Mass graves in Kashmir ( Daily Dawn)
THE confirmation by the Jammu Kashmir State Human Rights Commission that thousands of bullet-riddled bodies have been dumped in unmarked graves — many of them mass graves — in Indian-administered Kashmir has exposed the gross human rights abuses perpetrated by the Indian security forces over the years in a bid to suppress a popular uprising. Particularly revealing is the finding that of the more than 2,000 bodies found, at least 574 were local residents — a grim refutation of the boilerplate Indian claim that all men buried in such graves are `militants`. Clearly, contrary to the long-held Indian allegation that the insurgency in Kashmir is wholly sponsored by Pakistan and primarily driven by cross-LoC incursions, the troubles in Jammu and Kashmir have been very much local in nature. A painstaking effort by the Indian government to pretend as if the protests in Indian-held Kashmir in recent years have gradually been headed off by peaceful means has also come unstuck. Local observers have repeatedly suggested that the oppressive security blanket and an expansive network of informants has meant that protests are quickly nipped in the bud through anything but peaceful means.
Troubling as the findings of the human rights commission are, it also presents an opportunity for India to conclusively break from the tactics of the past and acknowledge that a new paradigm is needed. The solution to the Kashmir dispute is by no means simple, but it is also not impossible. With a new round of dialogue opened with Pakistan, an Indian premier who appears genuinely interested in easing the plight of the Kashmiris and a realisation on all sides — Indian, Pakistani and Kashmiri — that violence will not solve the problem, there is an opportunity to start anew in the region. First, though, a frank acknowledgement of the past and the failed tactics of both states will need to be made. On Pakistan`s side, that would mean acknowledging that `keeping alive` the Kashmir dispute on the international stage has come at great cost to the security and stability of Pakistan itself. On India`s side, a realisation that Kashmir is a first and foremost a human tragedy is the minimum that is required.
Massacre of Kashmiris(The Nation)
The discovery of 38 unmarked mass graves where 2156 bodies of Kashmiris, irrespective of age and gender though mostly of the youth, have been found dumped in the Indian occupied Kashmir, is a glaring testimony to the brutalities that New Delhi’s security forces have been committing to quell the Kashmiris’ struggle for freedom. The graves constitute a crying shame for the Indian authorities and a crime against humanity. There can be no doubt about the truth of the news as well as the figure of the dead bodies because the reporting agency happens to be India’s own, the Jammu-Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (J&KSHRC) and not an international organisation whose findings New Delhi could discount.
This ugly reality behind the façade of the so-called ‘greatest democracy’ in the world, an expression mostly popularised by India’s friends in the West, especially the US, endorses the soul-rendering pleas of the relatives of the thousands of persons, who either go missing for unknown reasons or are simply picked up from their houses, to dampen the spirit of the freedom fighters, for their whereabouts. It also bears out the repeated accusations of Syed Ali Geelani, the intrepid and long-standing leader of the Kashmiri struggle for freedom from the Indian yoke, that a large number of Kashmiri youth are being brutally killed or mysteriously disappear every day. Such persons are much bigger in number and have not been accounted for by these corpses; according to the J&KSHRC, as many as 10,000, who went missing over the past 10 years, have not been traced. The total number of deaths in the 10 years since 2001 has been estimated at 50,000 by this Indian agency; other observers have computed the number as high as 80,000 and rising. Though a strong indictment of the Indian leadership for the callous suppression of the yearning of the people of Kashmir for the grant of their legitimate rights, the discovery is also a tribute to the indomitable spirit of the occupied people who, undeterred by the cruelties they have been experiencing at the hands of India’s minions, have kept the banner of freedom alive.
The situation in the Indian-controlled Kashmir is pathetic and calls for a strong response not only from the international human rights bodies, but also the world powers, which do not tire of proclaiming the virtues of democracy and are even going to wars to enforce it and championing the cause of the victims of human rights abuses. Pakistan, which has a direct stake in the final outcome of the disputed state, must lodge a strong démarche with New Delhi against these brutalities, and launch a vigorous diplomatic drive to secure the right of self-determination for these beleaguered people, as stipulated in the relevant UN resolutions to which India has been committed. There should be no let-up in our efforts till the resolutions are fully implemented. The lingering dispute has also given rise to another issue – the Indian machination to wrongfully divert waters flowing from the disputed part to our detriment – and Kashmir’s settlement would also solve the water issue.
The massive mass graves in IHK (Pakistan Observer)
A REPORT released by the Human Rights Commission in Indian held Kashmir has stated that it found proofs of 2156 unidentified bodies in 38 mass graves in the occupied territory exposing the brutalities of Indian forces on a massive scale. The Commission while giving the locations of mass graves called for a thorough investigation about the killings of Kashmiris on such a large scale, who are struggling for their inalienable right to self determination.
The report came to light after a three year long inquiry by the eleven member team which scoured police records, cross-checked this against testimonies from police officials, eyewitnesses, village committees, mosque committees and grave diggers. We may say that more mass graves would be unearthed if independent organisations were allowed to work freely. The Indian government is indulging in blatant violation of international norms by persistent refusal to the outside human rights organizations to enter occupied Kashmir and civil liberties have been denied through brutal enactment’s like Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). What is more regrettable is that the western countries who claim to be champions of democracy and human rights are silently watching the cleansing of Kashmiris. Incarceration of Kashmiri leaders, who speak of the right of self-determination of the Kashmiris conceded to them by the United Nations in various resolutions accepted by India herself, is another act of human rights violations by the occupation authorities. We are sure that the discovery of mass graves will further ignite the indigenous Kashmiri movement, which has transcended to the third generation now. After the emergence of the hard facts about mass graves, we would urge the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and human rights organisations to carry out their own investigations as to how this happened and then initiate action against the occupation authorities at international forums.