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Oct 31, 2016

Kashmir under Modi slipping into chaos

Over 101 civilians have died from police and military shooting and around 15,000 people injured with 12,344 admitted to hospitals in the area says People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) based on a 10 day field visit to the Kashmir Valley.

After the extrajudicial killing of Burhan Wani on 08 July (2016) the Kashmir valley erupted in protests leading to a 100 day mass campaign against State suppression that to date is brutal according to the PUCL report.

The report indicates heavy casualties among Kashmiri civilian population with about thousand persons reported injured in the eye due to pellets resulting in 300 cases of blinding which included a large proportion of school going children. "According to the same list, 4,500 persons suffered injuries in other body parts due to pellets and shelling and 4,664 were injured by bullets. Over 8,000 people have been reportedly arrested, including 1,000 from Srinagar city itself." the PUCL report says.

It adds, "For the first time in Kashmir as many as six women were killed and several injured. Perhaps for the first time all women public protests (juloos) and the participation of women in Janazas (funeral processions) in large numbers was observed."

PUCL also records the police as having filed cases against 2,300 people. Of those detained, 382 individuals have challenged their detention under Public Safety Act (PSA), 1978 in the J & K High Court.

It says, "It is estimated that about 434 people were detained under PSA, including human rights activist Khurram Pervez and lawyer Zahid Ali. The FFT was informed that 12 J & K government employees were sacked for allegedly supporting the protests."

State repression with almost a free hand given to the police and security forces is detailed in the PUCL report as follows.

"Reports of vandalism and violence during raids by the police, security forces and the army were reported by many. Beating of residents, firing at transformers and making them dysfunctional, cutting of water supply as for example in district Bandipora, setting ablaze fields and burning of a school by the security forces were also reported by the people. Raids were conducted in the offices of newspaper 'Greater Kashmir' which resulted in all Kashmiri newspapers stopping publication for five days. The 'Kashmir Reader' has been banned since the 2nd of October. Immediately after the 9th of July, all Pakistani news channels were taken off the air and initially the Government also blocked 5 Indian news channels for their reportage on Kashmir, which was later withdrawn."

One key observation in the PUCL report was, "Demand for Azadi (meaning 'freedom' – editor) clearly expressing alienation from India with people very vocal about their lack of faith in the Indian State, was an all pervasive voice across villages and cities, professionals and the ordinary, young and old and men and women. This was reiterated by the people the team met in the valley in the light of the continuing brutalities committed by the Indian Forces against unarmed civilians, in which even women and children were not spared."

The complete report of the PUCL is as follows :

(The Civil Liberties and Democratic Rights (PUCLDR) founded by veteran leader Jaya Prakash Narayan (JP) in 1976. The non funded organization has 23 chapters in india.)

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