Indian atrocities and human rights violations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir are well-documented but the recent extrajudicial killing of two men is reprehensible. The situation was worsened when the occupying forces did not even return their bodies to families.
The two men – Altaf Bhat, a trader, and Mudassir Gul, a dental surgeon, were killed in crossfire at a shopping complex in Srinagar. Indian security forces used them as human shields during a fake encounter against rebels and blatantly refused to hand over the bodies to their families for a proper burial. Their bodies were then exhumed days later and returned after widespread public outcry.
A video of the minor daughter of one of the martyrs went viral showing her sobbing and narrating how the Indian police were laughing unashamedly at the death of their father. India troops stage gunfights and fake encounters to claim rewards and promotions. Five children were orphaned in two families who did not even ask for justice but rather allow to perform their last rites with dignity.
In the past year, Indian authorities have killed hundreds of civilians in extra-judicial murders alleging them of having links or even showing sympathies with rebels. They are buried in unmarked graves and denied proper burials, in violation of their religious rights. The so-called investigation rarely results in prosecution, allowing Indian troops to attack civilians and commit abuses with impunity.
The clashes between Indian forces and Kashmiri fighters have claimed 140 lives this year. At least 30 Kashmiris have been martyred in fake encounters since October 1. Pakistan has condemned the ‘killing spree’ of innocent Kashmiris and the unspeakable violence by the Hindutva regime. The Foreign Office called out the ‘inhumane and callous’ practice of not handing the mortal remains to their families and the ‘moral bankruptcy’ of Indian forces denying them a proper burial.
The international community and human rights groups should take immediate notice of the violation of religious and fundamental human rights in the occupied territory. It is imperative to have accountability for these staged gunfights and fake encounters to end the brazen state terrorism where no one, not even innocent civilians, women, children and elderly are safe from the occupying forces.