Human Rights

Video exposes horrible practices of the Army in Kashmir

Srinagar: A video in which a youth is seen tied to an Army jeep went viral on social media. The video, reportedly shot in Beerwah area of Budgam district in central Kashmir, has drawn wide condemnation. Beerwah was part of Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency where by-polls held on April 9 were disrupted by violence. Eight people were killed and several injured the day by-polls were held. Later, re-polling was held in the area. While the by-poll saw 7 (seven) percent polling (April 9) in the constituency, repolling in 38 polling stations in Budgam district saw mere 2 (two) percent polling. Joint separatist leadership had called for poll boycott.

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who represents Beerwah in the state Assembly, wrote on the micro-blogging site Twitter (April 14): “This young man was tied to the front of an army jeep to make sure no stones were thrown at the jeep? This is just so shocking.” He added, while he understands the outrage generated across the country by a video in which CRPF personnel were being heckled by protestors, he was outraged that the video of the youth tied to a jeep was not generating the same anger.

In the video, an army personnal was allegedly heard warning onlookers, “Those who pelt stones will meet the same fate.” The video widely shared on social network sites evoked anger among the people here. Renowned human right defender Khurram Parvez wrote on his Facebook page, “Palestine or Kashmir, the military tactics of using human shields reveal how Israel and India, while dealing with hostile populations increasingly don’t care about pretence of legitimacy. Since 1989 the phenomenon of using human shields in Kashmir continues unabated.”

Mirwaiz south Kashmir, Qazi Ahmed Yasir (April 14), said that army using Kashmiris as human shields or shooting to kill to target young boys exposes that people of Kashmir continue to be treated brutally. He added that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) should have taken suo motto cognizance of this grave human rights violation that has clear proof in videos and pictures.

The Army on April 14 said that it was investigating a video. “The contents of the video are being verified and investigated,” a Defence spokesperson here said. 

In another video, a group of youth was seen pelting stones on security forces at a polling booth in Beerwah. The video footage further showed one of the youth suddenly falling to the ground - apparently after being shot by security personnel. Earlier, a video clip appeared on social media showing CRPF personal being manhandled and abused by a group of youth. In one clip a boy was seen pushing the security force personnel in the head while in another clip a man is seen kicking the helment carried by a security personnel in his hand and in the third clip, a group of youth is seen mocking and hurling invectives on the security personnel who quietly left the place.

Veteran cricketer Gautam Gambhir had on April 13 written on Twitter: “For every slap on my army’s jawan lay down at least a 100 jihadi lives. Whoever wants Azadi LEAVE NOW! Kashmir is ours. #kashmirbelongs2us.” Hitting out hard at Gambhir and Virinder Sehwag for their threatening comments towards Kashmiris, independent legislator Er. Rashid, addressing a function organised at Gurdwara Singhpora on the eve of Baisakhi, April 14, asked the cricketers to introspect and answer if they had ever condemned any incident of ‘state terrorism or atrocities’ on Kashmiris.

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, April 13, alleged that some stone-pelters are “paid by the government to ensure low voter turnout.”

Expressing concern and anguish over surfacing of these videos, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti here on April 14 sought a detailed report from the police. 

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