SRINAGAR Eighteen women and 31 children were among 160 civilians killed in 2018, the deadliest in last decade with 586 people slain in different incidents of violence in Kashmir Valley, according to the annual report by Association of Parents Of Disappeared Persons and Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS).
The year 2018 was the deadliest year of the last decade in Indian administered Kashmir as violence peaked during the year resulting in the killing of at least 586 people in different incidents of violence, which is highest in the last decade, reads the report released here.
Among 586 people killed, 160 are civilians, 267 militants and 159 members of Indian armed forces and Jammu and Kashmir police, it says.
The killing of 267 militants during encounters with armed forces and police is also the highest in the last decade. In fact, there has been a marked uptick in militant killings since 2016 as 145,216 and 267 militants have been killed in Kashmir in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively, it says. In the last decade the year 2012 witnessed the least number of killings.
Among 160 civilians killed in 2018, 18 are women. The year also witnessed killing of at least 31 children, accounting for nearly 20% killings of civilians, which is highest in the last ten years, it said, adding, The year saw extrajudicial executions of at least 160 civilians with the month of May recording the highest (28) civilians killed this year. November recorded highest (61) killings followed by October with 57 killing.
South Kashmir, the JKCCS said, continued to witness increased violence as has been observed since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July 2016.
The four districts of South Kashmir Kulgam, Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian jointly recorded the highest number of civilian killings with 85, while North Kashmir districts of Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora recorded 24 civilian killings and the Central Kashmir districts of Srinagar, Ganderbal and Budgam recorded 13 civilian killings.
As per the report, the excessive use of force on civilians continued unabated in 2018 as the killings of civilian demonstrators suggest, it says.
In 2018, 191 incidents of excessive use of force have been recorded. The use of force on civilian demonstrators by armed forces in the situation emerging out of encounters with militants lead to 40 extra-judicial executions, it says.
In 2018, the report says, at least 275 Cordon and Search Operations (CASOs) were conducted across Jammu and Kashmir which resulted in the killing of 267 militants.
According to the data compiled by APDP and JKCCS, at least 143 encounters took place between Indian armed forces and the militants following CASOs. In 2018, at least 120 cases of damage to civilian houses were reported in the state in which 31 houses were completely burnt while 94 were partially damaged.
In 2018, the government continued to use arbitrary and administrative detention like Public Safety Act (PSA) to detain dissenting individuals and Hurriyat leaders.Hundred of fresh detentions under PSA were reported this year. Apart from administrative and preventive detentions, putting pro-independence leaders under house arrest was common in 2018.
People were also detained in illegal detention at police stations and sometimes even army camps on the pretext of questioning them, it says.
In 2018, it says, three civilians were forcibly disappeared and their dead bodies later surfaced.
The crime of enforced disappearances is continuing crime and the Indian State continues to be in denial about the 8000 enforced and involuntarily disappeared persons. The government in Kashmir is reluctant to carry out forensic investigations into 7000 unmarked and mass graves despite several SHRC recommendations.
In 2018, the report says, media in Jammu and Kashmir continued to be at the receiving end of violence.
The state government continues to exercise restraint on the freedom of religion and belief and frequently resorts to curbs. In 2018, for 12 Fridays out of 52, prayers were disallowed in the Jamia Masjid and Muharram processions were also disallowed.
In the year 2018, APDP and JKCCS documented 108 instances of internet blockade in Jammu and Kashmir.
Sexual violence as a weapon of war continues to be prevalent in Jammu and Kashmir as the horrifying rape and murder of an eight year girl from Kathua in January 2018 demonstrates. In 2018, there were other cases where allegations of rape were made against CRPF personal in Poonch and in another case an Indian army personal was arrested by police for allegedly abducting a girl in Poonch.
In February this year, JKCCS submitted a petition to State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) listing 143 cases of sexual violence cases in Kashmir and demanded investigation but till now no progress has happened in the case.
In 2018, several cases of State surveillance were reported in Kashmir. This year, there were reports that army in Kashmir is seeking information on populations, from the police in the vicinity of the armed forces camps.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.