Ever since India occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian security forces have been committing gross human rights violations which include indiscriminate firing upon peaceful protestors, extra judicial killings, summary executions, perpetrated killings, use of pellet firing guns, forced disappearances, rapes, molestation and restrictions on the freedom of expression.
Today Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) is the only place across the globe with the highest ratio of security to troops and world most militarised zone. It is estimated that India has deployed one million security forces to control Kashmiris but in reality, it has surpassed this estimate. There is one soldier for six Kashmiris. 14 Indian corps Ladakh, 15 corps at Srinagar, 16 corps at Nagrota in Jammu, and one corp as reserve corps available at Mathura (UP) have been stationed.
Besides the Indian army, there is a huge deployment of paramilitary forces under the command of army which includes the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Shashtra Seema Bal (SSB), the Border Security Force (BSF), Jammu and Kashmir police and the personnel of the Indian air force.
The Indian security forces deployed in IIOJK operate under a host of draconian laws which give it the power of arrest, detention without legal formalities and above all, gives immunity to security officials operating under these act. Such laws were passed under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act of 1978, Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Area Act of 1990, the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) of 1990, the Armed Forces Special Power Act of 1990, Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) of 2002, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Ordinance of 2004, The National Security Act (NSA), Official Security Act, Criminal Procedure Code, Indian Telegraphic Act and the Newspaper (Incitement to Offense) Act. With the support of these laws, the Indian security forces have executed hundreds of detainees as a method to suppress the Kashmiri freedom struggle.
Thousands of people disappeared under mysterious circumstances. There has been an increase cases of sexual violence at the hands of Indian security forces. 23 Kashmiri women were gang raped in early the 90s by four soldiers of Rajputana Rifles. Rape is used as a means of targeting those women who have relations with the mujahideen or are accused of being sympathisers. A systematic genocide is being carried to create demographic imbalance. Mass graves of thousands killed by Indian security forces have been discovered.
The UN human rights agencies, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have raised concerns about the human rights issue on several occasions. There is no freedom of expression as fabricated news is published. Dissenting news and reporting is branded as pro-Pakistan and anti-Indian. Security personnel are rewarded for killing Kashmiris and to create fear amongst the local population.
The silence of the international community in the face of this crisis, especially powers like the US, European Union, the UK and Canada is unfortunate. They have turned a blind eye towards gross human rights violations and the killing of innocent Kashmiris. During the recent visit of Prime Minister Modi to the US, 75 congressmen wrote to President Biden to raise the issue of human rights violations in IIOJK. This trumpeted visit to the US which was marred by protests, displays of banners and posters for human rights violation, suppression of media and religious minorities like Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Dalits.
Many groups protested against PM Modi’s visit while carrying flyers with slogans that said ‘Modi Not Welcome’ and ‘Save India from Hindu Supremacy’. The UN must establish a commission for investigation with continued human rights violations in the IIOJK. It is high time that the international community should play its role to resolve the issue pending for the last 75 years. To protect human lives and human rights, the settlement of Jammu and Kashmir issue is the only key to regional peace.