Srinagar, December 31 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a local human rights group, has painted a grim picture of human rights situation in the territory.
The JKCCS in a report documented 69 killings in occupied Kashmir since the revocation of the special status of the territory by India on August 5, 2019. Challenging Indian government’s claims that no civilian death took place in occupied Kashmir after August 05, the report said that out of 69 killings 33 were civilians. “In October alone, 17 civilians were killed,” it said.
The annual review of human rights situation released by the group in Srinagar on Tuesday has mentioned the killing of 80 civilians in 2019. It said that out of dead 80 civilians, 12 were women.
It also mentioned the killing of eight children in various incidents of violence. “Children also faced illegal and unjust detention, ill-treatment, including torture, at the hands of armed forces during detention and fear of further reprisals,” the report added.
The report also highlighted curbs on media, with several incidents of beating and thrashing of journalists. “Besides physical assaults, journalists in 2019 also faced reprisals for filing stories on contentious issues,” it maintained.
Further, the Indian government has not allowed prayers in the historic Jamia Masjid mosque in Srinagar for 24 weeks, the report said. “A centuries-old tradition of Khoja Digar, a special afternoon prayer held at Naqshband Sahab shrine in old Srinagar city, was also disallowed first time this year on November 2,”it added.
There were 54 instances of internet blockades recorded in the year 2019 before August 5, the report said, adding, since August, the internet clampdown has completed 149 days, which has severely hampered businesses and education in the region.
The report also mentioned cases of sexualized torture and gendered violence. “Mohammad Yasin Bhat and 11 other men from Parigam area in Pulwama district in south Kashmir were detained during the cordon and search operation. They were stripped naked and kept in a queue on the main road. All of them were electrocuted in their genitals. When the physical torture ended, they were made to lie face down on top of each other, in a pile,” it said.
The report also pointed out that the Kashmiris living in India – be it, students, businessmen or professionals – continued to remain prone to harassment from state forces, right-wing student groups and from the general public. In 2019, at least 43 incidents of attacks on Kashmiris across India were reported throughout India, with 42 of them alone in the first quarter of 2019, in the aftermath of the Pulwama incident in which around 48 Indian soldiers were killed, the report stated.
The report also documented the trend of suicides and fratricides among Indian armed forces stationed in occupied Kashmir. As many as 19 armed forces’ personnel have reportedly committed suicide while three personnel were killed in a fratricidal incident in Udhampur district, it said.