Human Rights

‘229 killings, 55 internet shutdowns, 48 properties destroyed in first half of 2020’

Illustration: Mir Suhail for JKCCS.

107 CASOs in six months in Kashmir, says JKCCS-APDP Human Rights report. 

Srinagar: The Jammu & Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society and Associated Parents of Disappeared Persons have published a bi-annual report that highlights the plight of human rights in the first half of 2020 in Jammu and Kashmir.

The report published on JKCCS’ website highlights a period of 6 months – ranging from January 1 to June 30 2020.

According to the report, the first half of 2020 witnessed at least 229 killings in different incidents of violence which includes extrajudicial execution of at least 32 civilians, besides killings of 143 militants and 54 armed forces personnel in J&K.

Women and children remain to be fatalities of violence, as 3 children and 2 women were killed in the first half of 2020.

At least 107 Cordon and Search Operations (CASOs) and Cordon and Destroy Operations (CADOs) were conducted in J&K in the said period, which resulted in the killing of 143 militants.

“At least 57 encounters took place between Indian armed forces and the militants following CASOs, where vandalism and destruction of civilian properties were caused,” the report said.

“The media continued to be at the receiving end of the pressure, intimidation, and harassment by the authorities, with several incidents of beating and thrashing of journalists. Besides physical assaults, few Kashmir based journalists (Masrat Zahra, Peerzada Ashiq, amongst others) were also booked under stringent charges like UAPA and had cases filed against them,” the report added.

As per the report, most recently, the introduction of the new J&K Media Policy reportedly received heavy resistance from local journalists as well as editors of J&K Media guild, citing it to be ‘unethical, immoral and undemocratic’ and ‘designed to serve sinister designs of a lobby of vested interests’ and to ‘throttle the plight of the press’.

The ban on the 4G mobile internet services continued – reportedly the longest in a democracy, which came in the aftermath of abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 last year and has been condemned and demanded a retraction of by UN experts too.

The right to access information continues to be severely restricted in J&K as part of the ongoing counter-insurgency measures by the government of India as there were 55 instances of internet blockades recorded in the last 6 months.

The report highlighted the destruction of civilian properties by armed forces personnel during encounters or while dealing with the protestors saw an uptick in the first six months of 2020. From January 1 to June 30, at least 48 cases of destruction of civilian properties were reported in Jammu and Kashmir. The destruction of civilian properties during encounters saw an increase during the COVID-19 lockdown enforced by the government, rendering many families homeless and without shelter.

The Jammu & Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) is an amalgam of various non-funded, non-profit, campaign, research and advocacy organizations based in Srinagar, while Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) is a collective of relatives of victims of enforced and involuntary disappearances, which often end in extra-judicial killings or death by torture in Kashmir.

Formed in 1994, it was aimed to organize efforts to seek justice and get information on the whereabouts of missing family members. It presently consists of family members of about one thousand victims.

 

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