3 Kashmiris tortured to death in Indian army custody: report

Published December 23, 2023
A still from a video reportedly showing the torture of Kashmiri prisoners. —@MansoorAzad/X
A still from a video reportedly showing the torture of Kashmiri prisoners. —@MansoorAzad/X

Three Kashmiris have been tortured to death while in army custody in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IOK), according to a report from The Associated Press (AP) on Saturday.

The report stated that according to locals and residents, the army had arrested “at least eight civilians” a day ago for interrogation in the wake of a Thursday attack on two army vehicles in Poonch that killed four and injured three Indian soldiers.

“Locals accused army personnel of torturing the three to death in a nearby military camp. The bodies were later handed to the local police who in turn contacted the families. Residents said the bodies bore marks of severe torture,” the report stated.

According to the families, the other five were moved to an army hospital after they were “severely tortured”.

The report said that according to local Mohammed Younis, soldiers had arrived at his Topa Peer village on Friday morning and held nine villagers, including two of his brothers and a cousin.

“An elderly man was let go, he said, but the others were ruthlessly beaten and electrocuted,” the report said.

Younis said his relatives were also “badly hurt due to torture” and were being treated in an army hospital.

The report added that videos reportedly showing the “torture of detained civilians” spread online hours after their detention and triggered “widespread anger”.

“Authorities cut off internet services on smart devices in Poonch and Rajouri on Saturday morning, a common tactic to dispel possible protests and discourage dissemination of the videos,” the report said.

Lt Col Suneel Bartwal, an Indian army spokesman, said he had no “input” about the circumstances surrounding the three deaths.

Meanwhile, the IOK government’s Information and Public Relations Department said that after the deaths were reported, “medico-legal formalities were conducted and legal action in this matter has been initiated by the appropriate authority”.

It added that the government had announced compensation for the deceased, as well as “compassionate appointments” for their next of kin.

“Senior police and civil officials visited the village and supervised the burials. Local officials said police would investigate the incident, in an attempt to pacify the villagers.

“Protests erupted in Srinagar, the region’s main city, with at least three pro-India Kashmiri political parties staging demonstrations against the killings,” the report further said.

Former IOK chief minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed concern over the killings.

According to the Kashmir Media Service, while talking to the media in Srinagar, she said Indian troops were committing the “worst kind of state terrorism in the territory”.

She said that the soldiers detained 15 people during the search operation, out of which three were “brutally tortured and martyred”, while the remaining 12 people were seriously injured at the time and were in hospitals.

Mufti said “heartbreaking videos” had emerged in which Indian soldiers could reportedly be seen throwing young people down and putting chilli on their wounds.

She said IOK was turned into an open prison where thousands, including imams, lawyers and journalists, were put in jails and employees were being fired from their jobs.

The Indian army in July 2020 had said its soldiers killed three unidentified “Pakis­tani terrorists” in IOK’s southern Shopian area. Police had said the July 18 encounter was a solo operation by the army.

About a month later, three families in Rajouri had identified the victims as their missing relatives using photographs of the bodies that circulated on social media. The families had filed a complaint with police, accusing soldiers of killing their relatives in a staged gunfight.

The families said the three men went to Shopian to work as labourers and were last heard from on July 17.

On September 18, 2020, the Indian military had admitted wrongdoing and said its internal probe identified the three men killed as local residents, without explaining how the military had identified them. It also said an army investigation showed the soldiers had exceeded the powers granted to them under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

AP added that the Indian army’s internal court had sentenced an officer to life imprisonment for the killings but a military tribunal had suspended his sentence in November.


Additional input from The Associated Press of Pakistan.

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