The Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) ha said that the demand of the Left Alliance of Nepal from barring youth of the country from joining foreign armies is a welcome step.
The appeal by the Left Alliance has stressed that ‘the previous treaties and agreements governing Nepali nationals’ service in foreign armies should be scrapped through diplomatic channels’.
At least 40,000 Nepali nationals are currently serving in the Indian and the British army’s as well as Singapore police.
“The appeal by the left parties is timely and we believe that one of the main driving factors for the Nepali government to disallow use of Nepali nationals in Indian army is the record of human rights abuses committed by its nationals in Jammu and Kashmir under the Gurkha regiment of the Indian army, which is comprised mainly of Nepali nationals. Not surprisingly, Gurkhas have historically been used by the British and Indian army in the killing of civilians such as during the Jallainwala Bagh massacre in 1919. The British army also used Gurkhas to put down the sepoy mutiny of 1857,” JKCCS said in its statement.
“We appeal to the Nepali civil society, the left parties and the government to ban the recruitment of their youth in Indian army in order to stop their use as mercenaries by the Indian army against people of Jammu and Kashmir,” the statement added.
Indian Army has the highest recruitment of Nepali nationals in their Gurkha regiment. There are seven Gurkha regiments, 40 battalions in the Indian Army with around 40,000 Gurkha soldiers, including in the Assam Rifles.
“The Indian state has tactfully made use of foreign nationals in their army in their brutal counter-insurgency campaign in Jammu and Kashmir, where people are demanding the right to self-determination since the break-out of armed conflict in 1989,” the statement pointed out.
The Gurkha regiment has committed war crimes in Kashmir and the documented evidence shows the perpetrators have gone unpunished.
“The soldiers of Gurkha regiment are accused of enforced disappearance, abduction, torture and extra-judicial killings of civilians in fake encounters,” the statement mentioned.
JKCCS also highlighted the crimes committed by Gurkha Regiment in Jammu and Kashmir and point out that these crimes have gone unpunished:
On 7 July 1997, one civilian namely Abdul Rashid Wani, 35, son/of Abdul Samad Wani of Madina Colony, Bemina Srinagar was abducted by personnel of 2/8 Gukrha Rifles and is disappeared since. A Captain Yadav of 2/8 Gurkha Rifles of Indian Army is the accused in the case.
In another case of abduction, torture and extra-judicial killing one 28-year-old shopkeeper namely Abdul Rashid Bhat son/of Ghulam Nabi Bhat of Handwara, Kupwara district was abducted by the Indian army personnel led by Major V.P Yadav of 2/8 Gurkha Rifles of Indian Army of Chogul Camp, Handwara in Kupwara district.
The victim was abducted from his home in the middle of the night at 11 pm on 14 March 1998. The victim was tortured at the Chogul Army camp, to which his brother Abdul Ahad Bhat is a witness. The victim was tortured to death in the camp. The Gorkha Rifles instituted a court-martial against Major VP Yadav in the state of Himachal Pradesh but nothing came of it as the victim’s brothers asked to travel to Himachal Pradesh could not do so. The perpetrator has gone unpunished.
In another case from 2001 of abduction, extrajudicial killing in a fake encounter two civilians namely Latief Ahmad Ganaie of Beerwah, Budgam and Bashir Ahmad Khan of Chant Mohalla, Bandipora were abducted and killed in a fake encounter. The personnel of 58 Gorkha Rifles of Indian Army are responsible for this crime and till now they have gone unpunished.
“These cases testify to the fact that the Gurkha regiment, of whom 70% of soldiers are Nepali nationals, have committed gross human rights violations against people of Jammu and Kashmir. The appeal by the Left parties in Nepal is a further recognition of the fact that the Nepal youth have been used by foreign armies, mainly by India as mercenaries in their war against people of Jammu and Kashmir,’ the statement said.