October 2018 News
UK Parliament Report Accuses India Of 'mass Murder' Of Kashmiris31 October 2018
London: The All-Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group (APPKG) in the UK Parliament has condemned Indian government for using 'excessive force against Kashmiris and refusing to allow independent observes' from Britain to enter into Jammu and Kashmir to monitor the true scale of 'human rights tragedy'. Labour MP Chris Leslie, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group, launched the report on Tuesday evening in the British parliament, accompanied by dozens of MPs from both Labour and Conservatives and Sardar Masood Khan, the President of Pakistan administered Kashmir, Pakistan newspaper, The News International reported. The APPG on Kashmir comprises of more than 70 parliamentarians from the House of Commons and House of Lords. The release of this report is seen as second big break through after United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHR) report on Kashmir in June 2018 highligting human rights violations in Kashmir. The report noted that 'repeated requests notwithstanding, no representative of either Indian central government or the J&K state government has agreed to give evidence, verbally or in writing'. The report has proposed a number of recommendations to alleviate the sufferings of Kashmiris. It recommended that the Government of India must repeal the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act 1990 and enable prosecution of armed forces and security personnel in the civilian judicial system; the Government of Jammu and Kashmir must urgently provide a strict and limited statutory basis for administrative detention powers, in line with international legal principles, by repealing or amending the Public Safety Act 1978; the Government of India must initiate a comprehensive public investigation into the identities of bodies in mass and unmarked graves, with an independent forensic verification process, and provide for a full freedom of information mechanism for the families of suspected victims of enforced disappearance; the Government of India should immediately ban the use of pellet firing shotguns; the Government of Jammu and Kashmir must open its prisons to international inspection.; and the Governments of India and Pakistan should work to resume regularised visa-regulated civilian travel across the Line of Control and reunite separated families. The APPKG report drew references from reports on Kashmir by Amnesty International, Chatham House and Crisis Watch Group and said that the Kashmir remains heavily militarised and draconian laws that provide legal cover for human rights abuses by security officials remain in force, giving the army widespread powers to search houses, arrest people without warrants and detain suspects indefinitely. The report made reference to a Human Rights Watch commentary on conditions in Kashmir in March 2018 which had stressed that Indian occupation forces use brutal force against protestors. 'Though protests in Kashmir can be violent at times, the response of the security forces should always be proportionate. Lethal force should be the last resort, used only when lives are threatened. Promptly investigating allegations of abuses and prosecuting those responsible is key to resolving this 'mess'. The APPKG said it has considered a number of well-evidenced submissions alleging forced disappearances in Kashmir. The report noted: 'Use of pellets Armed security personnel in J&K have rightly drawn condemnation for the use rubber and steel pellet-firing shotguns as a primary means of crowd dispersal, including to break up non-violent protests. Heartbreaking images of Kashmiri civilians disfigured as a result of injuries sustained by pellet fire - and in several dozen cases, permanently blinded - have come uniquely to emblematize the disregard for human life which too often characterizes policing tactics in J&K. Such pellet-firing weaponry is not just liable to disfigure its victims; it is also massively inaccurate.' The report said that during the visit by committee members to Pakistan administered Kashmir and the Line of Control, its members heard from a series of witnesses including Raja Najabat Hussain, Chair of Jammu and Kashmir Solidarity Movement.