US report reveals grave Indian human rights violations in Indian Held Kashmir

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WASHINGTON—US Human Rights record released on Thursday says serious internal unrest at times affected the state of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as several states in the Northeast. Although civilian authorities maintained effective control of the security forces, security forces occasionally acted independently of government authority.

Major problems included reported extrajudicial killings of persons in custody, disappearances, and torture and rape by police and other security forces. Investigations into individual abuses and legal punishment for perpetrators occurred, but for many abuses, a lack of accountability created an atmosphere of impunity. Poor prison conditions and lengthy detentions were significant problems. Some officials used antiterrorism legislation to justify excessive use of force. Corruption existed at all levels of government and police. While there were no large-scale attacks against minorities during the year.

The Report notified that there were credible reports that the government and its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings, including extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals and insurgents. A high rate of extrajudicial killings, in which security forces shot and killed alleged criminals or insurgents in staged encounters, occurred in the Northeast, particularly in the states of Assam and Manipur.

The Report referred to several incidents of killings in occupied Kashmir. It said on March 20, the army held three soldiers, including a junior commissioned officer, accountable for the February 22 killing of two youths in Bomai, Baramulla, in the Kashmir valley. On March 28, the CRPF admitted that two troopers killed Ghulam Mohi-uddin Malik on March 18.On May 18, the army ordered an inquiry into the alleged custodial death of Manzoor Ahmed Beig by the Special Operations Group in Srinagar, Kashmir valley. On September 13, the government ordered a magisterial inquiry into the alleged custodial death of Noor Hussain in Rajouri, Kashmir valley. The police suspended four personnel.

The government made little progress holding police and security officials accountable for disappearances committed during the Punjab counterinsurgency in 1984-94 and the Delhi anti-Sikh riots of 1984, despite the work of a special investigatory commission.

It said as of year’s end, approximately 80 Muslims accused of the 2002 Godhra train burning remained in jail in Gujarat under POTA, despite a POTA review committee ruling in 2005 that POTA did not apply to them, an October 2008 ruling by the Indian Supreme Court granting their release, and a Gujarat High Court ruling in February that POTA charges did not apply to the accused.

As for Political Prisoners and Detainees, the Report quoted NGOs that Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir held political prisoners, and the government from time to time temporarily detained hundreds of persons characterized as terrorists, insurgents, and separatists. Human rights activists based in the state estimated there were 150 political prisoners.

The Report said although the law protects Dalits, in practice they faced significant discrimination in access to services such as health care and education, attending temples, and marriage.

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