US report details killing in fake encounters to deaths in custody, arrests and media gag in IIOJK

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US report details killing in fake counters to deaths in custody, arrests and media gag in IIOJK

Washington, March 21 (KMS): A US annual report has discussed in detail the blatant human rights violations by Indian forces’ personnel in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir ranging from killing in fake encounters to custodial deaths, arbitrary arrests, restrictions on freedom of press and free assembly of people.

According to Kashmir Media Service, the State Department’s 2022 report released by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, which is is a mandatory requirement of the US Congress said, “Killings by government forces and nongovernment entities were reported in Jammu and Kashmir…”

“There were allegations police failed to file required arrest reports for detained persons, resulting in unresolved disappearances. There were reports that prison guards sometimes required bribes from families to confirm the detention of their relatives.”

“There were reports that police beatings of prisoners resulted in custodial deaths .  There were reports of abuse in prisons by guards and inmates, as well as reports of rape of detainees by police.”

“According to human rights NGOs, police used torture, other mistreatment, and arbitrary detention to obtain forced or false confessions.  In some cases, police reportedly held suspects without registering their arrests and denied detainees sufficient food and water.”

“uthorities permitted visitors limited access to prisoners, but some family members claimed authorities denied access to relatives, particularly in areas experiencing high levels of violence, including Jammu and Kashmir.”

“In March 2021, UN special rapporteurs asked the central government to provide details regarding allegations of arbitrary detention, extrajudicial killings, and disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir, including the status of Naseer Ahmad Wani, who disappeared in 2019 after being questioned by army soldiers. The location of Wani was still unknown at year’s end.”

“On July 29, the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance and UN special rapporteurs expressed concern over continued allegations of lack of identification, protection, and preservation of large numbers of unmarked single and mass burial sites in Kashmir, including the failure to conduct proper forensic investigations, efforts to search for the forcibly disappeared, and the lack of progress in identifying the remains of individuals buried therein in accordance with international standards. The rapporteurs stated they were concerned by reports of intimidation and harassment against individuals and civil society organizations, including human rights defenders and journalists, who called for investigation and accountability.”

“Killings by government forces and nongovernment entities were reported in Jammu and Kashmir…”

“There were reports that prisoners or detainees were killed or died in police and judicial custody. The 2021 Prison Statistics of India (PSI) report from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) documented 2,116 inmate deaths in judicial custody in 2021, which was an increase of 12 percent compared with 2020.”

“Prison conditions were frequently life threatening, most notably due to extreme overcrowding, inadequate sanitary conditions, and lack of medical care.”

Prisons were often severely overcrowded.  …Food, medical care, sanitation, and environmental conditions frequently were inadequate in prisons.  Potable water was not universally available.  Prisons and detention centers remained underfunded and understaffed and lacked sufficient infrastructure.  Prisoners were sometimes physically mistreated.”

The Public Safety Act (PSA), which applies only in Jammu and Kashmir, permits authorities to detain persons without charge or judicial review for up to two years without visitation from family members.  In April, the press reported that more than 500 persons remained in detention under the PSA in Jammu and Kashmir.

“There were some reports the government evicted persons from their places of residence, seized their property, or bulldozed homes without due process or adequate restitution citing illegalities in the construction of the buildings.  Human rights activists reported the government was allegedly targeting vocal critics from the Muslim community and using the bulldozers to destroy their homes and livelihoods.”

“In Jammu and Kashmir… security officials have special authorities to search and arrest without a warrant.”

“…police reportedly continued to arrest persons arbitrarily.  There were reports of police detaining individuals for custodial interrogation without identifying themselves or providing arrest warrants.”

“Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez, who was arrested by the NIA for “terror funding” and “conspiracy” in November 2021, continued in detention.  His pretrial detention has been extended at least five times by the NIA Special Court in New Delhi.”

“…journalists working in Jammu and Kashmir continued to face barriers to free reporting through communications and movement restrictions.”

“As of July 21, two journalists from The Kashmir Walla, an online newspaper, remained in detention.  In June, the State Investigation Agency in Jammu and Kashmir arrested Abdul Alaa Fazili, a one-time contributor to The Kashmir Walla, under the UAPA for a November 2011 article.  The State Investigation Agency arrested other journalists associated with the website including interim editor, Yashraj Sharma, who did not work for the publication when the article was published.”

“Kashmiri journalist, Aasif Sultan, detained since 2018, under the UAPA, was rearrested before his release on bail in April under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA), which allows for detention for up to two years without trial.”

“In Jammu and Kashmir, police arrested journalists Fahad Shah and Sajad Gul under the UAPA and PSA.  According to Human Rights Watch, at least 35 journalists had faced assaults, police interrogations, raids on their places of work, fabricated cases, and restrictions on movement in Jammu and Kashmir since 2019.”

“Freedom of Peaceful Assembly law provides for freedom of assembly.  …Jammu and Kashmir was an exception, where the state government sometimes denied permits to separatist political parties for public gatherings, and security forces reportedly detained and assaulted members of political groups engaged in peaceful protest.  During periods of civil unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, authorities used the law to ban public assemblies and impose curfews,” the US report said.

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