The Indian-Occupied region of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has been a disputed territory for decades. Since the 1990s, the region has witnessed an unprecedented state oppression in human history, which has led to human rights abuses by the Indian security forces.
However, since August 5, 2019, when the Indian government abrogated the special status of J&K and split it into two Union Territories, the situation has deteriorated significantly. The government’s decision was taken without the consent of the people of J&K and was accompanied by a complete lockdown of the region. The lockdown, which lasted for months, severely impacted the lives of millions of people in the region, who were cut off from the rest of the world, with no access to communication or healthcare.
The Indian government claimed that the decision was taken to integrate J&K fully into India and to promote development in the region, a move that was against the UN resolutions. However, the reality on the ground is quite different. Since the lockdown was lifted, there have been numerous reports of human rights abuses by the Indian security forces, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and rape.
The Indian security forces have been given sweeping powers under the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, which allows them to arrest and detain people without trial for extended periods, and to use lethal force against protesters. The security forces have also been accused of using pellet guns, which cause permanent blindness, to disperse crowds.
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Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations, have documented numerous cases of human rights abuses in J&K since the abrogation of Article 370. They have also highlighted the impact of the lockdown on the region’s economy and healthcare system, with thousands of people unable to access medical care and essential supplies.
One of the most significant human rights violations in J&K is the use of torture by the security forces. In September 2020, the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) released a report documenting over 400 cases of torture by the Indian security forces in the region since 1990. The report stated that torture was used to extract information, to punish and intimidate, and to perpetuate a culture of fear in the region.
The Indian-administered region of Jammu and Kashmir was stripped of its special status and split into two union territories in August 2019. Since then, the restoration of statehood to the region has been a topic of much debate and speculation. The decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and downgrade it to a union territory was widely criticized by regional politicians, civil society groups, and human rights organizations. Many argued that the move further alienated the local population and fueled resentment towards the Indian state. Restoration of statehood in the region at immediate basis is a rightful demand of the oppressed Kashmiri population.
The situation in J&K remains volatile, with ongoing barbarity perpetuated by the security forces. The human rights situation in the region continues to deteriorate, and the Indian government’s refusal to address the issue is deeply concerning. The people of J&K deserve the right to live in peace and security, with their basic human rights protected.