The power of truth is such that it just can’t remain veiled even under the heaps of lies and propaganda. It simply blurts out of oblivion and makes itself known, frustrating efforts by states and powerful lobbies to mute or twist the facts. The same is true about the merciless killings of innocent and hapless Kashmir’s at the hands of Indian security forces.
Under pressure from Amnesty International and other Human Rights Commission a police committee was constituted to investigate the issue of unmarked graves. The committee visited Baramulla, Bandipora, Handwara and Kupwara districts. Unmarked graves were spread all over the place making it impossible to refute their presence. What the team did was to record only those graves for which witnesses were ready to give written statements neglecting hundreds of thousands of graves where people out of security concerns opted not to give written statements.
To squash public sentiments and crush freedom struggle Indian government passed draconian laws under the garb Public Safety Act. Laws like Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act 1990 (TADA) and Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1990 (AFSPA) gave right to Indian security forces to kill any one in the name of combating terrorism and get away with it. Under the provisions of these laws, which gave immense powers to Indian security forces, Indian Government started detaining people in Kashmir for one to two years without trial. According to the estimates given by Amnesty International Indian forces have detained from 8 to 20 thousand people. A 2010 Wikileaks cable reveals that International Committee of Red Cross took up the issue of torture and unfounded detentions by Indian Security forces in Kashmir with US embassy in Delhi. India is holding on to Kashmir by deploying over 500,000 troops. That is enough to tell us the tail of Kashmir and the severity of atrocities confronted by the people at the hands of Indian security forces.
The tyranny that has been unlashed by so called secular government of India since its partition knows no parallel. According to recent Human Rights report between 1989 and mid 2010 Indian Army and paramilitary forces have killed 93,274 innocent Kashmir’s. There have been 117,345 arrests and 6,969 custodial killings. Reportedly 22,728 women have been widowed and 107,351 children rendered orphan. As if it wasn’t enough 105,861 houses were razed to ground. Crimes against women included 9,920 gang raps. Indians may not agree with these figures and claim these to be fabricated. It is for the first time that a report prepared by its Senior Superintendent of Police acknowledges presence of unmarked graves in mass.
According to the report 2156 unidentified dead bodies of Kashmir’s are still buried in unmarked graves. Out of 2730 unidentified dead bodies discovered, 574 bodies have already been identified as the dead bodies of the locals. The report rightly points out that these bodies could also be that of locals detained under enforced disappearances. That reveals the whole truth. The truth that the Indian security forces have remained involved in extrajudicial killings of Kashmir’s. The stories of atrocities committed by them are true. Now Indian government is left with no option but to take the responsibility of all the ills committed to the unfortunate people of Kashmir. The struggle of the people of Kashmir for independence has to be acknowledged. The situation opens a new Pandora’s Box. It will be difficult for the Indian government “the biggest democracy of the world” to justify the excess committed by her security forces. They will not be able to satisfy global conscious nor will be able to justify their indifference towards the whole situation.
Human rights abuse is an unacceptable norm in today’s world. On this account Indians need to feel more responsible, especially once it wishes to be a regional power. To achieve her desired ambition, peace in the region is of paramount importance. That would be well served if she acknowledges the right of the people of Kashmir. An amicable resolution of Kashmir problem will pave way to better relations with Pakistan and will also open trade opportunities with Afghanistan. The whole regional paradigm will change if the people of Kashmir are given their due rights. It all depends upon the wisdom, will and statesmanship of the Indian leadership. If they brush this ugly facet of theirs under the carpet depravity and conflict in the region will persist. But if they face the facts and come up with a principle based approach prosperity and peace will prevail all over the region.