Asian Centre for Human Rights

Dedicated to promotion and protection of human rights in Asia



I. Overview

Ruled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Congress alliance, Jammu and Kashmir reportedly witnessed nearly one-fourth decrease in insurgency related violence in 2004 in comparison to 2003. There were 2,565 militancy-related incidents in 2004 as against 3,401 incidents in 2003. Similarly, the number of civilian killings has also come down from 836 in 2003 to 733 in 2004. [1]

The Central government and the All Party Hurriyat Conference held inconclusive parleys. However, human rights violations both by the security forces and the armed opposition groups (AOGs) continued to be extensively reported from Jammu and Kashmir.

The security forces were responsible for arbitrary deprivation of life. Since its coming to power two years ago Mufti Mohammed Sayeed government has reportedly ordered as many as 54 inquiries into alleged extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations. [2] These included the killing of 17-year-old Rizwam-ul-Haq and Muzaffar Ahmed Ganai of Pulwama district on 10 September 2004. [3]

There were also reports of enforced or involuntary disappearances. Although on 22 January 2004, then Home Minister, L.K Advani reportedly ordered an inquiry into disappearances of at least 18 persons at the request of the Hurriyat Conference, [4] over 6,000 reported cases of disappearance remain unresolved. [5]

Arbitrary arrest and detention of political activists is commonplace.

Torture is not confined in Kashmir alone. On 12 February 2004, an elderly transporter, Manohar Lal Gandotra was allegedly tortured to death at Pacca Danga police station in Jammu district after being picked up by police team headed by Inspector Vijay Paul Singh. [6]

The armed opposition groups like Save Kashmir Movement, Harket-i-Jehad Islami, Tehreek-Jehadi Islami, Laskar-e-Toiba, Hizbul-Mujahideen etc have been responsible for blatant violations of international humanitarian law standards by resorting to medieval forms of torture, kidnapping and hostage taking. After the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir along with the rest of the country on 1 March 2004, armed opposition groups stepped up attacks to derail the electoral processes. As many as 242 persons including 69 civilians, 138 armed opposition group members and 35 security personnel were reportedly killed in the violence during the parliamentary elections. [7]

Political activists became the special target. In 2004, 62 political activists respectively 35 from Peoples Democratic Party, five from the Congress and 16 activists of the opposition National Conference were killed by the armed opposition groups. [8] Political activists of the over ground Kashmiri separatist political parties also became specific targets.

Women in Jammu and Kashmir remained extremely vulnerable. They have been specific target of violence by both the security forces and the armed opposition groups. Although the army authorities initiated appropriate action against Major Hussain Rehman for outraging the modesty of the wife and 10-year-old daughter of one Abdul Rasheed Dar in Bader Payeen-I under Handwara tehsil in Kupwara district, [9] most complaints of violence against women including rape went unpunished.

Women became victims of torture, stabbing and rape by the armed opposition groups. The AOGs also chopped off the ears, noses and tongues of women. In 4 July 2004, alleged members of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen kidnapped Mariam Begum from her house in Manoh village in Doda district, raped her and then chopped off her ears, nose and tongue [10] in retaliation for the surrender of her brother, Abdul Latif, an armed cadre of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen.

Prison conditions were deplorable. Hundreds of detenues and undertrials havereportedly been languishing in different jails because of the delay in their trials due to unavailability of escorts. A number of them have allegedly turned insane due to prolonged incarceration. [11] Over 500 persons were reportedly detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA) at the beginning of 2004 despite the release of 326 PSA detenues by the government since the PDP came to power. [12] About eighty two persons were also detained under the POTA at the beginning of 2004. [13]

While the plight of 2.5 lakhs displaced Kashmiri pandits received necessary attention [14] and the Central government reportedly agreed in principle to release Rs 150 crore to set up the two room sets for them, [15] the conditions of the 60,000 displaced persons from border areas remained deplorable. [16] The State government had taken a few measures to resettle them. Chairman of Border Migrant Action Committee, Chajju Ram of Nikkian village in Khour block of tehsil Akhnoor in Jammu district died on 2 March 2004 after being beaten up on 27 February 2004 at Kot Ghari while protesting against the lack of their rehabilitation. [17]

A survey conducted by the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, a NGO revealed that 67 per cent Gujjars and Bakerwals tribes were not in a position to manage two time meals, proper shelter and fodder for their livestock. The houses erected by Gujjars for themselves wereunhygienic and without proper light and ventilation facilities, resulting in more than 43 per cent Gujjar women, 23 per cent Gujjar males and a sizeable percentage of children suffering from T.B, asthma, bronchitis and other diseases. The survey further revealed that 71 per cent of Gujjars were not aware of schemes offered by the State and Central governments for their uplift and betterment. [18]

[1] . 2004 witnessed less violence: govt, The Kashmir Times, 2 January 2005

[2] . J-K completed only 1 out of 54 probes ordered, The Indian Express, 2 December 2004

[3] . Cops charge Army with murder in Valley firing, The India Express, 12 September 2004

[4] . Advani orders probe into 18 disappearances, The Kashmir Times, 24 January 2004

[5] . Valley of individual trauma, The Indian Express, 8 December 2004

[6] . Transporterís death in Jammu SHO suspended, probe ordered into death, The Kashmir Times, 14 February 2004

[7] . 242 poll-related killings in J&K, The Tribune, 26 April 2004

[8] . 2004 witnessed less violence: govt, The Kashmir Times, 2 January 2005

[9] . Armymen rape woman, minor daughter in J&K, The Statesman, 9 November 2004

[10] . Militants chop off womanís nose, tongue, The Hindustan Times, 12 July 2004

[11] . Kashmir Bar releases report on J&K jails, The Kashmir Times, 25 April 2004

[12] . 326 detenues released in PDP-Congress rule, The Kashmir Times, 29 February 2004

[13] . 86 POTA detenues released: Veeri, The Kashmir Times, 26 February 2004

[14] . J&K seeks special employment package for KPs, The Kashmir Times, 18 December 2004

[15] . Centre has given nod to migrant - rehabilitation package: J&K govt, The Kashmir Times, 14 December 2004

[16] . Refugees leading miserable lives despite ceasefire, The Tribune, 28 November 2004

[17] . Massive protest demonstration at Khour, The Kashmir Times, 3 March 2004

[18] . Gujjar and Bakerwals living below poverty line in J and K, The Kashmir Times, 24 November 2004