ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Kashmir: Killing Civilians

The Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation (CDRO) is alarmed at how a demand for justice results again in the killing of civilians by a trigger-happy government force in Kashmir. The alleged molestation of a 16-year-old girl on 12 April by a member of the 21 Rashtriya Rifles posted in Handwara, and the resultant protests saw the abduction and illegal incarceration by the police of the girl, her aunt and father. Along with this, five persons were killed in three days of protests, including a woman working in her kitchen garden, followed by strict imposition of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). These incidents are a grim reminder that “the more things change the more they remain the same” in Kashmir. The killings are a direct outcome of treating the Kashmiris as a people devoid of any rights including the right to live in dignity and freedom.

In Kashmir events follow a pattern: when allegations are levelled against the armed forces of the union, the effort is to damn the aggrieved, for acting at the behest of “separatists,” “jihadists” and “Pakistan’s ISI,” to malign the Indian forces. When protests erupt to demand justice, the armed forces and police forces shoot to kill by aiming at the head and body. Doctors at the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science, Srinagar where the injured and the dead were brought, were aghast at the bullets having been fired at the vital parts of the victims; either the head or stomach—and pellet injuries to the eyes. The deliberate use of guns to kill is justified by claiming that it was done in self-defence as the crowd was pelting stones. The disproportionate use of force on unarmed civilians makes it abundantly clear that in Kashmir guns are preferred against civilians. Handwara was no different.

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