Twenty-five Indian citizens, mainly representing civil rights organizations, on a fact-finding mission in Kashmir, have alleged in a report prepared following their visit, that doctors, treating victims of the recent violence in Kashmir Valley, are now being routinely harassed by "government intelligence.'
Not only are the doctors being forced to reveal the identity of their patients, the report says, the Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) police and paramilitary have “raided hospitals”. In one instance, the report adds, they found that a women’s ward was raided.
“We met with ambulance drivers who were intimidated and threatened by the armed forces for ferrying the injured”, the report says.
It further says, “Pharmacies and kitchens setup by relief and social welfare organisations and the business community, who stepped in to assist the government hospitals in meeting the extraordinary challenge of saving lives,were disbanded by the armed forces.”
“In at least one case, a key leader of this ‘critical assistance’, as described by a senior government doctor, was arrested and jailed for over a fortnight”, the report states.
Referring to women being “subjected to violence and molestation” by security personnel, leading to “verbal and physical abuse”, the report says, “Paramedics working in the government health system reported that during this period they witnessed a significant increase in the number of miscarriages, which were caused by physical violence.”
The 25 citizens who visited several of Kashmir districts included top Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar, All-India Progressive Women's Association's Kavita Krishnan, National Alliance of People's Movements' Madhuresh Kumar, National Forum on Right to Education's Mujahid Nafis, and Peoples Movement against Nuclear Energy's SP Udaykumar.
The Pakistan-India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy's representatives also joined the team.
The report says, many of the 102 deaths which have occurred following protests that ripped the valley following gunning down of militant Burhan Wani on July 8 were “caused by targeted killings of unarmed civilians by armed forces” at places where there were no “protests or demonstrations.”
“Most deaths we came across have been caused by injuries waist-above, without any warning fire”, the report says, adding, “Deaths and injuries caused by pellet guns too are all above the waist and preponderantly at eye level causing blinding or long-term ophthalmic damage.”
According to the report, “In the case of deaths, Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) police has lodged ‘cross’ FIRs using similar and repetitive, if not identical, charges of the victim being ‘anti-national’,” calling this as amounting to “a violation of the right to life.”
“Families that have pursued the legal remedy to identify the representatives of the Indian Army, J&K police and paramilitary, who engaged in acts of killing innocent people, have become targets of repeated arrests, torture and raids”, the report states.
The report says, a perusal of the papers of those who were arrested, especially under the J&K Public Safety Act, 1978 (PSA), “lack prima facie substance and employ similar, if not identical, language.”
Especially referring to the papers in the J&K High Court regarding the arrest of human rights defender Khurram Pervez as also others under PSA, the report says, “The government counsel merely sought to delay cases by seeking more time to file documents when in fact the FIR/case dossier forms the basis of the arrest.”