INFORMATION (Jan 21, 2015): 25th anniversary of Gaw Kadal massacre and 25 years of widespread violence and impunity

Posted: February 5, 2015 in Information
The following is a press release from the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (website – http://www.jkccs.net/ and http://www.kashmirprocess.org/).

State of Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir

25th anniversary of Gaw Kadal massacre and 25 years of widespread violence and impunity

Press Release
21st January 2015

The 25th anniversary of the Gaw Kadal massacre of around 50 civilians by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and police is also the anniversary of the renewed beginning of the mass uprising of the Kashmiri right to self-determination movement. The journey of these 25 years of resistance also witnessed widespread and systematic use of violence by India. The Gaw Kadal anniversary therefore serves as an important moment to account for State violence and impunity.

Besides Gaw Kadal massacre, people of Jammu and Kashmir have borne the brunt of massacres like Handwara, Kupwara, Alamgiri Bazar, Zakura, Khanyar, Sopore, Bijbehara, Wandhama, Chittisingpora, Nadimarg, Kulhand and many more. In addition, mass crimes, such as Kunan Poshpora where civilians faced rape and torture, have also taken place in Jammu and Kashmir. Despite the scale of violence, there have been no judicial proceedings against any of the perpetrators. Investigations have rarely been carried out, and there have been no prosecutions against the armed forces. Despite approaching the courts, cases such as Sopore and Kunan Poshpora have not been fairly and properly investigated to date.

Almost all the communities of Jammu and Kashmir have suffered in one way or the other. List of the sufferings and the tribulations witnessed by the people of Jammu and Kashmir are long, painful and still unabated.

In last 25 years:

• More than 70,000 people have been killed, (majority of whom are of Muslim descent)
• More than 8,000 people have been subjected to enforced disappearances,
• More than 7,000 unidentified persons have been buried in unmarked graves and mass graves
• More than 7,000 cases of sexualized and gendered violence took place
• More than 8,000 people have been killed in custody or fake encounters
• More than 200,000 people have been tortured
• More than 1500 persons belonging to various religious minority groups were killed, out of whom 209 were Kashmiri Pandits
• Thousands of residential houses were razed to ground in the military actions belonging to all the communities
• Hundreds of religious places were desecrated and ruined in the military actions
• Thousands of people have been maimed in the military actions

Despite all this information in the public domain, Indian authorities and media have seldom discussed these tragedies, except for the killings of 209 Kashmiri Pandits. These 209 killings are a sad reality of Jammu and Kashmir conflict as much as the other killings and human rights abuses. In last 25 years perpetrators of most of these violent incidents have not been prosecuted. As a large majority of these crimes have been perpetrated by the State forces therefore there is reluctance in prosecuting the accused, but irrespective of the background of the perpetrators or the victims, the need of the hour is that all crimes should be investigated without any further delay. The processes of justice should be allowed to function as it is the only mechanism for protecting human rights and creating deterrence for the repetition of these crimes. These processes of justice can become the real confidence building measures and thus create an enabling and conducive atmosphere for resolution and peace-building.

Whether the Gaw Kadal massacre, or the Chittisingpora massacre, or the Pathribal fake encounter killings, or Kunan Poshpora mass rapes and torture, or murder and rape of Sarla Bhat, or murder and rape of Aasiya and Neelofar, or the killings of youths in 2008 and 2010 uprisings, or the Wandhama massacre – Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed selective concern and selective condemnation.

All the crimes perpetrated in Jammu and Kashmir and the subsequent cover ups and denial of justice are the making of the Indian government, therefore only an impartial, independent and a credible probe by international stakeholders will help in establishing the culpability.

Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society

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