Civilians tortured by security forces in Kashmir: Report

Releasing a detailed report on alleged torture of civilians in the state, two Jammu and Kashmir-based human rights groups on Monday called on the United Nations to investigate the matter.

Using 432 case studies to study, the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons and the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society concluded that “widespread use of torture continues unabatedly”. They highlighted torture by security forces in the Kashmir Valley since 1990.

Claiming that no one has been prosecuted for alleged human rights violations till date because of “legal, political and moral impunity extended to the armed forces”, the rights groups pointed out that civilians have been systematically and institutionally tortured by the state to curb dissent.

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The Scroll quoted them as saying, “Torture has remained unnoticed and survivors continue to suffer in silence.” The Rights Group claimed that while scandals in American prisons such as Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and Abu Ghraib in Iraq received international attention, “torture remains hidden in Jammu and Kashmir, where tens of thousands of civilians have been subjected to it.”

Citing the example of school principal Rizwan Pandit, who was killed in March while he was in the custody of the state police’s Special Operations Group, the report stated that 301 of 430 people allegedly tortured include women, students and juveniles, political activists, human rights activists and journalists.

There had been 24 cases of waterboarding and 238 cases of sexual abuse, added the report.

The rights organisations which compiled the report urged the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate the allegations of torture and requested India to ratify the UN Convention against Torture.

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