FO condemns extrajudicial killing of five Kashmiris

Published November 19, 2021
SRINAGAR: Former chief minister of occupied Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah (centre) sits with people attending a demonstration on Thursday calling for return of bodies of civilians killed in a recent raid by Indian forces.—AP
SRINAGAR: Former chief minister of occupied Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah (centre) sits with people attending a demonstration on Thursday calling for return of bodies of civilians killed in a recent raid by Indian forces.—AP

ISLAMABAD: With authorities in occupied Kashmir ordering an investigation into a raid in Srinagar on Monday that left four Kashmiris dead, Pakistan condemned on Thursday the extrajudicial killing of another five Kashmiris by Indian forces in Kulgam area of the disputed territory on Wednesday.

The Foreign Office (FO) criticised the inhuman and callous practice of Indian forces of refusing to hand over the mortal remains of the martyred Kashmiris to their families in many instances.

Indian troops have martyred at least 30 Kashmiris in fake encounters or so-called cordon and search operations since October 1.

The FO said the killing spree perpetuated by the Indian forces has continued with shameless impunity. “It further exposes the unspeakable violence being perpetrated by the Hindutva-inspired (and) extremist BJP-RSS combine that has turned IIOJK (Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir) into an inferno where no one, not even innocent civilians, professionals, women, children and elderly, are safe from the state-terrorism of the occupation forces,” it said in a statement.

“Usurping (of) the fundamental rights of Kashmiri families by denying them the right of proper burial of martyrs further exposes the current Indian government’s moral bankruptcy,” the FO added.

Investigation ordered into raid that left four men dead in Srinagar

The killing of Kashmiri civilians by Indian forces also “vindicates the irrefutable facts provided by Pakistan recently in a comprehensive dossier exposing human rights violations and war crimes committed… in IIOJK”, said the FO statement.

It said that “Pakistan calls on the international community to take immediate notice of the Indian state-terrorism in IIOJK and hold India accountable for the egregious human rights violations of the innocent Kashmiri people”.

The FO also urged the international community to play its role for a just and peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and wishes of the Kashmiri people.

Probe ordered

Authorities in occupied Kashmir ordered the investigation into the deadly police raid in Srinagar after protests by family members of three of the victims who said their relatives had been gunned down in cold blood.

Police had earlier said the two civilians among the victims died in the crossfire when Indian forces attacked suspected Kashmiri fighters.

Witnesses and families of the civilians and one suspected fighter have denied the police version and said Indian troops used them as human shields during the standoff and killed them deliberately.

Manoj Sinha, New Delhi’s top administrator in the disputed region, said the investigation would be led by a senior civilian officer and the government would take suitable action “as soon as the report is submitted in a time-bound manner”.

He claimed that his administration “will ensure there is no injustice”.

After the raid the authorities secretly buried all of the victims in a remote northwestern village.

The announcement of the probe came after police detained and later released over a dozen relatives of the slain civilians during a sit-in late on Wednesday in Srinagar. The families were demanding authorities return the bodies so they could bury them.

“Our first and foremost priority is to get the body,” said Abdul Majid Bhat, brother of one of the slain civilians.

In the last two years, authorities have buried the bodies of hundreds of alleged fighters and their associates, including civilians, in unmarked graves in remote areas, denying their families proper funerals.

Authorities say the policy is aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus and to avoid potential law and order problems during funerals. The policy has added to widespread anti-India anger and some rights groups have criticised it as a violation of religious rights.

Rights groups also say that subsequent investigations rarely result in prosecutions and are often aimed at calming public anger.

“These probes in the past have never resulted in providing justice to the aggrieved. It helps the state in buying time and tiring the families,” said Parvez Imroz, a prominent rights lawyer who heads the Jammu-Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2021

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