Friday, December 7, 2012

Indian report confirms hundreds of occupation troops indulged in torture in Kashmir
The Kashmiris—men, women and children—have been subjected to arbitrary arrest, shootings, abductions, torture and rape. Often Kashmiri youth are executed after they are abducted from their homes or picked in the street.What the Kashmiris have known for decades because they are the victims, a just-published report by veteran legal activists confirms that India’s occupation troops have been involved in acts of torture against the hapless Kashmiris. Published on Thursday, the report paints a grim picture of the culture of impunity with which Indian soldiers kill and maim Kashmiris without any fear of accountability.The 450-page report reveals that hundreds of serving Indian soldiers, including senior officers involved in such gruesome acts have actually been promoted and decorated. The report names 500 perpetrators, among them several generals in the Indian army.India maintains an estimated 500,000 occupation troops in Kashmir, down from 700,000 at the peak of people’s uprising that was launched at the end of 1989. The troops are made up of India’s regular army, the Border Security Force and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), this last one the most unruly of the occupation troops.The CRPF consists of hardcore Hindu zealots whose members take particular pleasure in torturing Kashmiri youth and raping Kashmiri women. There have been many cases documented by Kashmiri human rights groups about the CRPF’s criminal behavior but there have seldom been any investigations of such crimes much less punishment of any of the culprits. The report by legal activists shines light on the Indian military’s behavior as well as the political elite that have allowed such abuses to go unpunished.The Kashmiris—men, women and children—have been subjected to arbitrary arrest, shootings, abductions, torture and rape. Often Kashmiri youth are executed after they are abducted from their homes or picked in the street. The excuse offered is that they died in shootings with the police. Families of victims have shown bullet-riddled bodies of their loved one to prove they did not die in police encounters. The victims are often shot at point blank range in the back of the head or with their hands tied behind their back.The statistics speak for themselves. Indian occupation troops have murdered more than 100,000 Kashmiris since 1990. In what must be to India’s lasting shame, there is documented evidence of at least 10,000 Kashmiri women gang-raped by the unruly occupation thugs. They range in age from 7-year-old children to 70-year-old women. The children are raped in front of their parents while the women are gang-raped in front of their husbands or children. Such tactics are used to humiliate the Kashmiris and to force them to abandon their quest for freedom.The information contained in the report is based on documents obtained under new freedom of information legislation, police statements, the government's own investigations and hundreds of interviews with family members and other witnesses. The legal activists’ report confirms "Cases … reveal that there is a policy not to genuinely investigate or prosecute the armed forces for human rights violations. On the contrary, alleged perpetrators of crimes are awarded, rewarded and promoted."Kashmiri activists have documented cases of more than 56,000 Kashmiri youth abducted by the paramilitary or Border Security Forces. Frequently, such abductees never return alive. The report confirms this by pointing to the case of a 19-year-old student who was accused of having links with the militants in Kashmir and abducted by military personnel led by a major (the report actually names the major). The youth was tortured and killed.The report's authors tried to investigate whether any inquiry was conducted into such misconduct and concluded that they were unable to find any evidence of any official investigation or disciplinary proceedings against the offending officer. Given such behavior by officers, it is not difficult to surmise that low-ranking soldiers, poorly paid and undisciplined, would indulge in their own forms of torture of a people perceived as the enemy.Not surprisingly, when the report’s authors tried to obtain comment from spokesmen of the Indian army and paramilitary forces deployed in Kashmir, they refused.Shooting and killing peaceful protesters is another ploy of the occupation forces.In 2005, representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) briefed US embassy staff in Delhi about arbitrary arrests, torture and killing of suspects by Indian occupation troops. Because of its mandate, the ICRC does not publicize its findings for fear of being barred from entry into the affected area. This information came to light in WikiLeaks reports that were released in late 2010.The reports were contained in cables sent by US embassy staff to the State Department in Washington DC. In their briefing to US personnel, the ICRC raised concerns about the use of electrocution, beatings and sexual humiliation against hundreds of detainees. American diplomats are also shown in the cables to have expressed concern about widespread human rights abuses by Indian security forces.Given such revelations, this time coming from Indian legal activists, will India put on trial the more than 500 perpetrators of such crimes against innocent people? Further, will the Indian-doting west now take Delhi to task for its crimes? No one should hold any hopes of this happening, now or in the future. Indian democracy is blatant hypocrisy and Kashmiris are its principle victims.

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