A quarterly brief on human rights situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (January to March 2019)

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By Ayesha Waheed,

The issues of human rights are devastatingly ignored at every level but the politicization of these
issues have not been changed. Indian Occupied Kashmir had been facing dehumanization in the
forms of brutal killings, rapes, kidnappings and severe tortures since decades and is still be
evident in the past quarter of 2019. The tensions between Pakistan and India mainly arose due to
the incident of Pulwama attack, in which a Kashmiri militant committed a suicide attack that
killed more than 40 Indian soldiers on February 14 th , 2019, which was proved to be a destructive
attack on Indian soldiers in decades. This Kashmiri militant was a part of youth who had been
suffering from the continuous Indian brutalities in Kashmir. This was surely a result of
frustration and depression, which led them to commit such horrible acts, perceiving a complete
misconception regarding peace and reward for these kind of practices 1 .
This Pulwama attack is then politicized by Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in such a way,
that it would result in a fruitful increase in his vote bank during General Elections by playing the
cards of sympathy for their beings and enmity against Pakistan in the form of occupation of
disputed territory, Kashmir. They took the support of Hindu nationalism to provoke the
sentiments of Indian public to evoke the authorities to take a strong action against Pakistan in
order to hurt them internally as well as externally, specifically by using the territory of Jammu
and Kashmir. In accordance with the Pulwama attack, Indian Air Force intervened in the air
space of Pakistan through Kashmir territory, which was proved to be an unsuccessful attack as
1;Kashmir Attack: Tracing the Path That Led to Pulwama." BBC News. May 01, 2019. Accessed May 07, 2019.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-47302467.

Pakistan Air Force shot down one of the two Indian air jets in Jammu and Kashmir and also
captured an Indian pilot, named Abhinandan. He was released after two days on the orders of
Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, as a message of peace between the two states. But this
great gesture was not well acknowledged by India and did not stop them from their violent
practices in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
While comparing the killings accounted in 2019 by 2018, an increase from 119 to 162
respectively, can be evident by the national reports, which were killed by Indian armed forces
rather than militants. The Indian armed forces claimed these killings as a result of counter
insurgency but the point to ponder is that the records being kept by them are vague in nature.
They are basically killing innocent masses in the name of counter insurgency.
These kind of acts are the substantive tool to frustrate the Kashmiri people, as it’s not the killing
of one individual but a killing of a generation, who wants to take revenge at any cost thus adopt
the wrong and unlawful means to do so. It’s the violation of fundamental human rights of liberty,
freedom of speech, thought, opinion and religion. These acts restrain the rights of movement,
self-esteem, respect and dignity of Kashmiri people.
In addition to these unlawful practices by Indian armed forces, still they claim that India’s
ongoing rule in Jammu and Kashmir has brought down the incidents of violence and militant
recruitment in Kashmir. On the contrary, this ratio of Cordon and Search Operations has
increased in the first quarter of 2019, which surely abolish the right of privacy by the terms of
United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR 1948) of Kashmiri masses. 2 The 89
Cordon and Search Operations have resulted in the casualties of at least 61 civilians and
destruction of at least 18 civilian properties.
In the first quarter of 2019, at least 18 cases of destruction of civilian properties were reported in
Jammu and Kashmir. Out of 18 cases, 15 were residential houses and 3 are cowsheds. In all these
cases, armed forces, in a direct violation of Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian
Law, used disproportionate force to inflict damage on civilian property, sometimes resulting in
the death of civilians. The incidents of destruction of civilian properties had been reported in
Aripal village in Tral in South Kashmir’s Pulwama District, Karishna Ghati Sector of Mendhar
2 Stand up for Human Rights." Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights | Stand up for Human Rights |
UN Human Rights Office. Accessed May 07, 2019. https://www.standup4humanrights.org/en/article.html.

area in Poonch, Babagund village in Handwara and Gadapora village in Shopian district. Mainly
of them were set on fire causing multiple injuries and casualties. According to Article 50 of the
1949 Geneva Convention I, Article 51 of the 1949 Geneva Convention II and Article 147 of the
1949 Geneva Convention IV, “extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified
by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly” are grave breaches. 3
Despite of all these acts, Indian armed forces breached the freedom of expression, thought and
opinion of Kashmiri People. They actually restraint their right to raise their voice against them
and their cruelties. Internet blockades had being curtailed as a measure of counter insurgency by
the Indian government in Jammu and Kashmir. Furthermore, they are engaged in the physical
attacks against the Kashmiris across India. In the first quarter of 2019, the Hindu right-wing
mobs attacked the Muslim majority areas and Kashmiri Muslim, torched vehicles bearing
Kashmiri registered number plates, attacked homes of Kashmiris with stones and demanded
them to leave Jammu city. These brutalities and killings are not limited to the Muslims of Jammu
and Kashmir; but, it has been extravagantly done with the Kashmiri Muslims living in other
regions of India too. Owing to such threats of life, scores of Kashmiri students returned to their
homes, which could gravely affects their studies and careers.
Indian security forces have committed torture, “disappearances” and arbitrary detentions, and
they continue to execute Kashmiris in faked “encounter killings,” Kashmiris are in living in
dreadful fear due to this unjust law which do not punish the perpetrators of abuse. Prime Minister
Modi has manipulated their minds with antagonizing brutality by giving the military a free hand
to counter all resistance, not just against freedom fighters but also civilian protestors, who are
showered with rubber bullets fired through the notorious pellet guns. They are free from any kind
of accusations by Indian government, which has shown impunity towards Indian Armed forces
persistently. If the Indian authorities had addressed these abuses seriously when they took place,
public confidence in the authorities would have increased and future abuses may have been
substantially reduced. Instead, India failed to prosecute or discipline the perpetrators. Impunity
has been enabled by Indian law. The report documents cases where Indian security forces have
shot civilians under the authority of laws such as the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act

3 Practice Relating to Rule 50. Destruction and Seizure of Property of an Adversary." Customary IHL – Practice
Relating to Rule 50. Destruction and Seizure of Property of an Adversary. Accessed May 07, 2019. https://ihl-
databases.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v2_rul_rule50.

and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act. According to Article 197 of
the Indian Code of Criminal Procedure which only allows the prosecution of state actors with the
permission of the relevant ministry, which is rarely provided, thus remains unaccountable. 4
Indian media portray this brutality a means to eliminate militancy from Kashmir, whereas, it’s
been proved that the violations undertaken by Indian armed forces are against innocent civilians,
which has also been highlighted by various International Human Rights groups. “It’s absurd that
the world’s largest democracy, with a well-developed legal system and internationally
recognized judiciary, has laws on its books that prevent its security forces from being prosecuted
for human rights abuses,” said Adams. “It’s time for the Indian government to repeal these laws
and recommit itself to justice for victims of all abuses, whoever the perpetrator may be.”
Harassment, persecutions and detentions are the basic tools for Indian armed forces to
demoralizes and demotivate the people of Jammu and Kashmir. So they would feel the craving
for the revenge, which lead them towards misconceptions, misperceptions and chaos. Moreover,
this creates the sense of revolt and insurrection within innocent Kashmiri masses, who are facing
the brutalities of Indian forces without committing any wrong act. The only reason for facing
these punishments, is being a Kashmiri. Many of them, surely have been raising their voices
since decades which needs to be heard, at every forum, nationally and internationally. As it is
evident by the laws of International community, UDHR and Geneva Convention, and many of
them, which strongly condemns these brutal practices by Indian Armed forces in Jammu and
Kashmir.

(The writer is a researcher at Kashmir
Institute of International Relations
(KIIR). Email: [email protected])

4 ;India: Impunity Fuels Conflict in Jammu and Kashmir." Human Rights Watch. April 17, 2015. Accessed May 07,
2019. https://www.hrw.org/news/2006/09/12/india-impunity-fuels-conflict-jammu-and-kashmir.

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