For Kashmir, 2016 was ‘Epidemic of Dead Eyes’; witnessed 389 deaths: Annual report of Hurriyat (M)

By Raqib Hameed Naik,

Srinagar: The annual report of separatist faction Hurriyat (M), headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has alleged state government of inflicting havoc  through the unabated use of pellet guns during the protests this year and termed 2016 as the “Epidemic of Dead Eyes”.

The report also alleged state of inflicting gross violation of human rights in the form of extrajudicial executions, torture, injuries, the killing of human beings, the wrongful use of Public Safety Act (PSA), illegal detentions, vandalism of properties, ban on congregational religious activities, media gags and a ban on communication and internet services.

The report drafted by Human Rights Division of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) feels that ground situation in Kashmir has deteriorated during 2016 with human sufferings touching new heights and valley witnessing horrifying scenario which it has not seen since 1989.

“As the wounds of 2008, 2009 and 2010 were still bleeding, 2016 has overtaken them all, with the number of horrid and horrendous cases of human rights abuses reported from across the valley. Force used against the protesting children and youth during this year has no parallel in the contemporary history of the state,” reads the report.

The whole report, which can be read here considers prevailing normalcy as superficial normalcy.

“Peace can’t be harnessed through use of coercive means only and in absence of concrete political initiatives it can at best be defined as ‘negative peace’ – for some time, before it explodes again and Kashmir will continue to lose everything at the hands of all the players,” reads the report.

The report puts the total number of deaths to  389 in violent incidents during this year. Out of 389 persons, 151 were civilians, 80 armed forces and police personnel and 158 militants.

“As compared to 2015, which witnessed 206 killings, the graph of killings during the year 2016 showed upward trend,” says report.

“Out of 151 civilians killed, 119 persons were killed in forces action. Among these 119 people, 2 persons were extra judicially executed. At least 18 persons killed by the forces had pellet injuries and 8 persons died due to hits by tear smoke shells while 5 persons died due to heart attack allegedly during the raids etc and 4 civilians were drowned during chase by the forces. At the same time one person died allegedly due to suffocation caused by the tear smoke shells,” the report adds.

The report puts number of people arrested detained and jailed at 13,000 and termed it as one of the worst crackdown.

“Most of the arrests were carried out in Anantnag, Pulwama, Awantipora, Kulgam and Shopian of South Kashmir, followed by north Kashmir’s Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Sopore, Handwara and central Kashmir’s Budgam, Srinagar and Ganderbal districts. (According to reports 12000 persons were arrested in 4 months and hunt on to arrest 1500 more, Daily Greater Kashmir, Nov 8, 2016),” says the report.

“In modern times when people across the globe enjoy human rights, Kashmir narrates a different story. In this part of the world, apart from arrests, a large number of political activists and others are being kept in police stations unlawfully under the wider umbrella of “Preventive Custody. During this year as well, a large number of persons were kept in police stations under “Preventive Custody”,” it adds.

The report has also shed light on various sensitive issues like use of PSA, curfew and restrictions, harassment of Kashmiris outside Kashmir, probes and inquiries, media gag, enforced disappearances, custodial killings, fake encounters, violation of religious rights and more.