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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Troops deliberately killed Kashmiris during 2010 uprising: report

SRINAGAR, March 29 : A report of an independent fact-finding team holding Indian troops responsible for disproportionate use of force to quell last year’s uprising in occupied Kashmir, has claimed that most deaths during the period were caused by deliberate intent on part of the troopers.

The report titled ‘Four months the Kashmir Valley will never forget- An enquiry into the mass uprising of 2010’ claimed that around 120 people lost their lives, as the troops more often than not responded with disproportionate force, which in turn set the stage for a further escalation in the cycle of killings and protests. The report was prepared by a team comprising academician Bela Bhatia, advocate Vrinda Grover, journalist Sukumar Murlidharan and Ravi Hemadri of The Other Media, a Delhi-based rights organization, which visited the Kashmir Valley last October.

The report maintained that contrary to the alibi advanced on their behalf, the troops were by no means acting always in self-defence. It said that indeed, the people of Kashmir believed that men in uniform were actively involved in the coercive effort to deter and discourage demonstrations.

The report also pointed out that the occupation authorities were indulging in active repression to pressurize the media. “Since the upsurge in Kashmir in June 2010, media practitioners saw their situation in terms of daily work routines sharply deteriorating. Gaining access to spots of breaking news became an ordeal and gaining authentic information on the disturbances virtually impossible,” it added.

The fact-finding team called for reduction of military presence in the occupied territory, withdrawal of all draconian laws, release of all persons detained under these laws, and credible investigations into the recent killings.

As per media reports, during its stay in Kashmir, the fact-finding team, in groups or individually, met the families of around 40 persons who had been killed since the beginning of the uprising, besides interviewing several individuals who suffered serious injuries. The team had visited Srinagar, Baramulla, Sopore, Islamabad, Bijbehara, Pulwama, Budgam and other villages and towns of the territory. In addition, the team held separate sessions with journalists and media practitioners, university teachers and students, doctors, lawyers and activists, besides officials in police department and civil administration

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