Srinagar, November 08, 2018 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, a human rights activist has said that, at least, 16 mentally- challenged persons fell to the bullets of the Indian forces near forces’ camps between 2002 and 2018. Rights activists, Muhammad Ahsan Untoo in a statement said one such person, Salam Din Khan, of Diver, Lolab, was killed by Indian troops when he was dusting off his shoes during a search operation in 2002. “The army then claimed that they had killed a militant. It was later proven that the slain was mentally unsound. According to the data I have collected since 2002, Salam was the first person who fell to the bullets of forces. There could have been more before him,” Untoo added.
In April 2009, army shot dead a speech and hearing impaired person, Abdul Rashid Reshi, at Gupkar, the day Omar Abdullah took oath as the so-called chief minister. Shakeel Qalander, a civil society activist, said the SoP of forces for dealing with the mentally challenged persons is faulty and full of loopholes. “Killing mentally unsound persons on mere suspicion exposes the policy of forces that for them every Kashmiri was a suspicious person and they can kill at their will,” he added.
The tacit admission by the Indian forces that there is no specific mechanism to deal with mentally-challenged persons near the camps came barely two days after Rayees Ahmad Wani, a mentally challenged person was shot dead outside an Indian army camp in Shopian while in February this year, a mentally-challenged aged person was killed outside Air Force Station in Srinagar. Some other mentally-challenged victims include Shakeel Ahmed Malik, Akeel Ahmed Mir, Muhammad Abdullah Wani, Ghulam Muhammad Butt, Shameema Begum, Nazir Ahmed Chaku, Ghulam Hassan and Shamshad Ahmed.
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