August 22nd, 2011
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2156 bodies in mass graves: Kashmir

dead bodies in kashmirSrinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has revealed 2,156 unidentified bodies which are lying in “mass graves” in three districts of north Kashmir.

517 bodies were identified and out of them 17 were shifted to their native graveyards. The report says that 557 identified bodies are still buried in these graves while 2,156 remain unidentified. There is more than one body buried in 18 graves while 20 bodies are charred and five skulls have been discovered.

In its 17-page report, the special investigation team (SIT) of the SHRC headed by a Senior Superintendent of Police has clearly stated that, there is no doubt that, the unmarked graves with its unidentified bodies had been buried in 38 sites in north Kashmir’s Baramulla, Bandipore and Kupwara districts.

The bodies are claimed to be of unidentified militants caught by the police and handed over to local people for burial in various unmarked graveyards of north Kashmir.The report said,“the maximum bodies have bullet injuries,” and the government did not account for 1,692 bodies. it also added that,“there is every possibility that unidentified bodies buried in various unmarked graves at 38 places may contain bodies of enforced disappearance cases because 574 are unidentified.”

The Association of Parents of Displaced Persons (APDP) had in its reports maintained that 2,373 were buried in these mass graves.

The inquiry report, conducted by an 11-member team under the supervision of SSP B A Yatoo of the SHRC’s investigative wing, suggested that a proper FIR should be registered and DNA profiling should be carried out on the bodies to compare them with the next of kin of people who have disappeared as it is the only way to negate or affirm the statements given by the police .

The State government has reacted cautiously and said it would be premature to talk about the findings. “We will first go through the report and then comment. I haven’t seen it as yet,” Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani said.

The report also suggested that the misuse of powers under AFSPA [Armed Forces Special Powers Act] and Disturbed Areas Act should be stopped,” it is necessary that wherever anybody is killed — whether he is a militant or an innocent civilian — his or her identification profile including DNA profile should be maintained properly.”

“The government should allow the concerned police investigation wing of the SHRC to widen the scope of investigation across Jammu and Kashmir.” He said when the SHRC passed the final order, “we would seek judicial intervention, if the government fails to implement the recommendations ,said Khurram Pervez, coordinator of Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) of which the APDP is a part.

This inquiry was conducted after SHRC took cognisance of media reports about the presence of unmarked graves and calls from Amnesty International to probe these allegations.




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