Editorial : Kashmir killings - Monday 11th April 2011


THE State Department report about extrajudicial killings in India-held Kashmir must come as a shock to all, for it reports no less than 1,600 unlawful executions by Indian security agencies in one year alone. If we consider the fact that the insurgency in the Kashmir valley has been going on since the late 1980s, the cumulative figure for arbitrary killings for more than two decades must be astounding. The victims of the crimes committed by the security personnel were not necessarily Kashmiri civilians; an Indian army officer was found murdered because he had detected illegal executions of four Kashmiri porters by senior railway officers. Besides illegal executions, the rights violations have ranged from arbitrary detentions and police firing on unarmed protesters to rape and murder. The most well-known case was that of Asiya and Neelofar, whose bodies were found in a stream. A court later ordered the arrest of four police officers for destroying evidence in the case, in which investigations established that Indian security personnel had gang-raped and murdered the two women. Since the `normal` law of the land has failed to deliver, the state legislature has authorised the government to declare any zone a “disturbed area” and armed the security forces with special powers, including the Public Safety Act. This is seen as a licence by the law-enforcement personnel, who can detain anyone against whom “reasonable suspicion exists”. Similarly, the PSA gives the police the right to detain any person without a judicial review for two years. The result was that in one month alone, no less than 3,500 people, mostly youths, were arrested.
Because of this stifling atmosphere, the people of Kashmir seem not to have benefited from the current attempt at d├ętente between Pakistan and India. Even though the two sides have pledged to take up “all issues”, the Mohali spirit doesn`t appear to have made much difference to the lives of the Kashmiri people. New Delhi should realise that a breath of fresh air in the valley will help strengthen the peace process and expedite the normalisation of relations between the two countries.


Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/11/kashmir-killings.html

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