September 2, 2016
Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), expresses its outrage and strongly condemns the continuing use of brute force by the Indian Army, Security Forces and J&K Police on unarmed civilians in Kashmir including a crack down on lawyers.
The current escalation of violence in Kashmir, one of the world’s most militarized zone where the ratio of civilian to security personnel is 1:7, is a result of the killing of militant leader Burhan Wani by the armed forces of the Indian State, on July 8, 2016. The reactions to the death of this 22 year old youth leader, who embodied the deep frustrations of the Kashmiri youth suffering under the repression of the Indian security forces, lifted the veil on the reality of the constantly-simmering valley and rejuvenated the demand for Self-Determination or Azadi. The ongoing Intifada has been met by deadly state force, numerous reports from the ground speak of police tear-gassing and then shooting bullets and pellets at protesters to kill. Many of the killed protesters have been found with bullet injuries in the chest and pellet injuries to eyes showing that the police shot to kill, rather than incapacitate the protesters. The present phase of suppression of popular agitation which has been going on for almost two months has ended up killing more than 70 unarmed civilians and injuring more than 8500 in different parts of the Kashmir valley, out of which more than 1400 were the victims of pellet injuries and are now on the verge of losing their eye sight forever. Apart from this killing spree, 1300 civilians and activists have been arrested and many of them have been slapped with draconian laws such as Jammu and Kashmir Public Security Act, 1978 (PSA). The valley has also witnessed a sharp rise in cases of sexual violence and more than 90 such incidents were witnessed in month of July alone. The security forces have not even spared the medical services and ambulances, which is in violation of international humanitarian laws. . The Indian State’s policy of governing the region through draconian laws such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, a British-era law that allows soldiers to shoot dead anyone on sight, on mere suspicion, has virtually allowed the police and other security forces to play with the lives of the people, with total impunity.