TEHRAN (Press Shia) – A prominent rights group in Indian-controlled Kashmir is advocating for the United Nations to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate the endemic use of torture by Indian government forces.
The Jammu-Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society released a detailed report on Monday, saying India is using torture as a “matter of policy” and “instrument of control” in Kashmir, AP reported.
“Torture is the most under-reported human rights violation perpetrated by the state,” the report said. “Due to legal, political and moral impunity extended to the armed forces, not a single prosecution has taken place in any case of human rights violations” in the region, it added.
Indian authorities said they would study the report before commenting on it. In the past, officials have acknowledged torture exists in Kashmir but have denied that Indian forces strategically use sexual and other abuses to control the population.
The 560-page report, researched for a decade, recommends an investigation be led by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It also urges India to ratify the UN Convention against torture and also allow global rights groups “unhindered access” to Kashmir.
Last year, the UN in its first report on Kashmir called for an independent international investigation into reports of rights violations like rape, torture and extrajudicial killings in the region. The report, which JKCCS helped with field research, particularly criticized Indian troops for firing shotgun pellets against protesters, blinding and maiming hundreds of people, including children.
The new report includes 432 case studies involving torture and maps trends and patterns, targets, perpetrators, locations and other details. The cases include 293 civilians and 119 militants, among others, and 27 were minors when they were tortured.
JKCCS has written scathing reports in the past about the brutality by some of the hundreds of thousands of Indian troops stationed in the region and highlighted the widespread of powers granted to them, which has led to culture of impunity and rights abuses. They were first to publicize thousands of unmarked graves in remote parts of Kashmir and demand that they be investigated to determine who the dead were and how they were killed.
Monday’s report said the institutions of the state like legislature, executive, judiciary and armed forces use torture “in a systematic and institutional manner.”
India’s clampdown has a long history in Kashmir and the conflict has existed since the late 1940s, when India and Pakistan won independence from the British empire and began fighting over rival claims to the Muslim-majority territory. The two rivals have fought two of their three subsequent wars over Kashmir, and each administers a portion of the region.