NEW YORK: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has voiced deep concern over the illegal detentions and continued use of torture and pellet guns against children by Indian security forces in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
The UN chief called on New Delhi to immediately end such practices in the annual report on Children and Armed Conflict launched by Special Representative Virginia Gamba.
“I am concerned by the detention of children, including their arrest during night raids, internment at army camps, torture in detention and detention without charge or due process, and urge the (Indian) Government to immediately end this practice,” the secretary-general said.
With respect to atrocities committed against children in Kashmir, the report said the United Nations has verified the killing and maiming of fifteen children, between the ages of 1 and 17, during joint operations of the Central Reserve Police Force, Indian Army, and Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police”.
“Most of the casualties that occurred in Jammu and Kashmir were mainly caused by torture in detention, shootings, including from pellet guns,” he said in the report.
The report particularly cites 68 instances where children between the ages of 9 and 17 have been detained by Indian security services in Jammu and Kashmir on national security-related charges, for alleged association with armed groups.
“I remain concerned by child casualties in Jammu and Kashmir and call upon the Government to take preventive measures to protect children, including by ending the use of pellets against children,” the secretary-general said.
On the other hand, the UN chief welcomed and acknowledged in the same report the Pakistani government’s efforts to protect the polio workers. The report also notes with appreciation the overall decrease in the number of attacks against children in the country.