The Repressive Reality in Kashmir Exposed by LFK

A new report by the Legal Forum for Kashmir (LFK) reveals a disturbing trend of escalating repression and human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir (JK) for the first half of 2024.

This report underscores the ongoing plight of the Kashmiri people and calls for urgent international intervention. The report alleges 191 fatalities, 168 injuries due to use of force by security personnel, and 244 arrests during this period. Additionally, the report claims the destruction of 116 residential houses and the conduct of 120 search operations by security forces in the region.

It raises concerns about the ongoing intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders, journalists, and civil society organizations. The report details the human rights situation in the region during this period.

The ongoing liberation movement in IIOJK is witnessing a plethora of changes in terms of the ‘level of intensity.’ A report indicates that over 1200 civilian properties were damaged there between 2020 and 2022.  Additionally, security force deployments in the region have reportedly grown by 15,000 personnel.  Concerns have also been raised about new counterinsurgency tactics allegedly employed by security forces.

The report said few days before Indian occupation authorities attached five residential houses in Srinagar capital city of IIOJK under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). One of the house owners said their properties were attached without serving any prior notice or giving them the opportunity to respond to the allegation of harboring any freedom fighter. According to official police data, 2,300 Kashmiris have been booked under the UAPA since August 5, 2019.

According to the report, the period from January to June 2024 saw a continued trend of state repression, with 202 cordon and search operations (CASOs) leading to 72 killings. These include the deaths of 19 civilians, 23 freedom fighters, and 30 Indian occupying personnel, said a press release.

LFK’s investigation highlights numerous instances of extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, and the use of anti-terror laws to suppress dissent and silence human rights defenders. The report reveals the systematic use of torture and other forms of inhumane treatment against civilians, aiming to instill fear and suppress any form of resistance.

Similarly, Indian occupation authorities have dismissed or suspended government employees, professors, and other professionals for alleged links to the liberation movement. Since 2019, the Indian government has clamped down on critical journalism in Kashmir, with over 35 journalists imprisoned or interrogated by authorities.

Kashmiri rights activist Khurram Parvez, chairman of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCSS), has been imprisoned since November 2021 on absurd charges of “criminal conspiracy and waging war against the government.”

The report also highlights that the Indian judiciary has sentenced JKLF Chairman Yasin Malik to life imprisonment for advocating the right to self-determination.

In the first six months of 2022, numerous instances emerged of Kashmiri students, laborers, traders, and drivers being threatened, beaten, assaulted, and intimidated in mainland India. In May, a violent attack on Kashmiri students saw at least five students brutally beaten and assaulted by Hindutva activists at Swami Vivekananda University in Mohali, Punjab.

In a series of unlawful actions, the fascist Indian government, led by BJP leader Narendra Modi, has undertaken a new delimitation of constituencies. The Jammu and Kashmir Delimitation Commission, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and established in 2021 under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act 2019, issued its final order on May 5. This order allocates 43 seats to the Hindu-majority Jammu region and 47 seats to the Muslim-majority Kashmir, increasing the total number of seats in the Union Territory’s assembly from 83 to 90.

The arbitrary internet shutdowns and restrictions in IIOJK represent blatant systemic discrimination and a severe violation of Kashmiris’ rights. IIOJK alone accounts for two-thirds (403) of the 655 internet shutdowns recorded in India since 2012. In just the first half of this year, from January 1 to June 30, there have been 94 instances of internet outages in the region.

In a grim account of the ongoing conflict, the report highlights how increased militarization has deepened the human tragedy in IOJK. The occupying forces have not only escalated their military operations but have also engaged in the confiscation and demolition of civilian properties, causing significant displacement and suffering among the local population.

The occupying authorities’ misuse of anti-terror laws has criminalized the efforts of civil society organizations, socio-religious groups, and independent media, effectively stifling free expression and assembly.

LFK’s comprehensive on-ground research and data collection, bolstered by credible sources such as official records, media reports, and NGO fact-finding missions, provide a robust foundation for the report’s findings. The report claims to have cross-checked information from various sources to ensure accuracy.

The report expresses concern about potential violations of international law, including International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL). It alleges that these violations have resulted in serious human suffering.  The report also criticizes the international response to these alleged abuses, which it characterizes as inconsistent.

The report further raises concerns about the use of counterterrorism legislation, suggesting it may supersede certain international legal protections.

Wasama Khalid
Wasama Khalid

Muhammad Wasama Khalid is a Correspondent and Researcher at Global Affairs. He is pursuing his Bachelors in International Relations at National Defense University (NDU). He has a profound interest in history, politics, current affairs, and international relations. He is an author of Global Village Space, Global Defense Insight, Global Affairs, and Modern Diplomacy. He tweets at @Wasama Khalid and can be reached at Wasamakhalid@gmail.com

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