Mass Graves

A very serious case of human rights violations which speaks volumes of draconian hold of India on IOK through its much-awed security forces relates to the presence of mass graves shrouding unidentified bodies in Indian occupied Kashmir. Although India claims these mass graves to be of “infiltrators” yet the reality is opposite and bitter to these claims. Besides, on ground research which has been articulated by different human rights bodies also exposes a series of worst human rights violations committed by Indian security forces over the past two decades.
As per the figures, over 2,500 unidentified bodies have been found in unmarked mass graves in Bandipora, Baramulla and Kupwara districts of IOK. Out of these, 574 dead bodies have been identified as local residents of the state while 2,156 remain unidentified. The figures bear testimony to the painful and miserable condition of human rights prevailing in the state against the false Indian claims of battling “terrorism”.
The presence of mass graves in IOK was first documented in a report titled “Facts Underground” by Kashmiri human rights groups, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and Jammu & Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) in 2008. The report claimed the presence of 1,000 bodies in 18 villages along the Line of Control (LoC) in Uri district of Kashmir Valley in which around 2,373 bodies were buried. Besides in 2009, International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights in Kashmir released another such report claiming that unmarked graveyards in IOK entombed bodies of those murdered in fake encounters and extra-judicial, summary, and arbitrary executions.
In August 2011, J&K Human Rights Commission (JKHRC) released another more comprehensive report which was based on detailed probe on the presence of mass graves and unidentified bodies in IOK in general and Kashmir Valley in particular. In response, London-based rights group Amnesty International (AI) urged India to allow an impartial inquiry into the issue whose scope should be extended to the whole state rather than Kashmir Valley only. The report highlights following heart0rending aspects regarding the issue:-
• 21 unmarked graves were found in Baramulla, 3 each in Bandipora and Hundwara and 11 in Kupwara.
• Total of 851 unidentified bodies were found in Baramulla, 14 in Badipora, 14 in handwara and 1,277 in Kupwara.
• All these bodies had bullet injuries and were handed by the state police to the local population for burial and classified as unidentified militants (Mujahideen).
• The report strongly contests the afore-mentioned claim in absence of any profiling procedure in vogue in the state.
• As per the findings, a few bodies were defaced, 20 were charred, 5 only had skulls remaining and there were 18 graves with more than one body each.
• It calls for thorough investigation, exhumation and prompt DNA profiling of the bodies and comparison of samples in the local vicinities.