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Kashmir Welfare And Research Turst. (KWRT)

Promoting Human Rights And Welfare  

India: Impunity fuels conflict in Jammu and Kashmir. Abuses by Indian army and militants continue, with perpetrators unpunished
12 September 2006

(Srinagar, September 12, 2006) - The Indian government’s failure to end widespread impunity for human rights abuses committed both by its security forces and militants is fueling the cycle of violence in Jammu and Kashmir, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 156-page report, "’Everyone Lives in Fear’: Patterns of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir *," documents recent abuses by the Indian army and paramilitaries, as well as by militants, many of whom are backed by Pakistan. Indian security forces have committed torture, "disappearances" and arbitrary detentions, and they continue to execute Kashmiris in faked "encounter killings," claiming that these killings take place during armed clashes with militants. Militants have carried out bombings and grenade attacks against civilians, targeted killings, torture and attacks upon religious and ethnic minorities.

These abuses have taken place against the backdrop of almost two decades of the failure of the political and legal systems in India and Pakistan to end abuses or punish the perpetrators. Since 1989, the armed secessionist struggle against Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir has claimed more than 50,000 lives. Kashmir remains a potential flashpoint between the nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan.

"Human rights abuses have been a cause as well as a consequence of the insurgency in Kashmir," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Kashmiris continue to live in constant fear because perpetrators of abuses are not punished. Unless the Indian authorities address the human rights crisis in Jammu and Kashmir, a political settlement of the conflict will remain illusory."

The new report, based on research from 2004 to 2006, documented abuses that have occurred since the election in 2002 of a Jammu and Kashmir state government with an avowed human rights agenda and the resumption of peace talks between India and Pakistan that same year (after the countries nearly went to war in 2002).

Indian security forces claim they are fighting to protect Kashmiris from militants and Islamic extremists, while militants claim they are fighting for Kashmiri independence and to defend Muslim Kashmiris from an abusive Indian army. In reality, both sides have committed widespread and numerous human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law (or the laws of war).

Extrajudicial executions by Indian security forces are common. Police and army officials have told Human Rights Watch that security forces often execute alleged militants instead of bringing them to trial in the belief that keeping hardcore militants in detention is a security risk. Most of those summarily executed are falsely reported to have died during armed clashes between the army and militants in "encounter killings."

The Indian government has effectively given its forces free rein, while Pakistan and armed militant groups have failed to hold militants accountable for the atrocities they have committed. Through documentation of the failure to prosecute in recent cases and some older, key cases, the report shows how impunity has fueled the insurgency. If the Indian authorities had addressed these abuses seriously when they took place, public confidence in the authorities would have increased and future abuses may have been substantially reduced. Instead, India failed to prosecute or discipline the perpetrators.

Impunity has been enabled by Indian law. The report documents cases where Indian security forces have shot civilians under the authority of laws such as the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act. These laws, enacted near the beginning of the conflict, allow lethal force to be used "against any person who is acting in contravention of any law or order for the time being in force in the disturbed area." Other laws offer state agents effective immunity from criminal prosecution. For example, Article 197 of the Indian Code of Criminal Procedure only allows the prosecution of state actors with the permission of the relevant ministry. This is rarely provided. Prosecutions of security force personnel, even where the facts are well established, are therefore rare.

Human Rights Watch also stated that the work of both the National Human Rights Commission and the State Human Rights Commission in Jammu and Kashmir is severely hampered by laws that prohibit them from directly investigating abuses carried out by the army or other federal forces. Although government officials claim that disciplinary measures have been taken against some security personnel, it is unclear this happens, as details are almost never made public.

"It’s absurd that the world’s largest democracy, with a well-developed legal system and internationally recognized judiciary, has laws on its books that prevent members of its security forces from being prosecuted for human rights abuses," said Adams. "It’s time for the Indian government to repeal these laws and recommit itself to justice for victims of all abuses, whoever the perpetrator may be."

The report also documents serious abuses by militants, many of whom continue to receive backing from Pakistan. Numerous massacres, bombings, killings and attacks on schools attributed to the militants are often intentionally downplayed by supporters of Kashmiri independence or its accession to Pakistan. Militant groups have targeted civilians, including women and children, whom they consider to be "traitors to the cause" or for expressing views contrary to those of one or another armed group. Alleged militants have murdered nearly 600 Kashmiri politicians since the conflict began, usually as retribution for joining in the electoral process. Officials conducting the polls have been killed or tortured, some with their noses or ears chopped off.

Militants have also been responsible for bomb attacks that targeted civilians. They have attacked religious minorities in Kashmir such as Hindus and Sikhs, as well as ethnic minorities such as the Gujjars, whom the militants target because they believe them to be government informers. Although many of the militant groups currently operating in Jammu and Kashmir have become increasingly unpopular, Kashmiris are afraid to speak out against them. A conflict over Kashmiri identity and independence has slowly but visibly mutated into a fight under the banner of religion, pitting Islam against Hinduism and drawing religious radicals into its heart.

There is considerable evidence that over many years Pakistan has provided Kashmiri militants with training, weapons, funding and sanctuary. Officially, Pakistan denies ever arming and training militants. Under pressure from the United States after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Pakistan banned several militant groups in January 2002, including the Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Lashkar-e-Toiba. But these groups have continued to operate after changing their names. India blames these groups for many armed attacks. Pakistan appears to be keeping its options open should peace talks collapse by continuing to support these groups. Pakistan remains accountable for abuses committed by militants that it has armed and trained.

"The militants and their backers must end the bombings and the targeting of civilians," said Adams. "Continued abuses ensure that the cycle of violence will continue. And these abuses only add to the suffering of the people in whose name the militants are ostensibly fighting."

Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10118-3299

* URL for ’Everyone Lives in Fear’: Patterns of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir http://hrw.org/reports/2006/india0906/. Circulated by South Asia Citizens Wire | September 13, 2006 | Dispatch No. 2286.
Online 13 September 2006

The State of Jammu and Kashmir


The state of Jammu and Kashmir is located in the north of South Asian Sub-continent.  Total area of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is 2,18780 Square kilometers. It was the biggest state of sub-continent before partition of India and Pakistan. Its international boundaries with Tibet, China, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan.  A narrow strip of Wakhan (Afghanistan) that separates it from the South Asian Muslim State of Tajikistan, gave great strategic importance. Area-wise the state of Jammu and Kashmir is biggest than 110 independent countries and population-wise The state of Jammu and Kashmir is bigger than 131 countries. This state can be divided into two main geographically and natural regions.


         i.            The Valley Of Kashmir

       ii.            The Jammu

      iii.            The Northern Areas including Gilgit, Balistan & Ladkh


A Frenchman Bernier, the first European tourist who visited Kashmir in 1964 AD. He said, “In truth the Kingdom surpasses in beauty all that my warmest imagination had anticipated”.  The famous tourist Marco polo also visited Kashmir in 1275 to 1277 AD.


According to the book “Kashmir” written by Sir Francis Young.

“The country with which one is most apt compare Kashmir is, naturally, Switzerland”.  And Switzerland indexed has many charms and combinations of lake and mountain in which I think it excels Kashmir, but it is built on smaller scale.  There is not the same wide sweep of snow-clad mountains.  There is no place where one can see a complete circle of snowy mountains surrounding a plain of anything like the length and breadth of the Kashmir Valley, for the main valleys of Switzerland are the like the side valleys of Kashmir.  And above everything there is not behind Switzerland what there is at the back of Kashmir, and visible in glimpses from the southern side a region of stupendous Mountains, surprising every other in the world.




The State of Jammu and Kashmir located as longitude 73-80, 30 degree and longitude 32, 19-36, 57 degree. 


Tibet, in the West bound it on the East by Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the North by China and Tajikistan and on the South by India and Pakistan.  Total area of The State Jammu & Kashmir is 84, 471 Sq. Miles before the partition of Sub-continent into India and Pakistan. The State Jammu & Kashmir consisted of three provinces until 1947.


             i.            Jammu:  Area of Jammu province was 12, 378 Sq. Miles / 32, 059 Sq. Kms.

           ii.            Valley Kashmir:  Area of Valley Kashmir was 85,539 Sq. Miles / 22, 1166 Sq. Kilometers / 84 x 25 Miles. 

          iii.            Ladakh:  Area of Ladakh is 63, 554 Sq Miles / 1, 64, 605 Sq. Kms.

After the partition of Sub-continent in 1947 into India and Pakistan, a unit of The State Jammu & Kashmir divided in two main parts.  The temporary line of cease-fire also called Line of Control divided two main parts of The State Jammu & Kashmir administratively by Pakistan and India.  The cease-fire line in Kashmir was marked on July 27th, 1949.  The length of 350 miles border of The State Jammu & Kashmir is connected with India.  One part of The State Jammu & Kashmir is under the control of Pakistan is called Pakistan Administrated Area.  Another part of The State Jammu & Kashmir is the under the control of India is called Indian Administrated Area.


Currently The State Jammu & Kashmir is divided into four Units.


1.      Indian Occupied Areas: It comprises of 14 districts and 50 tehsils.  It consists on

                                                    three regions.                  


                                                       i.            Jammu:   Area of the Indian Occupied Jammu is 9, 880 Sq. Miles or 25, 589 Sq. Kms. It comprises on six districts.

                                                     ii.            Kashmir Valley: Area of the Indian Occupied Kashmir Valley is  6, 893 Sq. Miles or 63, 615 Sq. Kms.  It comprises on six districts.

                                                    iii.            Ladakh:  Area of Ladakh is 24, 562 Sq. Miles or 63, 615 Sq. Kms.  It comprises on two districts.


2.      Northern Areas:  Under administration of Government of Pakistan.  The area of

                                       Northern Areas is 29, 841 Sq. Miles or 77, 288 Sq. Kms.   


3.      China Occupied Kashmir:


                                                      i.            During India-China war in 1962, China occupied 6, 283 Sq. miles or 16281 Sq. Kms area of Ladakh that is called Aqsai Chan. 

                                                    ii.            1, 868 Sq. Miles or 4, 838 Kms. Northern of Gilgit / Baltistan was handed over to China by Pakistan under agreement.

4.      Azad Jammu & Kashmir:  Azad Jammu & Kashmir is located between 73 25 to 

                                                     74 35 East and 32 45 to 35 05 North.


Population Of The State  Jammu & Kashmir:            


Population wise The State Jammu & Kashmir is greater than 131 countries of the world. Region wise population data is:


         i.            Population of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (including Ladakh) is 8.00 millions.

       ii.            Population of Azad Jammu and Kashmir 3.00 millions. 

      iii.            Population of Northern Areas (Gilgit / Balistan) is 1.00 million.

     iv.            Refuges residing Pakistan 1.500 million.

       v.            Overseas kashmiries 1.5 million.


Total population of the State of Jammu & Kashmir is 15 millions.