In Year Of Peace, Violence Claimed 148 Lives

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Cases Include Custodial Deaths, Political Killings, Tourist Targets: CCS

SRINAGAR: Though violence remained largely off the state’s headlines in 2012, the past year witnessed bloodshed nevertheless, claiming militants, forces personnel and civilians in a toll surprising for a peaceful twelve months.

One hundred and forty-eight (148) human lives were lost in Jammu and Kashmir in violent incidents, including custodial deaths and extrajudicial executions, during 2012, the Coalition of Civil Societies (CCS) said today, making an appeal to the forces and the militants groups in the United Jihad Council (UJC) to desist from targeting political activists.

Coming down heavily on the state police for “lying” about the Bijbehara blast last year, the Coalition, which includes human rights groups, demanded independent and impartial probes into the killing of political activists, custodial killings and other HR violations,  

According to the CCS, the 148 cases included 35 civilians, 75 militants, 36 forces personnel, a retired police officer, and an unidentified person.

Six children, nine local women and four female tourists were among the civilian casualties, it said.

“On July 27, 2012, there was an explosion in a tourist cab in the Bijbehara area of Anantnag which the government of the day falsely attributed to a gas cylinder explosion when it actually was a grenade attack which left four female tourists dead,” the CCS said.

“The defence minister was on a tour of Kashmir that day, and just a day earlier he had issued orders (of a probe) to the army over the fake encounter killing of Hilal Ahmad Dar of Bandipur,” it said.

“The government’s lies came to the fore on December 28 when the police said that the two militants killed in an encounter in Pulwama that day were involved in the Bijbehara blast,” the CCS said, calling for an independent inquiry into the explosion.

The past year witnessed eight cases of custodial killings and extra-judicial executions, it said, accusing the government of having failed to conduct impartial probes into the incidents and taking action against those involved.

At the very beginning of the year, 21-year-old Altaf Ahmad Sood was shot dead by CISF personnel in the Boniyar area of Uri, while Hilal Ahmad Dar of Rajipora was killed in a fake encounter near Bandipur allegedly by the 27 RR, it said.

Aashiq Hussain Rathar of Rafiabad, Baramulla, was similarly killed by the personnel of the 32 RR, it said.

“No action was taken against the personnel involved due to the powers and impunity enjoyed by the forces under the AFSPA,” he said.

“Thirty-five-year-old Nazir Ahmad Sheikh, an employee of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation was killed by subjecting him to violence in the Central Jail in Srinagar,” it said.

“The process of ordering probes continued, with the government having announced inquiries in eight cases of grave human rights violations, but, as in the past, none of them showed any results,” it said.

According to the CCS report, five political activists were killed in the state during 2012, three of them belonging to the ruling National Conference while the others were panchayat members.

Deploring the killing of civilians, including political workers, the CCS called for independent and impartial probes into such incidents.

It made an appeal to the army, and all groups within the UJC, to desist from targeting political workers

“Impartial and independent probes must be conducted into the killings of political workers, custodial killings and other human rights violations, and those involved brought to justice,” he said.   

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