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  India   All India  21 May 2019  Torture rampant in J&K detention centres: Report

Torture rampant in J&K detention centres: Report

THE ASIAN AGE. | YUSUF JAMEEL
Published : May 21, 2019, 6:48 am IST
Updated : May 21, 2019, 6:48 am IST

It claimed that seventy percent of torture victims are civilians and that eleven percent die during or as a result of torture.

The report says that torture has been associated with other human rights violations like custodial deaths and enforced disappearances. (Representational image)
 The report says that torture has been associated with other human rights violations like custodial deaths and enforced disappearances. (Representational image)

Srinagar: A human rights defending group and an association of the parents of victims of involuntary disappearance in Jammu and Kashmir have claimed that torture is rampant in detention facilities across the restive state and is used as a weapon to curb political dissent.

“Torture is used as a matter of policy by the state in J&K in a systematic and institutional manner, as all the institutions of the state be it legislature, executive, judiciary and armed forces form a part,” said a report prepared by Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons and the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society.

 

It claimed that seventy percent of torture victims are civilians and that eleven percent die during or as a result of torture.

The report titled Indian State’s Instrument of Control in Indian-administered-Jammu and Kashmir focuses on torture perpetrated in the State by official agencies since 1990, and provides a “contextual understanding” of various phases of torture being perpetrated since 1947. Using 432 case studies, the report charts out trends and patterns, targets, perpetrators, sites, contexts and impacts of torture in the State.

It says, “Due to legal, political and moral impunity extended to the armed forces, not a single prosecution has taken place in any case of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir”. It adds, “Despite global attention and condemnation of torture following exposés of indiscriminate torture practised in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prisons, torture remains hidden in Jammu and Kashmir, where tens of thousands of civilians have been subjected to it”.

 

Giving the latest example of the “widespread use” of torture continuing to be “unabated” in the State, the report say that as recently as March 19 this year, a 20-year-old school principal Rizwan Pandith was killed due to torture after being illegally detained in a camp of J&K police’s counterinsurgency Special Operations Group (SOG). “Three days later, the police filed a case against deceased Rizwan, alleging that he was trying to escape from the police custody while no case was filed against police officials under whose custody he was killed,” it says.

The report says that torture has been used in the State right from 1947 as a weapon to curb dissenting voices, a practice which attained an unprecedented magnitude after the Kashmiri separatist campaign turned violent in 1990. It says that post-1990 torture and other human rights violations, apart from being carried out by the armed forces and the J&K police, were also “outsourced” to different formations like Ikhwan (a pro-government militia) and Village Defence Committees (VDCs).

 

The forms of torture that have been documented in the report include stripping the detainees naked (190 out of 432 cases studied for this report), beating with sticks, iron rods or leather belts (326 cases), roller treatment (169 cases), water-boarding (24 cases), dunking detainees’ head in water (101 cases), electrocution including in genitals (231 cases), hanging from the ceiling, mostly upside down (121 cases), burning of the body with hot objects (35 cases), solitary confinement (11 cases), sleep deprivation (21 cases), sexual torture (238 cases) including rape and sodomy, among others.
 
The report provides an “insight” into how torture has ruined the lives of survivors with a multitude of them suffering from chronic ailments resulting from torture. “Apart from the physical ailments, people who have been tortured or even witnessed it, have suffered from psychological issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 49 of the 432 victims of torture died post-torture, 40 of them as a result of injuries received during torture,” the report said. It adds, “Since many deaths due to torture-related injuries are not immediate but may occur after years or even decades, accurate figures of such fatalities and morbidity are extremely hard to estimate”.

 

The report says that torture has been associated with other human rights violations like custodial deaths and enforced disappearances. “It is only when a case of torture is accompanied by such human rights violations that it gets reported in the media. As a result, torture has remained unnoticed and survivors continue to suffer in silence,” the report claims.

It further says since policies like Operation All Out continue in Kashmir and the Army is given a “free hand” as declared by the Prime Minister as recently as February 15 this year, the armed forces “are only emboldened to continue perpetrating torture”.

Tags: custodial deaths, human rights