Thursday, 26 April, 2018

Violence spikes in Indian Kashmir after videos inflame tension

Watch | 'Azaadi chaiye tujhe': Videos emerge of Army allegedly beating up Kashmiris Watch | 'Azaadi chaiye tujhe': Videos emerge of Army allegedly beating up Kashmiris
Melissa Porter | 18 April, 2017, 03:28

In the video that surfaced on April 14, Farooq Ahmad Dar from Khansahib in Budgam district is seen strapped to the front of a moving army jeep.

In one such video, shared on Twitter by National Conference spokesman Junaid Matoo, the security forces are seen allegedly shooting a stone-pelter in the head during a stone pelting incident.

The army said it is investigating the video.

Kashmir has been a disputed region between Pakistan and India since independence from Britain in 1947.

The jeep to which the protester is tied to appears to be part of an Indian Army convoy that seems to be passing through a sensitive area. Earlier today, clashes between security forces and agitating students near a college in Srinagar had been reported. "Look at the fate of the stone-pelter", a soldier is heard saying over a loudspeaker in the video while Dar is tied to the vehicle.

As the using of human shields is considered a war crime under the Geneva Convention, the attorney general's support for using human shields in Kashmir is a clear call for the violation of worldwide law.

But it is hard to point to any single image more disturbing over that time than a video clip that started spreading on social media Thursday.

A senior police officer told this newspaper that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has asked the police to act against all violators of law. A 17-year-old was allegedly killed by paramilitary officers during the 9 April by-election, one of the videos reportedly showed.

"The killings, intimidation and harassment of ordinary people by suspected armed group members can never be justified, and should stop immediately", Aakar Patel, Executive Director at Amnesty International India, said in a statement. IoK witnessed deadly protests in 2016, after a popular leader, Burhan Wani, was killed by Indian forces.

Going by the evidence in the public domain, the incident was more about inflicting quick punishment to "miscreants" for attacking the army rather than using innocent people for protection.

Local youths have lashed out at Indian forces, who are vastly outnumbered in rural Kashmir.

The director general of police in the state on Sunday told officers to avoid visiting their own homes in South Kashmir after militants stormed at least four officers' houses.