Kashmir: A Land Of Human Rights Abuses The World Hardly Knows About

by
Sameera Ehteram
The conflict has gone on for decades and ended up in two wars between the nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan.

The following images are neither from Syria nor Palestine:

killings in Kashmir

stones towards the Indian police

Indian policeman fires a teargas

Nasir Shafi

 local residents was shot by Indian security forces

They are from the Indian held part of Kashmir.

It's not a conflict that garners much international hype but the dispute has been there since 1947 and has cost more than 47,000 lives so far. According to some human rights groups and nongovernmental organizations, the death toll is twice that amount.

Kashmir is an 86,000-square-mile region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. The territory is disputed upon by the neighboring India and Pakistan.

India and Pakistan have been fighting over Kashmir since both countries gained their independence in 1947.

Both claim the territory in full but rule it in part.

A 700-km Line of Control (LoC) separates India- and Pakistan-controlled parts of Kashmir.

India controls about 45% of Kashmir whereas 35% comes under Pakistan. Another 20% of the territory falls under China, which India claims Pakistan has ceded to the neighboring country.

The conflict has gone on for decades and ended up in two wars between the nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan.

But things changed recently when harrowing images of human rights violations in Indian-held Kashmir flooded the social media.

Kashmir Conflict India Pakistan

 Human Rights Abuse

Read More: Will Mark Zuckerberg’s Wounded Face Draw Attention To Kashmir?

The recent sharp escalation in tension between India and Pakistan has also brought the plight of the Kashmiri people in limelight.

India's security forces have pumped up their brass power and beefed up the already large presence in the occupied territory by drafting additional in 20,000 paramilitary personnel and 10,000 soldiers.

What caused the recent escalation in tensions?

India blames Pakistan for a raid earlier this month on a base that killed 18 soldiers, calling it the deadliest attack on its army in 14 years. The attack apparently prompted Hindu nationalist supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to call for revenge.

Pakistan denies any involvement.

Human Rights Abuse

As with all incidents of disturbance in the area, people took to the streets, protesting against the Indian occupation and the police and armed forces' violence.

Stone-throwing protesters took to the streets, mostly in a display of support for a recently slain insurgent, Burhan Vani.

injured in clashes between Indian police

indias brutality

Many of those killed in the clashes died from shotgun pellets or rifle bullets fired by police and paramilitary troops, and the supposedly non-lethal pellet rounds have blinded hundreds of bystanders, including children and women.

According to Dr. Sudarshan K. Kumar, the leader of a team of three eye specialists sent to the city of Srinagar in Indian-held Kashmir, "the nature of the wounds being treated in Kashmir’s hospitals indicate a "war-like situation.”

 

"The police are using brute force," said a 27-year-old protester.

"They are leaving local boys with no choice but to take up arms. You are creating home-grown rebels by your actions — and then you are labeling them as terrorists."

The ophthalmology ward of Srinagar's main SMHS hospital is still overflowing with patients either partly or fully blinded by pellet rounds fired by police or paramilitary troops.

The U.N.'s top human rights official recently called for an international mission to be given free and complete access to both Indian and Pakistan-administered Kashmir to assess claims made by both sides about the recent unrest.

Read More: Bitter Enemies India And Pakistan Have Much More In Common Than A Shared Past
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