The Kashmiri prisoners under Indian occupation are subjected to brutal physical, psychological and sexual abuse, said a report published Monday.
The 71 Years of Occupation and Piling Bodies in Indian-Occupied Kashmir
The 560-page report provides details on the torture Kashmiri prisoners are made to undergo for resisting Indian occupation. According to the report, torture is used by India as a “matter of policy” and “instrument of control” in the occupied territory.
The report, named “Torture — Indian state’s instrument of control in Indian-state of Jammu and Kashmir,” was published by Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). It documented 432 testimonies of prisoners.
“Torture is the most under-reported human rights violation perpetrated by the state,” the report noted.
“Due to legal, political and moral impunity extended to the armed forces, not a single prosecution has taken place in any case of human rights violations.”
The prisoners are subjected to solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, and sexualized torture like rape and sodomy.
Other torture methods include electrocution, hanging from a ceiling, pushing detainees head into the water which is sometimes mixed with chili powder, water-boarding, etc.
“Muzaffer Ahmed Mirza from Tral and Manzoor Ahmad Naikoo were subjected to insertion of a rod through their rectum. It caused multiple ruptures to their internal organs,” the report read.
“While Mirza died after a few days in the hospital of lung rupture, Naikoo had to undergo five surgeries to finally heal the wounds he received due to this torture. Apart from insertion, a cloth was wrapped around Naikoo’s penis and set on fire.”
The report said that 70 percent of the victims were civilians and they are usually unwilling to report the atrocities out of fear of more torture at the hands of Indian forces.
“Victims have been randomly picked up, tortured and never even told what they were tortured for,” the report explained.
Out of the 432 cases, 24 are women. “Out of these 12 had been raped by Indian armed personnel” the report informed. Among them, 239 were civilians and 119 militants, and 27 were minors at the time of their arrest and subsequent torture.
The survivors of tortures often battle with psychological issues. According to a 2015 study by Doctors Without Borders (known by its French initials MSF), 19 percent of the people in Kashmir suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Last year the U.N. released its first report on human rights abuses in Kashmir and called for establishing a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate into violation of rights like rape, torture, and extrajudicial killings.
India rejected the report as “fallacious.”
“The prisoners are forced to eat or drink filthy and harmful substances like human excreta, chili powder, dirt, gravel, chili powder mixed water, petrol, urine, and dirty water,” the U.N. report said.
It also revealed that prisoners undergo “behavioral coercion” and forced into activities that are against their religious beliefs like forcing them to consume alcohol or rubbing piglets on their bodies.
Juan E. Mendz, the former U.N. special rapporteur on torture, said the report “will be enormously helpful in drawing attention in the international community to the need to express concern about India’s human rights record”.
“I am convinced that a report, when it is as rigorous, evidence-based and persuasive as this one is, constitutes a building block towards public awareness of the tragedy of torture,” he added.
Saiba Varma, an anthropologist at the University of California, San Diego who has researched psychiatric ailments in Kashmir said that India uses systematic use of torture to warn the Kashmiris.
“In making these bodies spectacles, the state is further exerting its power, not only on those who have been tortured but by also sending a message to those who have not been tortured, saying, ‘this could be you,’” she said.