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  • Jammu and Kashmir

    1. Overview.. 1
    2. Human rights violations by the security forces. 3
    a. Enforced disappearances. 3
    b. Custodial killings. 5
    c. Killings in fake encounters. 6
    d. Arbitrary arrest, illegal detention and torture. 7
    3. Violations of international humanitarian laws by the AOGs. 8
    a. Violations of the right to life. 8
    i. Killing of the political activists. 9
    ii. Killings of the minorities. 10
    b. Torture. 11
    4. The Status of the SHRC.. 11
    5. Repression on the freedom of the press. 12
    6. Violence against women. 13
    7. Violations of the rights of the child. 14
    8. Status of the IDPs. 15
    9. Status of the refugees. 16
    10. Misuse of the national security laws. 16


    1. Overview

    Ruled by the Indian National Congress-People's Democratic Party coalition, Jammu and Kashmir continued to be afflicted by armed conflict, and human rights violations by both the security forces and the armed opposition groups (AOGs) continued to be extensively reported. There was a decline in insurgency related violence but the State registered 13 times higher cases of crime related to normal policing in 2006. While 1,667 insurgency related incidents were registered, a total of 23,492 cases of crime were registered in 2006. Out of these cases of crime, 21,825 cases were related to normal policing. There was an increase of 1,131 normal cases since 2005.[1] On 27 February 2006, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad also claimed that human rights violations had decreased in the State in comparison to 2005.[2] About 5,000 army personnel from Jammu and Kashmir were moved to North East India due to improvement in the situation.[3]

    The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) stated that a total of 780 persons, including 309 civilians, 76 security forces and 395 alleged members of AOGs were killed in 2006 as against the killing of 868 persons including 393 civilians, 70 security forces and 405 alleged members of AOGs in 2005.[4]

    On 2 March 2006, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad stated in the State Assembly that action was taken against 134 officers of the army, 79 personnel of the Border Security Force (BSF) and 60 officials of the State police who were found guilty of custodial killings, torture, rape and molestation in the past 16 years. Of the 134 army personnel, two were awarded life imprisonment, 59 rigorous imprisonments, 13 dismissed from service with one year's imprisonment, five others dismissed from service, among others.[5] But the details of the personnel were not made public.

    The AOGs were responsible for blatant violations of international humanitarian laws by resorting to medieval forms of torture, kidnapping and killing. On the night of 8 April 2006, alleged members of Hizbul Mujahideen shot dead three members of a family identified as Assadullah Mohammad, his elder brother Ghulam Mohammad and Assadullah's wife Rashida Begum at Challad village under Arnas tehsil in Udhampur district.[6] The AOGs also carried out “selective killing” of minorities in the State, particularly the Hindus.

    Women and children remained extremely vulnerable. The Government only paid a meager amount of stipend or cash relief to those women and children whose husbands and parents were killed by the AOGs but did not provide any help to those whose family members were killed by the security forces. According to Public Commission on Human Rights, there were about 25,000-30,000 widows, and husbands of more than 50% of these widows were allegedly killed by the security forces. According to Yateem Trust, an NGO working with orphans and widows in Kashmir, there were about 15,308 orphans whose fathers were killed by the security forces.[7] The State Government also failed to provide jobs to all the beneficiaries under the Jammu and Kashmir Rules for Compassionate Appointment, 1994 or SRO 43. On 9 March 2006, the State Government admitted in the Lower House of the State Assembly that 4,316 conflict-related cases for appointments under SRO 43 were pending in the State, including 799 cases in Baramulla district, followed by Jammu (24), Kathua (12), Udhampur (236), Doda (414), Rajouri (274), Poonch (123), Anantnag (509), Pulwama (235), Budgam (265), Srinagar (720), Kupwara (690), Kargil (9) and Leh (6).[8]

    The Government misused the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) of 1978. At the first round table conference on Jammu and Kashmir held at Delhi on 25 February 2006, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured the Kashmiri leaders to review the cases of all detainees in Jammu and Kashmir and release those who were not involved in serious offences.[9] Many PSA detainees were release on the recommendations of the Joint Review Committee. Many PSA prisoners were also released following orders by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

    Huge number of pending cases coupled with vacancies of judges in the courts crippled the judicial system. There were six vacancies of judges in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court at the end of December 2006 and 11 vacancies in the District and Sub-ordinate Courts in the State as on 30 September 2006.[10] A total of 43,680 cases were pending before the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and 1,49,610 cases were pending in the District and Sub-ordinate Courts as on 30 September 2006.[11]

    On 25 May 2006, after the conclusion of the second Round Table conference in Srinagar, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh announced that five groups would be constituted to deal with various aspects of the problems of Jammu and Kashmir, including autonomy and self-rule for the State.[12] The Central Government and the All Party Huriyat Conference held various parleys without any substantive progress.

    2. Human rights violations by the security forces

    During 2006, the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir were responsible for serious human rights violations including extrajudicial executions, torture, rape, etc.

    a. Enforced disappearances

    Hundreds of people had gone missing in the State since the internal armed conflict began in 1990. On 25 March 2003, the Minister for Law and Finance of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Muzaffar Hussain Beig stated in the State Assembly that a total of 3,744 persons had disappeared in the State from 1990 to December 2002 and 135 of them had been declared dead up to June 2002.[13] However, according to the Association of the Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), more than 8,000 persons had disappeared during the past 16 years of turmoil.[14]

    The State Government had been economical with the truth as regards to custodial deaths and disappearances. On 9 March 2006, the State Government claimed in the State Assembly that only 4 cases of disappearances and 15 cases of custodial killings involving 18 persons were registered in the State from January 2004 to February 2006. In the four cases of “disappearances in custody”, Rashtriya Rifles and Central Reserve Police Force were the accused while in the custodial killing cases the perpetrators belonged to the army, BSF and Jammu and Kashmir Rifles. Of the 15 cases of custodial killing, two cases were challaned, two were closed as untraced and investigation was on for the others. All the 4 cases of disappearance were also under investigation.[15]

    On 1 August 2006, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad stated in the Legislative Council that there were 15 complaints of custodial disappearances and 26 complaints of custodial killings from 2003 to 2006 while the number during National Conference rule from 1996 to 2002 was 60 and 67 respectively. Mr Azad also stated that there was one complaint of disappearance and two custody killings so far during 2006. He claimed that action had been taken against 209 security personnel, of whom 28 were officers.[16]

    In its Annual Report 2004-2005, Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission stated that it registered 44 cases of disappearances in the State between April 2004 and March 2005 alone. Of these, 43 people disappeared from Kashmir division including 14 disappearance cases registered from Varmul, 11 from Srinagar, eight from Kupwara, six from Budgam, two each from Islamabad and Pulwama. The another case was registered from the Kathua area of Jammu division.[17]

    During 2006, reports of alleged enforced disappearances continued to pour in from the State. On 12 February 2006, 16-year-old Farooz Ahmad, son of Abdul Ghani Mir of Machil-Dabpal Kupwara and student of 10th class, reportedly went missing from Lalpora Lolab where he had gone to visit his relatives.[18]

    On 16 February 2006, Nazir Ahmad Daka of Desu-Kokernag was allegedly picked up by the security forces at Lal Chowk in a white gipsy. Since then he reportedly disappeared. A case was registered with Kothi Bagh police station in this connection.[19]

    The complicity of the security forces in enforced disappearances of civilians was beyond doubt. In April 2006, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), following an investigation, found five army officers identified as Brigadier Ajay Saxena, Lt Col Brijendra Pratap Singh, Major Sourabh Sharma, Major Amit Saxena and Subedar I Khan of 7th Rashtriya Rifles responsible for killing five unarmed civilians on 24 March 2000 in a fake encounter at Pathribal in Anantnag district. According to the CBI, Zahoor Ahmed Dalal, Juma Khan, Mohammad Yussuf Malik, Juma Khan and Bashir Ahmed Bhat were killed in cold blood in the name of killing “militants”.[20] The accused army officers however challenged the CBI's chargesheet in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Srinagar on the ground that CBI did not have prior permission of the Central Government to chargesheet them.[21] On 21 June 2006, CBI replied that prior permission of the Central Government was not necessary in this case.[22]

    On 9 March 2006, Jammu and Kashmir High court directed the Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir to implement the recommendations of the State Human Rights Commission of 19 June 1993 to pay an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh and provide an employment to one of the family members of Mohammad Ishaq Lone, a student and son of Ghulam Hassan Lone of Kulangam Kupwara who disappeared after his abduction by Ikhwani on 13 November 1996.[23]

    b. Custodial killings

    During 2006, several cases of alleged custodial killings were reported. In February 2006, Chief of Army Staff Gen J J Singh stated that any custodial killing would not be tolerated.[24]

    On 17 January 2006, three civilians identified as Farooq Ahmad Dar of Chatripora, a student of Deoband, Abdul Wali, a khateeb of Darul Uloom Achabal-Anantnag and Farooq Ahmad Dar of Gool-Gulabgarh, a student of Darul Uloom Achabal-Anantnag were allegedly killed by the Rashtriya Rifles and Special Operations Group after their arrest at Hipora-Batagund village in Shopian under Pulwama district. Huge protests were held against the alleged custodial killings. The villagers stated that the deceased were moving from village to village to collect money for Darul Uloom Achabal when they were arrested on 13 January 2006 and later killed in custody. They alleged that all the three deceased were tortured after their arrest and their bodies cut into pieces. Eyes, ears and feet of Farooq Dar were reportedly chopped off. But the army authorities claimed that the three youths were members of AOGs and were killed in encounter.[25] An inquiry was ordered.

    The other victims of custodial killings included Mushtaq Ahmad Ganie, son of Abdul Ahad Ganie, who was allegedly killed on 10 January 2006 in the custody of 3rd Rashtriya Rifles after his arrest from Magam-Adlech area in Sirigufwara in Anantnag district;[26] Abdul Majeed Paray who died in SMHS hospital in Srinagar on 15 January 2006 due to alleged torture in the custody of 22nd Rashtriya Rifles in Sumbal in Baramula district;[27] two labourers identified as Mohammad Amin, son of Karim Gujjar and Noor Din, son of Abdul Gaffar who were allegedly killed in the custody of the security forces at Ikharabad in Kishtwar on the night of 24 May 2006,[28] and Vikram Singh alias Vicky, son of Mohinder Singh, who was allegedly killed in the custody of the 129th Border Security Force (BSF) at Abdullah village in Ranbir Singh Pura sector on the night of 28 May 2006.[29]

    The security establishment however denied the above stated allegations.

    c. Killings in fake encounters

    The security forces were responsible for killing of civilians in fake encounters. On 20 April 2006, Army Chief Gen. J.J. Singh announced that the army changed its rules to give recognition for overall performance and military awards would no longer be solely based on the number of “kills” to discourage fake encounter killings.[30]

    On 22 February 2006, four boys identified as Ghulam Hassan Bhat (18), Abdul Samad Mir (12), Aamir Akbar Hajam (14) and Shakir Ahmad Wani (8) were allegedly killed by the security forces at Dodhipora village near Handwara in Kupwara district. The defence sources stated that personnel of 33rd and 21st Rashtriya Rifles launched a joint operation at Dodhipora village and the boys were killed in cross-fire when the AOGs attacked the security forces.[31] According to General Officer Commanding (GOC) 15 corps, Lt Gen S S Dhillon, while one boy was killed by the AOGs, three others were killed in encounter.[32] On 1 March 2006, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad announced a judicial probe into the killings.[33] The Kashmir Bar Association (KBA) which probed the incident alleged that the personnel of Rashtriya Rifles extrajudicially killed the boys when they were playing cricket on the bank of river Nallah Talri or Baad Koul. While Abdul Samad was killed on the spot, three others - Ghulam Hassan Bhat, Shakir and Aamir were shot dead while they were trying to flee across the river. The KBA investigating team interviewed a number of children who survived the attack and they testified that the army had killed the boys in cold blood when they were fleeing the scene.[34] In its report to Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on 24 February 2006, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police also confirmed that “there was no crossfire in the village” and the army had “deliberately” shot Abdul Samad Mir when he had refused to be their “informer”. The CID report also stated that the three other boys too were killed by the army.[35]

    The other victims of alleged extrajudicial killings by the security forces included a Kashmir University student identified as Irshad Ahmad Ahangar who was allegedly killed by Central Reserve Police Force personnel at Court Road in Srinagar on 23 February 2006;[36] a woman identified as Sarah at Bata Mohalla Chittibanday in Aragam-Bandipora on 24 February 2006;[37] a boy identified as Shabir Khan at Warnu, Lolab in Kupwara district on the night of 10 April 2006;[38] and a student identified as Farooq Ahmed Sofi and his mother, Misra Begum who were allegedly killed in cold blood by the BSF personnel at Palhalan in Pattan area of Baramula district on 24 June 2006.[39]

    On 12 June 2006, a Class 12th student identified as Javed Ahmed Malik was reportedly killed in police firing at an irate mob who were protesting against alleged desecration of a mosque by the army at Zurhama in Kupwara district.[40]

    d. Arbitrary arrest, illegal detention and torture

    The security forces were responsible for arbitrary arrest, illegal detention and torture. The Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act of 1978 was blatantly mis-used. On 2 April 2006, protest demonstrations were held at Ishbar-Nishat against illegal arrest of an 8th standard student identified as Muzaffar Ahmad Wani, son of Ghulam Ahmad Wani by the police during a raid at Wani Mohalla at Ishbar-Nishat.[41]

    Hameeda Begum claimed that the Special Operations Group (SOG) raided her house at Hubbi Colony in Srinagar and arrested her two sons, Majid and Zubair on 22 December 2005 on the charges of providing shelter to AOG members. On the next day, her husband Abdul Rashid Sofi went to the local police station at Soura to seek release of their sons but he was also arrested. Zubair was released two months later. However, on 14 April 2006, Zubair and Hameeda's third son Sameer were arrested in connection with the serial blasts that rocked Srinagar on that day. The police claimed that there was ample evidence against the two brothers, but refused to reveal anything. Abdul Rashid Sofi and Sameer were booked and detained in Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu under Public Safety Act.[42]

    The State Government also harassed and detained family members of AOG cadres. On 5 May 2006, banned AOG Hizbul Mujahideen alleged that six parents of its members identified as Ghulam Nabi Mir of Pastana, Abdul Jabar Khan of Pata, Abdul Ahad Bhat of Naibugh, Sonaullah of Nowdal, Abdul Rashid Lone of Bihigund and Fayaz Mir of Dadasar-Tral were missing after they were arrested by the security forces two weeks before. The Hizbul Mujahideen claimed that these people were arrested without any reason except that their sons were members of Hizbul Mujahideen.[43]

    Torture during detention was a common practice. On the night of 13 January 2006, two youths identified as Fayaz Ahmad Bhat and Abdul Majeed Parrey were allegedly picked up by the security forces from Sumbal in North Kashmir for their alleged links with AOGs. They were allegedly subjected to third degree torture in illegal detention. While Parrey succumbed to injuries, Bhat was reportedly admitted to a hospital in Srinagar with serious injuries. The army reportedly ordered a court of inquiry into the incident. The Jammu and Kashmir Police also registered an FIR against the army and began a probe.[44]

    On 2 February 2006, protest demonstrations were held at Tragpora-Rafiabad in Baramulla district against alleged custodial torture of Hilal Ahmad Wani, son of Qadoos Wani of Nadihal-Baramulla by the 32nd Rashtriya Rifles personnel. The protestors alleged that the victim was thrown at the road side by the security forces in a serious condition.[45]

    On 25 May 2006, hundreds of residents of Seer Hamadan in Anantnag district protested against alleged harassment of minority Kashmiri Pandits by the 3rd Rashtriya Rifles personnel on the late night of 24 May 2006. The security personnel allegedly went on knocking at the doors of the Kashmiri Pandits leaving them frightened. However, the army and the police stated that the Rashtriya Rifles personnel had gone to the area to assure  the residents to “feel secure” at night.[46]

    3. Violations of international humanitarian laws by the AOGs

    The armed opposition groups were responsible for violations of international humanitarian laws, including killings, kidnapping and torture. The AOGs were also responsible for “selective killings” of non-Kashmiris or members of the minority communities.

    a. Violations of the right to life

    The AOGs were responsible for blatant violation of the right to life. On the night of 8 April 2006, alleged members of Hizbul Mujahideen shot dead three members of a family identified as Assadullah Mohammad, his elder brother Ghulam Mohammad and Assadullah's wife Rashida Begum at Challad village under Arnas tehsil in Udhampur district.[47] On 14 June 2006, a retired treasury officer Ghulam Rasool Bahroo and Firdous Ahmad, a priest of a local mosque, were killed by alleged AOGs near Nadihal school in Baramula district.[48]

    Many were killed after abduction. On the night of 5 February 2006, a youth identified as Tahir Ahmed was reportedly killed after abduction by alleged members of AOGs from Gursai village in Poonch district.[49] On the night of 29 March 2006, alleged members of AOGs kidnapped a singer identified as Ghulam Hassan Shah from his Gundipora Qazigund house in South Kashmir and shot him dead.[50]

    The AOGs were responsible for indiscriminate use of explosive devices. Five persons identified as Shaheena, Javed Ahmad Bhat, Anup Singh, Deepa Joshi and Mudassir Farooq were killed and 33 others were injured in a serial blasts in Srinagar on 14 April 2006;[51] sixteen persons including seven tourists were injured in a grenade attack in Pahalgam in Anantnag district on 27 April 2006;[52] five persons including three tourists were killed in a grenade attack at Zakura, Srinagar on 25 May 2006;[53] one person identified as Madan Lal, son of Ishar Das, died and 29 others injured in three grenade explosions at a busy bus stand in Jammu on 12 June 2006;[54] and two persons identified as Khatoon Shah Begum and Javed Ahmad were killed and 27 others injured in a bomb blast at the house of a saint at Sopore in Baramula district on 22 June 2006,[55] among others.

    i. Killing of the political activists

    Killing of political party workers and leaders by the armed opposition groups were extensively reported from Jammu and Kashmir during 2006. On 23 March 2006, the State Government in a reply to a question by MLA Mohammed Yousuf Taringami in the State Assembly stated that a total of 39 political activists were killed by the AOGs during January 2005 - February 2006. Of these 39 political activists, 19 belonged to People's Democratic Party, 8 of National Conference followed by Congress (5), Independent (3), CPI-M (2), Peoples Democratic Forum (1) and Jamaat-e-Islami (1). The State Government also stated in the reply that a total of 535 civilians were killed during the same period.[56]

    Those political party activists killed by alleged members of the AOGs during 2006 included Congress Councillor of the Sopore Municipal Committee, Mohammad Afzal who was killed at Krankshivan colony in Baramula district on 2 April 2006;[57] a Congress Municipal Councillor identified as Wali Mohammad Dar at Mohalla Khawja Sahib in Baramulla district on 4 April 2006;[58] a BJP activist identified as Mohammed Yousuf Ghanai alias Yousuf Dastgeeri at Azad Ganj in Baramulla on 5 April 2006;[59] and CPM activist Mohammad Afzal Bhat at Sandoor in Anantnag district on 28 April 2006.[60]

    The AOGs also targeted political rallies. On 31 March 2006, alleged members of AOGs ambushed a rally by People's Democratic Party (PDP) in Sangrama in North Kashmir. PDP's candidate Javid Ahmed Beigh narrowly escaped the attack. AOGs boycotted the Assembly by-elections.[61] On 21 May 2006, six persons were killed and 35 others injured in an attack on a Congress rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Park in Srinagar. Al Mansoorian and Lashkar-e-Taiba claimed responsibility for the attack.[62]

    ii. Killings of the minorities

    The armed opposition groups carried out “selective killings” of minorities, particularly the Hindus.

    On the morning of 30 April 2006, alleged members of AOGs kidnapped 16 Hindus from Lolan Gala and Kela Top villages of Basantgarh in Udhampur district. Out of 16 kidnapped villagers, three were released while the rest 13 were killed in custody. While bodies of four persons were recovered at Bareli Dhar area of Basantgarh on 30 April 2006, bodies of nine others were recovered on the morning of 1 May 2006. The deceased were identified as Angrez Singh, son of Amroo; Angrez Singh's two brothers Sham Lal and Romesh Chander of Taroo; Charan Das Saloch, son of Kaku Ram of Basntgarh; Jagdish, son of Teju Ram of Mang; Om Parkash, son of Thakur Das and his brother Romesh Chander of Basantgarh; Jagdish, son of Rasela of Basantgarh; Dino Ram, son of Moti Ram of Bagni; Ajay Kumar, son of Der Ram of Basantgarh; Kalu, son of Pambi Ram of Pattan Dasantgarh; Kartar Singh alias Tutu, son of Dharam Chand of Basantgarh and Gian Chand, son of Premu of Pallan (Basantgarh).[63]

    On the midnight of 30 April 2006, alleged members of AOGs reportedly massacred 22 Hindus at two remote villages of Zienthwana and Manglote in Kulhand areas of Doda district. Those killed at Zienthwana hamlet were identified as Gori Lal, son of Assa Ram; Sheesh Ram, son of Devi Chand; Satish Kumar, son of Sheesh Ram; Gopi Chand, son of Bhim Singh; Premnath, son of Ganesh; Kunj Lal, son of Mahsu; Magar Singh, son of Mohr Singh; Ram Raj, son of Mohr Singh; Pritam Singh, son of Gyan Singh; and Panchi Ram, son of Fakir Chand. Those who were killed at Manglote village included Jagdish Raj, son of Bhagatu; Sapna Devi (8), daughter of Jagdish Raj; Ramesh Kumar, son of Jagdish Raj; Sundar Singh, son of Sant Ram; Saroop Ram, son of Gori Lal; Romal Singh, son of Man Singh; Kumar Singh, son of Ram Singh; Sadhu Ram, son of Mangat Ram; and Balwant Singh, son of Thakar Singh.[64]

    On 2 May 2006, another Hindu identified as Omi Chand was shot dead in cold blood by unidentified assailants in Doda. The victim's bullet-riddled body was found in the woods at Karalan.[65]

    On 9 June 2006, alleged members of AOGs allegedly hanged to death one Ravi Kumar of Ghar Mali village in Billawar tehsil of Kathua district.[66]

    On 12 June 2006, alleged members of AOGs shot dead eight Nepalese labourers at Badroo village in Kulgam tehsil under Anantnag district after abducting them from Chitragam in Shopian tehsil. According to a survivor, the assailants asked their names and lined them and fired at them. One Muslim labourer Nayeem-u-Din was however released upon revelation of his name.[67]

    b. Torture

    The armed opposition groups were responsible for torture. The AOGs slit the throats of the victims and chopped off the tongues or other body parts to create chilling fear. On the intervening night of 14-15 June 2006, unidentified assailants reportedly chopped off the limbs of 13 Muslim villages, including a woman identified as Fatha Begum, at Donga hamlet in Mahore area of Udhampur district. A group of armed cadres reportedly asked the villagers to come out of their houses, lined them up in an open field and then began to chop off their limbs mainly noses, tongues and ears without giving any reason. One of the victims, Abdul Ahad whose tongue and nose had been chopped off died at the sub-district hospital at Mahore.[68]

    4. The Status of the SHRC

    On 27 March 2006, the State Government tabled the Annual Report 2004-2005 of Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) in the State Assembly.[69] According to the Annual Report, the SHRC registered 406 cases, including 103 cases of human rights violations against the security forces in the State from April 2004 to March 2005. Of the 406 cases, the SHRC disposed off 316 cases – ex-gratia relief and compassionate appointment were recommended in 66 cases and only compassionate appointment was recommended in 31 cases. The remaining cases were dismissed either for want of jurisdiction or for having become infructous. But the State Government failed to implement the recommendations.[70]

    The Annual Report dealt with various problems facing the SHRC, including acute financial shortage, lack of necessary infrastructure, lack of support and cooperation from the State Government and the police etc.  The Annual Report stated that SHRC was financially “left totally dependent and at the mercy of the government” which endangered the independence of the Commission.[71] The SHRC also lacked adequate staff, independent investigating agency. In absence of an independent investigating agency, the SHRC had to be dependent on the State Police to conduct investigations even if the cases were against the police personnel. Under such circumstances, impartial investigation was not possible. On the other hand, the SHRC did not have powers to implement its recommendations.[72]

    On 31 July 2006, Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission Chairman Justice (retd) A M Mir resigned in protest against “growing human rights violations” and “non-seriousness” of the State Government on human rights protection.[73]

    5. Repression on the freedom of the press

    The media faced severe threats from the armed opposition groups and the State agencies.

    On 9 May 2006, cable operators suspended four entertainment channels - Star Movies, Star World, AXN and Reality TV following threats from an AOG “al Madina Regiment” which alleged that the TV channels were encouraging obscenity.[74]

    Reporters covering the infamous sex scandal of Srinagar involving high profile people also reportedly received death threats from anonymous callers.[75]

    On the night of 10 June 2006, Shujaat Bukhari, a Special Correspondent with The Hindu, was kidnapped at gunpoint by two armed men from the busy Residency Road in Srinagar. He was taken into the outskirts of Srinagar in an autorickshaw. One of his abductors tried to fire at him but luckily the pistol got jammed and Shujaat Bukhari managed to escape from his captors.[76]

    On 9 February 2006, activists of the Javed Mir faction of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front reportedly attacked the office of English daily Greater Kashmir at Pratap Park in Srinagar for not carrying a press release issued by the outfit. The attackers smashed three computers, the main server of the office and some windowpanes and also assaulted three employees.[77]

    A few journalists remained under detention contrary to the court orders. Photojournalist Muhammad Maqbool Khokar alias Maqbool Sahil of Chattan daily continued to be imprisoned at Kotbalwal jail near Jammu since 18 September 2004 under the Public Safety Act on the charges of spying for Pakistan. On 27 October 2005, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court ordered Sahil's release but his imprisonment was extended on 9 January 2006 for another two years under the PSA. On 8 August 2006, the High Court again asked the authorities to release Sahil but the authorities refused to set him free.[78]

    On 21 November 2006, journalist Abdul Rouf of Srinagar News, and his wife Zeenat Rouf were allegedly picked up by the police who also sealed their house in Srinagar, leaving their three children homeless. From 21 November 2006 to 4 December 2006, the couple was illegally detained at the Special Operations Group centre without producing them before a judge. They were formally arrested on 4 December 2006 on the charges of sheltering AOGs at their home. On 9 December 2006, a judge in Srinagar ordered the release of Zeenat Rouf on bail but the police refused to release her.[79]

    6. Violence against women

    Women faced violence from the security forces, the armed opposition groups and the society as a whole. On the intervening night of 3-4 March 2006, a Special Police Officer (SPO) identified as Balwant Singh allegedly raped a woman identified as Shah Begum, wife of Mohammed Shabir, at Barmandal village in Rajouri. The accused reportedly went to her house and asked for water. When Shah Begum came with a glass of water, the accused allegedly dragged her out of the house bolting the main door from outside, and raped her in a nearby field. A case of rape was lodged with Kalakote police station.[80]

    The condition of the women and the children who had lost their husbands or parents due to the armed conflict was deplorable. There were no official figures on the number of widowed women and orphaned children in the State. The State Women's Commission quoted the unofficial figure of 40,000 widows. However, the Public Commission on Human Rights (PCHR) put the number of widows at 25,000-30,000. According to PCHR, the number of women whose husbands were killed by the security forces was more than 50 per cent of all women widowed due to the armed conflict in the State. The Social Welfare Department reportedly paid a meagre stipend of about Rs 200 per month only to widows whose husbands were killed by the armed opposition groups. Similarly, the National Foundation for Communal Harmony set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India, provided Rs 600 per month only for children of people killed by the AOGs. According to Yateem Trust, an NGO working with orphans and widows in the State, there were an estimated 15,308 orphans whose fathers were killed by the security forces.[81]

    The Jammu and Kashmir Rules for Compassionate Appointment, 1994 or SRO 43 is a government order which guarantees a government job on compassionate ground to one person of a family that had lost a member (who must not be a member of AOGs or engaged in subversive activities) due to the armed conflict in the State.[82] The problem was when even innocent civilians were dubbed as “militants” by the security forces, thereby depriving the next of kin of such victims any facility under SRO 43. The State Government claimed that so far, 1,246 people in Kashmir Valley and 308 in the Jammu province had been provided government jobs under SRO 43.[83] However, majority victims had been denied any job. On 9 March 2006, the State Government stated in the Lower House of the State Assembly that 4,316 conflict-related cases for appointments under SRO 43 were pending in the State, including 799 cases in Baramulla district, followed by Jammu (24), Kathua (12), Udhampur (236), Doda (414), Rajouri (274), Poonch (123), Anantnag (509), Pulwama (235), Budgam (265), Srinagar (720), Kupwara (690), Kargil (9) and Leh (6).[84]

    7. Violations of the rights of the child

    Children, particularly the girl child faced sexual abuse at the hands of the security forces. On 27 May 2006, a minor girl of 14 years was allegedly raped by personnel of 2nd Rashtriya Rifles while she was returning from school at Singhpora village under Pattan tehsil in Baramulla district. Thousands of Pattan tehsil residents protested against the incident and blocked the Srinagar-Baramulla National Highway for hours.[85] However, the army refuted the allegations.[86]

    On the night of 3 March 2006, a girl identified as Mehmooda Bano, daughter of Abdul Gani Joo, was allegedly molested by an army officer who identified himself as Major Pervez during a search operation at Tantraypora village in Tangmarg.  The accused reportedly belonged to 52nd Rashtriya Rifles stationed at Trakpora Camp in Tangmarg. The locals alleged that he dragged the girl out of the house and molested her. However, the army refuted the allegations.[87]

    Many children were killed by the security forces in fake encounters.

    The AOGs were also responsible for violations of the rights of the child. On the night of 10 January 2006, a minor girl identified as Marium Jan (11), daughter of Head Constable of Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police, Mohammad Ayub was reportedly killed and two others identified as Marium's elder sister Rafiqa Bano and her cousin Mumtaz Bano (15) were injured in an attack by alleged members of the AOGs at Chakras village of Mahore tehsil under Udhampur district. The police blamed the Lashkar-e-Toiba for the attack. Family members of the victims reportedly stated that attack was to avenge the surrender of uncle of the victims.[88]

    On the night of 24 February 2006, two suspected members of the AOGs reportedly came to the house of Mohammad Latif in Sruti Top area of Mendhar in Poonch district and dragged out Mohd Latief's teenaged daughter, Tasleem Akhter. She was then shot dead on the spot. Two bullets hit her legs, two on arms and one in her head. Earlier on 5 February 2006, the deceased's fiance Tariq Mohd was reportedly killed by alleged members of the AOGs.[89]

    On the night of 24 March 2006, a teenaged boy identified as Wasim Akram (17), son of Panch Sadiq, was reportedly beaten to death by suspected members of AOGs in Sanjoit area of Mendhar in Poonch district. The alleged members of the AOGs came to the house of Panch Sadiq and took away his son Wasim Akram as a guide. Akram's body was recovered from a nallah (drain) on 25 March 2006.[90]

    A team of Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Srinagar which visited Central Jail Kothbhalwal in Jammu on 20 January 2006 stated that there were at least three minors languishing in the jail. They were identified as Gowhar Ahmad Bhat (16), s/o Ab. Rashid Bhat of Kulgam, Wasim Raja Dar (16), s/o Habibullah Dar of Anantnag and Jalal-ud-din Shah (16), s/o Abdul Gani Shah of Kulgam.[91] Following the report of the Kashmir Bar Association, the NHRC issued notice to the Government of Kashmir.[92]

    8. Status of the IDPs

    Over 2,200 families, comprising 11,884 persons had migrated in 1998 due to armed conflict from Doda, Udhampur, Poonch and Rajouri regions, and over 400 of these families were staying in the Talwara camp in Reasi in Udhampur district.[93] These Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were not treated at par with Kashmiri migrants. The government had reportedly stopped providing them relief, including ration and cash assistance from 2004.[94] Acute poverty had forced the migrant families to either sell or mortgage their children for a price which ranged between Rs 2,000 and Rs 7,000. On 29 March 2006, the migrants from Talwara Camp put up their children for sale outside the Press Club in Jammu to protest against the apathy of the State in providing relief.[95] But their plight was lost in the political game. On 31 March 2006, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad dismissed the reports about “sale of children” by Talwara migrants as “politics”. He reportedly claimed that the Talwara migrants had been provided accommodation in NHPC Housing Colony and ration was being provided till 2005. He however clarified that the State Government had no such scheme or proposal to provide cash relief for these migrants.[96]

    About 55,476 Kashmiri Pandit families had been displaced due to the armed conflict in Jammu and Kashmir since early 1990. Of them, 34,088 families had been living in Jammu, 19,338 families in Delhi and 2,050 families in other States and Union Territories. The government had been providing assistance to 14,869 families in Jammu and 4,100 families in Delhi. In Delhi, 230 migrant families were living in 14 camps, while 5,778 families were living in 16 camps in Jammu. The government provided cash relief of Rs. 3,000/- per family per month plus basic dry rations in Jammu. In Delhi, the government provided cash relief of Rs 3,200 to non-camp migrants and Rs 2,400 to those living in camps besides dry rations.[97] But even after 16 years, the Government of India failed to resettle the Kashmiri Pandits in their homeland.

    9. Status of the refugees

    About two lakh Hindu refugees were living in the Jammu and Kashmir since 1947.[98] The Hindu refugees who fled from Pakistan in 1947 enjoyed the right to vote in the Lok Sabha elections but they were not allowed to vote in the State Assembly elections. They were also being denied right to government jobs, access to health care programmes, right to buy property and education.[99]

    10. Misuse of the national security laws

    Under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) of 1978, any one can be detained without trial for a period of up to one year if one is to be prevented from acting in a manner deemed “prejudicial to the maintenance of public order” or up to two years if one's actions are likely to be “prejudicial to the security of the State”.[100]

    During the first Round Table conference on Jammu and Kashmir held in Delhi on 25 February 2006, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured the Kashmiri leaders to review the cases of all detainees in Jammu and Kashmir and release those who were not involved in serious offences.[101] The Joint Review Committee considered 403 PSA cases and on 22 March 2006, the Committee cleared the names of 40 Kashmiri detenues for release.[102] Out of these 40 prisoners, 22 prisoners were from Kot Bhalwal jail. On 25 March 2006, eight out of the 22 prisoners were released from Kot Bhalwal jail. They were identified as Farooq Ahmed Itoo, son of Abdul Rehman Itoo, resident of Kulgam (Anantnag), Irshad Ahmed Bhat, son of Mohammad Maqbool Bhat of Anantnag, Mohammad Ashraf Najar, son of Ghulam Mohammad of Anantnag, Abdul Rehman Dika, son of Ghulam Nabi, resident of Kokernag (Anantnag), Bashir Ahmed Bhat, son of Abdul Gani of Anantnag, Fareed Ahmed Malik, son of Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din of Doda, Mohammad Taj son of Saki Mohammad of Rajouri and Mohammad Akram Chauhan, son of Wazir Mohammad of Poonch. The remaining fourteen detenues were supposed to be released “after completion of their legal formalities”.[103] On 26 March 2006, nine more PSA detenues were released including eight from the Kathua district jail and one from Udhampur district jail.[104]

    Many PSA prisoners were also released following orders by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. On 8 February 2006, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court quashed the detention of six persons - Manzoor Inam-ul-Malik, Abdul Qayoom, Mohammad Akbar Dar, Manzoor Ahmad Mir, Ghulam Mohammad Shah and Sajjad Ahmad Wani under the PSA and ordered their immediate release from different jails.[105]

    On 11 April 2006, four more detenues identified as Ghulam Mohammad Wani, Yousuf, Mohammad Latif and Mohammad Aslam were released from the district Amphalla jail following the directions of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.[106]

    On 2 May 2006, Jammu and Kashmir High Court ordered the release of seven persons detained under the National Security Act as the evidence against them was insufficient. They were Ishtiyaq Ahmad Khatana, Nazir Ahmad Khan, Khalid Ahmad Wani, Altaf Ahmad Sheikh, Ajaz Ahmad Wani, Mushtaq Ahmad and Tariq Ahmad Manto.[107]

    On 6 August 2006, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court quashed the detention of seven persons under Public Safety Act and ordered their immediate release. They were Mohammad Maqbool, Imtiaz Ahmed Untoo, Javid Ahmad Dar, Nazir Ahmad Mir, Ghulam Muhammad Bhat, Muhammad Ramzan and Nasir Ahmad.[108]

    The misuse of the National/State security laws was rampant.                  


    [1]. Militancy declines but crime 13 times more, The Kashmir Times, 24 April 2007 

    [2]. Azad claims drop in HR violations, The Kashmir Times, 28 February 2006 

    [3]. J&K 'quite', 5,000 troops moved to North-East, The Pioneer, 7 February 2006 

    [4]. Annual Report 2006-2007, Ministry of Home Affairs

    [5]. Stringent action taken against rights violations, The Central Chronicle, 3 March 2006 

    [6]. 3 of family shot dead in Arnas, The Kashmir Times, 10 April 2006

    [7]. Who's the victim? The Hindu Business Line, 6 October 2006, http://www.blonnet.com/life/2006/10/06/stories/2006100600140400.htm

    [8]. Govt faces ire over 'missing' Kashmiris, The Statesman, 13 March 2006

    [9]. Review cases of all detenus in Jammu and Kashmir, Manmohan tells Patil, The Hindu, 26 February 2006

    [10]. Court News, October - December 2006, Supreme Court of India

    [11]. Court News July-September 2006, Supreme Court of India

    [12]. PM says autonomy to be discussed  - Proposes group on Centre-State ties, The Hindu, 26 May 2006

    [13]. Rights panel to probe cases of missing persons, The Tribune, 26 March 2003, http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20030326/j&k.htm#3 

    [14]. Govt faces ire over 'missing' Kashmiris, The Statesman, 13 March 2006 

    [15]. 19 cases of custodial killings since Jan 2004, The Kashmir Times, 10 March 2006 

    [16]. Violence cannot derail peace process: Azad, The Hindu, 3 August 2006, http://www.hindu.com/2006/08/03/stories/2006080304720500.htm

    [17]. J&K rights panel registers 44 missing cases, The Statesman, 29 March 2006 

    [18]. Man 'missing' in custody, 16-yr-old boy disappears, The Kashmir Times, 19 February 2006 

    [19]. Man 'missing' in custody, 16-yr-old boy disappears, The Kashmir Times, 19 February 2006 

    [20]. CBI to book 5 Army officers for killing 5 Kashmiris in cold blood, The Indian Express, 27 April 2006

    [21]. Pathribal encounter: Army challenges CBI chargesheet, The Indian Express, 29 May 2006

    [22]. Pathribal killing - CBI contests army's claim, The Kashmir Times, 22 June 2006 

    [23]. HC notice to govt over students disappearance, The Kashmir Times, 10 March 2006 

    [24]. In Kashmir, Army chief sends word down the line: no custody death, The Indian Express, 10 February 2006, http://www.indianexpress.com/res/web/pIe/archive_full_story.php?content_id=87633 

    [25]. Bodies exhumed - Protests continue in Shopian, The Kashmir Times, 19 January 2006

    [26]. Protest against custodial killing in Anantnag village, The Kashmir Times, 14 January 2006

    [27]. Army orders probe in custodial killing, The Kashmir Times, 17 January 2006 

    [28]. Killings spark off protest in Kishtwar, The Kashmir Times, 26 May 2006

    [29]. Youth's killing sparks off protests in RS Pura, The Kashmir Times, 30 May 2006

    [30]. Army changes rules to stop fake killings, The Asian Age, 22 April 2006 

    [31]. 4 boys die in Kupwara firing, The Tribune, 23 February 2006 

    [32]. Army blames militants for Handwara killings, orders probe, The Kashmir Times, 24 February 2006

    [33]. Azad orders judicial inquiry into Handwara killings, The Indian Express, 2 March 2006

    [34]. Kashmir Bar accuses army of carrying out Handwara killings, The Kashmir Times, 12 March 2006

    [35]. Handwara: CID report to CM says Army at fault, The Indian Express, 28 February 2006

    [36]. KU student's killing on Court Road tiggers protests, The Kashmir Times, 24 February 2006 

    [37]. Bandipora killing sparks off protest, The Kashmir Times, 25 February 2006 

    [38]. Mistaken identity: Boy killed in Army firing, The Statesman, 12 April 2006 

    [39]. Protests mark killings, The Asian Age, 25 June 2006 

    [40]. Many defy curfew to attend boy's funeral, The Asian Age, 14 June 2006 

    [41]. Protest over arrest of 8th class boy - Councillor, another shot dead, The Kashmir Times, 3 April 2006 

    [42]. Four of family in jail: woman contests police claims, The Kashmir Times, 26 April 2006 

    [43]. Security forces picking up parents of militants: Hizb, The Kashmir Times, 6 May 2006 

    [44]. High drama in Srinagar: Police versus Army, The Indian Express, 21 January 2006 

    [45]. Protest against alleged torture by forces, The Kashmir Times, 3 February 2006

    [46]. Protests against Army at Anantnag, The Asian Age, 26 May 2006 

    [47]. 3 of family shot dead in Arnas, The Kashmir Times, 10 April 2006 

    [48]. Priest, four militants killed, Tribune, 15 June 2006 

    [49]. Ultras slaughter youth in J&K, The Kashmir Times, 6 February 2006 

    [50]. Two Hizbul ultras, singer among 4 killed, The Tribune, 31 March 2006 

    [51]. A DAY OF BLASTS - 5 dead, 33 hurt in Srinagar, The Tribune, 15 April 2006 

    [52]. Seven tourists among 16 injured in Pahalgam explosion, The Kashmir Times, 28 April 2006 

    [53]. Three tourists among 5 killed in Srinagar, The Kashmir Times, 26 May 2006 

    [54]. One killed, 29 injured in 3 grenade attacks, The Kashmir Times, 13 June 2006 

    [55]. 2 killed in Sopore blast, The Tribune, 23 June 2006 

    [56]. 39 political activists killed in 2005, The Kashmir Times, 24 March 2006 

    [57]. Cong councillor shot, The Tribune, 4 April 2006 

    [58]. Municipal Councillor shot dead in Baramulla, The Times of India, 4 April 2006 

    [59]. BJP activist shot dead in Baramulla, Daily Excelsior, 5 April 2006, http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/web1/06apr06/news.htm

    [60]. CPM activist killed in J&K, The Tribune, 29 April 2006 

    [61]. PDP rally attacked, CRPF man killed in the Valley, The Indian Express, 1 April 2006 

    [62]. Militants target Srinagar rally, 6 killed, The Hindu, 22 May 2006, http://www.hindu.com/2006/05/22/stories/2006052214410100.htm

    [63]. 31 civilians massacred in Doda, Udhampur - Bodies of 9 more abducted villagers recovered - 10 injured victims rushed to Jammu hospitals, The Kashmir Times, 2 May 2006 

    [64]. 31 civilians massacred in Doda, Udhampur - Bodies of 9 more abducted villagers recovered - 10 injured victims rushed to Jammu hospitals, The Kashmir Times, 2 May 2006 

    [65]. Doda Hindu shot dead, The Asian Age, 4 May 2006 

    [66]. Youth hanged to death by militants in J&K, The Times of India, 10 June 2006 

    [67]. 8 Nepalese labourers gunned down in Kulgam, The Kashmir Times, 13 June 2006 

    [68]. Limbs of 13 chopped off in J&K, The Deccan Chronicle, 17 June 2006 

    [69]. Financial constraints irk rights panel, The Tribune, 28 March 2006 

    [70]. SHRC registers 103 HR violation cases against security forces, The Kashmir Times, 5 April 2006 

    [71]. Cash strapped SHRC finds going tough, The Kashmir Times, 6 April 2006 

    [72]. Absence of investigative arm hampers SHRC functioning, The Kashmir Times, 7 April 2006 

    [73]. Rights panel chairman Justice Mir resigns, The Tribune, 2  August 2006  

    [74]. Separatist threats against cable TV operators in Kashmir, Reporters Without Borders, 15 May 2006

    [75]. Reporters get death threat, The Asian Age, 3 May 2006 

    [76]. Srinagar journalist escapes bid on life, The Indian Express, 12 June 2006

    [77]. Newspaper office ransacked in Srinagar, The Tribune, 10 February 2006, http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20060210/j&k.htm#2

    [78]. Kashmiri photographer in prison without evidence or trial for nearly two years, Reporters Without Borders, 9 August 2006 

    [79]. Call for explanations about journalist arrested in Kashmir, Reporters Without Borders, 12 December 2006

    [80]. SPO booked for raping woman in Rajouri - Accused absconding, manhunt launched, The Kashmir Times, 6 March 2006 

    [81]. Who's the victim? The Hindu Business Line, 6 October 2006, http://www.blonnet.com/life/2006/10/06/stories/2006100600140400.htm

    [82]. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/896428.cms

    [83]. http://jammukashmir.nic.in/normalcy/welcome.html

    [84]. Govt faces ire over 'missing' Kashmiris, The Statesman, 13 March 2006 

    [85]. Army puts PM's order to shame - Girl raped in Valley, The Kashmir Times, 28 May 2006 

    [86]. Army absolves troops of rape charges, The Deccan Chronicle, 31 May 2006 

    [87]. Tangmarg villagers allege molestation by Major, army change, The Kashmir Times, 5 March 2006 

    [88]. One minor girl killed, 2 injured in ultras' attack, The Kashmir Times, 12 January 2006 

    [89]. Militants gun down teeanged girl, The Kashmir Times, 26 February 2006 

    [90]. Militants beat up teenager to death, The Kashmir Times, 26 March 2006 

    [91]. Report Regarding Jammu Jails, Kashmir Bar Association, http://www.kashmirbarassociation.org/jail_report3.html

    [92]. Commission calls for comment of J&K Government on minors languishing in Jammu Jails, National Human Rights Commission, Press Release, 7 April 2006 

    [93]. 'Buy me for Rs 2,000', The Tribune, 30 March 2006, http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20060330/j&k.htm#1

    [94]. Sale of children - Lal Singh committee to submit report today, The Kashmir Times, 31 March 2006 

    [95]. 'Buy me for Rs 2,000', The Tribune, 30 March 2006, http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20060330/j&k.htm#1 

    [96]. Sale of children in Talwara - It's only politics: CM, The Kashmir Times, 1 April 2006 

    [97]. Ministry of Home Affairs, Annual Report-2005-06, http://mha.nic.in/Annual-Reports/ar0506-Eng.pdf

    [98]. Lal Singh wants full citizenship for J&K refugees, The Kashmir Times, 14 March 2006 

    [99]. ABHM threatens stir over rights for 1947 refugees, The Kashmir Times, 5 January 2006 

    [100]. India: Abuse of the Public Safety Act in Jammu and Kashmir, Amnesty International, 5 April 2000, http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGASA200132000?open&of=ENG-2AS

    [101]. Review cases of all detenus in Jammu and Kashmir, Manmohan tells Patil, The Hindu, 26 February 2006

    [102]. PM orders release of 40 J&K detenues, The Kashmir Times, 23 March 2006 

    [103]. 8 Kashmiri detenues released in Jammu - 14 more prisoners may be freed soon, The Kashmir Times, 26 March 2006 

    [104]. 9 more PSA detenues released from J&K jails, The Kashmir Times, 27 March 2006 

    [105]. Court orders release of 6 detainees, The Tribune, 9 February 2006

    [106]. Govt releases 4 detenues, The Kashmir Times, 12 April 2006

    [107]. HC orders release of 7 detained under NSA, The Kashmir Times, 4 May 2006 

    [108]. HC quashes detention of 7 under PSA, The Tribune, 7 August 2006, http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20060807/j&k.htm#4

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