KAC Demands an Impartial Probe into the Handwara Incident
Washington, DC: The Board of Kashmiri American Council (KAC) expresses grave concern over the conditions of militarization and inhumanity endured by the people of Kashmir and strongly condemns the recent incidents in Handwara town of Indian Occupied Kashmir which took place on April 12, 2016 in which 5 innocent civilians were brutally murdered by Indian security forces, says an announcement. It adds:
The civilians were protesting against attempted molestation of a 16-year old girl by an Indian soldier. The peaceful protest was met with live ammunition in which bullets were pumped into the chest of the victims. Curfew was imposed on the town of Handwara and no reporter was allowed to visit the area. However, thousands of youth and unarmed civilians defied the curfew and staged peaceful protests to express their anguish against the crimes of the Indian army in Kashmir and to show their dissatisfaction with the handling of the incident by the concerned authorities.
Conveying deepest condolences to the bereaved families, Dr Imtiaz Khan, President of KAC said, “Nothing unfamiliar has happened in Kashmir this week. It is happening since there is no accountability because under ‘the Armed Forces Special Powers Act’ (AFSPA), the army has the powers to shoot to kill with impunity. India has never prosecuted even one of its 700,000 military and paramilitary personnel there for human rights abuses, and its laws grant legal protection for any actions aimed at suppressing Kashmiri dissent or support for self-determination. India’s human rights violations in Kashmir are systematic, deliberate, and officially sanctioned.
“The criminal silence of the international community has given total immunity to the occupied forces and as a result they have unleashed brutal violence against Kashmiri population who are asking for freedom from forced occupation which is their legitimate right and has been endorsed not only by the United Nations Charter but also by the United Nations Security Council when it adopted the resolutions that gave the people of Kashmir the right to decide the future status of their nation,” Dr Khan added.
The Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) on Saturday, April 16, 2016, released a video of the mother of the Handwara girl who was assaulted by the army personnel while she was inside the washroom. Subsequently, the video statement of the girl, shot in the police station, was circulated across social media networks in which she was heard accusing the youth of fomenting the trouble. Now her mother says that her daughter was made to speak in duress and make a false allegation by the army and police. The mother of the victim wanted to talk to the media about the facts of the incident but she was detained by the police and no media personnel was granted access. “Only an impartial and neutral agency can probe the incident whose outcome will be acceptable to the family of the victims,” Khan suggested.
KAC appeals to the international community especially the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to take cognizance of the unabated human right violations committed by Indian military and paramilitary forces in Kashmir and hold them responsible for crimes against humanity. - firstname.lastname@example.org