[Reader-list] Fake Encounters and State Terror in Kashmir: BRIEF

SUNDARA BABU babuubab at gmail.com
Sun Jun 6 23:51:28 IST 2010

>From North-East to North similar Sad narratives.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Khurram Parvez <khurramparvez at yahoo.com>


Srinagar, June 06, 2010

* *



*www.kashmirprocess.org *

* *

*Re.: Fake Encounters and State Terror in Kashmir***


*Dr. Angana Chatterji*, Convener IPTK and Professor, Anthropology,
California Institute of Integral Studies

*Advocate Parvez Imroz*, Convener IPTK and Founder, Jammu and Kashmir
Coalition of Civil Society

*Gautam Navlakha*, Convener IPTK and Editorial Consultant, Economic and
Political Weekly

*Zahir-Ud-Din*, Convener IPTK and Vice-President, Jammu and Kashmir
Coalition of Civil Society

*Advocate Mihir Desai*, Legal Counsel IPTK and Lawyer, Mumbai High Court and
Supreme Court of India

*Khurram Parvez*, Liaison IPTK and Programme Coordinator, Jammu and Kashmir
Coalition of Civil Society

*Queries may be addressed to:*

Khurram Parvez

E-mail: kparvez at kashmirprocess.org

Phone: +91.194.2482820

Mobile: +91.9419013553

The spectre of death and state violence haunts Kashmiri civil society each
day. Violence is anticipated, experienced, and intimate to lives. There are
those that are its direct targets and others that are concomitantly
affected. Violence permeates daily life, regulates bodies and conditions

On April 29-30, 2010, the Indian Armed Forces executed Shehzad Ahmad, Riyaz
Ahmad, and Mohammad Shafi in a fake encounter in Kupwara district, claiming
them to be  “infiltrating militants” from Pakistan.

Extrajudicial actions of the Indian Armed Forces in Indian-administered
Kashmir have been accompanied by inflammatory discourses in April-May
2010, presenting
insurgency, militancy, and terrorism as escalated threats to national
borders and nationalized populations, charting collaborations between
external and internal enemies (Muslims of Pakistan and Muslims of
Indian-administered Kashmir), arguing for greater state control over
mechanisms of “security” and “freedom.”

Cross-Line of Control (LoC, between India and Pakistan) movements,
infiltrations, and insurgency into Indian-administered Kashmir are real and
significant issues. The Indian state exaggerates these realities in order to
create national and international sanction to escalate militarization, by
linking “foreign terror” to local Kashmiri civilians, in a context where
large sections of civil society are discontent with Indian rule. Such claims
propagate a more aggressive role for India within the
Afghanistan-Pakistan-Kashmir region, expanding India’s influence as an
international force, and enabling the Indian state’s administration of
Kashmir to proceed with impunity. In April-May 2010 alone, Indian Armed
Forces reportedly killed over 20 militants in different “encounters.” These
cases require transparent and independent investigations.

IPTK* *released* BURIED EVIDENCE: Unknown, Unmarked, and Mass Graves in
Indian-administered Kashmir* in December 2009. Authored by Angana Chatterji,
Parvez Imroz, et al., *BURIED EVIDENCE* documented 2,700 unknown, unmarked,
and mass graves, containing 2,943+ bodies, across 55 villages in Bandipora,
Baramulla, and Kupwara districts. The Government of Jammu and Kashmir and
the Government of India have not undertaken investigations into the findings
of *BURIED EVIDENCE* or acted on its recommendations. Such action may have
generated constructive interventions into the continuing chain of
extrajudicial executions by the Indian military and paramilitary.

In the absence of intervention into extrajudicial killings, violence
continues. Shehzad Ahmad, Riyaz Ahmad, and Mohammad Shafi were lured,
kidnapped, involuntarily disappeared, and murdered by members of the Indian
Armed Forces and state-sponsored militia. They were persuaded to leave their
homes in Nadihal village, Baramulla district, for the 4 Rajputana Rifles
Unit camp in Kalaroos, Kupwara district, with the promise of paid employment
moving arms and ammunition along the LoC.

The fake encounter that killed Ahmad, Ahmad, and Shafi was staged close to
the time when the 4 Rajputana Rifles Unit at Kalaroos was marked for
transfer out of Kashmir. These murders in Machil sector of Kupwara district,
as other fake encounters, were also reportedly motivated to secure cash
rewards and perhaps act as a shield for illegal trade in arms. Reportedly,
the Armed Forces has been customarily offering cash rewards of between
50,000 Rupees and 200,000+ Rupees to police or armed forces personnel for
the killing of a militant. Official discourse asserts that individual
security forces personnel have committed crimes for reward, acting on their
own initiative, against regulations, masking the reality that the policy of
the Armed Forces mandates and rewards brutality.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah authorized a magisterial probe on May 27, 2010.
The public do not have the right to participate freely in these inquiries,
and until that is enabled, such inquiries do not support truth and justice
in Kashmir, where a substantial section of the judiciary has been severely
compromised through twenty years of militarized governance. The police
charged Major Upendar, 4 Rajputana Rifles Unit at Kalaroos, along with three
others, with criminal conspiracy and kidnapping.* *Police also lodged a
murder case against Major Upendar and three others. This is the first
instance in which a unit of the Indian Armed Forces has transferred charge
over officers, even while Kashmir Police have chargesheeted other officers
in various fake encounter cases in the past. Chief Minister Abdullah stated
that: *“This time the assurance of full cooperation has come from no less
than the Defence Minister [A. K. Antony]”* (Jaleel, 2010)*.* In the Machil
killings, police investigations, unlike in the numerous other instances
across Kashmir, uncovered important information.

Why this exception? Is it the start of transparency and accountability, the
beginning of the end of the twenty-year conflict? Or, are these strategic
steps in a game calculated to isolate these events from the larger context
of military rule and immunity with the intent to subdue sustained public
outcry. If the former, then all responsible agencies and institutions must
be transparently investigated, all recorded encounters must be examined for
malpractice, all extrajudicial killings must be examined for any linkages to
enforced disappearances; and all unnamed, unknown, and mass graves be
investigated. If it is the latter, “business as usual” and the routine
violence of everyday life can be expected to continue unabated.

The Senior Superintendent of Police of Kupwara district, Mohammad Yousuf,
stated that, following the Kalaroos fake encounter, police were inquiring
into others. *“We can’t say that every encounter that happened on the LoC is
fake. But we are a bit concerned now”* (Ehsan, 2010)*.* Mass and intensified
extrajudicial killings have been part of a sustained and widespread
offensive by the military and paramilitary institutions of the Indian state
against civilians of Jammu and Kashmir. The methodical and planned use of
killing and violence in Indian-administered Kashmir constitutes crimes
against humanity in the context of an ongoing conflict.

In contexts of non-international armed conflict as well as in areas under
occupation and disputed areas, international human rights law explicitly
states that states may apply lethal force only in situations where such use
is imperative and necessary to contend with the amount of force being
perpetrated. International humanitarian law urges the adoption of a law
enforcement framework, and the mandate to make arrests whenever possible.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee states that the right to life is
protected by law. Even with respect to proportionality and the use of
disproportionate force on persons perpetrating force, international human
rights law argues that a state must respect the right to life. Fake
encounter killings in Indian-administered Kashmir repeatedly break this

*For a detailed brief, see overleaf. Also www.kashmirprocess.org/machil.*

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