India’s own report portrays monstrous face of modern India

Salahuddin Haider

Human rights violations in India are not new, but excelled after the imposition of 5th August article 370 which unmasked the real face of Nirender Modi and his government.

The report adds human rights violation have risen dramatically in Jammu and Kashmir since late 1989, the start of the campaign for secession or for the state to join Pakistan.

Many thousands of Kashmiris are arbitrarily detained under special laws that lack vital legal safeguards and provide the security forces with sweeping powers to arrest and detain.
They are held for months or years without charge or trial.

Torture by the security forces is a daily routine and so brutal that hundreds have died in custody as a result. Scores of women claim that they have been raped.

Efforts by relatives to use legal avenues to obtain redress have been persistently frustrated: court orders to protect detainees are routinely flouted and the legal machinery in the state has broken down.

A judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court said in October 1994 that the rule of law in the state had ceased to exist.

Hundreds of civilians, including women and children, have been extra-judicially executed.

Often these deliberate killings have been disguised by officials claiming they occurred in ‘encounters’ or ‘cross-fire’.

They continue to be regularly reported.
Such killings and hundreds of deaths in custody — by far the highest in any Indian state — are facilitated by laws that provide the security forces with virtual immunity from prosecution. They also allow the security forces to shoot to kill.

In December 1994 Amnesty International detailed 128 cases of ‘disappearance’ in the state, very few of which have been clarified by the government, and the numbers continue to rise, as do reports of other, grave human rights violations.

They have increased further since security forces’ operations intensified in mid-1992.

The Kashmir Times reported in November 1994: ‘Reports of violations of human rights are pouring in from across the Valley [of Kashmir] and the authorities seem not [to be] responding to the reports’.

In Amnesty International’s view, there is a consistent pattern of gross violations of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir. The situation has reached alarming proportions.

Yet the human rights crisis in the state has been largely ignored by the government and the international community.

International human rights experts on these specific human rights violations from the United Nations and from international organizations such as Amnesty International continue to be denied access to the state.

Since the secessionist campaign started, an estimated 17,000 men, women and children have died in the state from violence from both sides, according to police and hospital sources.

The government is not alone in violating human rights standards: armed opposition groups have committed numerous abuses themselves.

They have taken and killed hostages. Summary of human rights concerns in Jammu and Kashmir AI Index: ASA 20/02/95 Amnesty International January 1995 and have subjected a number of them to torture, including rape. Family members of politicians have been assassinated or abducted.

Amnesty International has repeatedly and unequivocally condemned these human rights abuses and has warned the groups themselves that taking hostages does not further, in any way, the protection of human rights.

Amnesty International continues to call on these groups to stop these abuses and to abide by basic standards of humanitarian law.

Three Indian security forces operate in Jammu and Kashmir: the army and the paramilitary Border Security Forces (BSF) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

US State Department Country Report on Human Rights Practices, as reported earlier too has hown concern on situation in India but practical steps from world leaders continue to lack despite repeated telephone calls for action from prime minister Imran Khan and foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, world leaders remain muted in their response.

Cargo Ship stuck in Suez Canal operated by Indian Crew, Amnesty international in its latest report highlighted the shrinking space for freedom of expression in India, Indian authorities repressed dissent through unlawful restrictions on peaceful protestors and by silencing critics, Human rights defenders, including students, academics, journalists, and artists, were arbitrarily arrested, often without charge or trial.

The report pointed out widespread impunity and lack of accountability for murders and attacks carried out by vigilante mobs and police officers against Indian religious minorities, Swift and extreme restrictions were placed on freedom of movement during Covid, leaving thousands of migrant workers stranded without adequate food and protection.

The report highlighted that the clampdown on civil liberties and restrictions on communications services continued in Jammu and Kashmir, At least 18 journalists in Kashmir were physically attacked by police or summoned to police stations.

NIA also raided the offices and residences of civil society activists including Khurram Pervez and three of his associates, and Parveena Ahanger, who had reported extensively on human rights abuses in Kashmir, Delhi police indiscriminately used water cannons and fired tear gas shells, injuring farmers who were protesting against farm laws,Hate speeches by political leaders continued after the Delhi elections, followed by widespread violence in the north east district of Delhi.

The police continued to carry out unlawful killings- some amounting to extrajudicial executions- with impunity by Indian army in Jammu and Kashmir.

Hate crimes including violence against Dalits, Adivasi (indigenous) communities and religious minorities were also committed with impunity.

On 31 Mar 2021, US state department released the 2020 country report on Human Rights.

The report include 68 pages chapter on India highlighting the harassment of media outlets, declining press freedom and extra judicial killings in Kashmir, there have been several instances of critical media outlets being pressured or harassed by the Indian government and the overall press freedom has also declined.

Indian authorities used security, defamation, sedition and hate speech laws as well as contempt of court charges to curb critical voices in media, Indian government also withheld public sector advertising from media outlets that criticized the government, causing some outlets to practice self-censorship, At least 55 journalists and editors were arrested or booked for reporting on COVID-19 lockdown.

On Kashmir, the report cited a number of cases of killings, enforced disappearances by government and government sources, Indian security forces committed extra-judicial killing including staging encounter killings in Kashmir, Cargo Ship stuck in Suez Canal operated by Indian Crew, Indian crew members were solely responsible for the accident and displayed negligence which has cost millions of dollars to several businesses, since most of the Chinese and Asian goods reach Europe through same route there could be an Indian attempt to disrupt supplies.

Countries most affected by the blockage were China, Egypt and the International trade, the crew and the vessel are in Egypt’s custody which has asked for $1 billion as compensation, Egypt says it won’t release ship with 25 member Indian crew until its owner pay compensation, Chairman Suez Canal authority, Osama Rabie, has said that, ‘The vessel will remain here until investigations are complete.’