Indian security forces in occupied Kashmir have been accused of carrying out beatings and torture in the wake of the government’s decision to strip the region of its autonomy.
According to the BBC, unprecedented restrictions have put Kashmir into a state of lockdown for more than three weeks. Tens of thousands of extra troops have been deployed to the region and about 3,000 people – including political leaders, business people and activists are reported to have been detained. Many have been moved to prisons outside the state.
“I heard similar accounts from several people in all these villages of night raids, beatings and torture,” BBC reporter said. “Doctors and health officials are unwilling to speak to journalists about any patients regardless of ailments, but the villagers showed me injuries alleged to have been inflicted by security forces,” he added.
“Two brothers alleged that they were woken up and taken to an outside area where nearly a dozen other men from the village had been gathered. Like everyone else we met, they were too afraid of reprisals to reveal their identities.”
“They beat us up. We were asking them: ‘What have we done? You can ask the villagers if we are lying, if we have done anything wrong?’ But they didn’t want to hear anything, they didn’t say anything, they just kept beating us,” one of them said.
“They beat every part of my body. They kicked us, beat us with sticks, gave us electric shocks, beat us with cables. They hit us on the back of the legs. When we fainted they gave us electric shocks to bring us back. When they hit us with sticks and we screamed, they sealed our mouth with mud.”
“We told them we are innocent. We asked why they were doing this? But they did not listen to us. I told them don’t beat us, just shoot us. I was asking God to take me, because the torture was unbearable.”
“If this continues I’ll have no choice but to leave my house. They beat us as if we are animals. They don’t consider us human,” a Kashmiri told the BBC reporter. “Another man who showed us his injuries said he was pushed to the ground and severely beaten with “cables, guns, sticks and probably iron rods by 15-16 soldiers.”
The UN Commission on Human Rights has also called for setting up a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir. It has released a 49-page report on alleged excesses by security forces in the region.
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