Hurriyat-m Human Rights Report – 2015

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As 2015 comes to end, All Parties Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Wednesday released a report detailing human rights situation during this year in Jammu and Kashmir. Prepared by Human Rights Division of the Hurriyat amalgam headed by Mannan Bukhari, Kashmir Life reproduces the document for public interest

A meeting of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (m) discussing the Human Rights report on Wednesday at Rajbagh headquarters.

A meeting of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (m) discussing the Human Rights report on Wednesday at Rajbagh headquarters.

TOTAL KILLINGS

Imposition of curfew every second day, restrictions on people’s movement and traffic, freezing of Internet services, clashes with government forces, people getting killed and injured these things are the evidence of the fact that  the ground situation in Kashmir has not only remained unchanged but it has deteriorated further during 2015. This year, the killing of human beings, incidents of violence, border firings and curbs on the public movement remained unabated.

Total numbers of 206 deaths in violent incidents were reported during this year. Out of 206 persons, 53 were Civilians, 41 Armed Forces and Police Personnel and 111 Militants. Out of 53 civilians killed, 05 have been killed by armed forces personnel, 04 were killed in cross firing incidents between forces and militants and 17 have been killed by unidentified gunmen. Among those killed was one Burhan Bashir Bhat a three year old toddler who was killed by unidentified gunmen on September 19 in Sopore area. 12 civilians have been killed in border firing or shelling between Indian and Pakistani troops while 09 persons were killed due to littered or unexploded shells and mines etc while 01  person was killed in police custody. Whereas 01 person was put to death by fanatic goons in Udhampur incident in which they attacked their truck by petrol bombs and the subject lost his life due to burn injuries at a hospital. One person lost his life due to a grenade blast in Islamabad. While 04 civilian deaths are attributed to state sponsored militia VDC,s.

It is important to mention here that out of total number of deaths in violent incidents one Pakistani prisoner lodged in Central Jail Srinagar, died in a mysterious blast.

KILLINGS DUE TO LITTERRED EXPLOSIVES

Unexploded shells, littered explosives and live ammunition has led to the death of several persons and grievous injuries to scores of people in less media glare areas of Jammu and Kashmir. But majority of those killed and injured were children. Curious, children are naturally tempted to pick up strange objects even if these are unexploded ordnance — bombs, shells and grenades and their natural curiosity leads them to investigate any strange object as they take them as playing items. This year out of 09 person 05 children lost their lives due to littered explosives and live ammunition.

PELLET INJURIES

Use of Pellet gun by state forces continue to haunt youth this year as well and it remained the preferred weapon of the forces to quell the public protests or to target the bystanders and other civilians.

Although a number of youth hit by pellets evaded treatment in Valley Hospitals to escape arrests and persecution by Police but still serious pellet injuries to more than 45 persons were reported this year. Scores of youth suffered pellet injuries by the government forces and eyes of most of the victims were damaged. Many lost their vision permanently while others underwent through operative procedures. Out of these forty five pellet victims 42 persons became victim of pellet fires during the present collation government headed by PDP.

On February 9, three persons suffered pellet injuries in Palhallan and one among them, a college going student suffered injury in his eye. While another youth sustained injuries on chest and face.

On February 13, in Palhallan, another student was injured, who was operated upon in CVTS department of SKIMS Soura.

In the month of April, three persons were injured near Jamia Masjid Srinagar and the eyes of all three persons were critically damaged by pellets.

One month later on May 21, four persons got injured due to pellet fires in Palhalan and one of them, Hamid Ahmad, had around 100 injuries of pellets on his face and another youth from Palhallan, who had received serious pellet injuries on his arm was also admitted in SKIMS Medical College and Hospital Bemina. Later on severe pellet injury to one  more person from old city was also reported. He was also injured on 21 May near Nowhatta.

On June 27, a youth from Nowhatta was critically injured in the left eye with pellet gun fire while another youth received serious pellet injury on his back, scalp, shoulder and both were admitted and treated at SMHS Hospital Srinagar.

In Kakpora Pulwama, another two persons were injured in the eye and both were admitted in the SMHS Hospital during the month of August.

In August, at Qaimoh Kulgam, more than a dozen people were injured by pellet guns during a week and one of the victims suffered serious injury in his eye.

On September 4, two persons were critically injured in the eye at Nowhatta and grievous injuries to two more persons during the month of September were also reported.

Even if we take into consideration alone the month of October then at least 12 cases of serious Pellet Injuries at the hands of state forces were reported. Eyes of eight youth got damaged and among them one of the injured got grievously hurt in both eyes, threatening complete loss of vision. While another injured boy from Bijbehara got severe injuries on his Scalp and back. One girl student with severe pellet injuries on her back and a 50-year-old business man whose left arm, leg and thigh got pellet hits were also among the injured.

During the month of November at least 9 youth became victim of pellets. Out of these nine youth one was operated at SMHS Hospital for critical injuries to his abdomen while five youth sustained injuries to their one eye and due to the injury the eye sight of the injured youth got damaged while two victims received serious pellet injuries on back, scalp, arms and legs. One of the injured youth underwent through an operative procedure for injury to his leg.

Friday December 4, one youth from old city suffered pellet injury on his left arm, thigh and back at Nowhatta and underwent an operative procedure for injury to his thigh.

On December 16, one youth from old city of Srinagar suffered a brutal pellet attack by state forces near Qamarwari. Due to fatal pellet injuries the victim got grievous eye injuries threatening complete loss of vision. He was treated at SKIMS Medical College and Hospital Bemina and SKIMS Soura where he underwent different surgical procedures. But finally, doctors referred him outside Kashmir for advanced treatment where he would need a series of operations.

Recently on December 25,  as per reports, number of people sustained pellet injuries in Pulwama. However, around 15 pellet injury patients were treated at different hospitals, while others who either had minor injuries or who would have sought treatment at other places to escape police wrath. Three persons were treated for pellet injuries on face and chest at SKIMS. One youth from Kadlabal Pampore with grievous pellet injuries was also among others who were rushed to a Srinagar hospital where few injured were discharged after required treatment while others would need a series of operations and One victim suffered eye-injuries that could cost him his eye-sight.

DENIAL OF JUVENIAL RIGHTS

On October 16, a 9-year-old child was arrested and blindfolded by the cops from old city of Srinagar. The picture of the child being whisked away by police men grabbed the attention of everyone on Social Networking sites and Newspapers. The fact of the matter is that the situation in J&K is extremely obnoxious in this regard and Police continue to arrest minors and book them under various sections of the Ranbir Penal Code for rioting among other offences.

In an official reply to RTI Application filed by Mannan Bukhari, the State Home department under communication no. Home/PBV/RTI/2013/1357, of March 2014 revealed that 707 FIRs had been filed against juveniles since 1988 under different sections of CrPC.

A number of juveniles had been arrested over the years under the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978, (PSA) and the Ranbir Penal Code. In summer this year, the government partnered with UNICEF to sensitize police officers about dealing with juveniles. Who by Juvenile Justice Act are supposed to be tried in special courts but there is no Juvenile Justice Board and Child Welfare Committee. In Jammu & Kashmir minors are tried in normal courts, sometimes as adults, in contravention of the established Laws and International Obligations.

Juvenile Justice Act prohibits handcuffing of minors. Neither can policemen wearing uniform produce them in courts, nor can juveniles be tried in regular courts. According to the law, a juvenile has to be accompanied by a police official in plainclothes before the Juvenile Justice Board headed by a principal magistrate. Also, special juvenile police units have to be designated to deal with such children and every police station is supposed to have a Juvenile Child Welfare Officer.

But during this year as well, it was learnt that minors (allegedly stone pelters) were arrested by the police, tortured, produced before the Courts and they are tried in normal criminal courts.

On 26-11-2015, five minor boys, who were charged under the Unlawful Activities Act, were brought handcuffed in full public view by policemen in uniform to a court in Srinagar, in violation of the Juvenile Justice Act 2013. These minors told the court that they were produced before the court after 13 days of their arrest and they were kept in police custody for thirteen days before being produced in the court. One of the minors told the court that after he complained of pain in body at Cargo police station, he was taken to PCR hospital and was directed to reveal his identity as SPO bearing belt no.597. They said they were interrogated at cargo. Some of the juveniles produced roll no slips before the court saying that they missed the exams.

Three minors who had been charged under Unlawful Activities Act, were brought handcuffed to a court on December 8,2015 by uniformed cops. The handcuffed juveniles were chained together, along with three adults, in full public glare outside the court of Ist Additional Munsif Srinagar. But the policemen earned the court’s wrath, and     rejected the police’s plea for remand of the three juveniles who, according to their lawyers, were held on December 4 and not on December 7, as the police claimed. According to their lawyers the children had been in “illegal detention” for four days and the illegal action of the police jeopardized the educational career of the juveniles as they were being prevented from appearing in examinations.

A minor namely Umar Mushtaq Untoo from Sopore was nabbed by the police while taking part in protests in Palhallan on October 27 and was lodged at police station Pattan, Sub jail Baramulla and SOG Camp for nearly a fortnight, in  gross violation of Juvenile Justice Act. According to Umar’s father Mushtaq Ahmad a laborer, Umar was detained for five days in the  SOG Camp at Pattan where he was brutally tortured  and then shifted to Sub-Jail Baramulla where from court sent him to Juvenile home.

In Kashmir juveniles are treated as adults, in brazen violation of Juvenile Justice Act and UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. During this year, the legal team of APHC-m, got 7 minors released on bail while 4 minors were acquitted of their charges by various courts. It was learnt that as many as 87 juveniles detained on charges of stone throwing were lodged at the Valley’s lone Juvenile Care Home at Harwan this year.

It is worth pointing out that there is no juvenile home for girls, in violation of the J&K Juvenile Justice Act.

In May this year, the Hon’ble High Court of J&K while hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by a Haryana-based social worker, through her counsel, directed the state government to wake up from “deep slumber” in the interests of children and inform it about steps taken about the implementation of the legislation. In December, the same court said that the purpose of enacting the Juvenile Justice Act in the state “stands frustrated” due to its non-compliance, the high court has said and directed the state government to constitute Juvenile Justice Boards before December 28. “One of the essential purpose of legislating laws is to reintegrate the children who are in conflict with laws and who need care and protection within the society,” a bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Janak Raj Kotwal observed, while directing the government to comply with provisions of J&K Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2013 and Rules of 2014. As per the Act, Juvenile Justice Boards consists of a judicial magistrate and two social workers. “What is seen that till date neither the Act nor Rules have been implemented on the ground. The purpose to be achieved under the Act or Rules instead of being accomplished stands frustrated,” the court further said, and reminded the government that it was duty-bound to comply with the law made by it.

E-CURFEW

The unprecedented blanket ban on internet services in  Jammu & Kashmir once again brought to fore the absence of substantive democracy for the people who are used to the government imposing draconian curbs from time to time. Even during the festival of Eid-al-Azha the government displayed sheer non-application of mind by snapping internet connectivity which amounted to infringement on basic rights of the people. People in Kashmir were cut off from the digital world and this e-curfew can be described as a virtual curfew.

During this year fixed-line Internet services were withdrawn for the first time since they were introduced in Kashmir a decade ago. This blanket ban on internet services in Jammu and Kashmir was totally unconstitutional and violation of basic and constitutional rights of citizens of the state. Imposing any kind of ban on freedom of expression or on freedom of speech is highly objectionable and is unconstitutional and it also infringes the rights of persons. It is also against fundamental rights, legal rights and constitutional rights.

It is worth mentioning here that Internet has become now an important part of life and its deliberate interruption violates all rights of citizens. Such a ban in contemporary times amounts to violation of basic rights of people. By snapping internet services the government violated the right to information, right to knowledge, right to be informed, right to trade, right to education, right to travel, right to accessibility to internet edition of newspapers, right to employment and right to morality and ethics of the citizens  of the state.

PROBES AND INQUIRIES

The process of probes and inquiries is nothing new to Kashmir. After every hue and cry on civilian killings the government orders probes that have negligible results in delivering justice. Ordering inquiries has just become a ritual and these inquiries are neither completed nor made public. In fact the people of Kashmir do not have faith in these inquiries and the fact of the matter is that not even once the inquiries or probes conducted so far have led to the prosecution of any armed forces personnel. Even under Commission of Inquiry Act, the State has never made the findings public or punished the guilty and this makes one to conclude that probes are made not to punish but protect the perpetrators. This candid admission in itself reveals that inquiries and probes  whenever ordered are just an eye-wash to gain time. They have only two purposes to serve; one to cool down the tempers of people and second, to hoodwink the international community and this is the reason that the word Inquiry is the most discredited word in the Kashmir vocabulary in the past 26 years of human rights abuses.

During this year the state government has ordered at least eight inquiries into killings and other human rights cases. Out of these Eight inquiries six inquiries were ordered by the present collation government while as other two inquires were ordered during the Governor’s rule. However, these inquires haven’t yielded any results so far.

  • The first inquiry was ordered by the government in February this year into the killing of a youth Farooq Ahmad Bhat, 20, who was killed on February 9 in forces action in Palhallan area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. The then Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, ordered the investigation and appointed Sub-Divisional Magistrate Pattan as the inquiry officer.
  • Second inquiry was ordered by Deputy Commissioner Kupwara on February 11 into the alleged custodial killing of Nazir Ahmad Mughal of Gujjar Pati village of Zirhama, Kupwara.
  • Third inquiry was ordered in May after the killing of Suhail Ahmad Sofi of Narbal Budgam in police firing. Deputy Commissioner Budgam ordered a magisterial probe into the incident. Additional Deputy Commissioner was appointed as the inquiry office and asked to submit his report in 15 days. So far, the probe has not been completed.
  • In February this year, Army claimed to have killed seven suspected militants in Dardpora forests of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district in an encounter. Later, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Kupwara Kumar Rajiv Ranjan nominated Additional District Magistrate Kupwara, who is also the district Assistant Commissioner Revenue (ACR), as the inquiry officer and directed him to conduct a probe into the Army claims as per guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission. The inquiry officer was asked to submit the report in seven days, but hasn’t done so till date.
  • Another inquiry was ordered by the Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed on June 15 into civilian killings in north Kashmir’s Sopore. Six persons were killed by unknown gunmen in different parts of Sopore.
  • Another inquiry was ordered on August 11 after Border Security Force (BSF) shot dead Bilal Ahmad Bhat of Pulwama in South Kashmir. Bilal was killed when BSF soldiers opened fire on protestors in Malangpora area of the district. The Government ordered a “time-bound” inquiry into the killing and Additional Deputy Commissioner was asked to probe the incident.
  • Yet another inquiry was ordered into the killing of Gowhar Nazir Dar of HMT Srinagar on November 7.
  • The latest inquiry was ordered on November 16, when five persons, including a woman, were severely beaten up and tortured by Army’s 44 RR and SOG of police in Chuntmulla village in Bandipora district. Deputy Commissioner Bandipora ordered an inquiry into the incident to be conducted by ACR Bandipora, and also directed the police to register an FIR.

ARRESTS

Arbitrary use of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA), nocturnal raids, arrests, illegal confinement and frequent crackdown on voices of dissent continued to be a state tool this year as well. Ahead of the Eid-ul-Adha, a stealthy and unprecedented police crackdown played out. Hundreds of Kashmiris, including butchers, were arrested during nocturnal raids across the valley and all the  pro freedom leaders were either jailed or confined to their homes. There was no respite for the Kashmiri youth from arrests and raids during this year as well. The nocturnal raids created panic among the youth and they were forced to go in hiding which affected their education, employment and day to day life.

During this year as many as 120 rallies of government, semi government employees and unemployed youth protesting for their job regularizations, pending salaries, incentives etc were dispersed forcefully by the police and hundreds of such protesters were taken into custody. Even on World Disability Day, December 3,  police foiled the protest march of Jammu and Kashmir Handicapped Welfare Association (JKHWA) and detained scores of physically challenged members of the organization who tried to march towards Divisional Commissioner’s office for pressing their demands.

In November, authorities imposed a massive crackdown on the pro freedom activists and leaders on the eve of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s visit to the Valley. Around 1000 persons were detained or put under house detention without any charge. Restrictions were imposed, soldiers in large numbers patrolled the streets of Srinagar city and barriers were set up restricting the movement of pedestrians and vehicles drastically.

According to an Amnesty International report the implementation of the PSA is often “arbitrary and abusive”, with many of those being held despite having committed “no recognizably criminal acts.” During this year, number of persons were booked under   Public Safety Act (PSA)  and it remained tool of the present state regime as well. For example Auqaf president Fayaz Ahmad who was detained by police during a nocturnal raid from his residential house in Bugam village of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district was booked  under Public Safety Act and was shifted to Kathua jail Jammu on 02-12-2015. PSA was slapped on Fayaz Ahmad Rather for leading funeral prayers of a militant and he was booked vide FIR number 224/2015 under section 147,148,149,336,307 of RPC.

Similarly on a dossier by police, on 3-12-2015 the Deputy Commissioner Baramulla ordered detention under PSA, of the three youths of Palhallan Pattan for their participation in protests. The youth were  identified as Adil Ahmad Gojri son of Lal Mohammad, Nazir Ahmad Gojri son of Mohammad Sadiq of Gojri Mohalla Palhallan and Basit Ahmad Peer son of Ghulam Mohammad Peer of Raypora Palhallan. All of them were arrested in connection with an FIR no. 116/2015 u/s 147,148,149,336,427,307RPC. The trio were booked under PSA No. 02/DMB/PSA/2015. While Adil was shifted to Kathua, Basit and Nazir were lodged in Srinagar’s Central Jail and Kupwara Jail respectively. It is important to mention here that lodgment of all these persons was against Supreme Court direction whereby a detainee has to be lodged in a jail nearby his residence.

Such  oppressive methods, arbitrary use of  PSA,  arrests, illegal detentions, nocturnal raids, harassment,  chocking the voices of dissent and suppressive approaches adopted by the government is a bizarre violation of human rights.

TORTURE

India is one of the few countries which has not ratified the convention against torture. Understandably keeping in view its record in Kashmir where Torture is a daily routine. People are beaten at the slightest provocation and torture remains a state policy to subjugate and suppress the masses. But due to fear and reprisal from the state forces, only few victims spoke out about their custodial torture.

In the month of November, four persons were subjected to torture by the troops of Army’s 44 RR and SOG of police during the course of search operations at Chuntimulla forest of Bandipora, resulting in injuries to them. When residents asked the Army men to release the detained youth they reacted with batons and were severely thrashed. Three victims, Sakina Bano, Ghulam Hassan and Javid Ahmad, were severely injured and were hospitalized. The incident triggered protest by agitated villagers and an inquiry was ordered by the Deputy Commissioner Bandipora and an FIR under number 161/ 2015 has also been registered against army in this regard.

In the month of May the Army let loose a reign of terror in Ladoo area of the district Pulwama. The army personnel were forcing local people to report in their camp after snatching identity cards from them and after visiting the camp people were harassed and subjected to questioning regarding the movements and presence of militants. While a few residents were physically tortured for not reporting in the army camps.

A minor namely Umar Mushtaq Untoo was from Sopore was nabbed by the police while taking part in protests in Palhallan on October 27 and was lodged at police station Pattan, Sub jail Baramulla and SOG Camp for nearly a fortnight, in  gross violation of law. According to Umar’s father Mushtaq Ahmad a labourer, Umar was detained for five days in the SOG Camp at Pattan where he underwent brutal mental and physical torture and then he was shifted to Sub-Jail Baramulla from where court sent him to Juvenile home.

On November 8, Owais Farooqi a journalist and reporter who works for a local newspaper was arrested by police while performing his professional duties in Gulshan Chowk area of Bandipora. According to Owais Farooqi police dragged and bundled him in the vehicle till he was put in the lockup. “Instead of allowing me to perform my professional duties I was arrested and tortured badly” alleged Owais, who was later released only after the intervention of senior Police Officers.

Serious allegations of torture came to fore on October 16, according to which a man in south Kashmir’s Kokernag area was allegedly tortured for three days in police custody in order to force him to sign papers claiming his brother has joined militant ranks. According to a media report, 28-year-old Bashir Ahmad Wani, a former militant, went missing after appearing for hearing in a case at the Anantnag District Court on October o1, 2015. Since then, he didn’t return home but after few days a police party from police station Kokernag picked up Bashir’s younger brother, Mudasir Ahmad Wani, and shifted him to JIC Anantnag for “interrogation”. “I was beaten for three days. The police pressurised me to sign papers that my brother has joined militants. I refused because I have no knowledge about my brother’s whereabouts,” alleged Mudasir. He further alleged that “I can’t ruin my brother’s life by signing the papers. We are worried about his safety, but the police is harassing us. Instead of tracing my brother, they are asking me about his whereabouts,” while expressing the fear that he may again be ‘called’ by the police.

Recently there were allegations of arbitrary arrest and torture against Special Operations Group of police in North Kashmir’s Sopore. Riyaz Ahmad Bhat son of Khalil Bhat of Sadipora, Sopore, was allegedly picked up by Special Operation Group (SOG) personnel in civvies when he was returning home after offering evening prayers on December 23, and was bundled in a Santro car. The family immediately filed a report at Sopore police station and next day they came to know from local police that Riyaz has been picked up by SOG Sopore for questioning about some matter. Riyaz was released on December 25, after being detained at SOG camp Sopore. “They beat me up and asked me about some three women who they said had been seen coming out of our home. I had no idea of what they were asking me. They beat me up intermittently and  I was handed over to local police station where my family members took me to a private clinic as my hands and knees had been injured badly,” alleged Riyaz a business man and head of the local Mohalla committee.

USE OF PEPPER GAS

The continuous use of purported “non-lethal” weapons in volatile Kashmir valley has been causing serious injuries, and death, to civilians. The latest trouble for people of the valley, which has been described as a “collective punishment”, is the use of pepper gas shells by the police to disperse the protesting crowds. The rampant use of  “non-lethal” pepper gas is taking a heavy toll on the health of people in affected areas and is becoming deadly for people in Kashmir especially in the densely populated areas of Srinagar and the policemen and paramilitary troopers, who fire these deadly chemicals, also put their health and lives in danger. This “non-lethal weapon” is becoming deadly for people particularly elderly, children and those having asthma and other respiratory problems.

During this year the Government Chest Disease  Hospital  Srinagar has witnessed a rush of patients particularly from  old city with complaints of chest ailments due to exposure to pepper gas in their localities. Most of these patients were elderly people, children and those suffering from asthma and also policemen who constantly fire pepper gas and tear smoke canisters at people. According to the doctors at the Chest diseases hospital, almost 90 percent of the patients arriving in the hospital suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD). Mostly babies and old age people visit hospital as their lungs are too weak to resist this harmful gas.

Despite public outrage and a medical report linking its serious health complications, the indiscriminate use of pepper gas for dispersing crowds continues in Kashmir. Report compiled by the doctors of SKIMS Soura, Srinagar, titled “Effects of pepper grenade explosions on non-combatant bystanders” found that 97 per cent of people visiting the hospital after exposure to pepper gas reported irritation of airways. Published in different international medical journals the report further states that one fatality also occurred in a close temporal relation to the use of pepper gas and states “Exposure to pepper grenade explosions leads to severe toxic collateral symptoms in non-combatant bystanders who not infrequently require medical attention. Long-term effects of exposure remain unclear and need to be studied.” the report further states.

According to the report some people experiencing symptoms were present as away as a half a Kilometre radius from the site of pepper gas shelling.

The effects as reported by the experts clearly indicate that pepper gas is a less lethal variant of the family of Chemical Weapons.

STUN GRENADES OR  FLASH-BANGS

Stun grenade, also known as Flash Grenade or Flash Bang is a recent addition to the brutal “non-lethal” vocabulary of the state to suppress the descent. Flash-bangs, on explosion, create a bright burst of light and an intensely loud noise, temporarily numbing the senses. Touted as “non- lethal” these grenades can cause severe injury or death if targeted at a human body from close range.

In October 2015, a 9-year-old kid Aamir Bilal suffered serious burn wounds when he fell prey to this “non-lethal” weapon of the repression. A stun-grenade fired by the police in Saraf Kadal Srinagar, had come his way and it exploded near him. The fumes of it had gone into the respiratory track; his eyes also got affected. But major damage was on the face and arms.

On 23-10-2015, one more youth from old city suffered serious burn injuries in the right arm and in the same month one more youth from old city of Srinagar suffered burn injury in right side of the body due to stun-grenades. Both youth avoided going to government hospital and instead they were treated in private clinics.

PRISONERS

Kashmiri prisoners lodged in Tihar and different Indian jails continue to suffer from feeling of deprivation and helplessness. The condition of prisoners in these jails is deplorable and they suffer extraordinary ordeals. They aren’t able to meet their lawyers and receive proper medical care.

The situation has become so bad for the Kashmiri prisoners that many of them went on a hunger strike for several days during this year, protesting against an order by the Director General (Prisons), restricting the rights of the High Risk Ward (HRW) prisoners. In a petition to the Delhi High Court, they alleged that “malpractices and inhuman treatment” were meted out to them by jail authorities.

A Kashmiri prisoner lodged in Tihar Jail Delhi, 26-year-old, Dr Wasim Akram Malik suffered Bell’s Palsy – paralysis of the facial nerve – during judicial custody. Even after the Special National Investigating Agency Court directed the Tihar jail officials to medically examine the prisoner at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the jail authorities had reportedly brushed aside the order. During this year more than once, the Kashmiri prisoners lodged in Tihar went on hunger strike in protest against the atrocities committed on them by jail authorities. Similarly the prisoner of the Sub-Jail Baramulla also went on hunger strike for several days “against the unwanted delay” caused in their cases. Because their cases were not being heard in Baramulla Session Court due to the absence of the Public Prosecutor since October 2014. The prisoner were being punished for the absence of the Public Prosecutor and their detention was getting prolongated unnecessarily and they were being punished for none of their fault.

In fact, most of the Kashmiri inmates lodged in different jails of the state and outside are under trials and they are facing the tyranny of legal system. They have complaints that they are being subjected to the tyranny of the legal process which is going on endlessly without any fault of theirs. The jail authorities are also not producing these accused persons regularly before the courts on the dates of hearing for one reason or the other, most of the inmates due to lack of escort miss their date of hearing in the courts as a result of which their cases get protracted. The jail manuals  are not implemented in letter and spirit and this has adversely affected the health of the inmates.

It is worth mentioning here that the U.S. State Department in its ‘Executive Summary’ of ‘India 2014 Human Rights Report, released in the last week of June 2015, said that the detainees under Public Safety Act (PSA) in Jammu and Kashmir were denied medical attention and access to lawyers by law enforcing agencies and that the police routinely used the arbitrary detention. “Detainees are allowed access to a lawyer during interrogation, but police in Jammu and Kashmir routinely employed arbitrary detention and denied detainees, particularly the destitute, access to lawyers and medical attention,” the State department said in its report.

Therefore, human rights groups and other organizations must take strong note of the happenings and come to the rescue of prisoners. The role of the International Committee of the Red Cross, National Human Rights Commission and other organizations vis-à-vis the Kashmiri prisoners has not been up to the mark. While the ICRC has a limited mandate, the NHRC does not take note of the deplorable condition of the Kashmiri prisoners. Amnesty International, which owes its birth to an article by Peter Benenson in 1961 to defend prisoners, has also remained tight-lipped in this regard.

USE OF TEAR GAS

In the 100 years since it was first developed, tear gas, advertised as a harmless substance, has often proven fatal, asphyxiating children and adults, causing miscarriages, and injuring many. Its manufacturers and users may describe it as a “non-lethal technology” but it is a chemical weapon, banned for use in war. Yet while tear gas remains banned from warfare under the Chemical Weapons Convention, its use in civilian policing grows. Tear gas remains as effective today at demoralizing and dispersing crowds as it was a century ago, turning the street from a place of protest into toxic chaos. In this way, tear gas offers the police a cheap solution for social unrest. But rather than resolve tensions, it deepens them. This weapon of repression can cause suffocation, serious respiratory problems and miscarriage, and tear gas canisters themselves can be deadly when fired at protesters.

The human-rights organization Amnesty International has listed tear gas as part of the international trade in tools of torture.

Kashmir is the most haunted place of tear gassing, here hundreds have been critically injured while number of persons became handicapped due to tear gas canisters fired by the state forces. Some deaths are also attributed to this weapon.

In 2015, tear gassing continued to remain cheap solution for government forces to deal the civilian protests. Besides suffocation and other problems, several critical injuries were also reported during this year. For example on October 21, one youth was critically  injured when he was hit in his head by a teargas shell fired by the state troops at Bijbehara in South Kashmir on October 23, another youth got injuries to his hand by teargas shell during protests at Shopian.

12-year-old boy was critically injured on June 26, when tear gas shells fired by the government forces landed into the premises of Srinagar’s Historic Grand Mosque (Jamia Masjid). The injured boy was operated at SMHS Hospital for critical injury to his abdomen. Similarly, on November 7, a youth namely Shahnawaz Ahmad from Palhallan got critical head injury at Palhallan when a teargas canister fired by the government forces hit him.

RIGHT TO TRAVEL

The right to travel is guaranteed under Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, which India has signed and ratified. Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has a right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”

But the authorities here are denying the ‘Right to Travel’ to the subjects of Kashmir and issuing passport to innocent citizens is projected as “security-risk. According to estimates  tens of thousands have had travel documents withheld on flimsy grounds and  decisions to withhold passports are arbitrary and widespread—impacting huge numbers of innocent people. There are Hajj aspirants, ailing people seeking better medical facilities, unemployed youth seeking overseas jobs, and many others who are the victims of this discrimination. Denial of passport has choked the space for a common Kashmiri. It has blocked their overseas avenues of employment and education.

According to the latest information provided by the Passport Office Srinagar in response to our RTI applications, the Chief Public Information Officer, Passport Office, Srinagar states that 33,000 (Thirty Three Thousands) applications of applicants seeking passports were pending / awaiting reports from the concerned offices as on June, 2015. 29 (Twenty Nine) cases were sub-judice before the Hon’ble High Court of J&K at Srinagar and 48(Forty Eight) cases were pending for applicants responses. While as refusal orders had been issued against 37 (Thirty Seven) passport applications/forms as on 29-7-2015.

Those who have been denied passports also include leaders from resistance camp. For example Chairman All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, has been denied passport for the last three years which is a blatant infringement of the Right to Travel of a person.

ENFORCED DISAPPERANCES, CUSTODIAL KILLINGS & FAKE ENCOUNTERS

Although the numbers of enforced disappearances, Extra Judicial Killings and Fake Encounters taking place have come down but disappearances of three persons from Kupwara in the month of December and alleged custodial killing of Nazir Ahmad Mughal of Gujjar Pati village of Zirhama, Kupwara in the month of Febraury, clearly  serves as pointer that such phenomenon are still continuing.

On November 17, three men from Kupwara Ghulam Jeelani Khatana (42), Mir Hussain Khatana (45) and Ali Muhammad Sheikh (40), went missing after being called by a Territorial Army (TA) man of 160 Battalion from their respective houses. The families of these disappeared persons approached the camp of TA at Hiri, then police stations of Kralpora and Trehgam Kupwara. When nothing substantial happened the families approached the court at Kupwara. The army and government claimed that they would investigate the matter and on December 16, Army announced that it is probing the disappearance of three persons. Although the soldier of TA has been arrested and continues to be under police custody but the fact of the matter is that the move comes in the wake of apprehensions regarding the fate of the three civilians with fake encounters being a regular feature in Kashmir and mystery behind the disappearance of the three Kupwara residents has revived fake encounter ghosts wherein they are passed off as genuine gunfights involving militants.

Similarly an Inquiry was ordered by Deputy Commissioner Kupwara on February 11 into the alleged killing of Nazir Ahmad Mughal of Gujjar Pati village of Zirhama, Kupwara in police custody, who according to his family was arrested by the Police on February 06, and was in police custody in case FIR no 76/2014 under section 364,302/ RPC of Police Station Trehgam.

In another case, according to media reports, the family members of two SPO-turned-militants killed by the forces in forests of Doda, demanded high-level probe into the claims about rejoining of militancy by duo and also apprehended foul play in the encounter. Earlier the forces claimed to have killed two militants, who had escaped with their service rifles on September 8 this year from Doda and allegedly rejoined militancy.

Farooq Ahmed, elder brother of one of the slain Mohammed Riaz expressed doubt about his brother’s rejoining militancy and killing too. Refuting police claims and his apprehensions about the killing he said the dead cannot speak out what happened with them. “It is the government which can order probe so that families come to know about the facts,” he added.

A close relative of another slain person Gul Mohammed, pleading anonymity alleged, “we thought they were sent on a mission by the forces but their killing has created apprehensions. Rejoining militancy is a mystery which needs to be probed,” he demanded, while apprehending a foul play.

Similarly in the month of April, regarding the killing of a civilian identified as Khalid Muzaffar Wani of Tral who was killed on April 13, army claimed that he was an over ground worker working for his militant brother. In this regard an army official said. “It were militants who started firing and during the initial onslaught from the militants one of our soldier was badly wounded. The three friends of Khalid were little far away when the exchange of fire took place while Khalid was present with his militant brother Burhan and was killed during the encounter,” adding that the SOP was followed properly during the operation. However, initially the police on ground denied having received any inputs, casting suspicion over the whole story and Khalid’s family also refuted the army statement.“If my son was killed in an encounter, why his body didn’t bear a bullet wound,” asks Khalid’s father Muzaffar Ahmad Wani. “It was a custodial killing. I looked at every inch of his body, from toe to head, and there was no bullet mark on his body,” Wani said. “He was tortured. All his teeth had been damaged, his nose was broken and his forehead and skull too were broken, perhaps by gun butts. His only fault was that he was brother of a militant”.

During these allegations, apprehensions, claims and counter claims or statements there is no deterrent in place to check fake encounters, extra judicial killing and disappearances which have been used as short-cut method to earn promotions and medals. Although investigations have been ordered from time to time to look into the role of armed forces in the various fake encounters, extra judicial killing and disappearances but such probes do not infuse much optimism among people now. Even when the probes are ordered, the agencies are not able to ensure that the investigations are impartial and exemplary punishment is given to the culprits. Therefore, an impartial probe by some international body in all such cases in the valley in which there are strong allegations against the government forces of killing of innocent persons to earn promotions and gallantry awards.

VIOLATION OF RELIGIOUS RIGHTS

It is indeed a travesty and a sad saga that as human rights have advanced all over the world, in Kashmir, these have regressed. From fake encounters, extra judicial killing and custodial disappearances to lethal weapons and internet blockade, human rights are abused in Kashmir every single day. The freedom of religion which is guaranteed by the international law and declaration on elimination of all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or beliefs is violated in Kashmir by the state. This year too, the government imposed ban on carrying Muharram procession on 8th and 10th Muharram around Lalchowk area in flagrant violation of the international and domestic law which amounts to denial of religious freedom. Although the state is bound to facilitate the religious practices of its citizens but the state used brute force to disperse the Muharram processions taken out around Lalchowk area on 8th and 10th Muharram.

Similarly due to imposition of repeated curfews, the congressional Friday prayers at Kashmir’s Historic Grand Mosque (Jamia Masjid) could not be offered at least eight times during this year. Although as per the international and constitutional guarantees the religious sensitivities should have been seriously considered by the state but in contrary to this, on June 26 and December 4 the state forces while dispersing the street protests fired tear smoke shells and Pepper Gas directly into the premises of Jamia Masjid (Grand Mosque) resulting in suffocation and injuries to several devotees inside the mosque. While Syed Ahmad Sayeed Naqashbandi, Imam at Kashmir’s grand mosque, was shifted to hospital on December 4, when he was coming out of the mosque and he felt acute suffocation and breathlessness caused by the Tear smoke and Pepper gas fired by the forces.

VILLAGE DEFENCE COMMOITTEES (VDCs)

The demand for disbanding Village Defense Committees (VDCs) is increasing from almost all quarters of public opinion following recent killings of civilians VDC members. The VDCs were created during Governor’s rule in 1995. According to official figures, there are over 26500 VDC members operating in 10 districts of Jammu and Leh district of Ladakh region.

If rationale of the Supreme Court judgment on Chattisgarh (in the case of Nadini Sarkar) is taken on account, in which Supreme Court of India declared out sourcing of Policing to private mercenaries unlawful, the JK Government should have followed the suit by disbanding VDCs. Since their formation VDCs have been indulging in many social crimes. They are involved in extortion, kidnapping, molestation and even rapes. VDCs, that comprise mostly non-Muslims, have been unleashing terror on muslim population in the areas of Doda, Kishtwar, Rajouri and Poonch.

This year also witnessed a reign of terror unleashed by VDCs. For example on July 30, an Army personnel and a Village Defense Committee (VDC) member was arrested for firing shots, triggering panic and terror among the people in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir.

A village Defence Committee (VDC) member namely Vinod Sawhiney of Gohlad Mendhar fired several shots  in aerial from his rifle at his home on August 9. The firing created panic and fear among local residents after which a police party rushed to the spot and immediately seized his rifle. The said VDC man was detained by police.

On November 15, a child, identified as three-year-old Omeshwar, son of Ranjeet Singh, a resident of Narla Bambal village of Rajouri, died when he was hit by a bullet from a gun which belonged to child’s relative who works as a member of the village defence committee (VDC) in his native village

In the month of December, Ishtyaq Ahmed (26) was shot dead by VDC member Kewal Sharma in Potha village of Kalakote Tehsil of Rajouri district after the duo had an altercation over distribution of ration.

In yet another shocking incident on December 24, a VDC member Mushtaq Ahmad opened fire upon mother Shamima Akhter and her 4-year-old son Towheed Ahmad at Budhal area of Rajouri district and killed both of them.

Although Government itself has admitted the misuse of arms by VDCs and during the State Assembly session on March o3 this year, Government revealed that 197 cases have been registered against the VDC members in Jammu province, out of which, 03 cases have been closed as non-admitted, 02 cases as un-traced, 190 have been challaned and 02 cases are under investigation. But the question is why government isn’t disbanding this killer force called VDCs despite having huge presence of forces in the State.

HARASSMENT OF KASHMIRIS INSIDE & OUTSIDE KASHMIR

Harassment, frisking crackdown are such atrocities which Kashmiris have been facing inside and outside Kashmir since years and continued even in 2015. Frequent cordons and search operations in the city’s commercial hub Lal Chowk, its adjoining areas and frisking of local population continued this year as well.

In latest form of forced labour, each night the taxi drivers of north Kashmir’s Kreeri were required to send one vehicle to the 29 Rashtriya Rifles camp for use by the Army without any payment. The spate of recent killings by unidentified gunmen in north Kashmir left taxi drivers in scare as they feared that their vehicles which were being used for counter-insurgency operations, will make them suspects in the eyes of militants.

August 14, an Army party from Sharifabad camp detained three youth from Lawaypora locality after they allegedly made a graffiti urging people to observe August 15 (India’s Independence Day) as Black Day. After questioning, the youth were immediately released by the Army. But after a few days the same Army party led by the same officer caught hold of  one of the youth Waheed Ahmed Malik son of late Abdul Razak and took him to a nearby paddy field. He was ordered to pose for photographs along with their service rifles. After taking photographs the officer threatened Waheed of dire consequences. A complaint against the army officer was also registered by the locals in the concerned police station.

In the month of November the inhabitants of at least 20 villages in Hayhama area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district suffered  for 27 days due to an army operation against the presence of suspected militants in the area. Curfew-like restrictions were clamped in around 20 villages. Normal life in the villages including Glassdaji, Manigah, Hajinaka, Birambal, Sabhaya and Soniwali, Sohipora, Shatpora, Mirnag and Hummandar got badly disrupted due to harassment of villagers by army and police on the pretext of presence of militants. Innocent population, mostly youths, were confined to their houses. During the operation the education of children also got badly affected due to continuous siege.

There were serious allegations of harassments against the police by the pellet injured persons and their families during their treatment at different hospitals. According to the families the cops and other government agencies posted at hospitals questioned and harassed them and due this fear number of injured avoided government hospitals and preferred private clinics and hospitals for treatment of the injured persons.

Mal treatment and harassment meted out to Kashmiri students outside Kashmir in different states of India also remained unchanged. This mind set especially in parts of northern India has been created by the biased and jingoistic propagation by a section of Indian media. In the month of January, Kashmiri students at Ganga Institute of Technology and Management, Jajjar Haryana, faced harassment and intimidation for being Kashmiris. This is not an isolated incident, in September, Kashmiri students studying in an institute at Udhaipour Rajasthan were also attacked and harassed. Such incidents also happened in NIMS University, Rajasthan, Maharana Pratap Group of Institutions (MPGI), Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh and other places where Kashmiri students were either beaten up or detained for involvement in violent clashes with non-Kashmiri students.

STATE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (SHRC)

After being constituted in 1997, for safeguarding human rights in the state, SHRC has remained headless from time to time. The SHRC, which is quasi-judicial government body has a designated strength of five members, including its chairman.

Inspite of its oft-repeated assertions about strengthening SHRC, the commission has been rendered defunct by the government since June 28, 2014, when its remaining two members completed their term. The commission continues to remain headless and without the required strength. Since then the commission which has registered and disposed off thousands of cases has neither a member nor a chairperson as on date. The SHRC has become a lame duck, as a result, around 2200 cases related to human rights abuses are pending with the commission. All the work at the commission, including allotment of cases and routine administration, has come to a halt. The supporting staff cannot deal with any case on their own in the absence of the chairperson and other SHRC members. Although the commission is only a recommendery body but still it provided a ray of hope to the victims of human rights abuses. However, due to non seriousness of the State, people at large have been deprived of a redressal forum and the Government’s callous approach towards this issue  has resulted in a general sense of hopelessness.

But this is nothing new with this Commission, fact of the matter is that no formal chairperson  was appointed by the State since 2011 and that senior members were designated as acting chairpersons and thus the non-serious approach of successive governments has always affected  the very basis of the institution for which it was set up.

Annexure

Summary of civilian killings in year 2015

On January 01, 2015, New Year started with Indo-Pak fresh firing across ceasefire line violated the ceasefire. However, there had been no reports of any casualties or damage on either side of LOC. On January 06, more than 10,000 villagers were forced to leave their homes along the border in Samba and Kathua sectors in Jammu District due to relentless shelling by Indo-Pak Forces, causing a humanitarian crisis in the middle of a hard winter. A total of 274 cease fire violations took place in 2015 between Indian and Pakistani troops in J&K.

On February 09, one person was killed and two others injured when Police opened fire on a group of protesters at Palhalan in Baramulla District. Three persons Farooq Ahmad Bhat, Riyaz Ahmad Bhat and Zahid Ahmad Bhat were injured in Police firing and while taking to the hospital Farooq Ahmad Bhat (23) alias Prince S/o Gulam Mohammad Bhat succumbed to injuries.

On February 11, 22-year old man Nazir Ahmad Mughal of Gujjar Pati village of Zirhama, Kupwara was killed in police custody.

On March 20-21, two civilians died when fidayeen squad of militants attacked a Police Station in Kathua District.

On April 04, three people were killed and two sustained injuries in a mine explosion at a forest area near the LoC in Saryam village in Nowshera of Rajouri District.

On April 13, one person identified as Mohammad Khalid Wani S/o Mohammad Muzaffar Wani of Shariefabad, Tral was killed in Kamla forest area of Buchoo Tral in South Kashmir’s Pulwama District.

On April 18, another civilian Suhail Ahmad Sofi (15) S/o Abdul Ahad Sofi was killed in Police firing at Narbal of Budgam District.

On May 04, unidentified gunmen shot dead a person, identified as Abdul Ahad Dar, a resident of Astan Mohalla locality of Hazratbal, inside his house in Hazratbal area on the outskirts of Srinagar.

On May 25, unidentified gunmen fired at a franchisee outlet of BSNL at Iqbal Market in Sopore. Three employees of the BSNL franchisee were injured in the firing. One of the injured, Mohammad Rafiq (26), later succumbed to his injuries.

On May 26, unidentified gunmen shot dead Ghulam Hassan Dar (60) in whose premises a telecom tower was installed a resident of Dooru village on the outskirts of Sopore town of Baramulla District.

On June 04, Jagjit Singh (24) was killed and five others were injured as protests against removal of Bhindranwale’s posters from a Sikh-dominated area in Jammu escalated. A police bullet hit Jagjit Singh and killed him on the spot.

On June 09, unidentified gunmen killed Mohammad Altaf-ur-Rehman Sheikh (46), an employee of Health Department, in Sopore town of Baramulla District.

On June 12, unidentified assailants killed Khursheed Ahmad Bhat (35), in the Sopore area of Baramulla District.

On June 13, unidentified gunmen killed a youth, identified as Mehraj-ud-Din Dar (38), in Sopore area of Baramulla District.

On June 15, two unidentified gunmen shot dead Aijaz Ahmad Reshi (35) Mundji resident of Sopore town in Baramulla District.

On June 22, one civilian identified as Asif Ahmad Tantray was killed in an encounter in Redwani Bala village of Kulgam District. Police said that he was hit by a stray bullet near the scene of encounter.

On July 01, unidentified gunmen shot dead a village headman Muhammad Yusuf Bhat, the ‘numbardar’ (village headman) of Wangam village in Pulwama District.

On July 10, a 53 year old shepherd Maqsood Ahmad from Rajouri found an explosive device while grazing his cattle in the mountainous Drass area of Kargil District. While Maqsood was fiddling with the device, it went off leaving him dead.

On July 15, unidentified gunmen shot dead Bashir Ahmed while he was coming out of a mosque after offering prayers in Srinagar’s Kulgam District.

On July 15, Poli Devi (42) was killed on spot after being hit by splinters of mortar shells  on border. A mortar shell exploded in the field at village Bhareth, where she was working killing her instantly while Ramesh Lal (24), Usha Devi (38) and Surinder Kumar (22), all residents of Bhalwal Bhareth were the civilians injured in shelling.

On July 25, one of the injured civilians identified as Mohammad Jabbar Wagay (50) of Brenti Batapora, Anantnag District succumbed to injuries. He was injured when unidentified gunmen hurled a grenade in Achabal Bus stand outside 164 Battalion of CRPF.

On August 04, one civilian was killed in firing when Indo-Pak forces resorted to heavy firing and shelling across cease fire line in Pargwal sector of Jammu District.

On August 06, two minors boys, 10 years old Bilal Ahmad Reshi, 11 years old Shakir Ahmad Reshi both sons of Ghulam Hassan Reshi were killed and another Muzamil Ahmad critically injured when an unexploded shell they found and were fiddling with, went off in Baba Sualin area of Ganderbal district.

On August 15, In worst ever shelling between Indo-Pak forces for the past several years, six civilians including a Sarpanch were killed and over 20 other civilians injured in Balakote, Manjakote, Sabzian, Mandi, Mankot, Hamirpur and surrounding sectors in Poonch and Rajouri Districts. The deceased were identified as Sarpanch Karamat Hussain (52), Master Abdul Rehman (42), Mohammad Amin (18), Mohammad Sheraj Khan (17), Moin Khan (10), Nusrat Bi (35) of Balakote sector in Poonch District.

On August 25, unidentified gunmen shot dead Javed Ahmad Khan (30), resident of Khanday Pora, in South Kashmir’s Awantipora area in Pulwama District.

On August 28, three civilians were killed in firing when Indo-Pak troops resorted to heavy firing and shelling across the border RS Pura sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

On September 07, one person was killed firing along the border in Sabzian sector of Poonch District.

On September 14, three persons were found dead in Pattan area in Baramulla District. The locals found three bullet ridden bodies of Amir Reshi (17), Ashiq Wani (21), and Naveed Ahmad Khan, in local orchards of Shutz Dangerpora village on Nihalpora-Wailo road in Pattan area.

On September 18, unidentified gunmen shot dead Bashir Ahmad Bhat (38) son of Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, and critically injured his 3-year-old son, Burhan, who was in his lap, in Sopore area in Baramulla District.

On September 19, Burhan three year old succumbed to his injuries at SKIMS. He died at 7am.

On Oct 19, Zahid Ahmad Bhat (19) of Anantnag in Kashmir died when their truck was attacked by fanatic forces in Udampur on Oct 9-10 night. He was admitted in the  Hospital with 70% burn injuries.

On November 7, Gowhar Nazir Dar (22) S/o Nazir Ahmad Dar R/o Zainkot HMT an engineering student was killed by CRPF on the day Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Kashmir..

On November 15, a child, identified as three-year-old Omeshwar S/o Ranjeet Singh R/o Narla Bambal village of Rajouri died when he was hit by a bullet fired by a gun belonging to village defence committee (VDC) member.On November 25, one civilian identified as Tanveer Ahmad was killed in cross-firing in a long gunfight between militants and Indian forces in Tangdhar sector.

On December 14, unidentified gunmen killed Rasik Ahmad Khan S/o Gulam Hassan Khan R/o Wasohallan Shopian.

On December 20, Ishtyaq Ahmed (26) was shot dead by a member of village defence committee (VDC) Kewal Sharma in Potha village of Kalakote Tehsil of Rajouri district.

On December 23, three young brothers Vikar (15), Deepu (10) and Meheshu (7), sons of Bola Ram of Ramban district presently living in Barmi area were killed in an explosion   in Udhampur.

On December 24, VDC (village defence committee) member Mushtaq Ahmad S/O Mohd Sharief R/O Mohra Dhaveen village in Budhal area of Rajouri district opened fire upon the mother and her 4-year-old son after barging inside her kitchen at Samote village. The deceased have been identified as Shamim Akhter (35) W/O Mohammad Din and Tawheed Ahmad (4).

Report compiled by: Mannan Bukhari (Head:- Human Rights Division APHC-m)

Assisted by: Mir Imran (Member – Human Rights Division APHC-m)

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