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Civil rights network in report to UN talks of "intensified militarization" in Kashmir, North-East, Central India

By Our Representative
A civil rights network, Working Group on Human Rights in India (WGHR), in a report submitted to the United Nations (UN) titled “Human Rights in India: An Overview”, has taken strong exception what it calls “intensified militarization” of not just Kashmir valley but also North-Eastern states and Central Indian states.
Calling these regions as “conflict zones” the report -- whose draft report embargoed for September 22 is with Counterview, and which was prepared after meetings in 20 Indian states with grassroots organizations and their supporting civil rights groups -- says the situation “remains challenging” because of huge deployment of security forces.
“The army has established new military camps in the northeast; and military presence has increased in Kashmir. In Chhattisgarh the government has promoted self-styled vigilante groups and started arming local adivasi youth”, regrets the report.
Noting how Government of India “routinely uses Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to prevent peaceful public gatherings, restrict protests and stifle people’s movements”, the report says, “The authorities use excessive force during anti-government protests, especially in conflict-zones such as Jammu & Kashmir.”
Especially referring to “many grave complaints” against security forces from “conflict areas” about “rape and sexual assaults, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, and disproportionate and excessive use of force”, the report points to how this has led to the death of 79 people in Kashmir valley and injury to over 10,000.
Pointing out that this has happened because of the “use of life threatening weapons by security forces in response to large-scale public demonstrations across Kashmir valley in 2016”, the report points to how in Kashmir “pellet guns have caused grievous injuries particularly blindness, and victims include children.”
“In Chhattisgarh”, the report says, “There have been multiple cases of rape and sexual violence of adivasi women and an unprecedented number of encounter deaths by security forces in the name of counter insurgency operations. Daily life, traditional ceremonies, festivals cannot be held by adivasi communities for fear of encounters and arrests.”
Taking a special note of the refugee crisis “close to international borders, such as the Indo-Bangladesh border”, the report talks of how they are being subjected to “torture and extrajudicial killings by the Border Security Forces”, leading to “conflict related displacement.”
The report estimates that “India has 1,87,482 refugees and 3,784 asylum seekers which are directly assisted by the Government of India and the UNHCR . Giving details, it says, “There are 23,500 refugees and asylum seekers in Delhi registered with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), consisting of more than 11,000 from Burma, 9,000 Afghans, and the 7,000 Tibetans”.
Further, it says, “After 2012 India has witnessed steady influx of Rohingya Muslim refugees roughly about 5,500 from Myanmar”, lamenting, “India has not yet ratified the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and its Protocol and it does not have any a national framework or legal procedure governing refugees.”
Other issues the report deals with minorities and Dalits being attacked “in the name of trading in and consuming of beef, using of dormant Cow Protection laws”, which in effect is “an attack on the livelihoods of both Muslims and Dalits”; criminal cases where minorities are victims are being “left to collapse”; youth from religious minorities being “falsely implicated in terror related cases”, even despite acquittal “they receive no reparation”; and religious minorities facing “wrongful and malicious prosecution under over-broad anti-terror laws.”

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