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Amnesty International accuses government of using excessive force on demonstrators during 2016 Kashmir protests

By TwoCircles.net, Staff Reporter

New Delhi: Taking note of a crackdown on protesters in Kashmir during the 2016 unrest, global human rights watchdog–Amnesty International-came down heavily on the Indian government for unleashing unnecessary and excessive force against demonstrators.

The government imposed a curfew across the Kashmir Valley for more than two months and suspended private communications during a period that saw over 100 deaths and more than 1,000 injured at the hands of security forces.

The annual report of Amnesty International alleged forces of besieging people, leaving them without access to urgent medical assistance.

“Human rights defenders and organizations continued to face harassment and intimidation, and vigilante cow protection groups carried out several attacks. Thousands protested against discrimination and violence faced by Dalit communities. Millions of people opposed changes to labour laws,” the report reads.

The report also alleged government of frequently ignoring marginalised communities in its push for faster economic growth.

The report claimed Dalits and Adivasis continuously facing widespread abuses. Quoting official statistics released in August, AI said, more than 45,000 crimes against members of Scheduled Castes and almost 11,000 crimes against Scheduled Tribes were reported in 2015.

“Dalits in several states were denied entry into public and social spaces, and faced discrimination in accessing public services. In January, the suicide of Dalit student Rohith Vemula led to nationwide protests,” AI reported.

The report also quoted 2016 event which had led to widespread protests in Una, Gujarat following the public flogging of four Dalit men by a vigilante cow protection group for skinning a dead cow – a traditional occupation for certain Dalits.

“Vigilante cow protection groups harassed and attacked people in states including Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka in the name of upholding laws prohibiting the killing of cows,” the report adds.