- Report alleges Indian forces of carrying out killings, sexual violence, torture, unlawful detentions in occupied valley
- Qureshi says no doubt about human rights violations in Kashmir
LAHORE: The United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a report titled, ‘Report on Situation of Human Rights in Kashmir‘ and pointed out the gross violation of human rights of Kashmiris perpetuated by Indian forces operating in the valley.
Former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke to Pakistan Today regarding the situation and said, “There is no doubt that the human rights violations happening in Kashmir are of an immense nature.”
“There is an indigenous movement in the valley and the new generation will continue to fight for their rights,” he added.
The former foreign minister also told Pakistan Today, “India needs to revisit its policy of coercion in Kashmir and now even retired Indian generals and opposition parties are saying that.”
“India must accept” that there are three parties related to the issue including “Pakistan, Kashmiris and India”, Qureshi added further.
He also said, “The UN report is timely and highlights the atrocities in the valley, and it is time for the world’s conscience to wake up.”
Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed told Pakistan Today, “Indian aggression in the valley has continued for decades and they have killed thousands of innocent people.”
“Indian army has indulged in the gross violation of human rights of the Kashmiri people,” he also said.
Rasheed asserted, “Now that the UN report is out, the world cannot deny Indian aggression and human rights violations being committed in the valley.”
“The Kashmiri people are the oppressed party and they are only fighting for their freedom and basic human rights that India has denied to them for so long,” the AML chief told Pakistan Today.
While commenting on the issue, veteran journalist and commentator Ayaz Amir explained to Pakistan Today, “The UN report will further the Kashmir cause in front of the world.”
Salient Features of the UN Report:
1- Lack of Justice and impunity.
Specials laws enforced by India in the valley such as Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1990 and Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act 1978 have “created structures that obstruct the normal course of law, impede accountability and jeopardize the right to remedy for victims of human rights violations”.
2- Military courts and tribunals impeding justice.
The Indian central government refused to prosecute “47 cases” pertaining to human rights violations perpetrated by members of the Indian armed forces in Kashmir.
3- Administrative detention.
The UN report determines that “Administrative detention appears to be used by the Jammu and Kashmir authorities to circumvent the protection of ordinary criminal procedure”.
It further says that the “Public Safety Act” (PSA) is used to detain people for up to “two years without any charge or trial”.
The act has been used to “stifle dissent and target journalists and human rights defenders”.
Several children “under the age of 18 have also been detained by using the PSA”. The PSA “does not even allow for judicial review”.
The report concluded that the PSA “violated” the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and “especially the rights to liberty and to a free and fair trial”.
4- Excessive use of force.
The killings of civilians between 2016 and 2018 showed that “Indian security forces used excessive force that led to unlawful killings”.
Around 105 persons were killed by using tear-gas shells, bullets, drowning, inhaling chemical fumes and shotguns.
The report also noted, “No case of excessive use of force in Jammu and Kashmir has led to prosecution in civil courts.”
5- Killings perpetrated in 2018.
The Indian army fired at protestors and “killed three civilians” on January 27 in 2018.
On March 4, four persons were killed and the Indian army claimed that these civilians were linked to militancy, however, “several state assembly legislators and political parties”. The probe has still not ended.
6- Use of pellet-firing shotgun.
It was stated that “6,221” persons were injured using pellet-firing shotguns,” according to Chief Minister (CM) Mehbooba Mufti.
“728 out of these persons had eye injuries,” added the report.
On April 1, “40 people were injured using the weapon and among them, 35 had eye injuries”.
“A college lecturer was severely beaten and subsequently died in the custody of the Indian Army,” noted the UN report.
Moreover, “A video showed Farooq Ahmad Dar being strapped in front of a military vehicle that was moving,” the report revealed.
Following this, the report further revealed, “Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat and Indian Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi defended the action of using Dar as a human shield.”
8- Enforced Disappearances.
The report also said, “The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons claim over 8,000 persons have disappeared.”
On the other hand, the “government says that 4,000 people have disappeared”.
9- Sexual violence.
Several incidents of sexual violence by Indian army personnel against the valley’s indigenous population have surfaced.
These, according to the UN report include, “The gang rape of 23 women by Four Rajputana Rifles Regiment.”
Later, local police termed the case as “untraceable” and closed it.