleged rape victims – undermined the integrity of the investigation and indicates that the Indian authorities have been far more interested in shielding government forces from charges of abuse,” the report states. Multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions recognize sexual violence in conflict as a matter of international peace and security. (…)Bashir Ahmad Dabla, a sociology professor at the University of Kashmir, says there is bound to be abuses where there is heavy militarization and legislation that removes accountability. “When the military is put above the law with acts like Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, AFSPA, there are bound to be cases of molestation, harassment, rape, sexual abuse,” he says. “It has happened in all parts of the world: Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan.” The act was extended to Jammu and Kashmir state in 1990. Dabla says such abuse inevitably leaves a strong socio-cultural impact. “The rapes of the women at Kunan Poshpora played havoc on the collective psyche of people,” he says. “There were many cases of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicides and other psychological disease.” From education to marriage to health, villagers of Kunan Poshpora say that night changed everything – not only for the affected women but also for the entire population. They say this is because of the social stigma attached to rape, which is considered a blot on their honor. “The incident affected the education, relationships and every other aspect of our lives,” Dar says. “Our children were taunted in schools and colleges, making them leave their education. We could only marry within the village. No marriage has taken place outside the village. Our social relations with other villages also changed.” Hajra, a woman whose last name was also withheld to protect her safety, says that she and her daughter were raped during the attack. In addition to the trauma it caused them, the sexual violence also destroyed her three sons’ desires to gain an education. “Who can tolerate if someone says anything about your mother or sister in school?” she asks. “They stopped going.” Saleema’s children reported the same discouragement from gaining an education. “Not only did we suffer, our children also became victims,” she says. “They couldn’t get education as they were taunted in schools. They would come home running, saying they won’t go to school. With no education, they are unemployed now.” Ghulam Mohammad Dar, who is not related to Abel Dar, was 7 at the time of the incident. Many of his female relatives were raped, including his grandmother, who jumped out a window and hid in the grass but was caught and raped anyway. He says he dropped out of college because of the unwanted attention of the event that had made his village infamous and the trauma of having to relive it every time someone asked about it. “We were taunted in schools and colleges,” he says. “On the first day of college, I was asked to give introduction. When they heard I was from Kunan Poshpora, they asked me can I tell what happened and what was it all about. That was it. I didn’t go back to college.” He says that many other girls and boys from the village also dropped out of school because of this stigma. “It is better to die than listen to the taunts,” he says. He says that the decline in education has led to an increase in unemployment and poverty. He says marriage was also affected. “The victims are still reluctant to talk as it brings a bad name,” he says. “Since that incident we marry within the village only.” He says it also affected pregnancies. His cousin was nine months pregnant when she was gang raped that night. The baby was born with a fractured arm. “There are so many women among them who never had children,” he says. “There were some who could never get married.” (…)Villagers say they aren’t interested in money. They just want accountability. “We won’t sell our honor for those 2 lakhs,” Abel Dar says. “The perpetrators should be punished according to the Indian law, and we want to see those men punished with our eyes. The law applies on them as well.” Saleema says they want justice – for the guilty to be punished. “They are saying they will give us the money, but we don’t want that,” Saleema says. Hajra agrees that justice has not been served. “Twenty years of giving statements have given us nothing,” Hajra says, almost shouting with anger.”[86]

 

Evidence 6: Apartheid and Violations against Tribal Communities

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC): “Discrimination on the basis of caste is prohibited in India, and some positive steps have been taken to improve the situation, although the impact on lower castes and tribes in practice so far is limited. According to NCRB, there were 35 murders registered in 2011 due to caste-related reasons. Non-governmental organizations indicate that 3,593 murders against scheduled castes or tribes occurred between 1995 and 2007. (…) The Special Rapporteur heard a number of cases on the killings of persons belonging to scheduled castes or tribes, as well as to other marginalized communities. The violence against them is more prevalent in rural areas, largely due to prejudices that are still firmly entrenched. Patterns of killings relate to condemnation of intermarriage between higher castes and scheduled castes, or witchcraft accusations. Tribal individuals may also be killed in the armed exchanges between the Government forces and armed groups, by any of the sides. In such contexts, members of tribes are sometimes labelled “terrorists” and killed, although later it becomes clear that they were ordinary civilians. Adivasis were moreover killed in ethnic violence in the 1990s, while their killing at present appears to be largely due to issues concerning land disputes and attacks in insurgency-affected areas. The low social status of these persons renders them vulnerable to violations of all their rights, including the right to life, and hampers their access to justice and redress mechanisms.  The Special Rapporteur (…) [is] concerned that Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians have not been incorporated into the definition of scheduled castes under this Act, and thus do not benefit from its provisions.”[87]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “On 23 February 2011, a 15-year-old minor tribal girl was raped by a personnel of Tripura State Rifles (TSR) identified as Tejendra Barui at Nandakumarpara village in Khowai subdivision in West Tripura district, Tripura. The accused was deployed in the Village Committee Election for the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council.  According to the family members, the accused TSR personnel dragged the victim to a nearby jungle forcefully when she was returning home from her relatives’ house and raped her. On 25 February 2011, ACHR filed a complaint with the NCPCR which was registered as Case No. TR-19023/21623/2010-11/COMP. (…) On 20 November 2009, 15 minor tribal children, all of them under 14 years of age, residents of Narayanpatna Block in Koraput district of Orissa, were arrested for protesting against the police firing in which two tribals were killed and lodged in the Koraput District Jail in violation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000. The police claimed that the children were arrested because they were armed and taking part in criminal activities. They were neither produced before the JJB nor were their age taken into account by the police as well the jail officials. The children were forced to share space with hardened criminals in the jail. At the time of filing the complaint with NCPCR on 5 July 2010 the children continued to the illegally detained at the jail. Pursuant to NCPCR intervention an enquiry was conducted by the District Collector and Magistrate, Koraput and a report dated 9 July 2010 was submitted to the NCPCR. The report, though lacks in scope and findings, established that at least four juveniles (names withheld) were found to be minors and illegally detained at the jail.”[88]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “At the United Nations, the government of India consistently denied existence or applicability of the concept of “indigenous peoples” to India. India had consistently opposed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations though it voted in favour at the General Assembly on 13 September 2007. India is signatory to the ILO Convention No. 107 concerning the Protection and Integration of Indigenous and Other Tribal and Semi- Tribal Populations in Independent Countries and it has legal responsibilities for its implementation. Nonetheless the concept of indigenous peoples has often been questioned in India. The Supreme Court in its latest judgement on 5 January 2011 while dismissing the Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl) No. 10367 of 2010) (Kailas & Others .. Appellant (s) -versus- State of Maharashtra) unequivocally asserted that Scheduled Tribes are indigenous peoples of India and the apex court further went on to describe the history of oppression from the days of Mahabharata. (…) On 30-31 October 2010, thousands of Adivasis, including women and children, were forcefully evicted by the Forest Department without prior notice from Lungsung forest area under Haltugaon Forest Division in Kokrajhar district of Assam. The Forest Department burnt down hundreds of houses in 59 villages in Lungsung forest area during the eviction drive and perpetrated various atrocities on the Adivasis. In addition, several schools and places of worship were also burnt down. About 1,200 to 1400 families comprising of over 7,000 persons were rendered homeless. Again on 22 November 2010, the forest officials conducted another round of eviction as some of the victims of the earlier eviction were trying to return to their villages. When the Adivasis protested against the eviction the forest officials opened blank fire and dispersed the protestors. In the process, many makeshift shelters were burnt down and damaged. (…)The Adivasis have been living in the Lungsung area for many decades, since 1965. In 1974, the state government shifted the Adivasis and Bodos from the Lungsung area promising land entitlements. However, the Adivasis did not receive any land as promised even in a decade. Hence, the Adivasis returned back to their original settlement in 1984. In 1996, during ethnic clashes between Bodos and Adivasis, the Adivasis living in almost all the villages in the Lungsung area suffered internal displacement and later the Government of Assam had set up make shift relief camps in Joypur area under Kokrajhar Sub-Division in Kokrajhar District. The relief grant provided by the state government in these relief camps was only 400 grams of rice for 10 days in a month. After return of normalcy, these displaced Adivasi people had again gone back to their villages in Lungsung area for survival. (…) The ACHR team interviewed 109 evicted Adivasis from different affected villages and they all stated that on 30 October 2010 all of a sudden and without any prior notice, the officials of the forest department started forcibly evicting the Adivasi communities from the Lungsung area. (…) The forest officials evicted them on the ground that they were encroachers of the Lungsung forest area. But the fact remained that the Adivasis have been living in the Lungsung forest area and its vicinity since 1964, much before the enactment of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980. Under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, the State cannot evict the Adivasis from the forest areas since they have been living there for decades.  The eviction was accompanied with human rights violations. Many violations were committed upon the Adivasis, including women, children and the sick during the forced eviction. (…)The eviction team, accompanied with others, threatened, chased, beaten and ordered the Adivasis to leave before setting their houses on fire. The Adivasis informed the ACHR team that their properties were burnt to ashes and livestock such as chickens, goats, pigs, etc were looted and taken away by the forest officials and others who accompanied the eviction team. The eviction team even did not allow the Adivasis to keep their movable properties like paddy, rice, household utensils, bicycles, ploughing instruments, clothes etc which were burnt down. (…) Several Adivasi women were abused and molested and some children suffered burn injuries on their bodies. A two and a half years old baby was thrown into fire. By the time, the baby could be rescued by the people, its head and face was badly burnt. The baby identified as Mangal Hembrom recently succumbed to his injuries after fighting for life for more than two months. (…)During the eviction, several Churches, temples and schools were also damaged and burnt. The officials of forest department even poured pesticides into some tube wells after breaking open their lids to prevent the people from using the tube wells.  When the Adivasis protested against the illegal eviction and atrocities at least 33 of them were arrested and sent to the Kokrajhar Jail.  Again on 22 November 2010, the forest officials conducted another round of eviction as some of the victims of the earlier eviction were trying to return to their villages.  When the Adivasis protested the forest officials opened blank fire and dispersed the protestors. In the process, many makeshift shelters were burnt down and damaged. (…)The eviction of the Adivasis was totally illegal. First, no eviction notice was served by the authorities. Second, the Adivasis were evicted without providing any alternate arrangements. Even after the eviction was over the state government failed to provide relief and rehabilitation to the poor Adivasis.  During the fact finding the Adivasis told the ACHR team that the state government did not provide any relief assistance in any form. The authorities did not set up any relief camps for the people affected by the eviction. Consequently, the affected Adivasi people have been taking shelter under trees or in makeshift polythene shelters. The plights of the homeless Adivasis further deteriorated during the winter. (…) Sri Hopna Mardi (50 years), Headman of Bambijhora village having a total population of almost 100 persons told the ACHR team that “all the victims have been taking shelter under trees and some temporary shelters.” (…) In the absence of any shelter, the Adivasis are compelled to cook food in the open. There were no toilets and they ease in the fields. Lack of toilets deprived the Adivasis, especially women and girls, of their privacy and dignity. The compulsion to attend nature’s call in the open field or the bushes also exposed the girl child or women to increased risks of violence including sexual abuse/attacks. (…) During the eviction drive, the forest officials did not even spare schools and burnt them to ashes. The evicted Adivasis told the ACHR fact finding team on 24 December 2010 that at least eight government schools, including Lower Primary (LP) and Community Public schools run under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Total Literacy Mission), were burnt to ashes by the eviction team. This has resulted in denial of education to more than 3000 children.  The schools which were burnt down by the forest department during the eviction drive included Rajpur Lower Primary School, Sagenpur Lower Primary School, Kodomguri Community Public (C.P.) School, Kiojharna C.P. School, Samaguri C.P. School, Amritpur C.P. School, Gadatola C.P. School and Sonapur C.P. School. The Community Public Schools are run under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Total Literacy Mission) and the state government of Assam failed to not restore education to these children.”[89]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “despite legal protection, lower castes continue to be particularly vulnerable to violation because of the failure to implement these laws.  The 2005 Annual Report of the National Crime Records Bureau reported a total of 26,127 cases – 8,497 cases under the Protection of Civil Rights Act and 291 cases under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 – against the Scheduled Castes. Although the average charge-sheeting rate for the crimes against the SCs was 94.1 per cent, the average conviction rate was only 29.8%.  A total of 46,936 persons (82.4%) out of 57,804 persons arrested for crimes committed against Scheduled Castes were charge-sheeted but only 28.3% were convicted consisting of 12,691 persons out of 44,842 persons against whom trials were completed.  On 4 August 2007, a Dalit identified as Mr Ram Kagan (25)(son of Ram Kishor) of Pani village under Meza police station in Allahabad district of Uttar Pradesh was beaten up while in custody in the local police station by Sub Inspector Arun Kumar Pathak. He was arrested following a complaint lodged by another villager purportedly in an attempt to take over the victim’s land. Often the upper castes file frivolous cases or use the law enforcement personnel to grab lands from Dalits. According to the information the Sub Inspector allegedly placed bricks on the victim’s back and hit his backside with a stick. After torture, the victim was kept in the police station overnight and then released.  On 27 August 2007, Mr Raja Ram, (son of Visheshwar Prasad) of Gatowa village under Sarai Inayat police station in Allahabad district of Uttar Pradesh, was beaten up by Sub Inspector Surendra Pratap, constable Ashok Kumar and another constable of Sarai Inayat police station. During the assault the victim’s leg bones were apparently fractured. (…) On 25 September 2007, a Dalit labourer identified as Mr Lalsingh Jatav was subjected to torture and other forms of degrading treatment by two upper caste persons – Mr Kadamsingh Kushwaha and Mr Ball Singh – for refusing to work in their fields at Murdav village in Morena district of Madhya Pradesh. According to the report the victim was sick and refused to plough the fields of the accused. But the accused got angry and started abusing Mt Jatav. They then tied him to a tractor and dragged him along the village street. During the events Mr Jatav sustained serious injuries. Instead of taking action against the accused, the police registered a complaint against Mr Lalsingh Jatav and other Dalits who had tried to stop the attackers. (…) On 12 November 2007, a Dalit identified as Mr Guddu Jatav, a rickshaw puller was allegedly tortured and then buried alive by three upper caste men identified as Brij Lal, Mukesh and Dharam Pal at Rahimpur-Karimpur village in Bilhaur area in Kanpur of Uttar Pradesh. The local police allegedly refused to register a complaint filed by the deceased’s uncle Mr Ram Chander. Mr Ram Chander alleged that the police tore up the complaint and instead registered a case of

assault although it was a clear case of murder.”[90]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “A large number of reported cases of torture and custodial death result from attempts to extract a confession relating to theft or other petty offences. This implies that suspects belonging to the lower economic and social strata are particularly vulnerable.  Case 1: In September 2008, police led by Inspector A Rocky reportedly stripped, chained and tortured Maruthan, an Irula tribal, for 37 days during interrogation in connection with alleged rape and murder of a tribal woman in Kerala. Mr Maruthan was apparently detained because he was the first to see the dead body of the woman near a rivulet in September 2007 in Attappadi and informed other community members.   On 1 October 2008, a Delhi-based rights NGO, the Asian Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Network (AITPN) filed a complaint with the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) (File No. PC/Atrocity/Kerala/853/2008/RU IV). Pursuant to the notice of the NCST, the Director General of Police, Kerala, submitted a report to the NCST denying the allegation of torture. The DGP, Kerala also sent the inquiry report of the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Special Mobile Squad & Agali, Palakkad district dated 25 October 2008.  AITPN has noted inconsistencies in the reports. According to the medical records submitted by the police, the victim was admitted to two different hospitals simultaneously – Government Tribal Speciality Hospital, Kottathara, P.O. Attappady, Palakkad district where the victim was admitted and treated for six days from 6.40 pm of 31.7. 2008 to 6 pm of 5.8.2008 and at Primary Health Centre, Sholayoor, Sholayoor P.O., Attapady, Palakkad District where the victim was treated for six days during 31.7. 2008 – 5.8.2008.  Moreover, the fact that the victim had to be treated for six days and from the medicines given it is clear that the victim’s condition was serious. (…) Case 7: On the night of 6 June 2008, Latief Ahmed (Son of Ghulam Mustafa) was picked up by a team of Special Task Force (STF) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police from Dehrot Jatli village in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir for questioning over links with militant groups. He was allegedly tortured during interrogation and died as a result of his treatment. The STF claimed that the victim slipped from a hillock and died.”[91]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “Arbitary closure of case related to rape of three tribal women by Assam Rifles personnel in Tripura (Case No. 2/23/2006-2007-AF/UC): On 9 February 2006, three tribal women, including a pregnant woman, were allegedly gang raped by personnel of the 36th Battalion of Assam Rifles during an anti-insurgency operation at Sachindra Roajapara under Chhamanu Police Station in Dhalai district of Tripura.  The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) on 20 April 2006 filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which the NHRC registered as Case No. 2/23/2006-2007-AF/UC. On 13 May 2006 the NHRC issued notice to the Secretary (Home), Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India and Director General of Police, Tripura calling for report within four weeks. Subsequently, the NHRC received a report dated 4 December 2006 from Under Secretary to the Government of India. On 28 June 2006, the NHRC forwarded the gist/copy of the report to ACHR to submit comments within one month. On 10 August 2007 ACHR requested the NHRC to grant 12 weeks time to submit comments which was granted on 31 August 2007 and NHRC asked ACHR to submit comments by 27 November 2007. The ACHR submitted its comments to the report of the Ministry of Defence on 24 December 2007. The reply of ACHR was delivered by hand and the “received” stamp of the NHRC was taken as proof of submission of the reply by ACHR. In its reply ACHR provided details on the flaws in the report of the Staff Court of Inquiry headed by Lt Col Krishna Kumar of 15th Assam Rifles. ACHR argued that because of the flaws the NHRC must reject the report of the Ministry of Defence.  On 13 November 2008, ACHR delivered, by hand, a note to the NHRC seeking the current status of the case as no communication/information had been received from NHRC since submission of the comments. The NHRC failed to reply.  On 27 December 2009 the NHRC vide its letter dated 2 December 2009 informed ACHR that the case had been closed because “No response has been received” from ACHR.”[92]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “Case 44: Massacre of five Chakma tribals: Allegation: Massacre of five Chakma tribals – Ashok Kumar Chakma (40), Swapanjay Chakma (28), Bakrabahu Chakma (25), Sushanta Chakma (18) and Arogya Chakma (18); and burning down of 20 houses by cadre of National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), an armed opposition group, for refusing to pay ‘taxes’ to the outfit in remote Jorendrapara and Madanjaypara villages under Raisyabari police station in Dhalai district of Tripura on the night of 10 May 2005. Summary of the case: An NLFT hit squad, comprising 15 cadre, reportedly attacked Jorendrapara and Madanjaypara villages simultaneously and set five thatched houses on fire in Jorendrapara village on the night of 10 May 2005. As the terror-stricken people rushed out of their burning huts, the NLFT militants opened fire on the villagers killing Ashok Kumar Chakma (40), Swapanjay Chakma (28), Bakrabahu Chakma (25), Sushanta Chakma (18) and Arogya Chakma (18) on the spot. Five other persons, including two women, sustained serious bullet injuries. The NLFT militants also set ablaze 15 Chakma huts in neighboring Madanjaypara village. Action taken by ACHR: ACHR filed a complaint to the NHRC on 12 May 2005. ACHR requested the NHRC to direct the State government of Tripura to order a inquiry into the incident, take action against the culprits, provide interim compensation of Rs 500,000 each to next of kin of the deceased and Rs 100,000 each to the 20 families whose houses have been burnt. The NHRC registered a case No being 3/23/2005-2006 and issued notices to the concerned authorities. Result: As a consequent to the complaint of ACHR and the NHRC’s intervention, the following reliefs have been granted to the victims’ families: Rs 15,000 each paid to next of kin (NOK) of the five deceased persons (Total: Rs 1500X5=Rs 75,000); Rs 125,000 paid to NOK of deceased Badrabaha Chakma; Rs 125,000 paid to NOK of deceased Swapanjoy Chakma; Government job provided to Raj Kumar Chakma against the death of Ashok Kumar Chakma For the rest of the two deceased, family members have been asked to submit necessary documents for financial assistance/ government job.  The case is still pending before the NHRC.”[93]

 

BUDDHIST TRIBUNAL ON HUMAN RIGHTS: In many cases, there are companies being installed in tribal lands where local people get their livelihood. Generally, those lands are exploited through contaminating soil, water and everything around, leaving local people without their only source of life. Some companies promise jobs and salaries for local people, but these persons do not want money but natural resources to survive. Governments are often deaf to the plights of people or they just have monetary gain from companies, so that they are rather interested in keeping these companies functioning instead of helping or assisting the needs of people who lose their productive lands. All of this generates frictions and violence against local people since, instead of keeping democratic dialogue with them, governments prefer to rely on police forces or paramilitary groups, which usually suppress peaceful demonstrations, by intimidating and harassing local people through shootings, beatings, threats, humiliation and by using tear gas.  The government of Kashipur, Orissa, not only increased the number of local police platoons, but also deployed two paramilitary groups: the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on 5 December 2004 and the India Reserve Battalion (IRB) in 2005. The government also constructed a new police outpost and barracks in 2005. Below, there are testimonies of injustice and violations against people as well as violations against nature on the part of both armed forces and state respectively.

 

Testimony of Prafulla Samantara: “On 29th March 1998, I was also a victim of Company Raj in Rayagada District. On that day, in the presence of police, the goons of the company attacked tribal people who were coming to a rally at Kashipur. Two activists namely Sanatan Pradhan and Rabi Mishra were kidnapped and beaten by the goons of the company in the office of Utkal Alumina at Tikiri. Myself and Sri Langraj, a prominent activist were physically attacked by the goons when we were in search of the said two kidnapped friends. It was reported to the police station but no action was taken because of the company’s influence on the administration.”[94]

 

Indian People’s Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights: “An eight member multidisciplinary panel of the Indian People’s Tribunal headed by Justice S.N.Bhargava (Retd.) enquired into alleged human rights and environment violations created by a bauxite-mining project proposed by Utkal Aluminum International, Ltd. (UAIL) in the Baphlimali Hills, located in Kashipur Block, Rayagada District of Orissa. The Panel members visited Kucheaipadar which is the center of the resistance against this bauxite mining company and has inter-alia faced the ire of state repression. The panel conducted spot visits to Lanjigarh where Vedanta is operating to understand the impact that such a project could have. The panel also received testimonies from the local tribals who would be affected by the coming up of the UAIL Project. Taking into account their testimonies, the testimonies of experts and the responses furnished by various ministries to letters sent under the Right to Information Act, the panel would like to recommend that the Government of Orissa should abandon the UAIL project with immediate effect.  The Panel investigated specifically in to opposition by the local people, the overwhelming majority of whom are Scheduled tribes and found that their voices are being met by repressive measures in the form of large scale arrests, disruption of public meetings by force, violent beatings to disperse gatherings, official encouragement to the employment of private goons by UAIL, midnight raids by the police, unmitigated violence on women and children etc.  The granting of a mining lease to UAIL, a non-tribal entity, by the State Government of Orissa, is in flagrant violation of Constitutional mandates that have been upheld by the Supreme Court in Samatha v. State of Andhra Pradesh. Other constitutional provisions like the Panchayats Extension to the Scheduled Areas Act, (PESA)1996, as well as state provisions like the Orissa Scheduled Areas Transfer of Immovable Property Act, 1956, which protect the Adivasi community’s right to land and other natural resources have also been overridden unlawfully. (…) The Government of Orissa and UAIL have failed to conduct a local consultation and obtain local consent for the project as stipulated under the provisions of the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act, 1996 and the Orissa Scheduled Areas Transfer of Immovable Property Act (1956). Indications from UAIL that they have in fact obtained local consent were discounted by credible testimony before the Tribunal. The Panel is convinced that the bauxite-mining project proposed by UAIL will have adverse environmental and health effects: water sources and agricultural land will be contaminated by toxic wastes, grasslands and forest land will be destroyed, and pollution including the release of cancerous gases that will create a health hazard for those living in proximity of the alumina refinery. Further the location of the mine in the Eastern ghats will cause an irreversible loss of plant genetic materials and biodiversity of this bio sphere. (…) As of yet, the Government of Orissa has no binding Relief & Rehabilitation (R & R) policy nor a good record enforcing R & R packages. (…) The testimonies received by the IPT panel clearly show that the relevant authorities are using force and intimidation to coerce people into relocating and accepting the rehabilitation package. (…) Approximately four to five million tonnes of mining overburden would be generated during the first five years of the project. Mining overburden and dust will cause the siltation of streams and contaminate them with mining leachates. This will affect a wider area than just the immediate locality. (…)The loss and/or contamination of perennial springs can lead to desertification that negatively impacts agricultural lands, natural forest lands, and grasslands. This desertification, coupled with the UAIL’s encroachment on forest lands can lead to deforestation that also negatively impacts ground water levels, adding to the potential for water shortages in the area. The project will also directly encroach on grasslands (situated on top of the hills) that sustain livestock and areas used for dangar cultivation: this will negatively impact food security.  Biodiversity in the Baphlimali Hills will also be affected by bauxite mining. The SACON study identified 195 plants, 13 mammals, 66 birds, 13 reptiles, 9 amphibians, and 14 butterfly species in the impact zone of the project. Text Box 4 discussed the Supreme Court’s stay on mining in a similar eco-sensitive area, which provides hope that similar action will be taken to protect the Baphlimali Hills. Finally, mining overburden and dust will create air pollution and affect soil quality, which can lead to lower agricultural output. (…)The process of mining and refining alumina also poses serious health risks for people living in and around the mine and refinery/power plant site. Again, we look to the NALCO project to assess the potential effects, as well as examples from around the world. Pollution from NALCO’s alumina refinery in Damanjodi has plagued local villagers with brittle bones, tooth and gum diseases, and lumps of dead skin. Fluoride contamination has also affected cattle herds, which suffer from bone deformities and fatalities. A village located one kilometre from the refinery saw its cattle herds drop from 3,000 to 100 in a mere ten-year period. Similar symptoms of fluorosis have been reported in Tursunzade, Tajikistan -home of the world’s fourth largest alumina smelter -and the Canadian province of Quebec has the highest rate of birth defects in the country and leads the province in deaths caused by malignant tumors: this region hosts four ALCAN alumina refineries. (…) The Tribunal noted that people have no information about the potential health impacts of the air, water, and soil pollution generated by the project. Cancerous gases such as sulfur dioxide and sulfur monoxide are released into the air when caustic soda is used during the alumina refining process. While the effects of this air pollution are not completely understood, the Tribunal learned that several young women who moved to Kashipur from Damanjodi have died of cancer. The authorities have not released the medical reports which would illuminate if these deaths are linked to air pollution from the bauxite mining project by NALCO in Damanjodi. Moreover, pollution of water and soil resources will also adversely affect food security in the region, which can cause malnutrition and starvation. (…) If the UAIL project is allowed to proceed, the environmental damage, scale of displacement and influx of non-Adivasi people to the area will decimate traditional livelihoods and radically alter the social fabrics of these groups. The acquisition of land from 26 villages and the destruction of forest lands and grasslands will also adversely affect Adivasi livelihood systems that provide sustainable food security for the region. It is fundamentally and irremediably unconstitutional that a project that destroys their capacity to protect their traditions and customs and deprives them of control over common resources is taken up without their willing consent. . As stated earlier, PESA is not merely as Act of Parliament, but a Constitutional provision. In fact PESA is Part IX of the Constitution insofar as the Scheduled Areas are concerned. (…) This trend is not only occurring in Orissa, but all over India. (…) The harvesting of forest produce, occasional wage labour and livestock cultivation augments these agrarian livelihoods making the population not only food secure, but also food sovereign. Access to forests for food and income generating opportunities is an integral part of the tribal food security system. A variety of fruits, greens, roots, tubers, and mushrooms gathered from forests supplement dietary needs and play a crucial role between annual harvests. Kendu leaves (Diospyros Melanoxylon) and Mahua trees (Madhuca longifoli) are also used to supplement dietary intake, but additionally have become one of the main sources for cash income.”[95]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “Prior to June 2005, there were very few reports of Naxal violence from Chhattisgarh. However, displacement of 43,740 persons as on 31st December 2006, involvement of the civilians in direct conflict with the Naxalites since June 2005, human rights violations committed by the security forces and the Salwa Judum cadres in the process of bringing the villages under the Salwa Judum fold and chilling massacre of the civilians participating in the Salwa Judum campaign by the Naxalites virtually ensured that the Naxalite conflict no longer remained a peripheral one. (…) As of 31st December 2006, there were about 43,740 civilians displaced from their villages as a result of the Salwa Judum campaign in Chhattisgarh. A large number of displaced persons reportedly fled to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. (…) ACHR team visited Bangapal IDP camp, Geedam IDP camp, Konta IDP camp and Errabore IDP camp in March 2006. The camp conditions were deplorable and they have been turned into detention centres of the surrendered Naxalites as well as counter-insurgency training centres.  The State government officials claimed that they were providing free housing, free fooding, clothes, medical facilities, children’s education, Anganwadi centres for pre-primary education, adult education, business education and employment. It was as if the IDP camps had been turned into heaven for the impoverished Adivasis.  The ACHR representatives however found the camp conditions deplorable and sub-human. The displaced persons were living in makeshift camps, some of which were covered just with leaves of trees as roofs, and open from all sides. The camp inmates alleged that during the rainy season, the socalled roofs could not prevent the water from pouring inside. Only those who came to the relief camps earlier were lucky enough to get tarpaulin roofing. (…)On 1-5 January 2007, ACHR team visited Kasoli and Nelsanar camps and interviewed the inmates.  ACHR team was told that camp conditions remained deplorable and sub-human throughout 2006.  The displaced persons were provided just a square meal of rice and dal. Medical and educational facilities remained non-existent.  The IDPs remained extremely insecure with little or no access to their villages and means of survival.  Prolong stay in the camps without any solution in sight has been taking toll on the mental health of the internally displaced persons.”[96]

 

CHR & CJ, International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) and Human Right Watch: “The Indian government should take immediate steps to implement the recommendations of a United Nations committee that found persistent violence and discrimination against Dalits, or so-called “untouchables,” international human rights organizations said today.  The organizations include Human Rights Watch, the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law, and the International Dalit Solidarity Network.  On March 9, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) issued its Concluding Observations regarding India’s compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The Committee’s report found that “de facto segregation of Dalits persists” and highlighted systematic abuse against Dalits including torture and extrajudicial killings, an “alarming” extent of sexual violence against Dalit women, and caste discrimination in post-tsunami relief.  The Committee called for effective measures to implement laws on discrimination and affirmative action, and sought proper protection for Dalits and tribal communities against acts of “discrimination and violence.” The Committee has given India a year to respond to four of its recommendations, including its recommendations on how India can end widespread impunity for violence against Dalits, and Dalit women in particular.  “The UN Committee’s concluding observations confirm that India has failed to properly protect Dalits and tribal communities,” said Brad Adams, Asia Director of Human Rights Watch. “This is a prime opportunity for India to give its own policies on discrimination some meaning. Laws need to be implemented, and those who violate them must be prosecuted.”  The Concluding Observations were issued following two days of hearings in Geneva on February 23 and 26 between Committee members and the Indian delegation. During the hearing, Committee members uniformly took issue with the Indian government’s refusal to acknowledge that caste-based discrimination is covered by the Convention and is an issue of international human rights concern.  In particular, the Committee called on the Indian government to:  Ensure the protection of witnesses and victims to caste-based crimes and ensure their immediate access to effective remedies;  Prosecute and punish perpetrators of sexual violence and sexual exploitation of Dalit women, and sanction anyone found preventing or discouraging victims from reporting such incidents, including public officials;  Eradicate the social acceptance of caste-based discrimination through public education and awareness campaigns;(…) Investigate all alleged cases of discrimination against Dalits in post-tsunami relief and compensate or retroactively grant benefits to victims of such discrimination; Take effective measures to reduce dropout rates and increase enrollment rates among Dalits at all levels of schooling by providing scholarships and by ending classroom segregation;  (…)  Repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act that, while providing the armed forces with widespread powers to search, arrest and shoot suspects, leading to allegations of human rights abuses, has immunity provisions under which troops cannot be prosecuted unless authorized by the Central Government. (…) The Concluding Observations reflect the Committee’s disappointment with India’s presentation before the Committee on February 23 and 26. Despite India’s Solicitor General Goolam Vahanvati’s claim to the Committee that the government is “deeply conscious and concerned about caste and is fully committed totackling this at every level,” the Indian delegation resorted to a semantic debate on the difference between caste and race to support its erroneous assertion that the Convention only covers race-based discrimination.   Citing India’s extensive laws and policies to end caste-based discrimination, none of which have been faithfully implemented, the Indian delegation also questioned the credibility of the Committee’s sources of information. These sources included reports of India’s own governmental agencies and numerous reports by Indian and international nongovernmental organizations, including “Hidden Apartheid,” which the NYU  Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) along with Human Rights Watch produced as a “shadow report” ahead of CERD’s review of India’s periodic report.   In its Concluding Observations, “the Committee reaffirm[ed] that discrimination based on the ground of caste is fully covered by article 1 of the Convention.” It cited its position expressed in General Recommendation No. 29, “that discrimination based on ‘descent’ includes discrimination against members of communities based on forms of social stratification such as caste and analogous systems of inherited status which nullify or impair their equal enjoyment of human rights.”  “The Indian delegation’s arrogant rejection of well-documented abuses against Dalits before UN experts in Geneva mirrors India’s systematic denial of Dalit rights at home,” said Professor Smita Narula, faculty director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. “India once again squandered an opportunity to enlist the support of experts in its efforts to ensure equality in law and practice for its citizens.” Comprised of independent experts from around the world, the Committee was led in its review by Mr. Linos-Alexander Sicilianos of Greece. On December 27, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh likened the practice of untouchability in India to apartheid in South Africa. “After this statement,” Siciliano said, “I sincerely feel that the official position [of the Indian delegation…] is simply untenable.” The Committee formally noted its appreciation for the prime minister’s remarks in their Observations.  Committee members characterized India’s position as a “broken record,” a “step backwards,” and cautioned that India should not “confuse growth with development.” Sicilianos reminded the government that “change cannot be achieved by legislation alone.” The Committee also highlighted its concern over “abuses at the local level” for which “radical measures” were necessary. The Indian government’s position left Committee members asking why India did not choose to view the review as “an opportunity rather than a threat.”  Committee members also noted that caste-based discrimination was not unique to South Asia, but also existed in many parts of Africa.  (…) “Instead of sidestepping its responsibilities, India should welcome assistance from the international community to eliminate caste-based discrimination,” said Rikke Nöhrlind, coordinator of the International Dalit Solidarity Network. “The fact that the European Parliament strongly urged its own institutions to addresscaste discrimination in all EU-India relations reflects growing worldwide concern about India’s ‘hidden apartheid.’” (…) More than 165 million people in India continue to be subject to discrimination, exploitation and violence simply because of their caste. In India’s “hidden apartheid,” untouchability relegates Dalits throughout India to a lifetime of segregation and abuse. Caste-based divisions continue to dominate in housing, marriage, employment and general social interaction—divisions that are reinforced through economic boycotts and physical violence. (…)The report also documents routine violations of Dalits’ right to life and security of person through statesponsored or sanctioned acts of violence, including torture. Dalit women face multiple forms of discrimination and are frequent targets of sexual abuse. State and private actors enjoy virtual impunity for these crimes. (…) Background:  The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is a body of independent experts responsible for monitoring states’ compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, ratified by India in 1968. It guarantees rights of non-discrimination on the basis of “race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin.” In 1996 CERD concluded that the plight of Dalits falls squarely under the prohibition of descent-based discrimination. As a state party to ICERD, India is obligated to submit periodic reports detailing its implementation of rights guaranteed under the convention. During the review session CERD examines these reports and engages in constructive dialogue with the government delegation, ultimately offering recommendations in the form of Concluding Observations. CERD uses supplementary information contained in NGO “shadow reports” to evaluate states’ reports. India’s report to CERD, eight years overdue, covered its compliance with the convention from 1996 to 2006 yet did not contain a single mention of abuses against Dalits – abuses that India’s own governmental agencies have documented and verified. “[97]

 

Christine Hart: “Caste discrimination, manifested through an array of “untouchability practices,” is an entrenched part of daily life in India. This “hidden apartheid” impacts more than 160 million Dalits —the victims, survivors, and challengers of the practice, as well as approximately 860 million non-Dalits—the perpetrators, bystanders, and witnesses.   Despite domestic policy measures and increased attention to the issue, the practice of untouchability remains ingrained and touches nearly every aspect of Dalit life. Untouchability practices range from actions that impact the minutiae of daily life, to life-altering inequity and denials of opportunity, to violence committed with impunity. A sampling of untouchability practices include: the refusal of upper-caste individuals to walk in or cross the shadow of a Dalit; segregated food and drink and designated water vessels and utensils for Dalits; forced and bonded labor practices; conscription into “unclean” occupations including prostitution, manual scavenging (removing waste from “dry” toilets), and the removal of animal carcasses; the prohibition to intermarry with other castes; and rules governing religious practices, including prohibition from public temples and exclusion from ceremonies and rituals. In addition, caste-motivated violence occurs with regularity. Atrocities committed against Dalits include assault, rape, and murder and are often committed with impunity.”[98]

 

CHR & CJ and Human Rights Watch: “As a state party to the Convention [UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)], India is obliged to submit periodic reports detailing its implementation of rights guaranteed under the Convention. (…) Discriminatory and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of over 165 million people in India has been justified on the basis of caste. Caste is descent-based and hereditary in nature. It is a characteristic determined by one’s birth into a particular caste, irrespective of the faith practiced by the individual. Caste denotes a traditional system of rigid social stratification into ranked groups defined by descent and occupation. Caste divisions in India dominate in housing, marriage, employment, and general social interaction—divisions that are reinforced through the practice and threat of social ostracism, economic boycotts, and physical violence. This report focuses on the practice of “untouchability”—the imposition of social disabilities on persons by reason of their birth in certain castes. This practice relegates Dalits, or so-called untouchables (known in Indian legal parlance as scheduled castes), to a lifetime of discrimination, exploitation and violence, including severe forms of torture perpetrated by state and private actors in violation of the rights guaranteed by the Convention. Although the practice has been condemned by many Indian leaders, including most recently by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, unless the government accepts responsibility to end the widespread prejudice, crimes against Dalits will continue. (…) India’s failure to ensure that all public authorities and public institutions do not engage in caste-based discrimination is widespread. Two examples exemplify this failure: treatment of Dalits by the police and discrimination in the provision of disaster relief. India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)—a statutory government body that the Indian government describes as the apex national institution to protect human rights and redress grievances—has commented that the law enforcement machinery is the greatest violator of Dalits’ human rights. According to the NHRC, widespread custodial torture and killing of Dalits, rape and sexual assault of Dalit women, and looting of Dalit property by the police “are condoned, or at best ignored.” (…) Residential segregation of Dalits is prevalent across the country, and is the rule rather than the exception. Segregation is also evident in schools, in access to public services, and in access to services operated by the private sector (as described under Article 5). In his 1999 Annual Report, the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance found “untouchability” to be “very much alive” in rural areas, as reflected in caste-based segregation in housing, schools, public services, public places, and in the prohibition against Dalits’ use of shared water sources. A recently published survey investigating the extent of “untouchability” practices in 565 villages in 11 Indian states found that the constitutionally abolished crime of “untouchability” continues to profoundly affect the lives and psyches of millions of Dalits. “Untouchability” practices were documented in almost 80 percent of the villages surveyed. (…) Dalits’ fundamental civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights are routinely violated by state actors and private individuals. (…) The police have systematically failed to protect Dalit homes and Dalit individuals from acts of looting, arson, sexual assault, torture, and other inhumane acts such as the tonsuring, stripping and parading of Dalit women, and forcing Dalits to drink urine and eat feces. Much like cases of police abuse against Dalits, attacks by private actors often take the form of collective punishment, whereby entire communities or villages are punished for the perceived transgressions of individuals who seek to alter village customs or demand their rights. (…) Dalits are denied equal access to a spectrum of places and services intended for use by the general public, such as police stations, government ration shops, post offices, schools, water facilities, and village council offices. As a result of segregation in water facilities, more than 20 percent of Dalits do not have access to safe drinking water, only 10 percent of Dalit households have access to sanitation (as compared to 27 percent for non-Dalit households), and the vast majority of Dalits depend on the “goodwill” of upper-caste community members for access to water from community wells. Dalits are also excluded from, or receive discriminatory treatment in, private businesses, including tea shops, food stalls, barber shops, and cinemas. Because of strictly enforced prohibitions on inter-dining, Dalits are made to use separate crockery and cutlery, and drink from separate tea glasses which they are then required to wash. (…) While the Government of India’s periodic report cites specifically to Constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination by the State—including on grounds of a person’s caste—and generally to the existence of legislation enacting these provisions, this elaboration of its de jure prohibition on caste discrimination does not reflect the daily reality of the continued practice of “untouchability” and persecution of Dalits in India. Dalits are systematically discriminated against and abused by public authorities and private actors, who act without any fear of punishment as they rarely face sanctions for their violations of Dalits’ fundamental rights. (…) India’s failure to ensure that all public authorities and public institutions do not engage in caste-based discrimination is widespread. The discussion below focuses on two examples that exemplify this failure: treatment of Dalits by the police and discrimination in the provision of disaster relief. (…) Dalits are disproportionately targeted by the police for a number of reasons. According to the NHRC, under a theory of collective punishment, the police will often subject entire Dalit communities to violent search and seizure operations in search of one individual.  Dalit communities may also be perceived by the police as inherently criminal.  Dalits and other poor minorities are disproportionately represented among those detained and tortured in police custody because most cannot afford to pay police bribes. Dalits are also likely victims of police misconduct because they are rarely informed of their rights, rarely have access to an attorney, and are not able to afford bail. Police officers’ deeply embedded caste bias (most officers belong to the dominant castes) and a general lack of familiarity with legislative protections for Dalits further compound the problem.  State agencies have also colluded with private actors from dominant castes in committing human rights violations against Dalits. Through investigations conducted in 1997 in the state of Bihar, for example, Human Rights Watch found that government officials acted as agents of the Ranvir Sena (a private upper-caste militia) and turned a blind eye to their killings of Dalits. Soon after a massacre in Laxampur-Bathe village, Jehanabad district—in which the Ranvir Sena killed 61 Dalits, Naxalites (leftist guerrilla organizations advocating the use of violence to achieve land redistribution) retaliated by killing nine people suspected to be Ranvir Sena supporters. The police responded to the violence by harassing Dalit villagers who they accused of supporting the Naxalites. Rather than capturing Sena members, State security forces reportedly helped train militia members; in some cases, police accompanied the militias during their attacks on Dalit villages, disguising killings as “encounters.” Upper-caste militia members, and the police who colluded with them, have rarely been prosecuted for their crimes. (…) Dalits are particularly vulnerable to arrest under draconian security laws. For example, in at least two states, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh, the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002 (POTA) was widely used against Dalits, who were targeted for their caste status rather than any involvement in criminal or terrorist activity.  Dalit activists are also accused of being “terrorists,” “threats to national security,” and “habitual offenders,” and frequently charged under the National Security Act, 1980, the Indian Explosives Act, 1884, and even older counter insurgency laws such the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act 1987 (commonly known as TADA).  Dalit activists are often subjected to specious prosecutions, falsified charges, and physical abuse and torture following arrest.  Further, following bouts of violence in Bihar between the Ranvir Sena and Naxalites, Dalits were held in preventive detention under India’s Criminal Procedure Code Section 107 in excess of the maximum detention period of 24 hours. Similarly, following periods of escalated violence between upper-caste community members and Dalits in Tamil Nadu between July 1995 and June 1996, many Dalit youths were arrested under preventive detention laws like the Tamil Nadu Goondas Act and the National Security Act, 1980. Additionally, police also engage in what are called “encounter deaths,” whereby young activists who allegedly support any of the Naxalite or radical left movement organizations are picked up, tortured to extract confessions, and then killed under the pretense of self defense. Though upper-caste community members have also been picked up by the police in this manner, they are usually not subject to such harsh treatment as a result of pressure from influential people belonging to their caste. (…) Police Abuse of Dalit Women:  Dalit women are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault and rape by the police.  As with sexual abuse of Dalit women by upper-caste men, the sexual abuse of Dalit women by the police is used as a tool to punish Dalit communities as a whole. Dalit women have also been arrested and raped in custody to punish their male relatives who are hiding from the police. Police also routinely sexually abuse Dalit women during police raids as a means of exerting pressure on their male family members to surrender, give false evidence, retract their complaints, or silence their protests regarding police mistreatment. Investigations in Bihar and Tamil Nadu conducted by Human Rights Watch also confirmed that women have been beaten, arrested, and sometimes tortured during violent search and raid operations on Dalit villages.  Medical personnel often collude in these cases by issuing false certificates that deny sexual assault or by including statements in the medical examination report that cast doubts on the credibility of the victim’s complaint.  The case of Ms. Lebra is illustrative of this widespread problem. Ms. Lebra, a mother of three, was accused of stealing her upper-caste neighbor’s jewelry in retaliation for refusing to give him crops from her land. When she was called in by the police for questioning, the police officer began molesting her daughter. When she tried to stop him, he grabbed Ms. Lebra’s hair, pushed her down onto the ground and raped her. (…) Police Extortion and Looting:  Illegal police raids on Dalit villages under the pretext of looking for suspects in the aftermath of caste conflicts. Human Rights Watch has documented a number of such instances.  Specific targeting of Dalit villages that enjoyed relative economic prosperity. This practice has been documented by Human Rights Watch’s investigation of raids conducted in Gundupatti, Tamil Nadu in February 1998, where the police engaged in outright looting, stealing jewelry, clothes, cash, and consumables from the homes of Dalit villagers who enjoyed relative prosperity due to remittances from family members who were sent to work abroad. The looting served two purposes: to line the policemen’s pockets; and to teach Dalits that they should not strive to increase their economic status. The pretense of conducting kurki-japti (legal attachment of movable property). Such seizures do not follow the legal procedures for seizures, such as the presentation of a court order and list of materials to be seized, or the requirement that two witnesses be present during the seizure. (…) Discrimination in the Provision of disaster relief: According to separate investigations by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights and Human Rights Watch, India discriminated against Dalits in distribution of aid in the wake of two of India’s largest natural disasters in recent years: the Gujarat earthquake in January 2001 and the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004. Following the Gujarat earthquake in January 2001, while the government allocated equal amounts of compensation and food supplies to all communities, agencies did not ensure that the assistance went to Dalit communities. Dalit and Muslim populations also did not have the same access to adequate shelter, electricity, running water, and other supplies available to the upper-caste population, to whom the government had provided far superior shelter and basic amenities. Reconstruction projects were also segregated along caste and religion lines. Following the tsunami in December 2004, the NCDHR and the Human Rights Forum for Dalit Liberation-Tamil Nadu reported that during the initial stages of the relief process, Dalits were not provided proper and adequate guidance on how to gain admission to relief camps, were not given a fair share of relief aid, and were sometimes abused when they demanded equal treatment.  Dalits’ political voicelessness prevented them from convincing authorities of their losses who maintained that only higher-caste fishing communities were affected by the tsunami. (…) Forced Prostitution – Devadasi system: The practice of devadasi, in which a girl, usually before reaching the age of puberty, is ceremoniously dedicated or married to a deity or to a temple, continues in several southern states including Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Literally meaning “female servant of god,” devadasis usually belong to the Dalit community. Once dedicated, the girl is unable to marry, forced to become a prostitute for upper-caste community members, and eventually auctioned into an urban brothel. The age-old practice continues to legitimize the sexual violence and discrimination that have come to characterize the intersection between caste and gender. (…)The societal perception of devadasis as women who are sexually available to men makes it more difficult for devadasis to approach the police with complaints of sexual violence.  Moreover, the police themselves have been known to exploit devadasis. (…) Although there is no de jure policy of segregation in India, Dalits are subject to de facto segregation in all spheres, including housing, the enjoyment of public services (…), and education. (…) For Dalits, the right to personal security has been seriously undermined because of rampant attacks and violence committed against them. Media, NGO, and government reports reveal that the police have systematically failed to protect Dalit homes and Dalit individuals from acts of looting, arson, sexual assault, torture, and other inhumane acts such as stripping and parading Dalit women and forcing Dalits to drink urine and eat feces. For example, the government’s Annual Report on the Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 found that 30,022 cases were registered against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under the Act in 2001 and 27,894 were registered in 2002.  As staggering as these statistics are, they represent only a fraction of the violence committed against Dalits. A number of factors, including lack of police cooperation, fear of reprisals, and difficulty in gaining access to the judiciary contribute to a reluctance or inability on the part of Dalits to report crimes against them. (…) The Ramabai Killings: The Ramabai killings of July 1997 are a notorious example of the use of excessive force by the police in response to peaceful and democratic protests. On July 11, police opened fire on a crowd of Dalits protesting the desecration of a statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in their settlement in Bombay.  According to Human Rights Watch’s investigations, the firings—in which 10 people were killed and 27 were injured—were both unprovoked and caste motivated. The incident led to significant unrest throughout the state of Majarashtra, including rioting and social boycotts against protesting Dalits. According to the Times of India, “the people owing allegiance to the ruling alliance parties had made determined efforts to terrorize and punish the Buddhists [converted Dalits] for having dared to protest against the shameful act of desecration of the Ambedkar statue.” In one such instance, a Dalit woman was stripped and paraded naked around Karanja-Ghadge village in Wardha district, and later allegedly framed for murder by the police after she complained of her illtreatment. (…) Manual Scavenging: Manual scavenging is a practice by which Dalits remove excreta from public and private dry pit latrines and carry them to dumping grounds and disposal sites. Though long outlawed, the practice of manual scavenging continues in most states, and will continue as long as dry latrines are used. In 2002-03 the Union Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment admitted the existence of 6.76 lakh (676,000) manual scavengers in India and the presence of 92 lakh (9,200,000) dry latrines, spread across 21 States and Union Territories. According to unofficial estimates, the number of manual scavengers in India may be as high as 1.3 million.  Manual scavengers are employed by private and public employers, including the military engineering services, the army, the railways, and other organs of the state.  The occupation of manual scavenging is both caste-based and hereditary. It is also the only economic opportunity available to many Dalit women hailing from scavenger sub-castes, with the result that more Dalit women and girls work as manual scavengers than Dalit men.  Manual scavengers are at the very bottom of the caste hierarchy; they also face discrimination from other Dalits who treat them as “untouchables,” creating an unquestioned “‘untouchability’ within the ‘untouchables…’” The entrenched discrimination against manual scavengers makes it difficult to find alternative employment pursuant to government rehabilitation schemes, and even more difficult to convince scavengers that they are able to take on, or are “worthy of performing,” different occupations.  Manual scavenging is characterized by hazardous working conditions and health hazards. A manual scavenger from Paliyad village, Ahmedabad district, Gujarat, described how in the rainy season, the “water mixes with the feces that we carry in baskets on our heads, it drips onto our clothes, our faces. When I return home, I find it difficult to eat food…. But in the summer there is often no water to wash your hands before eating. It is difficult to say which [season] is worse.” Manual scavengers are routinely exposed to both human and animal waste without the protection of masks, uniforms, gloves, shoes, appropriate buckets, and mops. This has severe repercussions for their health; the majority of scavengers suffer from anaemia, diarrhea, and vomiting, with 62 percent suffering respiratory diseases, 32 percent suffering skin diseases, 42 percent suffering jaundice, and 23 percent suffering trachoma, leading to blindness. Many scavengers have also died of carbon monoxide poisoning while cleaning septic tanks. In Mumbai, for instance, Dalits are lowered into manholes to clear sewage blockages—often without any protection. More than 100 workers die every year due to inhalation of toxic gases or drowning in excrement. The fear of being fired by municipality officials keeps manual scavengers from demanding higher wages or sanitary instruments.”[99]

 

Prime Minister Singh: “Dalits have faced a unique discrimination in our society that is fundamentally different from the problems of minority groups in general. The only parallel to the practice of ‘untouchability’ was Apartheid in South Africa. Untouchability is not just social discrimination. It is a blot on humanity.”[100]

 

 

 

Evidence 7: Torture and Cruel and Inhuman Treatment

Testimony of Gh Qadir Teli: “My son was a 17-year-old school dropout and had started working on our farm. He had three elder sisters, and was the only substantial source of income for our family. I got him married in 2008 in district Baramulla.  On the fateful day of 25th of November 2006, he was not feeling well and had gone to see a doctor, Dr. Habibullah Mattoo, in Sopore. While he had been waiting for his turn at the clinic, a fellow villager had called him on his mobile phone, which is when he had confirmed his location.  At around 1 o’clock in the afternoon, I saw a huge crowd outside my house. Some people standing closeby advised me against going home at that time as there the army had raided my house and were searching it.  Disturbed by the gravity of the situation, I thought of calling my son. I went to a phone booth to make the call, but his cell phone was switched off. During this time, the army was harassing the rest of my family inside the house. Finally I reached home at around 9:30 in the evening, but my son was nowhere to be seen. For the next three days there was no news of him. I registered a missing report at the police station on 8th of December 2006. However, the army – led by some DSP Tickoo – raided my house soon after and asked for the original copy of the report, which I had to hand him out of fear. Fortunately enough, I Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir had already made photocopies. I then returned to the concerned police station and lodged a fresh complaint.  A few days following this, the army came looking for me, but somehow I managed to get away. But on another occasion, 21 RR raided my house again and took me into custody. They then took me to Handwara where I was severely tortured while being stripped naked. You can imagine what I might have gone through considering it was the body of an old man they were inflicting inhuman treatment on.  They were trying to coerce me to accept that my son was a militant, and that I had ammunition in my possession, but I didn’t succumb. When they released me, I filed an application with the district magistrate reiterating that I had been subjected to illegal detention and torture and that the whereabouts of my son were unknown. I also filed petitions at the J&K High Court and the State Human Rights Commission, but nothing has come out of them.”[101]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “On 25 August 2010, 17-year-old Omar Qayoum Bhat, son of Abdul Qayoum Bhat, died due to alleged torture at the Soura Police Station in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir.  The deceased, a resident of Malik Sahab, Soura, was picked up by police during aprotest on 20 August 2010. The deceased’s family members alleged that Omar Qayoum Bhat was detained for a night at the police station and subjected to torture and administered electric shocks. According to the doctors of S K Institute of Medical Science, the deceased had suffered severe internal injuries including in the liver, lungs and intestinal injuries. (…) On 3 April 2010, a minor (name withheld), a student of Class Xth standard, was arrested along with one Paonam Purnima Singh (60 years) in connection with a case of elopement and taken to the Moirang police station in Bishnupur district. Both the victims including the minor were produced before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate. Surprisingly, the Judicial Magistrate remanded the minor to police custody following which the minor was detained at the Moirang police station. At night, a Manipur Police Commando identified as Robinson posted at Kumbi police station and a Security Inspector of Loktak Development Authority, Linjalian came to the Moirang police station and subjected both the victims to severe beating. Both the victims sustained injuries. Asian Centre for Human Rights intervened in the matter with the National Human Rights Commission but the NHRC forwarded the case to virtually defunct Manipur State Human Rights Commission which failed to take effective step in the matter. The case is still pending. (…) On 16 August 2009, 12-year-old Dipankar Saikia of Sanitpur village was tortured by Manuj Boruah, Officer In-Charge at the Sungajan police station in Golaghat district of Assam. On 16 August 2009 at about 11 am, a group of about six police personnel entered the house of the victim and dragged him out without giving any reason. He was taken to the Sungajan police station and on reaching the police station, he was ordered to sit on the floor of the verandah. Mr Manuj Boruah, Officer In-Charge of the police station tied the minor’s hands on his back with a chain and tortured him.  He was beaten up with a stick repeatedly on his body including in the thigh, knees, foots, sole, back, arms, elbows and ears. The Officer-In-Charge also asked the minor to keep his hand on the table and was then beaten on the nails. He was again hit on the head, neck and nose until Master Dipankar became unconscious. Pursuant to a complaint filed with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Superintendent of Police, Golaghat district, vide communication dated 07.12.2010 submitted a report to the NHRC confirming that the accused Sub Inspector Manuj Baruah directed his subordinate police officials to pick up the victim from his home at 10.00 o’clock caned him and detained him in the police station. (…) On 21 June 2009, two minors viz. Lakhinda Hazarika and Kumud Phukan of Duworisiga village were tortured by police at Nitaiphukuri outpost in Sivasagar district of Assam. The victims were picked up on 11 June 2009 by a police team led by Jitumoni Boro, Officer-in-charge of Nitaiphukuri police outpost on the accusation of theft. Both the victims were detained in the police station, stripped and tortured throughout the night. The police allegedly rubbed chillies on their bodies and forced it down their throats. The chillies, locally called as ‘bhot jolokia or naga jolokia”, are reportedly the hottest chillies in the world. (…) [The] NHRC rejected this claim and stated as under:  “In the complaint it is emphatically alleged that both the boys were tortured by putting chilly powder on their eyes and anus. The Medical Officer concerned has reported in both the perfunctory injury reports that no injury was found on the body of the boys. The SP, Sivasagar has admitted in his earlier report that the boys were illegally detained in lock-up on the outpost throughout the night. It can obviously be assumed that the police officer who on the instance of Biren Phukan and Smt. Sabita Phukan, could illegally detain the two boys, throughout the night without registration of any case, would have inflicted torture also on them.”[102]

 

Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights:“Torture in India 2008: A State of Denial” by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) is the first nationwide assessment of the use of torture in India. It examines the use and scale of torture in a country that constitutes more than 16% of the population of the world. (…) The report covers violations and abuses by India’s burgeoning armed opposition groups but equally the security forces and prison officials in India. (…) The report focuses particular attention on the widespread use of torture against both women and children in India. (…) Most credible human rights groups observe the following trends in India. Torture is routine amongst armed opposition groups. Torture is integral to counterinsurgency operations conducted by the military. Torture is used routinely in police detention.While torture is applied less systematically by prison officials, their complicity with prisoner gang violence and ill treatment implicit in appalling prison conditions are serious violations. This report concurs with these findings. (…) The focus of concern centres on the NHRC [National Human Rights Commission]. In the past the NHRC has made a positive contribution but its powers, including the power to conduct investigations have not effectively deployed against torture. NHRC’s preference for interim monetary compensation over recommending prosecution is a cause for further concern. More troublingly, this report documents a particular case where the NHRC has closed it after the investigating authorities (including a senior police chief official) have concluded that torture took place. The NHRC has denied the complainants access to this important evidence and a fair hearing despite the legal obligation to do so. ACHR asserts that this is a routine practice and there is a need for urgent review. (…) India is in a worrying state of denial. The Home Minister attributes custodial deaths to “illness/natural death, escaping from custody, suicides, attacks by other criminals, riots, due to accidents and during treatment or hospitalisation”. These attitudes are widespread and explain in part the inadequacy of India’s actions to combat torture in the legal, political and institutional domain. (…) To take legal measures against the armed forces deployed in conflict situations, prior permission from central government is mandatory (under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code and Section 6 of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act of 1958). Unsurprisingly prior permission has seldom been granted or requested. Even in cases where the Government’s Central Bureau of Investigation has found compelling evidence of torture by the security forces, permission to prosecute has been denied. It reveals a dangerous weakness in India’s system of justice: a pervasive regime of impunity. (…) Impunity results in the well documented practice of torture as well as other grave human rights violations. (…) The routine use of torture and other violations perpetrated with impunity by Indian security forces, at best, sends a worrying message. It is unclear how security forces’ contempt for the rule of law will contribute to respect for the rule of law by the people.”[103]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “Analysis of torture suggests the period of highest risk is the first twenty four hours following detention. There are no safeguards to guarantee that a person taken into custody will be recorded or anyone arrested will have prompt access to a lawyer and impartial medical examination upon arrival and release. The lack of an effective system of continued and independent monitoring of all places of detention further facilitates torture. (…) In 2006-2007, the NHRC received a total of 1,597 custodial death cases including 118 cases in police custody, 1,477 cases in judicial custody and two cases in the custody of defence and paramilitary forces. In 2005-2006 the NHRC received 1,575 custodial deaths including 124 in police custody and 1,451 in judicial custody. In 2004-2005, NHRC received 1,493 cases of custodial deaths including 136 deaths in police custody and 1, 357 deaths in judicial custody. (…) In 2003-2004, there were 1,340 custodial death cases including 183 in police custody and 1,157 in judicial custody. In 2002-2003, NHRC received 1,463 custodial death cases including 162 deaths in police custody and 1,300 deaths in judicial custody, one death in the custody of para-military forces. (…) The statistics of NHRC imply that in the last five years 7,468 persons at an average of 1,494 persons per year or four person in a day died in police and prison custody in India.  However, these figures represent only a fraction of the actual cases of torture. Cases of torture not resulting in death are not recorded.  They do not differentiate between deaths in custody resulting from legitimate causes, for example old age, and due to the use of torture. Moreover, the NHRC has no mandate to investigate or record human rights violations perpetrated by military and para-military forces. NHRC often reports that there were no custodial deaths resulting from torture in the conflict afflicted state of Manipur or in Jammu and Kashmir. This assertion lies uneasily with the high levels of well documented cases in those states. As this report demonstrates, torture is integral to counter-insurgency operations. (…) On 24 April 2007, Hafiz Kamaluddin, a Madrassa teacher, died after allegedly being tortured at the custody of the Police Post of Prem Nagar under the Sultanpuri Police Station in North-West district of Delhi. The police claimed that Kamaluddin was mad, quarreled with a cycle rickshaw puller and was injured; injuries that resulted in hiss death at the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital. The People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) which investigated the case found serious anomalies in the police claim. Many people at the hospital stated that they saw a Muslim man lying on the ground with his legs and hands bound. He repeatedly requested for water but the police refused. The police could not produce the alleged rickshaw puller Rajender with whom Kamaluddin had allegedly quarreled. When people protested his death at the hospital premises, police detained about 34 persons and beat them at the police station. For example, one Irfan Ulla Khan (67) alleged that the Head Constable caught him by his beard, spat on his face, and beat him. Many others who were interviewed by PUCL alleged similar ill-treatment at the police station. The Delhi government ordered a magisterial investigation. (…) On the night of 14 June 2007, Mr Bhaskar Behera (20) (son of Rohit Behera) was beaten to death by a police team headed by Assistant Sub-Inspector NK Das at Rajnagar village under Athgarh police station in Orissa. Mr Behera was mistakenly identified as a suspect. (…) On 21 September 2007, Mr Matabur Ali of Brahmangaon village died in the custody of the Kalain police station in Cachar district of Asom. He was arrested on 20 September 2007 following a family feud. A magisterial probe was ordered. (…) On 22 September 2007, Mr Sathilal Singh alias Bhola of Na Pukuri area in Tinsukia of Asom died in the custody of the Tinsukia police station. He was detained in connection with theft. His family alleged that the deceased died as a result of the torture inflicted while in detention. (…) On 11 December 2007, Mr Syed Ali (50), a resident of Parapangadu in Kerala, was allegedly tortured to death in Vadapalani police station in Chennai of Tamil Nadu. The deceased sold tea at 100-Feet Road, Vadapalani. Following information that lottery tickets were being sold in the area, police picked up Mr Syed Ali and another suspect for interrogation. The police claimed that the victim complained of ill health and was rushed to a private nursing home in the same locality, where he was declared dead. Mr Syed Ali’s son Jamshid and other relatives alleged that he was assaulted by the policemen at the police station, and injuries sustained caused his death. (…) The police routinely cite “suicide” as a cause of death in custody. In 2007, many victims allegedly committed suicide by variety of means.  In a reply to the Rajya Sabha, Upper House of Indian Parliament, on 12 March 2008, Home Minister Shivraj Patil cited suicide as one of the primary causes of custodial death.  The Home Minister failed to clarify as to why so many accused had committed suicide in police detention, what had led them to act in this manner and how they had accessed the means (knives, poisons and open electric cables) etc. It equally ignores the psychological impact of torture that can inculcate feelings of deep guilt and depression sufficient to cause suicide.  (…) A large number of reported cases of torture and custodial death result from attempts to extract a confession relating to theft or other petty offences. Clearly this suggests that the suspects belonging to the lower economic and social strata are particularly vulnerable.  On 18 May 2007, Mr Fumman Singh, resident of Kotu Wala village in Ferozepore district of Punjab, was subjected to torture after he was arrested on the charges of theft. The police allegedly stripped him in the presence of other suspects in the police lock up and subjected him to humiliation. Then, he was allegedly bound with ropes and beaten. Four police personnel allegedly stood on his legs during the beating and extracted a confession. He denies the crime and later retracted the confession. Mr Kamal Acharjee, resident of Kalir Bazar village under Sabroom subdivision of South Tripura, Tripura was admitted to Manu Bazar hospital in a critical condition after being allegedly subjected to torture to extract a confession for murder.  On 31 July 2007 Mr Acharjee was picked up from his house and detained at the Manu Bazar police lock-up. He was then allegedly subjected to torture by Sabroom Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Mr Aamarjit Debbarma to extract confession with regard to the death of Mr Haricharan Tripura, an activist of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Mr Acharjee stated that: “The SDPO pushed pins under nail, even thrust chilly powder into anus and nose. Then they beat me with prickly rose-flower branches all over the body”. He apparently fainted as a result of the torture.(…) On 2 October 2007, police picked up a low caste dalit identified as Mr Ram Milan (22), (son of late Bairagi) of Mitawa village, under Maharaj Ganj police station in Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh. He was detained in connection with a murder. While taking him to the police station, the police beat him up. In the Maharaj Ganj police station, the station officer, Mr Kanchan Singh, allegedly forced the victim to confess to the crime. When he protested his innocence, they put planks of wood on his knees and two policemen walked on the wood. On 3 October 2007, he was released on the condition that he would present himself to the police station when called to do so. (…) On the night of 19 October 2007, Mr Ghanshyam Choudhary (son of Nanuram Choudhary) of Khatipura, was allegedly tortured to death in police custody at Heera Nagar Police Station in Indore of Madhya Pradesh. He was detained on suspicion of theft. Heera Nagar police station in-charge, Mr D P Ahirwar and other police personnel, who were drunk, allegedly tied the deceased to a tree and beat him up. His condition deteriorated in the police lock-up. Subsequently, he was taken to Bapat hospital from where he was taken to Maharaja Yashwantrao hospital, Indore where he died.” (…) On 19 December 2007, Mr Ganesh Barnawal was arrested by the police on suspicion of murder in Deoghar in Jharkhand. He was allegedly tortured by the police to extract a confession. According to the victim, two policemen tied exposed wires around his neck and subjected him to electric shocks until he lost consciousness. On 20 December 2007 he was released in a serious condition. (…) Those who are arrested on suspicion of rape and murder are routinely subjected to torture to extract a confession. Mr Ashok Shah, a political leader associated with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Lenninist), died following torture by police on 5 October 2007. He was arrested on charges of attempted rape in Runi Saidpur under Sitamarhi district of Bihar. On 23 April 2007, Mr Rishi Kumar (son of Mr Falail Singh) of Kundi Chirala in Thathri area of Doda district in Jammu and Kashmir was arrested on charges of murder. On 24 April 2008, Mr Kumar died in custody. It was alleged that he was subjected to torture by in-charge of Karara police post, Sub Inspector Mr Irfan Wani. (…) A large number of those detained on dowry charges – property or valuable security that the female in a marriage has to give to her husband – are also subjected to torture. (…) On 23 January 2007 Mr Prabhas Singh of Khurhan village under Alamnagar police station died at the Sadar Hospital of Medhapura district of Bihar after being subjected to torture. According to the doctors, there was blood in his mouth, nose and ears when he was brought to the hospital. He was picked up by the police of Alamnagar police station in Madhepura district of Bihar on 22 January 2007 in connection with a dowry case filed by his wife. Sub-Inspector Mr Shiv Shankar Chowdhury allegedly demanded a bribe from the victim to withdraw the case. Singh obviously refused or failed to make the payment and was then allegedly tortured to death. The police registered a case of murder against Sub-Inspector Chowdhury. (…) On 22 May 2007, Mr Samir Martha of Sadheigada village in Orissa was allegedly tortured to death at Khurda police station. The deceased and his parents, Kuber Martha and Chanchala, were arrested following a complaint by Mr Samir Martha’s wife Gitanjali alleging dowry related violence. The deceased’s parents alleged that Mr Samir Martha was tortured in custody. He was first taken to Khurda district hospital, then transferred to the Capital Hospital and finally taken to SCB Medical College, Cuttack, where he was declared dead.  (…) Many victims are forced to sign blank confessions before being released. On 25 May 2007 Manipur Police detained Mr Moirangthem Budha Singh (27) (son of Mr. Tombi Singh) of Ngangkhalawai Awang Leikai, at Moirang police station in Bishnupur district of Manipur. He was detained for five days without being produced before the court. During his illegal detention in the lock up, he was allegedly coerced into signing a blank confession. He was then transferred to Sajiwa Jail. He was produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bishunupur on

5 June 2007 and released on bail. (…) On 1 March 2007, Mr Chandrabhan (24) (son of Babulal) was allegedly tortured to death after being held in the Pipri police station in Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. He was allegedly tortured for having eloped with his girlfriend, Ms Ramshri Bai Lodhi. The couple eloped on 26 February 2007. Ms Ramshri Bai Lodhi’s family then filed a complaint with the Pipri police station. The police arrested the couple in Patkheri village. They were held in separate lockup cells.  The police claimed that the victim then committed suicide. However, the relatives of the deceased alleged that he died after succumbing to wounds inflicted from torture.  On 8 March 2007, a senior Maoist leader identified as Mr Nathun Kahar was allegedly tortured to death in the custody of Konch police at the police station in Gaya district of Bihar. Mr Kahar was arrested on 6 March 2007. He was denied access to a magistrate.  On 4 September 2007, Mr Girish Shiggaon (28) was allegedly tortured to death at Keshwapur Police Station in Hubli in Karnataka. He was detained in connection with an alleged gambling crime. After his death, the deceased’s body was allegedly dumped in an open sewer by the police. (…) Custodial torture of Women: In its report to the seventh session of the UN Human Rights Council (3- 28 March 2008), the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture dealt with the issue of torture of women at length. The Special Rapporteur held that:  “Custodial violence against women very often includes rape and other forms of sexual violence such as threats of rape, touching, “virginity testing”, being stripped naked, invasive body searches, insults and humiliations of a sexual nature, etc. It is widely recognized, including by former Special Rapporteurs on torture and by regional jurisprudence that rape constitutes torture when it is carried out by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of public officials”.[104] (…)  International criminal tribunals, in their jurisprudence, have broadened the scope of crimes of sexual violence that can be prosecuted as rape to include oral sex and vaginal or anal penetration through the use of objects or any part of the aggressor’s body.[105] This is crucial because in many countries rape is still defined as “carnal access”, reducing it to penetration with the male sexual organ. It is noteworthy that other forms of sexual violence, whether defined as rape or not, may constitute torture or ill-treatment[106] and must not be dealt with as minor offences. (…) The Special Rapporteur held that:  “When Government officials use rape, the suffering inflicted might go beyond the suffering caused by classic torture, partly because of the intended and often resulting isolation of the survivor. In some cultures a rape victim may be rejected or formally banished from her community or family. This rejection greatly hinders the psychological recovery of the victim and often condemns her to destitution and extreme poverty. Even when rape survivors are not rejected they still face important difficulties in establishing intimate relationships. Furthermore, raped women are often infected with sexually transmitted diseases or may experience unwanted pregnancies, miscarriages, forced abortions or denial of abortion.  Because of the stigma attached to sexual violence, official torturers deliberately use rape to humiliate and punish victims but also to destroy entire families and communities. This is particularly clear when State officials force family members to rape their female relatives or to witness their rape. The Akayesu decision, in which the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) recognized rape as a form of genocide in the same way as any other act committed with specific intent to destroy a particular group, is a striking acknowledgment of the destructive potential of rape. The ICTR made it explicit that these rapes resulted in the physical and psychological destruction of Tutsi women, their families and their communities” (…) Torture of women in custody including rape is reported regularly in India. Custodial rape remains one of the worst forms of torture perpetrated on women by law enforcement personnel. Official reporting is nothing short of appalling.  According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), two custodial rape cases were reported in India (one each from Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra) in 2006, seven custodial rape cases in 2005 and two custodial rape cases in 2004.  On 21 May 2007, Ms Geeta Devi (30) committed suicide by consuming poison.  She alleged that she was tortured during detention in police custody at Gourihar police station under Chhattarpur district in Madhya Pradesh. She was detained by the police on 20 May 2007 in connection with the theft of a motorcycle and released late in the same night. She committed suicide at her residence the next day.  Women belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes remain particularly vulnerable. On 16 May 2007, Ms Suman Kale (45), a tribal woman, died after she was allegedly tortured for three days while held illegally in police custody at Ahmednagar in Maharashtra. She was arrested on suspicion of providing shelter to dacoits.  On 27 March 2007, a Dalit woman, (20 years old) of Bhimnagar area of Kashipur town was allegedly raped by a Sub-inspector and the ‘in-charge’ of the police post at Industrial Training Institute, Mr R.K. Saklani and two other policemen at Chaiti Mela camp in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttaranchal. The victim was raped when she went to lodge a First Information Report against three youths for gang raping her on 24 March 2007. The police later charged both the victim and her legal representative Sanjay Rohilla with theft. (…)  The role of medical professionals in establishing accountability for torture is crucial. The United Nations Principles of Medical Ethics relevant to the Role of Health Personnel, particularly Physicians, in the Protection of Prisoners and Detainees against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment have laid down specific guidelines. (…)The police in India operate under the Police Act of 1861. The Act was first introduced by the British in the aftermath of the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.  The police were given a para-military orientation and the legislation is both oppressive and punitive in character. (…) The cases presented below are consistent with very serious human rights violations committed by the Army and other para militiary forces deployed in India’s conflict afflicted areas. (…) Impunity creates a dangerous perception among the security forces that they are above the law. The result is the well documented practice of torture as well as other grave violations during operations. But the implications of impunity for the health of India’s democracy and its rule of law go beyond individual abuse.  Checks and balances in any democracy are neither static nor guaranteed. (…) There have been consistent reports of torture and other human rights violations. A large number of cases of torture by the security forces were reported from Chhattisgarh, Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir. (…)Members of the 4th Assam Rifles personnel stationed at Chingmeirong in Imphal of Manipur detained Mr Potshangbam Shantikumar Singh (39) (son of P. Kullachandra Singh) on 4 May 2007. He was detained on charges of membership of the banned Kanglei Yaol Kanna Lup (KYKL). He was kicked, stripped naked, waterboarded and he was subjected to electric shocks. He was denied food and was forced to sleep on the wet floor. On 9 May 2007, Mr Shantikumar Singh was released on bail. On 5th July 2007, Mr Santikumar Singh was again arrested, this time by the 2nd Maratha Light Infantry stationed in Patsoi. They again accused him of membership of the KYKL. He was again allegedly stripped naked and again tortured. On 9th July 2007, the police produced him before the Judicial Magistrate First Class Bishnupur Court and he was sent to jail. On 25 July 2007, he was released on bail. (…) The use of torture in Indian penal institutions is routine. For example, Asia’s largest prison and India’s prison reform showcase, Delhi’s Tihar Jail was the subject of media concern in 2007 over the evidence of the use torture against inmates. The use of torture is a matter of documented fact. In June 2007 alone, at least nine prisoners died in the Tihar jail. Post mortem reports confirmed at least three of the deaths were a result of ill treatment that may amount to torture.  Similarly miserable conditions in Indian jails are not a matter of assertion. On 18 June 2007, the Delhi High Court criticised the Tihar Jail officials over the “extremely harsh” conditions of the Jail.  The treatment of suspects held on suspicion of acts of terrorism is an issue of particular concern. On 30 May 2007, the Asian Age revealed that it had received numerous letters from Tihar Jail inmates, especially those from Jammu and Kashmir, alleging “terrible atrocities”. According to the inmates’ letters, the excesses included “methodical torture”, as well physical and psychological abuse enforced labour.  However, as with torture in other domains, and despite clear medical evidence, the authorities appear unable to accept the current reality. India’s Home Minister Shivraj Patil in a reply before the Rajya Sabha on 12 March 2008 stated that “The reasons generally attributed to these deaths are illness/natural death, escaping from custody, suicides, attacks by other criminals, riots, due to accidents and during treatment or hospitilsation”. (…) On 16 March 2007, the media reported that undertrial prisoner Mr Sarat Biswal had been tortured to death in the Jharpara special jail in Orissa. The jail authorities claimed that he had committed suicide. However, journalists saw the body which was covered with blood. The jail authorities did not allow media personnel to record the deceased’s wounds. (…) On 17 April 2007, under-trial prisoner Mr Makhan Singh Kushwah died under unclear circumstances at Joura Sub Jail in Morena district of Madhya Pradesh. According to the Jailor of Joura Sub Jail, Poonam Singh Baredia, the deceased suffered from an epileptic fit and died in transit to hospital. The deceased’s family claimed that he was tortured to death.  On 5 June 2007, Mr Anil Boraik died in judicial custody in Golaghat jail of Asom. He was arrested on suspicion of theft on 12 May 2007. He was sent to judicial custody on 14 May 2007. His mother Swagmoni Boraik alleges that the deceased was tortured in police custody. She alleged that the Officer-in-Charge of Khoomtai police outpost, Mr Narendra Nath Gogoi, demanded Rs 20,000 from her in return for her son’s release. Mr Anil Boraik was then subjected to further ill-treatment and denied medical treatment in Golaghat jail. (…) On 21 August 2007, a 36-year-old convict identified as Mr Balram Sharma allegedly committed “suicide” inside his prison cell at the Raipur Central Prison in Chhattisgarh. The deceased’s hands were bound and his body covered with a blanket. The Rajpur facility did not to explain how the deceased managed to tie his own hands, cover himself in a blanket and then commit “suicide” inside a prison cell where other prisoners were also detained. (…) On 28 August 2007, an under-trial prisoner identified as Mr Muktikanta Muduli (40) of Simulipatna was tortured to death in Balasore Jail in Orissa. He was allegedly tied to the railings in the jail and tortured by four jail officials. (…) On the night of 2 September 2007, a convict identified only as Mr Virender (22) from Kabarchha village, died at barrack No. 1 in Jind Prison in Haryana. The jail authorities claimed that he committed suicide by hanging himself in the bathroom. However, the deceased’s family alleges that he was hanged and the prison authorities conspired to present his death as a suicide. The district administration has ordered a magisterial probe. (…)On 10 September 2007, an under-trial prisoner identified as Mr Nagina Singh died in Gaya Central jail in Bihar. The jail officials claimed that he had committed “suicide” by jumping from the stairs, which lead to the second floor of the three-storied central jail. The jail inmates allege that a jail official pushed him following an altercation. The jail authorities allegedly tried to hush up the matter and security guards prevented journalists from taking photographs of the deceased at Magadh Medical College where the body was taken for autopsy. The district magistrate of Gaya, Jitendra Srivastava ordered two separate inquiries – one by an executive magistrate and the other by a judicial magistrate into the case. (…) On 9 October 1996, Mr Pancharaju was arrested by the police under Section 4(1)(a) of Tamil Nadu Prohibition Act and Section 328 (poisoning) of the Indian Penal Code. On 9 October 1996, the Court remanded him to judicial custody for 15 days but the victim was illegally detained at the Periyakulam Police Station overnight. During detention the victim was tortured. On 10 October 1996, he was transferred to Central Jail Madurai and almost immediately sent to Rajaji General Hospital, Madurai in a serious condition. On 2 November 1996 at about 12.20 p.m, Ms Pulliammal received a telegram from the jail authorities saying that her husband was being transferred to Government Rajaji General Hospital, Madurai. Another telegram arrived on the same day at 19.00 stating that the victim had died at the hospital. Later, she was informed by Casualty Mortuary Card that her husband had arrived already dead to the hospital at 08.35 on 2 November 1996. (…)The High Court “discounted” the contention raised by the appellants that there was no custodial violence and that the death was due to natural causes. (…)Mr S. Krishnamoorthy and K. Palani were subjected to illegal detention and torture. The petitioners were kept in judicial detention for 90 days after they were framed for the murder of a girl named Sujatha who was actually abducted but still alive. On 26 April 1997, the father of the girl, Sevugan (son of Karuppan) lodged a complaint with Pattanam Police Station under Ramanathapuram district stating that his daughter had been abducted. On the basis of the complaint, Karmegam (son of Karuppaiah) was arrested by the police. The police later arrested the petitioners on the basis of the alleged confession by Karmegam without proper investigation. The petitioners were tortured to extract a confession. The case collapsed after the girl re-appeared and stated she did not know the petitioners. They filed a petition before the Madras High Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.”[107]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “Torture in police custody is rampant in India. It is a pervasive problem that predates this report. (…) The evidence presented in this report is under consideration of various courts and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The evidence underlines that torture by the police is rather a serious problem in India. (…) The preventative actions of the Supreme Court and the NHRC have not ended deaths in police custody due to torture.  From 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2009, the deaths of 1,184 persons in police custody were reported to the NHRC. An overwhelming number of these deaths had taken place as a result of torture. Most of these deaths took place within 48 hours of the victims being taken into custody by the police.  During this period (1 April 2001 to 31 March 2009), the highest number of custodial deaths was reported in Maharashtra (192 cases) followed by Uttar Pradesh (128), Gujarat (113), Andhra Pradesh (85), West Bengal (83), Tamil Nadu (76), Assam (74), Karnataka (55), Punjab (41), Madhya Pradesh (38), Bihar and Rajasthan (32 each), Haryana (31), Kerala (30), Jharkhand (29), Delhi (25), Orissa (24), Chhattisgarh (23), Uttarakhand and Meghalaya (16 each), Arunachal Pradesh (11), Jammu and Kashmir and Tripura (9 each), Puducherry and Chandigarh (3 each), Himachal Pradesh (2) while Manipur, Goa, Sikkim, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli recorded one case each. (…) The above cases of deaths in police custody also do not include deaths in the custody of the armed forces and the Indian Army under the control of the Central government. The NHRC directions for reporting incidents of custodial deaths were issued to the police only as the NHRC does not have jurisdiction to investigate violations committed by the armed forces under Section 19 of the Human Rights Protection Act, 1993. However, there have been regular reports of deaths in the custody of the armed forces and the Indian Army. Asian Centre for Human Rights itself has filed 50 complaints of extrajudicial killings with the NHRC from 2003 to 2009. Many of these alleged extrajudicial killings were indeed deaths in the custody of the Manipur Commandos under the Manipur Police. Since the Manipur Commandos claim to be conducting operations jointly with the central armed forces, the deaths in the custody of the Manipur Commandos are not reported to the NHRC. Not surprisingly, the NHRC has recorded only one custodial death case in the last eight years from Manipur. (…) A number of persons who are summoned or detained illegally are subjected to torture and killed in police custody. (…) Custodial death of Amit Kumar, Bihar :  On 8 November 2003, Amit Kumar (son of Yogendra Prasad Singh, resident of Kankar Bagh police station, Patna, Bihar) died in police custody in Patna as a result of torture. The police claimed that the victim was beaten up by unknown persons prior to his arrest on 8 November 2003 and a case (NO.503/03 dated 8.11.03 u/s 147/149/323/307 IPC) was registered against 30-40 unknown persons for assaulting Amit Kumar.  The victim’s father Yogendra Prasad Singh, Sub Inspector of Bihar Police (NHRC complaint dated 8 December 2003) alleged that Amit Kumar was arrested by the Special Task Force (STF) on 7 November 2003 at 3 pm from Taramandal. He claimed that in an earlier posting as Sub Inspector Mr Prasad Singh had a dispute with Arshad Zamal, the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) now posted at Sachivalaya. When DSP Arshad Zamal found out Amit Kumar was his son, he was taken to Ekta Bhawan and Zamal and other members of the STF tortured him.  The victim was admitted to Patna Medical College Hospital on 7 November 2003. On 8 November 2003, the victim’s family shifted him to Rajeshwar Hospital and then to Magadh Hospital where he died on 8 November 2003 at 6.05 pm. Mr Singh alleged that the STF made up a story about his son’s beating by unknown persons and registered a case NO.502/03 against unknown person to cover up.  The response to the NHRC (the inquest-cum-Magisterial Enquiry Report) confirmed that the victim died in the manner alleged by the family. There were inconsistencies in the police record of events. The NHRC stated that the medical records show that the victim was examined at Patna Medical College Hospital on 7 November 2003 at 6.55 pm after being brought to the hospital by B. Dayal, DSP, STF and Arshad Jamal, DSP, Sachivalaya. This contradicts the claims of the police who alleged that he was arrested on 8 November 2003 at 6 pm (case NO.502/03).  The NHRC concluded that the victim died in police custody and directed the authorities to investigate the case by Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) and also served a show cause notice to the Chief Secretary, government of Bihar as to why interim compensation should not be awarded to the next of kin of the victim. (…) Custodial death of Arjubhai Dalsukhbhai Vasawa, Gujarat:  The Superintendent of Police, Narmada, Gujarat informed the NHRC about the death of one Arjubhai Dalsukhbhai Vasawa, aged 30 years, resident of Navagam village under Narmada district, in police custody on the night of 19 October 2005.  On 19 October 2005, police summoned Arjubhai Dalsukhbhai Vasawa to Rajpipla police station for interrogation in connection with case FIR No. 123/05 u/s 302 IPC, P.S. Rajpipla. According to the police, the victim reported to Rajpipla P.S. at 2000 hrs. They claimed that he suddenly complained of chest pain and was immediately taken to the General Civil Hospital, Rajpipla by the Investigating Officer. He was declared dead by the doctor at the hospital at 2140 hours on the same night.  The mother of the victim, Smt. Reva Ben Dalsukh Bahai Vasawa in a deposition before the Magisterial Enquiry, alleged that the victim was in fact picked up by police of Rajpipla at 1800 hours on 19 October 2005 from her house in connection with a criminal case. He was in a good health before he was detained. She alleges that the victim was tortured to extract a confession. She learnt that the policemen had hit the victim’s head against the wall and he had died as a result of this injury.  The post-mortem concurred with the findings of the NHRC that the death resulted from shock following head injury. In the opinion of NHRC Penal doctor “these injuries have been caused as a result of blunt trauma to the head either by hit by a blunt weapon or fall from height. Death in this case is un-natural. These injuries would have been caused within 24 hours of death.”  The NHRC served a show cause notice to the Chief Secretary, government of Gujarat as to why monetary relief under section 18 (a) of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 be not awarded to the next of kin of the victim.  The NHRC also directed the Director General of Police, Gujarat to register a criminal case against the erring police personnel under appropriate section of law for investigation by State Criminal Investigation Department. (…) Custodial death of Raziabibi Sheikh Jamir Luhar (Pakistani national), Gujarat: The Superintendent of Police, Banaskantha, Gujarat, informed the NHRC about the custodial death of a Pakistani national, Raziabibi Sheikh Jamir Luhar at Suigam police station in Banaskantha of Gujarat on 12 May 2003. The victim was arrested on 25 March 2003 on Indo-Pak border. He was taken to Mavsari police station and then handed over to the Suigam police station. He was illegally detained and not produced before a court. On 12 May 2003, during the course of interrogation at Suigam police station, he allegedly complained of headache, collapsed and died. The Post-Mortem Report records twenty injuries sustained before death. The cause of death according to the doctors was shock and haemorrhage resulting from the injuries.  Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Tharad, conducted an enquiry into the death.  According to his report, the victim was interrogated on 12 May 2003 by a joint team consisting of Shri Devender Sathwara, Officer-in-Charge of Special Bureau of Radhanpur, Shri Kumar Anand, Officer of Central Bureau of Intelligence and Shri P.N. Singh of ‘G’ Branch of BSF.  The magisterial inquiry found contradictions in the statements given by the police officials and the Interrogation Team. While the police officials posted at the Police Station told the Magistrate that the victim was interrogated in a closed room, the Interrogation Team denied it. And when the doctor from the Primary Health Centre came to the Police Station, he found the victim naked.  On 10 July 2007, the NHRC concluded that the victim was held in illegal detention at the police station and tortured which could have resulted in his death.  The Commission ordered issuance of notice u/s 16 of the Protection of Human Rights Act to Sub Inspector S.B. Makwana, Incharge of the Suigam Police Station, Shri Devender Sathwara, Officer-In-Charge of S.B. of Ravanpur, Shri Kumar Anand, Officer of C.I.B and Shri P.N. Singh of BSF asking them to explain in writing why disciplinary action as well as criminal action be not recommended against them. S.I. S.B. Makwana failed to reply despite reminders from the NRHC.  All the others denied having tortured the victim.  The NHRC was not satisfied with their replies, and directed the Director General of Police, Gujarat to register a criminal case against S.I. S.B. Makwana, the then In-charge of Suigam Police Station, Shri Devender Sathwara, Officer-In-Charge of S.B. of Radhanpur, Shri Kumar Ahand, Officer of C.I.B and Shri P.N. Singh of B.S.F. and to get the investigation carried out by an officer not below the rank of Dy. Superintendent of Police. The NHRC also directed DGP, Gujarat, to take disciplinary action against S.I. S.B. Makwana and Shri Devender Sathwara and directed the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs to take disciplinary action against Shri P.N. Singh, the then Head Constable ‘G’ Branch, Border Security Force, Dantewada, Gujarat and Shri Kumar Anand Shah, Central Intelligence Bureau Officer, Suigam, Banaskantha District, Gujarat. (…) Custodial death of Hazari Lal, Uttar Pradesh:  The Superintendent of Police (SP), Gonda, Uttar Pradesh informed the NHRC of the death of Hazari Lal (son of Santoshi) from the village of Bharthajuaya under Kaudia police station in Gonda district while in the custody of Kauriya police station on 9 August 2006.  The police claimed that Hazari Lal came to the Kauriya police station on 9 August 2006 and told the In-Charge that he had been called to the police station. He also complained of giddiness and difficulty in speaking. The Station Officer (SO), Sampooma Nand Tewari of the police station sent him to Primary Health Centre at Rupaideeh and on advice got Hazari Lal admitted to District Hospital, Gonda. The Medical Officer (MO) concluded that in his opinion the victim had been bitten by a snake. Hazari Lal died at about 13.00 hours of 9 August 2006. It was specifically reported that the victim was not in police custody.  However, Smt. Meena, wife of the victim, filed a criminal complaint with Superintendent of Police, Gonda alleging that her husband had been forcibly taken from their home on the night of 6th August 2006 by police in connection with a theft. She alleged that during the detention he was tortured and this caused his death on 9 August 2005.  The Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh (vide letter dated 15 March 2007) stated that the Station Officer Sampooma Nand Tewari surrendered himself into judicial custody while action against others was going on. Post mortem report could not ascertain the cause of death. The viscera report revealed that it contained the poison commonly known as Beygon, an insecticide and not consistent with snake bite.  The magisterial enquiry report revealed that Hazari Lal died while in police custody and his presence was not recorded at the police station. Dr. Rakesh Aggrawal who attended the victim at the P.H.C stated in the inquiry that he was brought there by Constable and SO Sampoomanad Tewari. There was no complaint of consuming poisonous substance or marks of snake bite. (…) Custodial death of Ajil Mia and Bikal Mia (Bangladeshi nationals), Meghalaya:  On 19 May 2001, two Bangladeshi infiltrators namely Ajil Mia and Bikal Mia were apprehended by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel from Sonatola market and brought to the Company Headquarter at Balat in East Khasi Hills district, Meghalaya.  They were detained overnight at the Company HQ and handed over to C.R. Sangma, 2nd Officer-in-Charge of the Balat Police outpost along with a complaint on the morning of 20 May 2001.  They were beaten up by the BSF personnel during interrogation and denied medical treatment. They were admitted to the Public Health Centre only on 22 May 2001. On 23 May 2001, the Bangladeshis were allegedly beaten up by the doctor and at around 9.30 pm the report of the death of Ajil Mia was given to the police outpost. Three and a half hours later the death of the other Bangladeshi was also reported to the police outpost.  An enquiry was conducted by Additional Deputy Commissioner, East Khasi Hills who held the BSF personnel, local police and the doctor responsible for the death of the two Bangladeshi nationals. The enquiry found that the victims had been subjected to torture in BSF custody and the doctor of the Public Health Centre. C.R. Sangma, 2nd Officer-in-Charge of the Police Outpost at Balat was indicted for detaining the victims without providing medical treatment.  The NHRC concluded: “The death of the two Bangladeshis is no doubt unfortunate. However, the Commission finds that no further action in the matter is possible. Since the next of kin of the victim persons do not live in India, it will not be possible to recommend any monetary relief for them. The arrogant and violent doctor who had inflicted the injuries is no more alive and, therefore, it will not be possible to recommend any action against him. A criminal case vide FIR No. 14(7)/2005 u/s 342/304-A IPC has already been registered against the delinquent police officer and no further action is called for. As regards the allegation of torture by the observation team of BSF, the Commission finds no reliable evidence and, therefore, it does not think it proper to recommend any action against the BSF personnel. In view of the above mentioned developments the case is closed”. (…) Custodial death of Dilip Kumar Swain, Orissa: On 7 March 2005, the District Magistrate, Khurda, Orissa informed the NHRC of the custodial death of Dilip Kumar Swain alias Sahu (35, son of Khetrabasi Swain and resident of village Batira under Patakura police station, Kendrapara, Orissa) at the Sahidnagar police station in Khurda district on 3 March 2005. He was detained by police for interrogation in connection with case No. 55/05 u/s 392 IPC on 26 February 2005. Dilip Kumar Swain allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself in the lock up of the police station on 3 March 2005.  The Post Mortem Report stated that death was caused due to Asphyxia.  The NHRC also received two complaints. One of the complainants, Prabir Kumar Das, an Advocate & Human Rights Activist, alleged that the victim was illegally detained and died due to custodial torture. (…) Patterns and practices of torture in police custody:  Torture in police custody remains a widespread and systematic practice in India.  There is a wide consensus that the highest risk of torture occurs in the first twenty four hours of detention. There are no safeguards to ensure that a person taken into custody will have their detention recorded, have prompt access to a lawyer or impartial medical examination upon their arrival at the place of detention or at the time of his release. The lack of effective system of independent monitoring of all places of detention facilitates torture. (…) On 3 January 2008, Nirmal Singh, a resident of Hallomajra, died of alleged torture at the Government Medical College and Hospital at Sector 32, Chandigarh while being detained in police custody. The victim was arrested following a clash with his neighbour on 2 January 2008. The police, however, claimed he escaped from custody and was later found unconscious by a police team. But the relatives alleged the victim was tortured to death. (…) On 21 May 2008, Tamanaboni Ramulu (31 years) (son of Muthaiah) allegedly died as a result of torture in police custody at Devarakonda in Nalgonda district of Andhra Pradesh. He was arrested in connection with an attack on a hospital. The victim’s father, Muthaiah alleged that following the death of his son, the police forced him to make a “statement” under duress on the night of 22 May 2008 to support their claim that his son died following fits in the police station. (…) On 22 June 2008, Gullu Pathak of Shahjahanpur township under Sehra Mau police station in Shahjahanpur district of Uttar Pradesh was tortured to death by Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel at the Roja police outpost of the RPF. The victim was arrested for not having a train ticket on 8 June 2008. He was remanded to judicial custody and released on bail on 21 June 2008. On 22 June 2008, Gullu went to Roja police outpost to ask for his belongings that had been taken at the time of his arrest by the RPF. The incharge of the police outpost and two constables refused to refund his belongings. When Gullu Pathak insisted the Police beat him till he lost his consciousness and later died. The post-mortem examination confirmed ante-mortem injuries but failed to establish the cause of death. (…) On 17 July 2008, Umesh Kumar (18 years) allegedly died of torture within hours of his detention at Ibrahimpur police post in Swaroop Nagar in outer Delhi. The victim was picked up with four persons for questioning. There were allegedly injury marks on the victim’s body indicating torture. (…) The police routinely cite “suicide” as a cause of death in custody. According to NCRB, 31 persons died by committing suicide in police custody in 2007, 24 persons in 2006 and 30 persons in 2005.  In a reply to the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Indian Parliament) on 12 March 2008, then Home Minister of India, Shivraj Patil cited suicide as one of the primary causes of custodial death. But the Home Minister failed to clarify as to why so many accused had committed suicide in police detention, what had led them to act in this manner and how they had accessed the means (knives, poisons and open electric cables) etc. It equally ignores the psychological impact of torture that can inculcate feelings of deep guilt and depression sufficient to cause suicide. (…) Suicide does of course occur. However, examination of number cases by ACHR suggests that the causes of deaths are often a cause for concern. There are frequent allegations by the families of the victims of torture; torture that either impacted the victims actions or resulted in a death that was subsequently covered up. The explanations of the police are also often inadequate. The police regularly claim that people have committed suicide by using handkerchiefs or by consuming poison while in police custody. (…) Custodial torture of children:  The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act of 2000 continued to be violated.  The Juvenile Justice Act provides that child offenders cannot be deatined in police custody but have to be produced immediately before the Juvenile Justice Boards. Section 63 (2) of the Juvenile Justice Act provides that at every police station at least one officer with appropriate training and orientation should be designated as child welfare officer to handle cases of children in conflict with law.  Children are often arrested and even falsely charged. For example, on 25 April 2008, 3-year-old boy (name withheld) (son of Chandrika Prasad of Pure Grammajre village) was charged under the Goonda (translation – thug) Act in Sultanpur district of Uttar Pradesh. On 28 April 2008, two policemen including the Station House Officer of Haliapur were suspended after being found guilty of registering the First Information Report against the minor.  [Torture of children:]  On the night of 20 January 2008, 12-year-old schoolboy (name withheld) was allegedly tortured to death by four policemen at Dataganj in Baduan district of Uttar Pradesh. The policemen reportedly tortured him to reveal the whereabouts of his brother who was wanted in connection with a burglary. The policemen allegedly hanged the body from a ceiling fan to make the death look like suicide.  On 4 April 2008, 9-year-old orphan boy Ravi (name changed) was tortured at a police station for allegedly trying to steal Rs 300 from a man in Chandigarh. On 5 April 2008, the minor was produced in Court. In the courtroom, the boy could hardly stand up and apparently had bone fractures in his arm resulting from his ill treatment.   On 28 April 2008, three minors (aged 13 years, 12 years and 10 years – names withheld) were subjected to torture by three policemen at the Salabatpura police station in Surat, Gujarat. They were arrested on charges of theft of Rs. 28,000 from a vegetable shop in the Surat agricultural market. The police allegedly handcuffed them, tied them to a table and administered electric shocks to extract confessions.  The three policemen had been suspended following a notice by the Gujarat State Human Rights Commission.  In April 2008, two minor boys, aged 15 years and 14 years respectively, (names withheld) were allegedly tortured after being detained by Border Security Forces (BSF) personnel at a BSF outpost at Meghnarayanerkuthi in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. The victims were bicycling home from market when two BSF personnel stopped them and accused them of being cattle smuggling accomplices.  When the victims denied the accusations they were beaten up with a tree branch and taken to the outpost. The victims had their hands bound, blindfolded and repeatedly kicked. Following their release the two minors were admitted to Dinhata Subdivisional Hospital. On 31 May 2008, 17-year-old girl (name withheld) sustained serious head injury after she was hit on the head with a lathi (stick or baton) and beaten up by a woman police constable identified as Shobha Kamble and another policeman at the Turbhe police station in Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra. The victim had gone to the police station with her younger sister to give food to her brother who was detained there.  (…) On 22 May 2008, the Jammu and Kashmir government stated that it had taken action against 223 security personnel for human rights violations and custodial killings in the State during the last five years. Of these, 90 were army personnel, 82 para-military personnel and 51 policemen. However, the government of India refused to divulge the names, ranks etc of the alleged guilty personnel. It is unclear whether the punishments reflect the gravity of the crimes committed.  Impunity continues to be the government’s policy. (…)Torture in the custody of the Armed Forces:  From 27 January-20 February 2008, Abi Chiru (18 years) of Uran Chiru village under Lamlai police station in Senapati district of Manipur, was allegedly tortured during his illegal detention by 24th Assam Rifles posted at Moreh in Chandel district of Manipur. The victim was continuously interrogated for 10 days. He was kept blindfolded with his hands bound except when eating.  The victim was picked up at Gate No. 2 of the international border in Moreh town on suspicion of being a member of a banned organisation. On 20 February 2008, he was released with a warning not to disclose details of his detention.  On 8 April 2008, Lal Din (35 years) (son of Ali Mohammad) and Abdul Aziz (34 years) (son of Saabu Molvi) – both residents of Laloor Dessa in Doda, Jammu and Kashmir – were picked up by 10th Rashtriya Rifle’s Territorial Army and intelligence personnel. They were detained from a bus stand in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir. They were pushed into a gypsy (vehicle) and taken to an interrogation camp at Doda. There they were tortured for an extended period. They were allegedly subjected to electric shocks and repeatedly struck with rifle butts and sticks. At about 12 am they were taken to an unidentified area of the Bimina forest and allegedly handcuffed, stripped and tortured through the night.  On 9 April 2008, they were brought back to the camp in Doda and released in the evening. Both the victims had visible injuries consistent with torture and had to be hospitalized.  On 27 April 2008, Arshad Hussain (son of Mahammdoo Mir of Ludna village) and Bashir Ahmad (son of Maqbool of Batpora village) were allegedly tortured during illegal detention by the 8th Rashtriya Rifles who were camping at Gundna in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir. Arshad Hussain was picked up while on way to Doda town to purchase goods for his marriage. He was taken to Batpora village where the security personnel allegedly picked up Bashir Ahmad. At around 2 pm, they were taken to Gundna security camp where the security personnel covered their faces and tortured them for six hours until they lost consciousness.  At around 8 pm, the victims were released outside the village. The victims were later admitted to Hospital in Doda. (…) Torture in Judicial Custody:  Torture remains widespread in Indian prisons. The National Human Rights Commission registered 1,996 cases of torture of prisoners in 2006-2007, 2,481 cases in 2007-2008 and 1,596 cases in 2008-2009 (upto 11 December 2008).  According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) under Ministry of Home Affairs, 1,424 prisoners died in 2006, 1,387 prisoners in 2005, 1,169 prisoners in 2004,and 1,060 prisoners in 2003 in India. Of the 1,423 prisoners who died in 2006, 80 died as a result of “unnatural” causes.  According to West Bengal’s Minister for Prisons, Biswanath Chowdhury, there were 97 custodial deaths in West Bengal from 1 January 2007 to 31 March 2008. Of these, 86 deaths were as a result of illness and 14 deaths were “unnatural” deaths.  The treatment of suspects held on suspicion of acts of terrorism is an issue of particular concern. Mohammad Rafiq Shah, a regular student in the Islamic Studies Department of the Kashmir University, had been detained in the Tihar Jail in Delhi without trial since 2006. He was arrested by Delhi Police in Srinagar in 2006 on charges of involvement in the Delhi blasts of 29 October 2005. In a letter, Mohammad Rafiq Shah alleged that he was forced to drink his own urine and to perform oral sex on co-detainees. He was allegedly kept with a pig in his cell. In March 2008, the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) took suo moto cognizance of the allegations of torture of Mohammad Rafiq Shah and asked the concerned authorities to submit a report to the SHRC by 16 April 2008.[108] (…) On 10 April 2008, Sanjit Sahu was allegedly tortured to death by two jail officials at Beur Jail in Patna in Bihar. The jail officials claimed that the victim had died of cardiac arrest. However, the postmortem report found that death had resulted from strangulation. (…) On 21 September 2008, an under-trial prisoner identified as Md Zahangir allegedly died after being beaten up by jail officials at the Presidency Correctional Home in West Bengal. The victim was also allegedly denied proper medical treatment.  The police stated that the victim was suffering from tuberculosis and died in the SSKM hospital following an injury sustained during a clash between guards and jail inmates. There were allegedly visible injuries on the deceased’s body. (…) On 26 December 2008, a prisoner identified as Daljit allegedly died as a result of torture while in Kurukshetra District Jail in Haryana. The victim had visible bruising on his hands and feet and bleeding from the ears. Jail officials claimed that the victim died as a result of poor health in hospital. (…) [Torture on Women:] Female inmates continued to be vulnerable to ill-treatment and sexual violence. Tihar jail in Delhi houses the largest number of women prisoners in India with over 480 detained in September 2008. A study conducted by a team of cardiologists from Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, Delhi, found that 45 per cent of female inmates in Tihar jail suffered from stress-induced hypertension. The jail had no psychologist.  On 26 March 2008, a woman under-trial identified as Vidya (34 years) in Tihar jail was allegedly beaten up by jail officials Jhumman Singh, Sanjay, Abdul and Paramjeet on the ground that she had helped another inmate in drafting a complaint against them. The victim was allegedly stripped and filmed by a photographer.  On 2 August 2008, a woman under-trial prisoner identified as Madhu (28 years) was reportedly tied up with iron chains in the prisoner ward of the Civil Hospital in Ambala district in Haryana. The prisoner was reportedly three-and-a-half-months pregnant. Madhu was arrested for a minor offence. The police did not obtain permission from the court to handcuff the victim as required by the Supreme Court. (…) Custodial death of R.K. Jain due to unhygienic conditions. In a significant ruling, a Bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and Markandey Katju of the Supreme Court of India on 23 October 2008 in the case of Indu Jain Vs State of Madhya Pradesh and Ors ruled that death of a detained person due to unhygienic conditions in jail would amount to custodial death and could make officials liable for prosecution.”[109]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “Since 2000, according to the statistics submitted to the parliament by the Ministry of Home Affairs, prison custody deaths have increased by 54.02% by 2008, while police custody deaths during the same period have increased by 19.88% . In fact, under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule from 2004-2005 to 2007-2008, prison custody deaths have increased by 70.72% while police custody deaths during the same period have increased by 12.60%. (…) Most of the State governments have not been implementing Section 176 of Criminal Procedure Code, amended in 2005, which provides “that in case of death or disappearance of a person or rape of woman while in the custody of the police, there shall be a mandatory judicial inquiry and in case of death, examination of the dead body shall be conducted within twenty-four hours of death”. In most cases, the State governments have been ordering magisterial (executive) inquiries, instead of judicial inquiries. (…) There are no safeguards to ensure that a person taken into custody will have their detention recorded, have prompt access to a lawyer or impartial medical examination upon their arrival at the place of detention, or at the time of his release. The lack of any effective system of independent monitoring of all places of detention facilitates torture. (…)Torture resulting from failure to pay bribes: Paying bribe to the police is a part of daily life in India. The arrest of two railway police officials for throwing a pregnant woman Kavita and her three-year-old daughter off a moving train (Kavita was killed on the spot) for refusing to pay a bribe of Rs 100 (£1.26) on 18 June 2009 in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh underlines the extent of impunity enjoyed by the police for failure/ refusal to pay bribes. (…) Impunity to the Armed Forces: The armed forces enjoy virtual impunity under Section 6 of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 which makes its mandatory to seek prior permission of the Central government to initiate any legal proceeding. Section 6 of the AFSPA states, “No prosecution, suit or other legal proceedings shall be instituted, except with the previous sanction of the Central Government against any person in respect of anything done or purported to be done in exercise of powers conferred by this Act”.  Even the NHRC does not have the power to investigate the armed forces under Section 19 of the Human Rights Protection Act 1993 (as amended in 2006). The Commission, which otherwise has the power of a civil court, can only seek a report from the Central government and after the receipt of the report “it may, either not proceed with the complaint or, as the case may be, make its recommendations to that Government.” It is up to the Central government whether or not to accept the recommendations of the NHRC or not.  However, in several judgements the Courts, including the Supreme Court of India, have made it clear that human rights violations, deliberately committed by a public servant/official, cannot be construed as coming under the definition of “official duty” and hence no prior sanction is needed to prosecute him or her.  Yet the state continues to deny permission to prosecute law enforcement officials suspected of having perpetrated human rights violations. In December 2009, the Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra government to explain why it rejected the state Criminal Investigation Department’s plea to prosecute 10 officers of Mumbai Police in the Khwaja Yunus murder case. The state government had sanctioned the prosecution of four minor officers but let off 10 senior officials although the CID established their roles in the custodial death of Yunus in January 2003.  Law enforcement officials also often invoke Section 197 CrPC to escape prosecution for human rights violations. The Courts have however rightly ordered prosecutions, as shown in the following cases.  Torture in the custody of the Armed Forces:  The members of the military and para-military forces despolyed in insurgency situations have been responsible for torture. Since they enjoy impunity including under Section 6 of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act of 1958 applicable in armed conflict situations in North East and Jammu and Kashmir, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to prosecute members of the armed forces accused of human rights violations.  On 6 March 2009, ACHR filed a complaint alleging that the army personnel belonging to 871st Field Regiment picked up Bhadrakanta Baruah, son of Late Yogaram Baruah on the night of 31 January 2009 and tortured in their custody at the Maibela Base Army camp in Sivsagar district of Assam on the suspicion of having links with the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). In his reply to NHRC vide letter dated 27 April 2009 the Superintendent of Police of Sivsagar informed that immediately after Bhadrakanta Baruah and Ghana Neog were handed over to the police on 1 February 2009 at 1245 hrs by the army, they were medically examined and the doctor opined that both of them had “received simple injuries caused by blunt object.” Detailed investigation by police did not reveal any link of the victims with ULFA and they were released on the same day. Both the victims were farmers. The Ministry of Defence vide letter dated 15 February 2010 denied that the victims were tortured and claimed that they have confessed to having provided shelter to the ULFA. In its order delivered on 4 March 2010 the NHRC concluded that the Ministry of Defence was lying in its report and directed the Ministry of Defence to pay compensation of Rs. 50,000/- each to the two victims. (…) On 4 September 2009 at around 10 pm, Pronoy Roy, a “sergeant major” of the ULFA’s 709 battalion was shot dead in an alleged encounter by the army and the police at Kalipukri Tilapara under Kokrajhar police station in Assam. According to the police, Pronoy Roy was killed in an encounter and that the security forces have recovered one 9 mm pistol, a satellite phone, a Chinese grenade, 19 bullets with two empty cartridges, four mobile sets, a detonator and some documents from him. However, on 5 September 2009, the the family of the victim alleged that he was picked up from a house where he was taking shelter and tortured by the army and the police before being shot dead. The victim’s elder brother, Pani admitted that Pronoy Roy was a militant but alledged that his “body bore cut marks all over, inflicted with sharp weapons.” This indicated that the victim was tortured before being executed in cold blood. (…)There have been claims of existence of secret detention centres in India. An investigation by The Week has identified 15 “secret interrogation centres” in India – three each in Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir, two in Kolkata and one in Assam. Terror suspects are allegedly subjected to torture in these illegal detention centres to extract confessions/information. (…)Torture in judicial custody: On 25 March 2009 an Ahmedabad-based NGO Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM) filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Gujarat High Court seeking the immediate transfer of Sabarmati Jail Superintendent V Chandrashekhar citing “torture” on some of the jail inmates. The peititoner’s advocate S H Iyer told the court that during a visit to the Sabarmati Central Jail on 14 March 2009 he discovered that the Jail Superinendent had created an atmosphere of terror in the jail and the inmates were being subjected to “inhuman treatment”. The petition stated that a convict Akbar was beaten up by Chandrashekhar to the point that Akbar’s leg was fractured and he had to be admitted in the Jail Hospital with severe injuries. One Silvester, a witness in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, was also beaten up by Chandrashekhar. The petioner’s advocate also submitted the case of a Nigerian national, Louis, who was allegedly assaulted by jail authorities. The petition further alleged that prisoners suffering from various diseases like piles, urological ailments and HIV/AIDS were not being provided treatment.  On 9 April 2009, a prisoner identified as Gurnam Singh allegedly died as a result of torture at a jail in Karnal in Haryana. Superintend of the Jail, Jagit Singh claimed that Gurnam Singh was unwell and he collapsed while being taken to the trauma centre. However, Wazir Singh, younger brother of the victim, alleged that he was not allowed to meet his brother at around 7.30 am on 9 April 2009.  The family suspect that the victim had died in the night but the jail staff did not tell the family. They further alleged that there were marks of torture on the body of the victim. The prisoners of barrack No. 7 confirmed before Judicial Magistrate Nishant Sharma that Gurnam Singh was beaten in the jail. Medical officer Dr Rajbeer Singh, who conducted the postmortem, said Gurnam was “brought dead” to the hospital and he had marks of injury on his hands, legs and chest. (…) On 31 July 2009, the police arrested 16 women, including a lawyer in connection with violence during a demonstration against a thermal power project in Hanakona in Karwar taluk in Uttara Kannada, district in Karnataka on 30 July 2009. They were held in Bellary jail. Inside the jail police subjected them to torture, including beating with batons and kicking with boots. Advocate Dhanalakshmi Haladankar, one of the victims said that the police kicked them and tore their clothes while other two victims, Sunita Naik and Pragati Naik sustained injuries on arms and abdomen. (…) On 21 September 2009, over a dozen terror suspects, accused of carrying out bomb attacks in Jaipur on 13 May 2008, were allegedly tortured after they demanded permission to join prayers with other prisoners in the jail compound on the occasion of Id-ul-Fitr at the Central Jail in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Two of the accused held under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act – Munawwar Hussain and Nazakat – have alleged in their complaint to the Director-General of Prisons, that jail officials dragged them out of their cells on 21 September 2009 evening with the help of “hard-core prisoners” and tortured them. All the terror suspects were reportedly held in cramped, dingy cells without ventilation and in isolation. The only time they can see the sunlight was three hours in the afternoon when they were taken out to an open verandah. (…) Scrutiny by United Nations: The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture in his report to the UN Human Rights Council raised the following cases of torture transmitted to the Government of India. (…) Mr. Abhijit Adhikari. On 14 May 2009, three Border Security Force (BSF) officers from Outpost No. 8 went to Mr. Abhijit Adhikari to look for him. After his mother denied that he was there, they entered the home and forcibly dragged him out of the house, while beating him. They took Mr. Adhikari to the Angrail BSF Camp and tied him to a tree with an iron chain.  The next morning, he was beaten with sticks and forced to lie on the group while the officers kicked his back, waist, buttocks, and chest. The same day, Mr. Adhikari was sent to the Custom Office, Petrapole Circle, North 24 Parganas, where he was forced to sign some blank papers. He was released after his family payed Rs. 1000 as a bribe. He remained in the hospital for two days.  Mr. Adhikari’s mother tried to lodge a complaint at Caighata Police Station, but the duty officer refused to take the complaint. The second officeralso refused. On 15 May, she submitted a written complaint before the Sub-Divisional Police Officer. On 17 June, Mr. Adhikari’s mother received a notice (C No. VIII (II) 41- EXP/PTP/09-10), stating that Mr. Adhikari had been arrested on 15 May for not producing any valid document for some cattle he had bought. (…) Torture of Mr Joel Elliot, an American freelance journalist and the plight of Indian aam admi: The photographs in the cover page of this publication are of Mr Joel Elliot, an American freelance journalist who was beaten up by personnel of Delhi Police at Jungpura in South East Delhi in the early morning of 6 October 2009. The police claimed that Mr Elliot was trying to steal a taxi in an inebriated condition and beaten up by the local people of the area. However, as Mr Elliot stated in his statement that he was subjected to torture in police custody. The photographs are self-explanatory.  Based on the statement and photographic evidence, Asian Centre for Human Rights filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission of India on 12 October 2009 among others demanding prosecution of the guilty and award of compensation of US$ 500,000.  The NHRC has registered the case (No. 2989/30/8/09-10), and on 29 October 2009 issued notice to the Commissioner of Police, New Delhi calling for a report within four weeks. Over five months have passed since the notice was issued by the NHRC, as of 8th April 2010 states that “Response from concerned authority is awaited.”  If an American journalist can be subjected to such torture in the capital of India, one can imagine the plight of the Indian “Aam Aadmi” [common man].  As this report goes for the print, The Hindustan Times (8 April 2010) published photograph of one Mr Vinod Sharma who was killed in police custody at Gulabi Bagh showing that both his eyes were blackened and swollen with frozen blood – proving that he was brutally boxed before he died.”[110]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “As this report indicates, more than four persons have been killed each day in the last decade from 2001 to 2010. The same findings in Torture in India 2008: A State of Denial made national and international news. It shows that there has been no reduction of incidents of torture in India. (…) From 2001 to 2010, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) recorded 14,231 i.e. 4.33 persons died in police and judicial custody in India. This includes 1,504 deaths in police custody and 12,727 deaths in judicial custody from 2001-2002 to 2009-2010.  A large majority of these deaths are a direct consequence of torture in custody. These deaths reflect only a fraction of the problem with torture and custodial deaths in India. Not all the cases of deaths in police and prison custody are reported to the NHRC. The NHRC does not have jurisdiction over the armed forces under Section 19 of the Human Rights Protection Act. Further, the NHRC does not record statistics of torture not resulting into death. Torture remains endemic, institutionalised and central to the administration of justice and counter-terrorism measures. India has demonstrated no political will to end torture. (…) Furthermore records of custodial deaths do not include deaths in the custody of the armed forces. The NHRC has been denied a mandate to investigate human rights violations by the armed forces under Section 19 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 as amended in 2006. This is despite the fact that currently, Indo- Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), deployed along Indo-China border, and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) have the powers of search, seizure and arrest. Further, the NHRC directives on reporting incidents of custodial deaths do not apply to the armed forces. In the last nine years, the NHRC recorded only 25 cases of death in the custody of the military/paramilitary forces. (…) Custodial Deaths: On 25 July 2010, Tamirul Haq (42 years), a teacher, died due to alleged torture at Kotar Police Camp under Itahar Police Station in North Dinajpur district, West Bengal. On the night of 24 July 2010, Mr. Tamirul Haq had gone to Bariol market to buy cigarettes where he saw two persons being dragged towards Kotar police camp by five police personnel identified as Ganesh Sarkar (Assistant Sub Inspector), Koushik Burman, Mir Rajesh Ali, Apurba Roy and Nitish Chandra Das, all constables, attached to Kotar police camp. Mr. Haq asked the said police personnel why the two persons were being dragged in such a way. At this, the police personnel got furious and started beating Mr Haq with sticks and rifle butts.  Thereafter, Mr Haq was taken to the Kotar police camp where he was further subjected to torture till he lost his consciousness. When Mr Haq’s condition deteriorated, two of the personnel rushed him to Raigunj District Hospital but the doctors declared him brought dead. (…) On 14 August 2010, Raghunath Patel died due to alleged torture at the Ameelia police station in Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh. The deceased’s family members and residents alleged that he died due to torture in custody.  Enraged villagers burnt the police station demanding a judicial probe into the custodial death. (…) Torture not resulting in deaths: Torture remains endemic and majority of torture cases do not result in the death. Unlike custodial deaths, the police are not mandatorily required to report cases of torture which do not result in deaths to the NHRC. (…) Custodial torture of women: Women are particularly vulnerable in the custody of the security forces due to their gender. The gender based violence include torture resulting in the death of the victims in custody. (…) In another incident in July 2010, a woman Chandrawati (name changed) was subjected to torture at a Mahila Thana (Women Police Station) in Moradabad district, Uttar Pradesh. In her complaint to the police, the victim stated that she was taken to the police station for questioning, illegally detained for seven days and tortured. The victim was hanged upside down from the ceiling and beaten with a cane. The police also poured petrol and chilly powder in her private parts. She was released with threats. Signs of torture were found during medical checkup. The Deputy Inspector of Police ordered an enquiry. (…) In early October 2010, two constables – Tulsiram Rathore, a cook and Deshraj, a driver – accused in the sensational case of rape and murder of 22-year-old woman constable Maya Yadav were arrested following protest. The victim was found murdered at the guesthouse of Chechat Police Station in Kota, Rajasthan where she was posted on 30 September 2010. She was first raped and bludgeoned to death. There were reportedly five major stabs with a crooked knife, three on the neck and one on each breast while her fingers from both her hands were chopped off and a bunch of hair yanked out.  The police made all attempts to hush up the case. The police even failed to inform the family of the victim about her fate. (…)Women have become victims of the lust of security forces engaged in anti-Naxal operations. (…) Custodial torture of juvenile: Illegal detention and torture of juveniles in conflict with law were common place.  Torture was so cruel that it resulted in the deaths of a number of children in custody. (…) The rights of the children were seriously violated during the uprising in Jammu and Kashmir. Hundreds of minors who were part of the stone-throwing protestors were arbitrarily arrested and detained in jail where they were forced to share space with hardened criminals, exposing them to grave risks. Many were detained under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA), 1978, which provides for up to two years of preventive detention. (…) In June 2010, Mushtaq Ahmad (14 years), a class VI dropout, was picked up during a stone-pelting protest against an alleged fake encounter killing of a teenager. Mushtaq Ahmed was kept at a police station along with hundred others juveniles.  The police charged him under the Public Safety Act. Later, Mushtaq Ahmed was shifted to a jail in Jammu as his family could not manage money for bail.  On 28 June 2010, 15-year-old Sheikh Ikram (son of Zulfikar Ahmad Sheikh), a class 9 student from Bagh Jogi Lankar Rainawari, was detained under PSA vide order no DMS/PSA/26/2010. Despite being a minor, he was lodged at Kotbalwal Jail in Jammu and had to share space with hardened criminals. Sheikh Ikram was accused of leading a mob in the area and pelting stones. (…) Impunity: The law enforcement personnel continue to enjoy virtual impunity from prosecution for human rights violations including custodial torture. Prosecution requires prior permission from the government under section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 and various special laws including the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958. Under Section 19 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, the NHRC is barred from investigation into torture and other human rights violations committed by the armed forces. While most of the state Governments does not order mandatory judicial inquiries in case of death, rape and disappearances in police custody as required under Section 176 of the Criminal Procedure Code.  (…) In a rare case, on 16 October 2010, the Madhya Pradesh State Human Rights Commission recommended criminal proceedings against Head Constable Rakesh Tiwari and Constable Jitendra Singh and departmental enquiries against then Chhatarpur CSP Pramod Sinha, the then Town Inspector of Naogaon AR Bhave, the then Town Inspector of Chhatarpur Kotwali RS Rawat and the Government doctor, Dr Mahendra Kumar Gupta, who was posted at the jail, in connection with the custodial death of Umesh Kumar Sahu due to torture. (…) Torture in the custody of the Armed Forces: The members of the military and para-military forces depolyed in insurgency situations continue to be responsible for torture. It is extremely difficult to prosecute members of the armed forces accused of human rights violations as they enjoy impunity including under Section 6 of the Armed Forces special Powers Act of 1958 applicable in armed conflict situations in North East and Jammu and Kashmir. (…) On 12 July 2010, Mr. Kauch Seikh (36 years), son of Mr. Muntaj Seikh, was allegedly tortured and killed in the custody of Battalion No.52 of the Border Security Force (BSF) near Outpost No. 4 at Singpara in Murshidabad district, West Bengal. The deceased, a cattle smuggler, was allegedly subjected to torture for failing to pay adequate bribes and later shot at on his right chest from a short distance and left to die.  The deceased’s wife Mrs. Golejan Bibi alleged that her husband was subjected to torture and later killed in the BSF custody.  On 6 August 2010, Mr Govinda Mondal (35 years), a scheduled caste, was allegedly tortured by three BSF personnel attached to Char Mourashi Border Outpost at Bathanbari under Raninagar police station in Murshidabad district, West Bengal. The victim was accused of smuggling medicine (Phensidyl). The BSF personnel allegedly took off the cloth he was wearing and forcibly put it into his mouth and started beating him on his feet with the wooden handle of a spade and kicked all over his body. The torture lasted for 30 minutes till he lost his consciousness. Later, the BSF personnel left the place leaving him unconscious.  The victim was admitted to the hospital on the same day and was under treatment at the hospital until 10 August 2010.  On the night of 11 August 2010, Naorem Modhu Singh (26 years), son of N Mangoljao, died due to alleged torture in the custody of the combined team of 12th Madras Regiment and Manipur Police Cammandos at Khoijumantabi village under Kumbi police station in Bishnupur district of Manipur. Mr Singh was picked up along with his cousin by the combined team from his residence on the suspicion of having links with a banned militant group. On 12 August 2010, the personnel of 12th Madras Regiment handed over the deceased’s body to the Kumbi police station. In its report to the police, the 12th Madras Regiment claimed that the deceased collapsed while he was in their custody and he was taken to an army hospital where doctors declared him dead on arrival. However, the deceased’s family members alleged that Naorem Modhu Singh was tortured to death in the custody of the combined team.  On 8 September 2010 and 10 September 2010, the police claimed to have arrested 17 Maoists who were allegedly involved in an ambush on 29 August 2010 in which three Border Security Force (BSF) personnel and two policemen were killed in Kanker district, Chhattisgarh. The police claimed that the suspects were picked up in two separate raids in the forests of Kanker. The villagers claimed that 15 of the 17 alleged Maoists were picked up from their homes at Pachangi and Aloor villagers on 5 September 2010 and 6 September 2010. The suspects were allegedly tortured in custody. Punnim Kumar Tulavi, a government school teacher, alleged that on 5 September 2010 he along with 15 other villagers (including his daughters Sunita Tulavi, 19 years, and Sarita Tulavi, 16 years) were picked up by the BSF from Pachangi and Aloor villages. They were blindfolded and taken to the BSF camp at Durgkondal where some of them were tortured to extract confessions that they were Maoist cadres. One of the victims, Sunita Tulavi (19 years) alleged that the BSF personnel wrapped wires around her throat, feet and stomach and administered electric shocks for about 15 minutes. On 8 September 2010, seven of the 17, including six girls aged between 16 and 19, were taken to Kanker town, and formally arrested as “Maoists”. One of them was Sarita Tulavi (16 years), Sunita’s sister. On the same day (September 8) those remaining in the BSF camp were allegedly subjected to electric shocks until they confessed to being Maoists. Then they were taken to the police station next door where the police allegedly made the villagers pose with guns they had seized in a prior raid. On 9 September 2010, Punnim and her daughter Sunita Tulavi were released without being charged. On 10 September 2010, the Kanker police announced the arrest of another alleged 10 Maoists – eight of whom, Punnim alleged, were tortured before his eyes.  Further, in the same incident, the BSF personnel allegedly assaulted about 40 men, five of whom had to be admitted in the hospital in Kanker, and molested two women, one of whom is a minor during the two-day cordon and search operations at Pachangi and Aloor villagers on 5 and 6 September 2010. Medical examination of the five hospitalised men found that two of them had swollen feet and contusions on the hips and buttocks. Hairline fractures were found on the feet of a victim named Bidde Ram. Other injuries lent credence to his allegation that a stick was inserted into his anus. BSF Director-General Raman Srivastava promised a thorough inquiry into the incident. The Chhattisgarh Commission for Scheduled Tribes also initiated an inquiry into the incident. On 9 October 2010, 45-year-old Iqbal Hussain Laskar, an assistant teacher of Chiparsangon HS School in Algapur in Hailakandi district, Assam died in the custody of the army after being picked up by a team of the army from his residence at around 3 am. The Hailakandi Deputy Commissioner Tapan Chandra Goswami ordered a magistrate-level inquiry into the death.   On the night of 3-4 August 2010, 47-year-old Leimakhujam Kokulo Singh, a physically handicap, was allegedly tortured in the custody of Maratha Light Infantry at their camp near Patsoi Lai Umang along the Imphal-Sangaithel Road in Imphal West district, Manipur. The victim was picked up by the personnel while returning home along with his wife and 11 others in a passenger vehicle from Wahengbam Leikai in Imphal. He was dragged into a vehicle, blindfolded with his hands tied together at the front and taken to their camp. At the camp, the victim was asked to identify three names. When the victim failed to identify the names, the security personnel subjected him to torture the entire night and administered electric shocks twice. On 4 August 2010, a team of Maninpur police commandos came to the room who slapped him several times and beat him with a club in the head when he failed to identify the three names. On the same day, the victim was handed over to the Patsoi police station. On 5 August 2010, the victim was produced before a court which sent him to police custody. The victim was released on bail on 9 August 2010.  On 20 December 2010, Bhanu Ghosh, a disabled person, was tortured by a personnel of Assam Rifles identified as Th Anand Singh at Nongrimmaw in Laitumkhrah, Meghalaya. The victim had to be admitted in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Guwahati, Assam. According to the medical report, the victim sustained multiple injuries and brain haemorrhage due to the torture.”[111]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “As of 30 April 2009, Asian Centre for Human Rights had filed 531 complaints with the National Human Rights Commission of India. These include five complaints filed in 2002-2003, 64 in 2003-2004, 103 in 2004-2005, 54 in 2005-2006, 19 in 2006-2007, 128 in 2007-2008 and 144 in 2008-2009 and 14 in April 2009. The complaints mainly relate to custodial death (170 cases); torture (148 cases including 125 cases by security forces and 19 cases by upper castes); rape (26 cases including 20 cases by security forces, (…); extrajudicial executions (96 cases out of which 50 are from Manipur alone); unlawful detention (14 cases); disproportionate use of fire-arms by the security forces (17 cases); violations of the rights of the child (five cases) (…). Case 10: Incommunicado detention and torture of Nipul Saikia:  Allegation: Incommunicado detention and torture of an innocent farmer named Nipul Saikia, son of Moneswar Saikia, resident of Khowang in Dibrugarh district of Assam by the soldiers of 11th Guards Regiment at the Tiloi camp during illegal detention on 9 – 12 October 2006.  Summary of the case: On 9 October 2005, Nipul Saikia was picked up from his house by an eight-member team from the Tiloi camp of the 11th Guards Regiment on the charges of being a linkman of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA). He was subjected to torture in custody. Later, he was handed over to the police and admitted to the Assam Medical College and Hospital in Dibrugarh. Nipul Saikia suffered serious internal and external wounds. A doctor at Assam Medical College and Hospital reportedly stated that Nipul Saikia had suffered severe internal injuries from electric shocks. Nipul Saikia was detained incommunicado till 12 October 2006. His father Moneswar Saikia alleged that officers at the Tiloi camp threatened two of his relatives when they went there on 11 October 2006 to enquire about Nipul Saikia. Although the army recovered nothing at the time of arresting Nipul Saikia, one officer at the Tiloi camp allegedly showed an old country-made pistol to the relatives of Nipul Saikia saying the army would prove that Nipul Saikia was an ULFA linkman.  Action taken by ACHR: ACHR filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission on 16 October 2006. ACHR, among others, requested the NHRC to direct the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to conduct an inquiry into the torture of Nipul Saikia by the personnel of 11th Guards Regiment; initiate appropriate legal proceedings against accused personnel; and to provide an interim compensation of Rs 5,00000 (five lakhs) to the victim. The NHRC registered the case (Case NO. 91/3/2006-2007-af).  Result: The Defence Ministry paid a compensation of Rs. 20,000/- to the victim. The NHRC found this amount to be inadequate and issued notice to the Ministry of Defence as to why additional monetary relief of Rs. 2,00,000/- should not be paid to the victim. The case is still pending before the NHRC. (…) Case 39: Torture of Nazmul Sheikh (10) by BSF: Allegation: Torture of Master Nazmul Sheikh (10 years), son of Nasiruddin Sheikh by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel after picking him up to their camp at Chapra in Nadia district of West Bengal on 20 May 2006. Summary of the case: The victim, a student of Class V at Hatkhola High Madrassa, was picked up by the BSF personnel from the Hatkhola border road when he was returning from school in the morning of 20 May 2006. He was taken to the BSF camp and allegedly tortured. The BSF personnel allegedly beat the 10-year-old boy with sticks and boxed and slapped him till he lost his consciousness. Later in the afternoon, the boy was found in an unconscious state at a place on the border road by the villagers. He was admitted to the Chapra block hospital from where he was shifted to Saktinagar District Hospital on 21 May 2006 as his condition deteriorated. Doctors at the Saktinagar hospital stated the boy suffered both internal and external injuries. Action by ACHR: ACHR filed a complaint with the NHRC on 25 May 2006. ACHR requested the NHRC to direct the Ministry of Home Affairs and the State government of West Bengal to order a judicial probe into the torture, take action against the guilty security personnel and provide adequate compensation to the victim. A case was registered under Case No. 198/25/2006-2007-pf. Result: A written warning was issued to Subedar Lokya Naik, Offg Coy Commander of Mahakholaby Border Out Post, by Commandant 73rd Bn, BSF, on 10 June 2006 with direction to improve his conduct with the local population. A compromise note was recorded in the presence of respected elders of the locality and the BSF personnel apologized to father of Nazmul Sheikh. DIG (OPS), Ministry of Home Affairs, Directorate General Border Security Force has given instructions to initiate fresh disciplinary proceedings against those responsible for manhandling Nazmul Sheikh. In view of the action taken by the BSF authorities, the NHRC decided not to proceed further with the case.”[112]

 

Human Rights Watch: “Indian security forces routinely ignore procedural safeguards designed to prevent torture and other mistreatment of persons in custody. Although Indian law requires that everyone taken into custody must be produced before a magistrate within twenty-four hours, this rule is usually ignored. Sections 330 and 331 of the Indian Penal Code forbid the causing of “hurt” or “grievous hurt” to extract a confession, and prescribe prison terms and fines for officers found guilty of torture. The Criminal Procedure Code also has clauses to protect detainees from torture: Section 54 provides the right to a medical examination, Section 162 bars the use of written confessions at trial, Section 164 requires a magistrate to ensure that a confession is voluntary, and Section 176 requires a magisterial inquiry into any death in custody. The Supreme Court has stated resolutely that Article 21 of the Indian Constitution protects individuals from any form of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. All of these provisions are routinely disregarded. (…) As a signatory to the Convention against Torture, India is “obliged to refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose” of the treaty.  Additionally there is such a strong international consensus on the prohibition against torture that it is considered to be binding customary international law on all states, including those that have not ratified the Convention against Torture.  Torture remains endemic in India. According to former detainees and senior police officials, torture is routine in the interrogations of alleged militants in Jammu and Kashmir. Says Riaz Ahmad, a lawyer at the High Court Bar Association:  Of course there is torture. It is routine. But most people are so glad to be out of interrogation alive, they don’t really complain about the torture.  It is not just Kashmiris suspected of being militants who are subjected to torture. Relatives of militants are also taken into custody and tortured, either to discover the whereabouts of a suspect, or as a way of forcing the militant to surrender. One man, the brother of a militant, told Human Rights Watch that he was beaten and given electric shocks in custody so that his brother would be forced to surrender. It finally stopped when his brother was killed in an armed encounter in 1998.  (…) I curse the soldiers. I was only a boy at that time. They would strip me, make my lie naked on the floor, kick and beat me, split my legs wide apart and leave me tied up like that for hours. When I thought I could not bear any more pain, they would give me electric shocks. Then they would let me go and a few weeks later, again. The same thing. It has ruined me so much that now if I see a man in uniform, I start sweating and trembling. They know. There are many Kashmiris like me. They just pat on the back and tell me to go away. (…) One university student, who has been detained a few times for questioning, described his anger over the government’s treatment of Kashmiris:  The government can go on and on about how it wants to protect human rights, but they don’t see what is happening on the streets. We always try to avoid the security forces and it is not because we are guilty. It is because they treat us as criminals. Eventually, they will make us all militants. Slapping us is just their way of saying ‘Hello.’… If you end up in one of those interrogation centers, then we just thank Allah if we walk out alive with just a beating. They hit first and ask questions later. (…) There is perhaps no human rights abuse in Jammu and Kashmir that occurs with such great and unchallenged impunity as torture. The fear of victims to come forward means that this problem will not be addressed by public pressure. (…)Torture of Mohammad Ibrahim Dar’s Family:  A day after his sister Salima’s wedding in 2000, Mohammad Ibrahim Dar, a member of the Hizbul-Mujahedin, disappeared without telling his family of his whereabouts. Within days, the police arrived at his home in Srinagar. They searched the house and detained Mohammad Ibrahim’s father, brother, and brother-in-law, who say they were taken to a police interrogation center, questioned about Mohammad Ibrahim, and severely beaten. While the father and brother-in-law were released after two days, the brother remained in custody for a week.  After that, the family was repeatedly harassed by the police. Says Mohammad Ibrahim’s sister, Salima Ganai:  Our life had become hell. The police would come to the house and break everything. Once they pushed my father on the ground, stripped him and beat him. Even my old grandfather was not spared. They hit me with their guns and beat my mother. They would take my husband and keep him for two to three days at a time and beat him. He even had chest pains because of the beatings. My younger brother Sajjad was detained many, many times. The police used to say that my brother was visiting us and that we were lying. I told them, “Stay here then and arrest him if he comes. But don’t torture us.” Finally, we moved out because we could no longer take the abuse.  Mohammad Ibrahim had become a senior Hizb-ul-Mujahedin commander, wanted in several bomb attacks and political killings.  He was killed by the army on September 30, 2005 (…) Torture of Bashir:  Bashir (a pseudonym) described to Human Rights Watch the torture that he suffered at an interrogation center run by the Rashtriya Rifles in 2004.  My brother is a militant, so security forces often come to our house to threaten us and ask about his whereabouts. Until now, they had only hit me a few times and questioned me. But this last time, two jeeps came to our house. The men were from the army but they were in plainclothes. I was taken to a Rashtriya Rifles camp near my house… My hands were always tied behind my back. I was beaten and kicked. Twice, I was made to lie down on the floor with my hands and legs stretched out and tied up. I was badly beaten. They asked me many questions about my brother and insisted that I was in touch with him. They said I was storing arms for his group. I kept saying that the family had no news of my brother and that my parents did not like what he was doing. But they would not believe me. After four days, they suddenly let me go…. No one was allowed to see me when I was at the camp and when [my] parents asked for me, they were told that I was not there… The torture has damaged my spleen and kidneys.  Bashir’s mother said that her son was so badly injured he could barely walk for days. “There were marks all over his body.”  Torture of Ahmad: One man called Ahmad told Human Rights Watch that in November 2003 he was picked up by soldiers in civilian clothes. For one-and-a-half months, he said, he was held by the Rashtriya Rifles. His family was not informed of his arrest, and so reported him to the police as missing. He did not have access to counsel and was not taken to a court.  Ahmad said that for the entire period he was in custody he was blindfolded and handcuffed, and that he was routinely beaten up.  They used to beat me and then ask questions. They were asking for weapons and information about militant hideouts. It was very scary. There is no law inside an army camp. (…) The man was eventually released. According to his mother, when he came home, he could barely walk. He was unwilling to give any details including the unit of the army that had held him or the camp where he was held. He laughed bitterly when asked if he would consider filing a complaint.  This is Kashmir! Who should I complain to? To the police? Or should I go back to the army? Since they have left me alive, I should try and liveTorture of Mohammad and Altaf:  Two villagers from Anantnag district told Human Rights Watch that they were picked up by soldiers in civilian clothes while leaving a bank in Anantnag town. When they failed to come home, their relatives went to the army and police and filed a missing persons complaint, but no one seemed to have any news. They had “disappeared.” They were released after a month. According to one of the men whom we will call Mohammad:  As soon as they pushed us into the car, I was blindfolded. We drove around while they questioned us. Eventually they took us to an army camp. I went through agony at that camp. The soldiers were brutal. I was kept blindfolded most of the time, unless I had to go to the toilet. My hands were tied with rope at night. I was tied to a chair and questioned. They asked if I knew this militant or that. I kept saying I was innocent. I never went to Pakistan like the others because my father insisted that I complete my education. But they would not believe me. (…) I wish I could tell you how much I suffered. They cut my thighs open with a knife and then they would keep poking at the wound to try and make me talk.  After a month, both men were delivered to a police station and, from there, returned to their families. The second person, whom we call Altaf, said that he was in a terrible condition after release.  We were in such bad shape we were completely bedridden once we got back. I could not get up for a month. Although the army did this to innocent men, they never apologized. Nor did they pay for our treatment. (…) Torture of Bilal:  Bilal told Human Rights Watch that he was picked up from his home at night by security forces and taken to a paramilitary camp, where he was tortured through the night. He was blindfolded and his hands were tied behind his back. He was then hung by his arms from the ceiling and beaten and kicked. He was asked about an arms cache and the whereabouts of some militants from his village. (…) Bilal was released after a few days. His shoulder bone has been permanently dislocated and he suffers from a constant tremor in his hands.  Torture of Javed:  A former militant, Javed (a pseudonym), was arrested and later released. He said that when he was first arrested, he was tortured with electric shocks and brutal beatings. He did not want Human Rights Watch to provide any details of his arrest because it would then be easy to identify him. Javed’s relatives were frightened and did not want Javed to talk to us. (…) His uncle showed Human Rights Watch a medical report that said he suffered from “reactive psychosis”—psychosis resulting from severe stress. Javed’s uncle said this was not just because of the recent torture and interrogation, but because it has happened several times over the years. (…) Torture of Farooq:  Farooq was picked up by the police one night for questioning in December 2004. The family was told by the policemen who took him into custody that Farooq would be questioned and would be home in the morning. According to one of his relatives:  For ten days, we searched for him. Finally, someone in the army told us that he was in one of the camps. We went there and asked. We were told that Farooq was there but we were not allowed to meet him. We gave money to some people who work with the army. They are informers. We were told that Farooq was in the camp, but that he had been tortured so badly, he was not fit to be shown to us. We thought he was dead. For three months we kept going to the camp. But they kept asking us to come back. We were told his condition is very bad. They finally let him go, but he was very ill when he got back. It is only now, after almost a year, that he is able to walk around.”[113]

Nick Allen: “The US officials in Delhi were privately briefed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 2005 that Indian security forces were using methods including electrocution, physical beatings and sexual interference against hundreds of detainees. (…) According to the cables, which will prove a major embarrassment for the Indian government, the ICRC interviewed 1,296 detainees of whom 681 said they had been tortured. (…) Of those, 498 claimed to have been electrocuted, 381 said they were suspended from the ceiling, and 304 cases were described as “sexual.”  A total of 294 described a procedure in which guards crushed their legs by putting a bar across their thighs and sitting on it, while 181 said their legs had been pulled apart into the splits.  In one cable US officials reported that terrorism investigations and court cases tend to rely upon confessions, many of which are obtained under duress if not beatings, threats, or in some cases torture.”[114]

The Guardian: “On 28 May, 2010, three bodies were exhumed from unmarked graves close to the camp, some of those already mapped by [Human Rights Lawyer Parvez Imroz], and in which the government said were foreign fighters. Their families identified Shahzad, Riyaz and Mohammad by their clothes.  The Nadihal cash-for-killing story and news of a legion of unidentified dead lying in unmarked graves, sent hundreds of thousands of demonstrators on to the streets in the summer of 2010. Sensing the building anger, the army and central government in New Delhi promised an inquiry, offering, without irony, talks to anyone in Kashmir “who renounced violence”. However, when no answers came, Kashmir went into convulsions, as crowds of youths armed with stones ambushed soldiers, police and paramilitaries who returned fire with live rounds. I arrived in Kashmir shortly after. More than 100 demonstrators had been killed, many of them children. International news channels briefly took an interest, asking if Kashmir was experiencing its own Arab Spring. But the cameras left quickly, as a vicious crackdown began clearing the streets: the government’s own statistics showing that more than 5,300 Kashmiri youths, many of them children, were arrested.  In 2011, Imroz went to work again, investigating how India had restored the peace, and I shadowed him. He took statements from those who had been released and the families of those still incarcerated. “The affidavits made for chilling reading,” he said. The majority of youths alleged torture, with independent medical examinations confirming that many had their fingernails pulled and bones crushed. One teenage prisoner told the Guardian: “The police started on our hands and fingers, breaking them with gun butts, and by the end when tears were streaming down our faces, we were hung by our ankles and had chilli rubbed in our wounds.” Others claimed to have petrol funnelled into their rectums. One group alleged in court that they were forced to sodomise each other, while a police cameraman filmed.  This year, Imroz and his field workers widened the research to commence the first state-wide inquiry into the use of torture. Their findings will go to the UN and to Human Rights Watch later this summer but a draft seen by the Guardian suggests that not only is torture endemic, it is systemic. In one cluster of 50 villages, more than 2,000 extreme cases of torture were documented, any of which would kick-start an SHRC inquiry, and all of which left victims maimed and psychologically scarred. Methods included branding, electric shocks, simulated drowning, striping flesh with razor blades and piping petrol into anuses.  This work suggests that the statewide ratio for Kashmiris who have experienced torture is one in six. “For the 50 villages, in this small snapshot, we located 50 centres run by the army and paramilitaries in which torture had been practised,” Imroz said. The methods, language and even the architecture of the torture chambers are identical. “What we are looking at is not a few errant officers.” Files released under RTI laws show how these practises go back to 1989. These documents, seen by the Guardian, also reveal horrific practises, including one sizeable cluster, confidentially probed by the government itself, where men from the Border Security Force (BSF) lopped off the limbs of suspects and fed prisoners with their own flesh.  The Guardian traced one of the victims, a shepherd Qalandar Khatana, 45. Hobbling on crutches, bandages covering his ankles, both feet having been sawn off, he recalled: “I was held down, a BSF trooper produced a knife and then I passed out as the blood gushed from me.” His file says a government investigator confirmed the story and produced eyewitnesses.  Another villager, Nasir Sheikh, a carpenter, who lost both legs below the knee and one hand, added: “The smell was of death – urine, shit, sweat. You knew you were about to be slowly murdered. It was like being thrown down a well where no one can hear you scream.” His file confirms the story and suggests that compensation be paid. The UN special rapporteur on torture has been refused entry to Kashmir since 1993. Domestic legislation to outlaw torture has stalled. “When will the world start asking as tough questions of India as it is of Syria?” Imroz asked. “Or are we Kashmiris invisible?”[115]

Jason Burke (The Guardian): “US officials had evidence of widespread torture by Indian police and security forces and were secretly briefed by Red Cross staff about the systematic abuse of detainees in Kashmir, according to leaked diplomatic cables.  The dispatches, obtained by website WikiLeaks, reveal that US diplomats in Delhi were briefed in 2005 by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) about the use of electrocution, beatings and sexual humiliation against hundreds of detainees.  Other cables show that as recently as 2007 American diplomats were concerned about widespread human rights abuses by Indian security forces, who they said relied on torture for confessions.  The revelations will be intensely embarrassing for Delhi, which takes pride in its status as the world’s biggest democracy, and come at a time of heightened sensitivity in Kashmir after renewed protests and violence this year. (…)The most highly charged dispatch is likely to be an April 2005 cable from the US embassy in Delhi which reports that the ICRC had become frustrated with the Indian government which, they said, had not acted to halt the “continued ill-treatment of detainees”.   The embassy reported the ICRC concluded that India “condones torture” and that the torture victims were civilians as militants were routinely killed.  The ICRC has a long-standing policy of engaging directly with governments and avoiding the media, so the briefing remained secret.  An insurgency pitting separatist and Islamist militants – many supported by Pakistan – against security services raged in Kashmir throughout the 1990s and into the early years of this decade.  It claimed tens of thousands of lives, including large numbers of civilians who were targeted by both militants and security forces.  The ICRC staff told the US diplomats they had made 177 visits to detention centres in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere in India between 2002 and 2004, and had met 1,491 detainees. They had been able to interview 1,296 privately.  In 852 cases, the detainees reported ill-treatment, the ICRC said. A total of 171 described being beaten and 681 said they had been subjected to one or more of six forms of torture.  These included 498 on which electricity had been used, 381 who had been suspended from the ceiling, 294 who had muscles crushed in their legs by prison personnel sitting on a bar placed across their thighs, 181 whose legs had been stretched by being “split 180 degrees”, 234 tortured with water and 302 “sexual” cases, the ICRC were reported to have told the Americans.  “Numbers add up to more than 681, as many detainees were subjected to more than one form of IT [ill-treatment],” the cable said.  The ICRC said all branches of the Indian security forces used these forms of ill-treatment and torture, adding: “The abuse always takes place in the presence of officers and … detainees were rarely militants (they are routinely killed), but persons connected to or believed to have information about the insurgency”.  The cable said the situation in Kashmir was “much better” as security forces no longer roused entire villages in the middle of the night and detained inhabitants indiscriminately, and there was “more openness from medical doctors and the police.”  Ten years ago, the ICRC said there were some 300 detention centres, but there are now “a lot fewer”. The organisation had never however gained access to the “Cargo Building”, the most notorious detention centre, in Srinagar.  The abuse continued, they said, because “security forces need promotions,” while for militants, “the insurgency has become a business”. (…) Two years after the cable on torture was sent, US diplomats in India argued strongly against granting a visa request from the government of India on behalf of a member of the Jammu and Kashmir state assembly who was invited to a conference organised by a think-tank in America.  Usman Abdul Majid, a cable marked secret said, “is a leader of the pro-GOI [government of India] Ikhwan-ul-Musilmeen paramilitary group, which … is notorious for its use of torture, extra-judicial killing, rape, and extortion of Kashmiri civilians suspected of harbouring or facilitating terrorists.”  The diplomats admitted that denying Majid’s application might have some repercussions with Indian officials, “especially those from India’s Intelligence Bureau who have been close to his case” but said it was essential to preserve a balanced approach to the Kashmir issue following the prior refusal of a visa to the leading separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.  The cable notes that officials are “unable to verify with evidence the claims against Majid”.  US diplomats repeatedly refer to human rights abuses by security and law enforcement agencies within India. (…) A year later a brief for the visiting acting coordinator for counter-terrorism, Frank Urbancic, described India’s police and security forces as “overworked and hampered by bad … practices, including the widespread use of torture in interrogations.”.”[116]

The Guardian: “In a April 1 confidential briefing on GOI detention centers in Kashmir, ICRC XXXXXXXXXXXX described to D/Polcouns torture methods and relatively stable trend lines of prisoner abuses by Indian security forces, based on data derived from 1491 interviews with detainees during 2002-2004. The continued ill-treatment of detainees, despite longstanding ICRC-GOI dialogue, have led the ICRC to conclude that the New Delhi condones torture. (…) ICRC staff made 177 visits to detention centers in J&K and elsewhere (primarily the Northeast) between 2002-2004, meeting with 1491 detainees, 1296 of which were private interviews. XXXXXXXXXXXX considered this group a representative sample of detainees in Kashmir, but stressed that they had not been allowed access to all detainees. In 852 cases, detainees reported what ICRC refers to as “IT” (ill-treatment): (…) ICRC stressed that all the branches of the security forces used these forms of IT and torture. (…) There is a regular and widespread use of IT and torture by the security forces during interrogation; — This always takes place in the presence of officers; — ICRC has raised these issues with the GOI for more than 10 years; — Because practice continues, ICRC is forced to conclude that GOI condones torture; — Dialogue on prison conditions is OK, dialogue on treatment of detainees is not; — Security forces were rougher on detainees in the past; — Detainees were rarely militants (they are routinely killed), but persons connected to or believed to have information about the insurgency; — ICRC has never obtained access to the “Cargo Building,” the most notorious detention center in Srinagar; and — Current practices continue because “security forces need promotions,” (…)The data showing stable trend lines of ill-treatment and torture in detention centers are very disturbing, because the practice continues unabated.”[117]

Human Rights Watch: “[The Special Rapporteur has] received information that torture was practiced routinely by the army, the Border Security Force (BSF) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) against the vast majority of persons arrested for political reasons in Jammu and Kashmir. Official investigations into allegations of torture, including those that resulted in custodial deaths, were said to be rare. On the few occasions when such investigations had taken place, they were carried out by the security forces themselves, rather than by an independent body. (…) Most detainees taken into custody by the security forces in Kashmir continue to be tortured. The methods that have long been practiced in the state are fairly crude, and the security forces have demonstrated little concern fordisguising injuries caused by torture. These methods include prolonged beatings, electric shock, burning with heated objects and crushing the muscles with a wooden roller. Detainees are generally held in temporary detention centers, controlled by the various security forces, without access to the courts, relatives or medical care. (…) Torture usually takes place in interrogation centers operated by the security forces, and it almost always occurs in the first hours or days after the victim is detained. Every security force has its own interrogation centers in Kashmir, which include temporary detention centers at BSF, CRPF and army camps, hotels and other buildings that have been taken over by security forces. Detainees are first interrogated by the detaining security force for periods of time which may range from several hours to several weeks. During this time the detainee is not produced before a court or given access to anyone outside the interrogation center. Those suspected of being militants may then be interrogated at Joint Interrogation Centres (JICs) at which each security force is represented. Detention at the JIC may last for months.  Indian security personnel routinely ignore procedural safeguards designed to prevent torture when taking persons into custody. Although Indian law requires that everyone taken into custody must be produced before a magistrate within twenty-four hours, in fact, detainees are rarely produced at all. Prohibitions and safeguards against torture in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCrP), which prohibit the use of coerced confessions and prescribe inquiries into deaths in custody and prison terms for officers guilty of torture, are also routinely disregarded. To Human Rights Watch/Asia’s knowledge, the government has never made public any action it has taken to hold security personnel responsible for torture in Kashmir criminally liable for their actions. The U.N. Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (Resolution 34/169, December 17, 1979) states, in Article 5, that “no law enforcement officials may inflict, instigate, or tolerate any act of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment nor may any law enforcement official invoke superior order in exceptional circumstances such as . . . internal political instability or any other public emergency . . . as justification for torture.” (…)In December 1995, the district judge in Anantnag complained that the army had not provided him with a list of detention centers, and as a result he was only able to visit the JIC in Anantnag. He reported that at the JIC, many detainees were detained “not pursuant to any law.” He noted that fifty-two detainees were housed in “five small cell type rooms… Patently, the accommodation is too short to lodge dozens of persons … [A]ll … complained about the lack of medical facilities.” One year earlier, he had documented torture by the security forces, including forcing detainees to sit for extended periods of time in cold water, electric shock, pulling the legs apart at a wide angle, and suspending detainees upside down. In his December 1994 report, the judge noted that marks of violence on the detainees were “quite visible.”  There is no question that civil and security officials in Kashmir are aware of the widespread use of torture. Petitions pending before the Jammu and Kashmir High Court provide ample documentation, including medical evidence, of the systematic use of torture.  Torture of S.K.:  Human Rights Watch/Asia interviewed S.K., a student, who was arrested by Commanding Officer Joshi of the 81st Battalion of the BSF on January 25, 1995.  Commanding Officer Joshi accused me of being a Pakistani national. At the BSF base camp I was brought to some other Kashmiris to speak with them so they could check my accent. They kept me in base camp until January 27. On the morning of January 27, my hands and legs were tied to the bed, and I was made to lie back on a steel bed. Uniformed BSG soldiers put a piece of cloth in my mouth. Three of them leaned on my chest and head. Then they pumped water into my nose. I was suffocating and choking. I started bleeding from my mouth. Then the soldiers turned me over and beat me on my back and feet with a long iron rod. They also hit me with a leather belt which they had dipped in water. My back was bleeding. There was blood splattered on the wall in the room. Then they made me lie down face up on bed again and tied my hands and feet to bed. They applied electric shock to my feet, genitals, chest, and tongue for twenty minutes in all. Two wires-one on either side of my body-were attached to a generator with a crank which one of the soldiers turned. If he turned the crank fast, the shock was severe; if he turned it slowly, less so.  The following day S.K. was shifted to the BSF Papa II interrogation center in Srinagar where he was interrogated by a BSF officer who had “SP”[superintendent] on his uniform and was called Vikas by his subordinates.  He told me that if I spoke on the telephone with my uncle in Karachi, they would not torture me. I have no uncle in Karachi. He said if I would not admit to being a Pakistani national, they would torture me. He said, “First we will destroy your kidneys, then your lungs, then you will die.” I was tied to the bed with my legs spread out at nearly a 180-degree angle. For the next thirty minutes, I was again given electric shock to my legs and genitals, and they took lit matches and burned my beard, and finally they applied shocks to my head until I fell unconscious. At one point during interrogation, Vikas, the BSF officer said, “No one knows you are in our custody; we can just throw you in the river and no one will ever know.”   When S.K. woke up, BSF deputy inspector general Rajinder Mani, the BSF chief interrogator, began questioning him about public opinion in Kashmir. On the evening of January 30, a doctor examined S.K. because he had not urinated in thirty-six hours, had swelling all over his body and bloody stools. He was given some medicine, but the swelling continued. On February 2, S.K. was transferred to the Badami Bagh Cantonment army hospital, where he described how he had been tortured. He was given penicillin. However, S.K. was afraid to tell them that he was allergic to penicillin, and the swelling worsened. On the evening of February 2, S.K. overheard a doctor tell a BSF officer from Papa II that his kidneys had failed, that his liver was failing and that he had only six hours left to live. The doctor advised the officer that S.K. “should be thrown on the roadside because it would be a custodial killing if he were to die in the hospital.”   That night, the officer came to me and said they would take me to the Soura Institute. Instead, BSF soldiers took me from Army hospital to the police control room in Srinagar. The BSF officer who took me there told me I should not tell anyone in the press what had happened to me. He also said, “if you want to save your life, go to Soura [hospital] yourself.” I was at the police control room for two hours. At 8:00pm the Jammu and Kashmir police took me home. At 1:30am I started vomiting pink fluid. The morning of February 3 I was taken to SMHS hospital, where I stayed for two days. My condition worsened. On the morning of February 4, I was taken to the Soura Institute where I remained for eighteen days. I was given five sessions of dialysis so my kidneys recovered. Since then that terrible experience is always on my mind. When I see a BSF officer, there are no words to express what I feel, because that whole episode — what happened to me — comes to my eyes. I am still very weak. I tire easily. I feel eighty years old.  Torture of E.: E. a government employee from Srinagar, was arrested by the BSF during a crackdown on November 2, 1995.  At 10:00am I went outside with my sister and asked a BSF officer to allow me and my sister to leave so that she could take an exam. She was allowed to go, but I was not. When I returned home, I discovered that the BSF had already searched the house and left. At 11:30 am several dozen BSF soldiers surrounded the house. Six soldiers entered the house and asked for me by name and said they had to conduct a search of the house again because they had specific information that I had connections with some militants. After they searched the house, they ordered me to come with them. They accused me of knowing the hideout locations of militants. I said I did not. Then they said that militants had been coming to my house. I replied that they did come to my house and to other houses-they enter any home at will and there is nothing we can do to stop them. But since January 1995, no militant had entered my house.  The BSF took E. and one of his neighbors to a nearby BSF camp. Outside one of the buildings, he saw five civilians sitting on the lawn with their pherans pulled around their heads. Some of them were moaning as if in pain. E.was taken to a room where six BSF soldiers were waiting. In the room was a chair, some clothes, and a telephone that is used to send electro-magnetic signals. I was told to remain standing. They asked me my name and when I told them, several of them cursed me. One asked me,”Tell me where the militants are.” I said I don’t know. Another said, “They come to your house.” I said yes but not since January 1995. Then one of the officers said, “You will not divulge information, so take off your clothes.” I hesitated. Then one of the officers struck me on the head several times while another kicked me in the back and said, “Take off your clothes.” I took off my clothes. They told me to sit, and I sat on the chair. Then one of them kicked me in the back and said, “You are not an officer here. This chair is for an officer.” Then I sat on the floor with only my undershirt on and they told me to sit in front of the chair and put my hands behind me on the chair. Then one of them sat on my shoulders so that I could not move my head or arms. Another one grabbed my legs and forced them apart at nearly 180 degrees-as far as they would go. I began crying.  The soldiers continued to ask E. for the names of militants, and he replied that he did not know any. While the two soldiers were still holding his legs apart, and the third was still sitting on his shoulders, two others stood on his thighs, causing him great pain in the groin. After two minutes of this, one of the soldiers, an officer, asked, “Why do you want to die? Why don’t you tell us the names?” E. again denied that he knew any. Two other BSF soldiers came into the room, and they were told to “get the telephone.” E. described what happened next:  One soldier then picked up the box and brought it over, and the other pulled two wires out of the box. While the first soldier rotated the crank on the box, the second touched my genitals and thighs with the wires. I cried out. This continued for two or three minutes. Then the officer asked me, “Will you now reveal the names?” I said I don’t know anyone. He asked what connections I had with militancy, and I said none except I am a social worker and a Kashmiri. Militants come into our homes as you do; how can we stop them? Then the officer signaled with his hand to the two soldiers holding the telephone apparatus. They again applied the wires to my thighs and genitals for three or four minutes. I was crying at each shock. After that the officer told them to stop. Throughout this the other five officers continued to sit on me and hold my legs apart. The one sitting on my shoulders was pulling my hair. The officer asked if I was married. I said no, and he said, “We will render you impotent if you do not cooperate.”  The soldiers gave E. electric shocks two more times. The fourth time one of the soldiers placed a green chili on one of the wires, which increased the pain. E. fell unconscious, and when he came to, a soldier told him to stand up and helped him walk around the room. (…) On November 6 he was again taken to Papa II where the soldiers told him he should work for the BSF as an informer. E. refused. That evening, when he was brought back to thebase camp, the Jammu and Kashmir police were called, and he was handed over to them. The police took E. and his neighbor home. Since his torture, E. has suffered numbness in his penis and impotence. Torture of Feroz Ahmed Ganai:  Feroz Ahmed Ganai, a twenty-eight-year-old contractor, was arrested by the BSF on November 29, 1995. On December 12, he was brought to the Bone and Joint Hospital with a gangrenous broken leg and acute renal failure. According to doctors in the emergency ward, Ganai had been brought in by the commander of the BSF 1st Battalion who claimed that Ganai was a militant and that he had broken his leg trying to escape. However, Ganai told the doctors that the BSF had broken his leg on the first day of interrogation. Ganai pleaded with the doctors, “Keep me here-otherwise they will kill me.”  A doctor who examined Ganai stated that his leg had been broken about fourteen days earlier.   It had become gangrenous, with secondary blistering. The leg below the knee was entirely black at the time he was admitted and had to be amputated. The patient had received no medical care for the injury prior to his admission. Both kidneys had failed because of the gangrene and because of the beatings. The patient was in a state of shock; his blood was infected. He had contusions all over his body and face.  It took the BSF three to four hours to arrange for blood transfusions. But the doctors did not use that blood because upon screening it was found to contain sexually-transmitted diseases. Instead they used the hospital’s blood bank and amputated Ganai’s left leg from above the knee. On December 13, he was sent to Soura for kidney treatment.  While Ganai was under treatment at the Bone and Joint Hospital and the Soura Institute, he remained in BSF custody. Since his arrest, no family member or lawyer had been permitted to see him. In response to a petition filed by the family, on December 19, the High Court ordered that the family be permitted visits and that one person nominated by the mother be allowed to sit with him at the hospital. However, the BSF ignored the order.  When Human Rights Watch/Asia visited the Bone and Joint Hospital in January 1996, we observed six uniformed BSF soldiers accompanying Ganai, who was walking on crutches, out of the hospital. We have been unable to obtain any further knowledge of his whereabouts or condition.  In response to a letter from Human Rights Watch/Asia, the National Human Rights Commission requested information from the BSF in Kashmir about Ganai’s case. BSF Commander S. S. Kothiyal responded with a statement claiming that Ganai, who was a “chief of Jamat-ul Mujahideen [a little-known militant group], was arrested on November 29, 1995, and that when he had tried to escape in heavy snow, he broke his leg. Because Ganai “did not observe proper precautions as advised by the doctor and kept on moving his leg” the leg became gangrenous and had to be amputated. The BSF commander also claims that family visits were permitted.  The BSF statement is flatly contradicted by the testimony of doctors who treated Ganai and by the High Court’s December 19 ruling on family visits. According to a statement by the NHRC, as of May 1996, Ganai was in custody at a Joint Interrogation Centre in Srinagar.  Torture of S.:  S., a doctor from Tral, a village about forty kilometers south of Srinagar, was arrested by the BSF and tortured. He told Human Rights Watch/Asia that on May 15, 1995, he was arrested by a local BSF commander, “Jamil Khan,” whoaccused him of treating a militant who had been injured escaping from Charar-e Sharif.  He was taken first to a BSF camp in Tral, and then to Lathpora, a BSF camp in Pulwama district.  I was questioned by Intelligence Officer Sharma for about an hour at midnight and for an hour the next morning. On the morning of May 16, I was taken to the BSF camp at Bunar, still in Pulwama district. The BSF commander questioned me, then he put me into a cell in which there were several basins of water, several ropes, several cricket bats, and some electric equipment. About five BSF soldiers were in the room. They kept me there for one hour. First they made me take off my clothes. Then they forced my head five or six times into a basin of water. Then they covered my head with a plastic bag so that I could not breathe. Then they made me sit down with my knees raised and a rod inserted behind and under them while my hands were tied against my legs.  S. was then sent to the Papa II interrogation center where he was questioned further. He was released at 3:00 pm.  Torture of Mohammad I.:  Mohammad I., a seventeen-year-old student, was arrested by the 163rd Battalion of the BSF in April 1995 from the old town neighborhood of Srinagar. Along with ten others, he was taken to the local interrogation center at Baramulla. He was kept there for three and a half months. He stated:  I was interrogated six days a week, all day, for the entire time. The interrogation room was a small room with no windows, only a door. There were ropes and wooden clubs and wires and a car battery. On the first day, I was separated from the others, my legs were tied and I was beaten with clubs and a wooden stick with nails in it, usually on my legs, but sometimes on my hands. They repeatedly accused him of being a militant. I told them I was not. They also tortured me with the roller. They made me lie with my legs tied while two soldiers rolled the roller over my thighs until I fainted.  One day a soldier extinguished cigarettes into Mohammad’s right hand to form the letter “F,” saying, “You said you wanted freedom.” When Human Rights Watch/Asia interviewed Mohammad I. in January 1996, his right hand was still grossly disfigured from the burns.  Mohammad I. stated that he was given electric shock to his testicles for sixteen days. The shocks were given consecutively, lasting two or three minutes, until he would go into convulsions and faint. After the first three and a half months he was shifted to the Baramulla JIC, where he was not tortured. He was held there until December 20 when the district sessions court in Baramulla ordered him released on bail on the grounds of his medical condition.  Mohammad I. had no medical care while detained. According to a doctor who treated him in Srinagar, he has suffered episodes of manic-depression and needs psychiatric treatment. He has also lost 50 percent mobility in his right hand, passes blood in his urine and has become impotent.”[118]

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “Suicide does occur. However, ACHR’s examination of a number cases suggests that the causes of death are often cause for concern, particularly over regular allegation, by the family of the use of torture; torture that either impacted on the victims actions or resulted in death that was subsequently covered up. This is supported by the rulings of the Courts and the directives of the NHRC. The issue is the failure of the State to act.  ACHR investigated the alleged suicide of Mr Rohtas Singh, son of Pratap Singh of Banchari village of Hodal sub-division in Faridabad district of Haryana on 17 April 2007 within hours of his arrest. ACHR conducted an on-the-spot investigation and found compelling evidence to suggest that the victim died as a result of torture. The police claimed that the victim committed suicide with a quilt cover. The question as to where the quilt cover came from during early summer was not answered. Nor were the injuries to various parts of body of the deceased, most obviously, on the chest and legs explained. Nor was the bleeding through ear and nose explained. The Post Mortem Report (PMR) recorded that the ante-mortem injuries were “caused by blunt force“. The PMR recorded “death by hanging” but it failed to indicate whether it was a case of suicide or homicide.[119]

 

Supreme Court of India (AIR 1981 SC 625): “Nothing is more cowardly and unconscionable than a person in police custody being beaten up and nothing inflicts a deeper wound on our constitutional culture than a State of Official running berserk regardless of human rights. Article 21, with its profound concern for life and limb, will become dysfunctional unless the agencies of the law in police and prison establishments have sympathy for the humanist creed of that article instead of a rough treatment by police for getting information or confession.[120]

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights: “India refuses to cooperate with the United Nations. In May 2007, the Special Rappoprteur on Torture renewed its request pending since 1993 to visit the country.  India has the dubious distinction of holding the record for refusing an invitation to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, which it has refused since 1993. Pakistan (1997), Nepal (September 2005), China (November 2005) and Sri Lanka (2007) have all invited the Special Rapporteur. India signed the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) on 14 October 1997. The government of India stated “ratification of the Convention is to follow”. Ten years have passed since the signing of the Convention. Nepal and Sri Lanka have already ratified the CAT.  In its 2004-2005 Annual Report, the NHRC reported that the Ministry of Home Affairs informed the NHRC that Inter-Ministerial Group consisting of the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Law and Justice on the question of early ratification of the CAT had been established.  To date no recommendation has been made public.”[121]

 

 

 

 

Evidence 8: Kidnapping and Enforced Disappearance

 

Independent People’s Tribunal: “Enforced disappearances in Kashmir started in 1989, following the outbreak of armed conflict. The state has seen heavy deployment of security forces (more than 600,000—the highest number of army personnel during peacetime anywhere in the world) since. In international human rights law, disappearances at the hands of the State have been codified as enforced or forced disappearances. The Rome statute establishing the International Criminal Court defines enforced disappearance as a crime against humanity. However, the police do not entertain missing reports with regard to these persons. Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), an organization founded by concerned persons in Kashmir, has been demanding the whereabouts of people who have been subjected to enforced custodial disappearance by various security agencies, troops and police – mostly since the breakout of armed rebellion from 1988. Even though the Association continues to highlight their sufferings and their demands, their genuine pleas and grievances are yet to strike the conscience of the so-called elected representatives of people. According to the International Convention on Enforced Disappearances, no exceptional circumstances whatsoever – whether a state of war, a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency – may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance, and the state is under the obligation to investigate acts of enforced disappearance. (…) One other impact of militarization and arbitrary detention is large scale custodial deaths, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances. We have the testimony of M/s Parveena Ahangar, who is the Chairperson of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), which clearly establishes that from about 1989, about 8-10,000 persons have just disappeared. Many of them were killed while in custody of the army or the security men. One Rashid Billa (SDPO) at Sowa is reported to have killed over 512 persons extrajudicially.  Whenever and wherever the next of Kin went to the police stations or army camps to enquire, or to claim the bodies, they were either threatened or tortured. Some had to pay bribes to get information.  What is important is that there has been no proper investigation to apprehend the culprits and to punish them.  (…) The UN General Assembly in 2006 has unanimously adopted the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances. Earlier, there was the UN Declaration to the above effect (December 1992). Article 2 of the Declaration says that, “the prohibition” of “disappearances” is absolute and no state can find an excuse. Article 7 says, “no circumstances, whether a threat of war, internal political instability, or any other public emergency may be invoked to justify” these acts of violation. Hence, it is not open to the state to resort to enforced disappearances that would include all custodial deaths on the ground of any threat to internal security or external safety and stability. It is here the state’s liability becomes absolute, and we should have no hesitation in making these observations.”[122]

 

Testimony of Azra Begum: “My son, Mushtaq Ahmad Dar, used to ply a three-wheeler during the day and during the night he would work as a baker at his aunt’s bakery shop in Tengpora. On midnight of 20th April 1997, while we were all sleeping, 20 Grenadiers of the army raided our house. But my son was at the bakery shop, which is at some distance from our house, for an overnight stay. But as the army personnel were looking for him, my other son went to call him and brought him home. While he was on his way to home, all of us were locked in one room of our house and he was kept in another room. I recognized him by his coughing. Soon after we were kept in the separate rooms, the army personnel started interrogating him and by way of coercion, were forcing him to admit that he was in possession of arms and was a militant. Interrogation was conducted till 4 am in the morning. After that, the same army men apprehended him. When I tried to locate the whereabouts of my son, I came to know that the officers who were involved in my son’s apprehension were Mr. Nazar Mohammad and Mr. Sharma of the 20 Grenadiers of army battalion. Later I was asked to get in touch with Mr. Nazar Mohammad since he was the person concerned. When I met him he assured me that he would help me in finding the whereabouts of my son. However, the army officer, namely Mr. Sharma, denied that he had apprehended my son. I visited every detention centre, from Pattan to Nihalpur to Kangan, whenever I got any news regarding my son. I even registered an FIR the same day that my son was detained and was taken to Parimpora Police Station. When my search bore no results about the whereabouts of my son, I filed a writ petition in the high court that is still subjudice. I have also registered a case at SHRC that is yet to be disposed off. I am not here for money, I don’t want any monetarily compensation; but I want justice for my son who disappeared and for my own self.”[123]

 

Testimony of Aijaz Ahmad Kakroo: “On 12th of September 1990 at 4 am, my father, Ghulam Hassan Kakroo, was apprehended by the 7th Sikh Regiment of Indian army. Subsequent to his detention, I lodged an FIR in the police station at Bijbehara Uri District.  After lodging the FIR, I started to find the whereabouts of my father. The SHO of the police station at BijhamaUri, namely Kishen Singh Bali, accompanied me to the camp of 7th Sikh Regiment of Indian Army – the same battalion that had apprehended my father. Also, it was said that my father was present in the camp. He also informed that army personnel beat up my father. The officer assured me that my father would be released in the evening. But after three-four days, I realized that it was a delaying tactic and nothing else.  District Magistrate Baramulla conducted an inquiry where a committee was constituted for conducting and inquiring into the whereabouts of Ghulam Hassan Kakroo who is missing since 1993.  As per one of the reports received from the army, it was revealed that Ghulam Hassan Kakroo was not involved in any subversion/terrorismrelated activities, and hence the case was recommended for exgratia relief. As per the report received from the Tehsildar, Uri, Ghulam Hassan Kakroo is missing since 12.09.1990.”[124]

 

Testimony of Halima: “My husband Abdul Rashid Ganie was a farmer and I come from Kupwara. On 5th of January 1998 at 7 pm, the BSF 131 Battalion that was accompanied by SHO Kupwara, namely Yousuf Band, apprehended my husband. The army personnel (BSF) had come in a big one-ton vehicle and a small gypsy. My husband was 29-30 years old.  There were nearly 100 army personnel surrounding him. He pleaded to them that he wanted to talk to her wife but due to the presence of so many personnel, he couldn’t talk to me.  The next morning, when I set to locate the whereabouts of my husband, I met the DSP. But the DSP denied having the custody of my husband. Then I approached the commanding officer of the army battalion through SHO Handwara the same SHO who was accompanying the army personnel when they had apprehended my husband. But the commanding officer denied the detention of my husband. Then I tried to lodge an FIR, but SHO Handwara said that he can’t file an FIR regarding my husband’s case for the next three days. In order to file the FIR, the SHO demanded bribe from me that was finally settled at Rs.15000. In order to pay the bribe sum, I had to sell my property. I have been verbally abused by many police officers while I was running from pillar to post in order to find the whereabouts of my husband.  I went to the home minister’s office but even that bore no fruits. I even approached the then Forest Minister Muhammad Ramzan, who called on the SHO Handwara regarding my husband’s case. SHO Handwara agreed that I will be provided a meeting with my husband. But the forest minister went to Jammu, and then the SHO never followed up the case. Since then I don’t know the whereabouts of my husband.”[125]

 

Testimony of Rahti Begum: “I have four children and Mehrajudin Dar was my only son. In the intervening night of 19th -20th of April 1997, my three daughters, my husband and my son were all sleeping in our house when army personnel suddenly broke open the door and entered forcibly into our house. I along with my husband and daughter were locked up in one room and army men apprehended my son. My son was screaming that he is being taken away by the army and was asking for help. After they took him away, we immediately went to Boats Colony and to all the nearby army camps in order to find the whereabouts of my son. But all our efforts bore no fruit.  I have paid saffron and almonds worth Rs.50000 in bribe to the army officer concerned. But till date we have received no information or clue regarding my son.  My son was married and has two children. He was a shopkeeper. Presently I am sustaining his wife and the two children.  At least I want to perform his last rites. I want to mourn over his death properly. The case of my son’s disappearance is subjudice in the high court, but we have lost hope and hence have not pursued it, we are very disillusioned.”[126]

 

Testimony of Khatija Begum: “It has been more than 10 years now. My two sons were working in Nepal in a leather factory. On 28th of August 2000, they were arrested in Nepal along with 27 other Kashmiris. Many of the arrested Kashmiri boys were later on released but my two sons were not among them.  When we came to know about the release of some of the Kashmiri boys, we immediately met them with the hope that they may be able to give us some information about our sons. They told us that both of our sons have been transferred to a jail in India. We left for Delhi the very next day and travelled even to Jodhpur in order to locate the whereabouts of our children, but to no avail. No state authority has informed us anything about the detention of our son. We have lodged an FIR in two police stations, namely police stations at Zaina Kadal and Shaheed Ganj. We have also filed a habeas corpus case in the high court that is still subjudice. We have also filed our complaint at both the National Humans Rights Commission and the States Human Rights Commission.  My complaint has not yet been disposed off in either of the Commissions. I went from pillar to post in government offices in order to locate my sons. Bipon Kishore, Under Secretary to Government, Home Department, directed the Additional Director General of Police to take up my matter with his counterparts in Rajasthan. I also received a letter by Special Secretary to Chief Minister Naeem Akhtar, written to Financial Commissioner, Home Department of India, whereby they were asked to make all possible efforts to locate my two sons. Again I approached the Agriculture Minister of J&K, Abdul Aziz Zargar, and briefed him about the situation. The minister sent a letter to the then Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, urging him to make personal efforts to trace the whereabouts of the missing youth. Despite so many official letters, we have not received any information regarding our missing sons.”[127]

 

Testimony of Lal Sheikh: “The army battalion headed by Major Mishra apprehended my son-in-law. When I approached the detaining authorities, I was assured that my son-in-law will be released within the coming days. But nothing happened. Instead, we faced repeated threats from the army not to register any FIR. Due to threats, we did not register any FIR. We did not dare to move even to the court of law due to constant threats.”[128]

 

Testimony of Bhakhti Begum: “I got my son married and it was on the eighth day of his marriage that we, along with my son and daughter-in-law, were supposed to go towards Baramulla. While we had boarded the bus and were still at the bus stand, some ikwanis entered the bus. (Ikwanis are the counter-insurgency force that comprises of surrendered militants) Major Bhattacharya, an army major from 28 regiment of Rashtriya Rifles force, accompanied the ikwanis. Two ikwanis, namely Qayum and Ghulam Ahmed Malik (alias Jehangir), came to us while we were in the bus and the person named Jehangir, caught hold of my son and asked him to get down from the bus. They also broke a bottle of alcohol, whose shards hurt me badly. This incident took place at the Tragpora crossing in Baramulla district. My son was apprehended on 22nd of December 2001. He was taken to an army camp. When I sought reason, they told me that they would let him go after interrogating him.  The next day I went to the army camp in order to seek the release of my son. But his release was denied. Then on the third day, an ikwani came to my house. He threatened me not to register an FIR in a police station or else my son will lose his life. The following day I went to the police station where Mr. Khurshid khan was SSP Baramulla. I approached MLA Rafiabad while he was addressing a public gathering in that area. I then went to the minister’s dak bungalow where  the counter insurgent Qayoom was also called upon.  After a month and a half when my son was apprehended, an ikwani namely Qayoom dropped at my house at midnight and physically assaulted me. I was hospitalized for four days. I lodged an FIR in the police station at Sopore regarding my son’s disappearance. After that incident, I met Major Bhattacharya and asked him to release my son. He threatened to shoot me if I continued asking for my son’s release. Later, ikwani Qayoom came to our house and threatened us not to follow the legal proceedings, he even offered us one lakh rupees. But we did not withdraw the FIR. We have filed a habeas corpus petition in the high court, which got transferred to the

District Court Baramulla, and the Principal District Judge at Baramulla was directed to conduct an inquiry regarding the matter and furnish his report within three months. The case is subjudice in the district court for past four years now. We have refused the compensation that was offered to us. Because we don’t want money. Many years have passed since the victim disappeared. The counter insurgents (ikwanis), namely Qayum and Ghulam Ahmed Malik (alias Jehangir) who were accompanying Major Bhattacharya while my son was apprehended, are presently in jail at Baramulla. The victim’s wife remarried, she has been married for two years now. The family has been threatened again, only 20 days ago, by the counter insurgent’s brother to withdraw the case.”[129]

 

Testimony of Ali Mohd Sheikh: “My son was working as a salesman in a shop near Lal Chowk. He was out for routine work, but when he did not return that evening, we went to search for him. Inquiries at different places revealed that our son had been apprehended near the bypass area by the army. This incident took place on 30th of March 1997. The area from where my son was apprehended is under 20 battalion of Indian army. The case is still subjudice.”[130]

 

Testimony of Abdul Rashid Beigh: “My son, namely Fayaz Ahmad Beig, was working as a photographer in the Department of Central Asian Studies at the University of Kashmir. He was arrested during his duty hours by H.R. Parrihar, SP, STF at Awantipora on 06.09.97, and was taken to some unknown destination along with his motorcycle. When my son didn’t return back, I set to locate his whereabouts. I approached STF and SOG officials through SP operation Awantipora, who, after taking lot of time, admitted my son’s detention. But my efforts brought no results. I haven’t seen my son till date. The STF agency concocted a baseless story that my son had escaped from custody.  The SHO Soura, namely Abdul Rashid Khan (alias Rashid Billa), is hand in glove with the criminals. He has given a legal cover to my son’s disappearance and has created false evidence by registering a false case against him. I approached the then Home Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar to seek his help in order to locate my son. He ordered a CID inquiry. The IG (CID) submitted its report stating that Fayaz Ahmad Beig was arrested from the university campus and the story put forth by STF was proved false. I approached the SHRC and registered a complaint in December 1997. The complaint was disposed of on 03.04.2000. SHRC in its order rejected the STF/ police story of Fayez Ahmad’s escape from custody as ridiculous and recommended a compensation of Rupees five lakh. The SHRC also directed the registration of a criminal case against SP Parihar and his subordinates. Unfortunately, the then state government did not pay any heed to the recommendations of SHRC and left the case virtually unattended for years together. In the meanwhile we also filed a habeas corpus petition in the high court, wherein we prayed to show the case of detention of my son and the authority and law under which my son was detained. However, we were made to withdraw the writ petition on the ground that the case was already pending with the State Human Rights Commission.  Later on, in order to get the recommendations of SHRC implemented, I filed a writ petition in the high court. The hon’ble high court in subsequent decision upheld the recommendation of SHRC and directed the state government to execute the recommendations given by SHRC. It is painful to note that the government has slept over the matter and shown no response even to the high court’s decision. In January 2004, the Home Department and SP (operation) H.R. Parihar filed an appeal against the order passed by the high court in the divison bench, Srinagar on admission of LPA16. The Hon’ble Chief Justice directed the trial court to pass an appropriate order in session of challan. On our application, the trial court Srinagar passed an order on 12.12.2007 that the criminal proceedings cannot be started against a dead person, therefore, challan has been consigned to records after due compliance. The case is still pending before the division bench.”[131]

 

Mir Hafizullah, Legal Advisor, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP): “My name is Mir Hafizullah and I am a legal advisor to the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons formed by Praveen ji. I hope that these kinds of tribunals when set up should be able to discharge their duty well. I completely fail in understanding why Jaleel Andrabi’s case was not handed over to the CBI. His murderer is till date living in open in California and the Indian Government has till date not been able to do anything about it.  Srinagar has the largest number of disappearance cases and extrajudicial killings. The Government of India is not taking any initiative for the inquiry or seting up of a commission to look into disappearances cases in Kashmir, which is the greatest issue in Jammu & Kashmir.  The incidents are not isolated and the policy is institutionalized. It’s under the guise of draconian laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Disturbed Areas Act and Public Safety Act that army in Kashmir is enjoying power without any accountability and suspicion forms enough grounds to execute those powers. The state government has no mandate to hold an inquiry or probe in any matter that is headed by central government and is carried out by its armed forces. Though an inquiry commission could be set up under the constitution of the union government, the Prime Minister and the Home Minister of India claim that the level of violence has decreased. Also there was an emphasis made that there will be zero tolerance for any human rights violation. But last month alone we had six extra judicial killings, which included two minor students in Kashmir.”[132]

 

Parveena Ahangar, Chairperson, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP): “The State has an indifferent attitude towards tracing the persons who have disappeared. Between 1989 and today nearly 8-10,000 persons have disappeared. In most of the cases, the military take away the common people by force and they never come back.”[133]

 

Human Rights Watch/Asia: “Disappearances have been on the rise in Kashmir. Disappearances are facilitated by the fact that the security forces routinely disregard laws requiring detainees to be produced in court. According to the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association, of the one hundred or more persons arrested every day in Kashmir, none is produced before a magistrate within twenty-four hours, as required by law — despite the fact that, in late 1993, Minister for Internal Security Rajesh Pilot issued a directive to all security forces in Kashmir, calling on them to obey the law.  Disappearances are further facilitated by the fact that detainees are held in secret detention centers, without access to lawyers or family. According to the Bar Association, of the several thousand habeas corpus petitions pending in the High Court as of June 1994, the courts have responded to fewer than one percent. The security forces frequently claim that detainees who have been reported as disappeared escaped from custody or were released. The security forces have also intimidated magistrates and judges to insure that investigations are not carried out. On April 19, 1994, Abdul Rashid Lone, a Judicial Magistrate in Sumbal Sonawari Baramulla, who had been appointed to investigate the death in custody of a Gujjar man from Wangath Kangan, was threatened by army officials who forced him to record the statement of a man, Mohammad Yousef Parray, who had been compelled to testify that the Gujjar man had been released. The police have registered a FIR against the army in the case, but no action has been taken.  On February 24, 1994, Farooq Ahmad Rather, a resident of Nowshera Tehsil, Bijbehara, was arrested by a patrol party of the army Rashtriya Rifles as he was walking to the village of Kute to visit a relative. The security forces have not disclosed his whereabouts. On April 6, 1994, the Bijbehara police registered FIR 40/94 against the army.  On October 15, 1993, Nazir Ahmad Sofi, a resident of Mahand, was arrested during a crackdown. The security forces have not disclosed his whereabouts.  Bashir Ahmad  Sheikh, a resident of Bandipora, was arrested at Chati Bandipora in the third week of March 1994. The security forces have not disclosed his whereabouts.  Mushtaq Ahmad Genaie, resident of Sozan Dialgam, was arrested on March 3, 1994. His relatives have approached the authorities, but have not been told his whereabouts.  Mohammad Maqbool Sheikh, a resident of Nowgam Handwara, was arrested by the 108th battalion of the BSF on August 9, 1993, and was then reportedly handed over to the Army. His family approached the authorities but has been unable to obtain any information about his whereabouts. The police register dated August 12, 1993 notes that Sheikh was released in the presence of Constable Ali Mohammad and Constable Abdul Rehman. On December 8, 1993, in response to a petition from the bar association to the divisional magistrate, the superintendent of police directed the station house officer, in letter no. SR/93/24/10/87-88, to file a report about the arrest. The divisional magistrate then ordered the superintendent to conduct an inquiry. The report was filed on February 22, 1994, but when the police failed to carry out an investigation, Sheikh’s family filed a writ in the High Court in Srinagar, no. 458/94, which was listed before Justice Rizvi on May 26, 1994. The state was given three weeks to respond. At the time this report went to print, the security forces had still not disclosed Sheikh’s whereabouts nor produced him in court.  Abdul Rashid, an employee of Uri Civil Project [a development project] and a retired army soldier, was arrested by the 152nd battalion of the BSF on May 18, 1994. On May 20, the BSF reported to the local police that Rashid had “escaped from custody.” Rashid has not been seen since then.  Shuqat Ahmad, a resident of Batawara, Srinagar, was arrested at his shop in the first week of May, 1994. His family members have reported that he was earlier threatened by one officer who had demanded that Ahmad allow him to take goods from the shop without paying for them. Ahmad’s family has been unable to discover his whereabouts since his arrest.  Sonaullah, a fifty-year-old resident of Bijbehara, was arrested on May 12, 1994. Despite appeals from Sonaullah’s family, the authorities have not disclosed his whereabouts. Neighbors have organized protests to demand his release.  Hemayun Azad, a resident of Raj Bagh, was arrested in the month of February 1993 by the 137th battalion of the BSF, while traveling in a car with the registration Number 4748/JKQ. Arrested with him were two other men, Bashir Ahmed and Basharat Bhat. Although the BSF filed a FIR stating that Azad had been arrested, but later “escaped,” the state administration later denied the arrest had ever occurred. A number of habeas corpus petitions were filed on his behalf before the High Court, which were listed for a hearing on June 3, 1994. In the original FIR, the Commandant of the 137th battalion of the BSF, M.B. Suberwal, admitted that Azad had been arrested, but the arrest was denied by then Director General of Police (DGP) B.S. Bedi. Since then, the current DGP, M.N. Suberwal, has also filed an affidavit denying the arrest.  In his affidavit, Commandant M. B. Suberwal stated that Azad had been taken to Jammu where he claimed that the vehicles of the security forces had gotten stuck marshy land and Azad had escaped. He claimed that a report was filed in the local police station, and after that, all the police stations of Jammu were informed about the escape.  The court has called on the state administration and central government to resolve the contradictions in the DGP and BSF versions of the incident.  The two other men arrested with Azad, Bashir Ahmed and Basharat Bhat, remain in detention.  Jalla Banno told human rights monitors in Kashmir about the disappearance of her son, Mustaq Ahmed Lala, an eighteen-year-old carpet weaver who lived in Arm Masjid, Khanyar, Srinagar.  On September 16, 1993, the 22nd battalion of the BSF arrested my son along with three others at the residence of Mohamed Ayoub Kadri in Makhdoom Sahib, Kanhiar. I have made several requests to see my son. I have requested Mr. Zaki [advisor to Governor Rao], the Home Secretary, Mahmoud Rahman, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Suberwal, and Saklani [cabinet advisor to Governor Rao]. I have been told that my son was taken to the Badami military hospital after he was interrogated. Mr. Saklani told me I could see my son, and Mr. Palat from internal security also told me I could see him, but the authorities at the hospital refused to let me in. Then I filed a petition before the High Court. The High Court ordered that I be allowed to see him, but when I presented the paper to the hospital authorities, they again refused to allow me in.  On March 22, 1994, the Khamar police station received an application from the 22nd battalion of the BSF concerning Mustaq Lala (S.N./94/T-3/340-44), but refused to give the information to his family. Two of the other men arrested with Mustaq have been released. One other man arrested was Younus Pindoo, who remained at the Rangrath interrogation center as of June 1994.”[134]

 

Human Rights Watch:“Disappearances” occur when people are taken into custody and authorities then deny all responsibility or knowledge of their fate or whereabouts.  There have been so many “disappearances” in Kashmir that there is now a term for women with missing husbands: they are called “half widows.” (…) Since the beginning of the insurgency, thousands of Kashmiris have gone missing. (…) But as Human Rights Watch has reported in the past, “enforced disappearance” by troops has been widespread since the early years of the conflict. (…)In Jammu and Kashmir, the “disappeared” are often initially held in army or paramilitary camp or in interrogation centers run by police specially deployed in counter-insurgency operations, making it virtually impossible for relatives and lawyers to locate or gain access to them.  When a person goes missing, relatives often go to the camps of the security forces––the army and paramilitaries based in Jammu and Kashmir––to search for the missing person. If the person is not released or is not produced before a magistrate, relatives go to the police to report that the person is missing. They also often go to the courts for a writ of habeas corpus to be issued ordering the authorities to produce the person in court. In most cases the army or other security forces claim that they do not have the person in their custody.  Efforts of Chief Minister Sayeed to confront the problem of disappearances, along with the determined efforts of the Srinigar-based Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and others in civil society, appear to be making a difference. According to the APDP, the number of new enforced disappearances dropped from eighty-one in 2003 to forty-one in 2004 to eighteen in 2005. But, crucially, thousands of cases remain unresolved. According to APDP, at least eight thousand people have “disappeared” since the insurgency began.  In February 2003, the Sayeed government told the state legislative assembly that 3,744 persons had gone missing in Jammu and Kashmir in the period 2000-2002 alone. (…) “Disappearance” of Manzoor Ahmed Mir, Awantipora, September 12, 2004:  At approximately 9 p.m. on September 12, 2004, Manzoor Ahmed Mir, a thirty-seven-year-old state government employee, had just finished dinner when there was a knock on the door. His house was surrounded by security forces. Most of the men were in uniform, but there were also three masked men in civilian clothes. According to Mohammad Akbar Mir, Manzoor Ahmed’s brother, The soldiers said that they wanted to search the house. We were told to wait outside with some of the soldiers. Others went into the house. They asked my brother to come into the house with them while they searched. After some time, the soldiers left. We went inside and realized that my brother was missing. They had taken him away. We ran outside and told the soldiers who were still walking out to the road that my brother was gone. But they refused to listen.  The next day the family went to the police station to lodge a complaint. Mohammad Akbar was later informed by Sheikh Mohammad, the local police chief, that Manzoor Ahmed was alive and would be released soon. But he never returned. Mohammad Akbar says that a month later Sheikh Mohammad was transferred from the area and the police stopped taking an interest in the case.  The family was particularly concerned because Manzoor Ahmed had recently quarreled with one of his neighbors, a police sub-inspector. The police sub-inspector had allegedly threatened Manzoor Ahmed. A few days before he was taken away, approximately eight to ten masked gunmen had barged into Manzoor Ahmed’s house. When the women started screaming for help, the gunmen ran away. Manzoor Ahmed then filed a police complaint against the sub-inspector. (When Human Rights Watch tried to contact the sub-inspector, we were told he was not at home.)  Mohammad Akbar insists that he recognized the three masked men who came with the soldiers. He claims that they had been to the house earlier with the armed gunmen and believes them to be the police sub-inspector and his two sons. “These people are our neighbors. I’ve known them for years. They may have covered their faces, but I could still recognize them.”   In April 2005, Manzoor Ahmed’s family filed a habeas corpus petition in the Srinagar High Court. According to their lawyer, the sub-inspector and his sons were named in the petition and filed a response claiming that they knew nothing about Manzoor Ahmed’s “disappearance.” The police and the army have not responded. The final chance to respond to the petition lapsed in February 2006.  (…) “Disappearance” of Bashir Ahmad Sofi, June 2003:  On June 17, 2003, paramilitary forces, some in plainclothes and others in uniform, arrived at the home of Bashir Ahmad Sofi in Srinagar at around 1:30 a.m. Bashir Ahmad, who often traveled to other Indian cities to sell shawls, was woken up and told that he was wanted for questioning. The soldiers told his family that he would be released in the morning. Hamida Sofi, Bashir Ahmad’s sister, says that it was the Border Security Forces who took her brother: “I saw the BSF insignia on the uniform.”  When he failed to return, Bashir Ahmad’s relatives filed a police complaint. A week later a police officer named Jala told the family that Bashir Ahmad had been detained by the 61st Battalion of the BSF. However, when Bashir Ahmad’s sisters went to the BSF camp, they were told that Bashir Ahmad was not in their custody.  The same police officer later told the family that the BSF had denied detaining Bashir Ahmad, or holding any operation in the area on that date. Hamida Sofi said that the police had initially promised that her brother would be home soon. “But later, they said they have checked everywhere and no one knows where he is. They also said that the battalion that was posted in the area at that time has since moved to the border.”  A few months later, a man released from police custody came to meet the family. He said that he had met Bashir Ahmad while they were in custody at a Special Operations Group (SOG) detention center in Srinagar. When the family went to the police with the information, officials demanded to meet the man who had brought them this news. He refused, fearing retaliation. Bashir Ahmad’s family appealed to the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), which recommended cash compensation. Bashir Ahmad’s relatives say they do not want money. Said Hamida Sofi: “They offered me compensation and a job. I said give me my brother instead.”  The family does not want to file a habeas corpus petition. “We are four girls and we have to look after our old parents and grandmother. Who will go running to court?”  “Disappearance” of Mohammad Hussain Ashraf, May 24, 2003:  At age sixteen, Mohammad Hussain Ashraf was already working as a carpet weaver to support his family in Srinagar. After visiting a relative called Ali Mohammad Bhat in Pulwama on May 24, 2003, he started walking to the bus station for the trip home. Close to the bus stop was a garage where some men from the 7th Rashtriya Rifles were getting their jeep fixed. Eyewitnesses later told the family that when he saw the soldiers, Mohammad Hussain started to run away. He was immediately stopped and interrogated. Two mechanics working at the garage, Yasin Mohammad Malik and Shabir Ahmed Bhat, intervened, telling the soldiers that Mohammad Hussain was young and must have been scared when he saw men in uniform. But the soldiers insisted that he had acted suspiciously and asked Mohammad Hussain to take them to the house where he had come from. They searched Ali Mohammad’s house but did not find anything. Nevertheless, according to Ali Mohammad, the soldiers took Mohammad Hussain away. Ali Mohammad, Yasin Mohammad Malik, and Shabir Ahmed Bhat later testified to the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) that they saw the army take Mohammad Hussain into custody. They took down the vehicle registration number, 98B-065366, and later gave it to the police and SHRC.  When Kharzi Begum, Mohammad Hussain’s mother, heard about the detention, she rushed to the Khrew camp where the 7th Rashtriya Rifles is based. She was told that Mohammad Hussain would be released soon. When she returned, however, she was not allowed to speak to any officials. On June 5, 2003, the family filed a police complaint. On June 7, when she went back to the Khrew camp looking for her son, Kharzi Begum was told that her son had already been released. But as of February 2006 Mohammad Hussain has not come home. Khazri Begum said she went back to the 7th Rashtriya Rifles camp and to the police several times, but they didn’t do anything to help: At the Rashtriya Rifles camp, they would not even allow me to enter. And when I went to the police, they say they cannot do anything because the army says that my son has already been released. Where is he then?  “Disappearance” of Abdul Rashid Hajam, Dangerpora, Baramulla, November 16, 2002:  On the morning of November 16, 2002, Abdul Rashid Hajam went to work at his apple orchard in Baramulla. He has not returned since. According to his wife, Safiqa Bano: Two of our neighbors saw an army jeep and an army truck stop near the orchard. They saw some soldiers call him to talk to them. The orchard is fenced with barbed wire, but they asked him to crawl under it and come to the road. They talked for a bit and then he walked over to the jeep. The man in the jeep pointed to the truck. After he got in, they pulled down the canvas curtain at the back of the truck and they drove away. (…) Soon after Abdul Rashid “disappeared,” local villagers protested, blocking traffic on the National Highway. One army officer, Maj. Vishal Dhobi of the 29th Rashtriya Rifles from the Chaksari camp, met with the family and promised to try and locate Abdul Rashid. He failed (…) The family received neither compensation nor any news of Abdul Rashid. The family appealed to the State Human Rights Commission. The police, in response to a notice from the SHRC, said that, “During our investigations all security forces units operating in the area were approached…. But no clue was struck.”As of February 2006, Abdul Rashid was still missing.”[135]

 

[1] Indian People’s Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights, Kashipur: An Enquiry into Mining and Human Rights Violations in Kashipur, Orissa

[2] Bhagban Majhi, Kashipur: An Enquiry into Mining and Human Rights Violations in Kashipur, Orissa – Report of the Indian People’s Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights

[3] M Y Naqash, Senior Leader, All party Hurriyat Conference, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[4] Prof. Hameeda Nayeem, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[5] Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[6] International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir, Buried Evidence: Unknown, Unmarked, and Mass Graves in Indian-administered Kashmir

[7] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2008: A State of Denial

[8] International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM), Indian Council of South America (CISA), Indigenous Peoples and Nations Coalition (IPNC), International Council for Human Rights (ICHR), International Educational Development, Association of Humanitarian Lawyers, International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), Shadow report for the Universal Periodic Review of India 2012

[9] Amnesty International, India: Summary of human rights concerns in Jammu and Kashmir

[10] Human Rights Watch, “Everyone Lives in Fear”: Patterns of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir

[11] Asia Watch (A Division of Human Rights Watch) & Physicians for Human Rights, The Human Rights Crisis in Kashmir: A Pattern of Impunity

[12] https://ewn.co.za/2018/07/10/npa-to-investigate-india-s-narendra-modi-for-alleged-human-rights-violations , NPA to investigate Narendra Modi for alleged human rights violations

[13] The Guardian, Indian PM Modi summoned to answer human rights lawsuit in New York  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/26/indian-pm-narendra-modi-new-york-human-rights-abuses

[14] The Guardian, India army chief defends soldiers who tied man to vehicle and used him as a human shield  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/29/india-army-chief-kashmir-protests-man-tied-to-vehicle

 

[15] The Guardian, India’s crackdown in Kashmir: is this the world’s first mass blinding? https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/08/india-crackdown-in-kashmir-is-this-worlds-first-mass-blinding

[16] Stephanie Nebehay (Reuters),  U.N. calls for inquiry into human rights violations in Kashmir  https://www.reuters.com/article/india-kashmir-pakistan-un/u-n-calls-for-inquiry-into-human-rights-violations-in-kashmir-idUSL8N1TF6AO

[17] Kashmirwatch.com, http://kashmirwatch.com/india-must-stop-human-right-violations-and-crimes-against-humanity-in-iok-sardar-masood-khan/

[18] Amrit Wilson (The Guardian), https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/12/indian-forces-kashmir-accused-human-rights-abuses-coverup

[19] Zamir Akram, Genocide in Kashmir  https://tribune.com.pk/story/1476068/genocide-in-kashmir/

[20] Reuters, India revises Kashmir death toll to 47.000  https://in.reuters.com/article/idINIndia-36624520081121

[21] US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor 2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices Report April 8, 2011 http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/index.htm

 

[22] Human Rights Watch, India’s Secret Army in Kashmir: New Patterns of Abuse Emerge in the Conflict  https://www.hrw.org/reports/1996/India2.htm

[23] Fortify Rights,  India: Protect Rohingya Refugees, Prevent Forced Returns

[24] Article 3 of the U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

[25] Rohingya refugee man, India: Protect Rohingya Refugees, Prevent Forced Returns

[26] Dr. Hla Kyaw, Chairman of the European Rohingya Council, Letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi  http://www.theerc.net/2017/08/letter-to-prime-minister-narendra-modi.html

[27] Matthew Smith (Fortify Rights), India: Protect Rohingya Refugees, Prevent Forced Returns

[28] Fortify Rights, India: Protect Rohingya Refugees, Prevent Forced Returns

[29] International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian Administered Kashmir, Buried Evidence: Unknown, Unmarked and Mass Graves in Indian-administered Kashmir

[30] Shujaat Bukhari (thehindu.com), https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Mass-graves-found-in-North-Kashmir-containing-2900-unmarked-bodies/article16851202.ece

[31] The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/jul/09/mass-graves-of-kashmir

[32] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Naxal Conflict in 2006

[33] Amnesty International Report 2011: The State of the World’s Human Rights; 2011, p. 169.

[34] UNHRC Report on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution in India (26 April 2013)

[35] Indian People’s Tribunal on Environment & Human Rights, The Sixth Indian People’s Tribunal Report – October 1997 – WOUNDED VALLEY… SHATTERED SOULS Women’s Fact Finding Commission Probing into Army Atrocities onWomen and Children in Kashmir

[36] Independent People’s Tribunal, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[37] Testimony of Gh Qadir Pandit’s brother, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[38] Testimony of Saleema Begum, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[39] Testimony of Zaina Begum, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[40] Testimony of Hajra Begum, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[41] Testimony of Mir Hafizulla (legal advisor to the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons),

[42] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Nobody’s children: Juveniles of Conflict Affected Districts of India

[43] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2008: A State of Denial

[44] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2009

[45] Asian Centre for Human Rights, ACHR’s Actions Against Torture and other Forms of Human Rights Violations in India

[46] Human Rights Watch/Asia, Continuing Repression in Kashmir: Abuses Rise as International Pressure on India Eases

[47] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,  Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Kashmir: Developments in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir from June 2016 to April 2018, and General Human Rights Concerns in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan

[48] Human Rights Watch, “Bound by Brotherhood”: India’s Failure to End Killings in Police Custody

[49] Human Rights Watch, “Bound by Brotherhood”: India’s Failure to End Killings in Police Custody

[50] Human Rights Watch, Everyone Lives in Fear: Patterns of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir

[51] Arif Shafi Wani, https://m.greaterkashmir.com/news/kashmir/hawal-massacre-anniversary-it-was-hell-saw-paramilitary-men-firing-with-machine-guns-on-civilians/186931.html

 

[52] Shahid Rafiq, https://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/kashmir/1994-kupwara-massacre-27-civilians-shot-dead-for-observing-shutdown-on-jan-26/207913.html

[53] Arif Shafi Wani, https://www.greaterkashmir.com/article/news.aspx?story_id=162635&catid=47&mid=53&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

[54] Kashmir Observer, https://kashmirobserver.net/2016/local-news/23-years-bijbehara-massacreguilty-yet-be-punished-11333

[55] Amnesty International,  http://www.amnesty.org.au/news/comments/11808/

[56] Mohsin Mohi Ud-Din (Huffington Post), Kashmir: Bullets for Books and Stones, Continued Crimes Against Humanity By The World’s Largest Democracy  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/mohsin-mohiud-din/kashmir-bullets-for-books_b_624058.html

[57] Lydia Polgreen (NY Times), Mass Graves Hold Thousands, Kashmir Inquiry Finds  https://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/23/world/asia/23kashmir.html

[58] Human Rights Watch, India’s Secret Army in Kashmir: New Patterns of Abuse Emerge in the Conflict  https://www.hrw.org/reports/1996/India2.htm

[59] BBC, Kashmir Graves: Human Rights Watch calls for inquiry  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-14660253

[60] BBC, Kashmir Extra-judicial Killings  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6367917.stm

[61] Human Rights Watch, India: Investigate Unmarked Graves in Jammu and Kashmir – Official Inquiry Confirms That Some Held Bodies of the ‘Disappeared’  https://www.hrw.org/news/2011/08/24/india-investigate-unmarked-graves-jammu-and-kashmir

 

 

[62] Human Rights Watch, India: Investigate All ‘Disappearances’ in Kashmir   https://www.hrw.org/news/2007/02/15/india-investigate-all-disappearances-kashmir   

[63] Indian People’s Tribunal on Environment & Human Rights, The Sixth Indian People’s Tribunal Report – October 1997 – WOUNDED VALLEY… SHATTERED SOULS Women’s Fact Finding Commission Probing into Army Atrocities onWomen and Children in Kashmir

[64] Human Rights Watch/Asia, CONTINUING REPRESSION IN KASHMIR: Abuses Rise as International Pressure on India Eases

[65] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2008: A State of Denial

[66] Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), Juveniles of Jammu and Kashmir: Unequal before the Law & Denied justice in Custody

[67] Indian People’s Tribunal on Environment & Human Rights, The Sixth Indian People’s Tribunal Report – October 1997 – WOUNDED VALLEY… SHATTERED SOULS Women’s Fact Finding Commission Probing into Army Atrocities onWomen and Children in Kashmir

[68] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Naxal Conflict in 2006

[69]  Asian Centre for Human Rights, India’s Child Soldiers: Government defends officially designated terror groups’ record on the recruitment of child soldiers before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

[70] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Nobody’s children: Juveniles of Conflict Affected Districts of India

[71] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2008: A State of Denial

[72] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2008: A State of Denial

[73] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2011

[74] UNHRC Report on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution in India (26 April 2013)

[75] Indian People’s Tribunal on Environment & Human Rights, The Sixth Indian People’s Tribunal Report – October 1997 – WOUNDED VALLEY… SHATTERED SOULS Women’s Fact Finding Commission Probing into Army Atrocities onWomen and Children in Kashmir

[76] Independent People’s Tribunal, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[77] Testimony of Bakthi W/o Mohd Siddiq, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[78] Testimony of Faba, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[79] Testimony of Khera, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[80] Testimony of Abdul Rashid Dalal, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[81] Testimony of Shakeel Ahmad Dar, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[82] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2008: A State of Denial

[83] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2009

[84] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2011

[85] Asia Watch & Physicians for Human Rights, Rape in Kashmir: A Crime of War

[86] Mass Rape Survivors Still Wait for Justice in Kashmir http://news.trust.org//item/20120307023000-i7m26/?source=search

[87] UNHRC Report on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution in India (26 April 2013)

[88] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Nobody’s children: Juveniles of Conflict Affected Districts of India

[89] Asian Centre for Human Rights, J & K: Abuse of Article 370

[90] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2008: A State of Denial

[91] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2009

[92] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2010

[93] Asian Centre for Human Rights, ACHR’s Actions Against Torture and other Forms of Human Rights Violations in India

[94] Prafulla Samantara, Kashipur: An Enquiry into Mining and Human Rights Violations in Kashipur, Orissa – Report of the Indian People’s Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights

[95] Indian People’s Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights, Kashipur: An Enquiry into Mining and Human Rights Violations in Kashipur, Orissa

[96] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Naxal Conflict in 2006

[97] CHR & CJ, International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) and Human Right Watch, India: UN Finds Pervasive Abuse Against Dalits   –  After Review by UN Anti-Discrimination Body, Government Should Move From Talk to Action

[98] Christine Hart, Untouchability Today: The Rise of Dalit Activism

[99] CHR & CJ and Human Rights Watch, Hidden Apartheid

[100] Prime Minister Singh quoted by CHR & CJ and Human Rights Watch in their Hidden Apartheid Report

[101]Testimony of Gh Qadir Teli, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[102] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Nobody’s children: Juveniles of Conflict Effected Districts of India

[103] Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2008: A State of Denial

[104]  For instance, the Committee against Torture found in its decision V.L. v. Switzerland

(CAT/C/37/D/262/2005) that “the sexual abuse by the police in this case constitutes torture even

though it was perpetrated outside formal detention facilities”, para. 8.10; see also Mejía v. Perú,

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, annual report 1995, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.91. Doc. 7.

rev., case 10, 970

[105] International Criminal Court, Elements of Crimes, article 8 (2) (b) (xxii)-1 of the ICC Elements

of Crimes

[106] For instance, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights resorted to the international jurisprudence

on rape to conclude that “the acts of sexual violence to which an inmate was submitted under an

alleged finger vaginal ‘examination’ constituted sexual rape that due to its effects constituted

torture.” See Miguel Castro-Castro Prison v. Peru, Inter-American Court of Human Rights

judgement of 25 November 2006, para. 312

[107]  Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2008: A State of Denial

[108]  Harassment, sexual abuse in Tihar: SHRC takes cognizance, Geelani calls for strike, The Kashmir Times, 26 March 2008

[109]  Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2009

[110] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2010

[111] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2011

[112] Asian Centre for Human Rights, ACHR’s Actions Against Torture and other Forms of Human Rights Violations in India

[113] Human Rights Watch, “Everyone Lives in Fear”:  Patterns of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir

[114] Nick Allen (Telegraph), WikiLeaks: India ‘systematically torturing civilians in Kashmir’  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8208084/WikiLeaks-India-systematically-torturing-civilians-in-Kashmir.html

[115] The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/jul/09/mass-graves-of-kashmir

[116] Jason Burke (The Guardian), https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/dec/16/wikileaks-cables-indian-torture-kashmir#comments

[117] The Guardian, US embassy cables: Red Cross clashes with India over treatment of detainees  https://www.theguardian.com/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/30222

[118] Human Rights Watch, India’s Secret Army in Kashmir: New Patterns of Abuse Emerge in the Conflict  https://www.hrw.org/reports/1996/India2.htm

[119] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2008: A State of Denial

[120] Supreme Court of India (AIR 1981 SC 625), Torture in India 2008: A State of Denial

[121] Asian Centre for Human Rights, Torture in India 2008: A State of Denial

[122] Independent Peoples’s Tribunal, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[123] Testimony of Azra Begum, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[124] Testimony of Aijaz Ahmad Kakroo, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[125] Testimony of Halima, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[126] Testimony of Rahti Begum, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[127] Testimony of Khatija Begum, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[128] Testimony of Lal Sheikh, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[129] Testimony of Bhakhti Begum, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[130] Testimony of Ali Mohd Sheikh, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[131] Testimony of Abdul Rashid Beigh, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[132] Mir Hafizullah, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

[133] Parveena Ahangar, Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

 

[134] Human Rights Watch/Asia, Continuing Repression in Kashmir: Abuses Rise as International Pressure on India Eases

[135] Human Rights Watch, “Everyone Lives in Fear”: Patterns of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir

 

 

 

 

 

 

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