Srinagar, September 10, 2019 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, locals while sharing their ordeals have said how Indian army raided their homes and inflicted beatings and electric shocks, forced them to eat dirt or drink filthy water, poisoned their food supplies or killed livestock, and threatened to take away and marry their women, since New Delhi imposed a lockdown in the territory on August 5.
More than 200 residents in a dozen villages of the occupied territory in media interviews said that thousands of young men have been arrested with many under draconian Public Safety Act, since then. The terrible abuses in the night-time raids by troops began in early August as New Delhi took its action on occupied Kashmir, according to interviews with at least 200 people.
The Indian soldiers descended on Bashir Ahmed Dar’s house in the south of occupied Kashmir on August 10, a few days after the government in New Delhi stripped Kashmiris of the special autonomy they had for seven decades through a rushed presidential order and launched a crackdown.
Over the next 48 hours, the 50-year-old plumber said he was subjected to two separate rounds of beatings by soldiers. They demanded that he find his younger brother, who had joined Kashmiris opposing India’s presence in the Muslim majority region, and persuade him to surrender or else “face the music”.
In the second beating, at a military camp, Dar said he was struck with sticks by three soldiers until he was unconscious. He woke up at home, “unable to sit on my bruised and bloodied buttocks and aching back,” he added. But it wasn’t over.
On August 14, soldiers returned to his house in the village of Heff Shirmal and destroyed his family’s supply of rice and other foodstuffs by mixing it with fertiliser and kerosene. Dar’s account of violence and intimidation by Indian soldiers was not unusual.
In the village of Parigam, the family of baker Sonaullah Sofi was asleep when army troops raided his home. The soldiers took his two sons into a street, hitting them with gun butts, iron chains and sticks, Sofi said. “Helpless, I heard my sons scream as soldiers started beating them up mercilessly in the middle of the road,” Sofi said.
Soon, soldiers brought 10 more young men to the village square, seeking names of anti-India protesters, said Muzaffar Ahmed, Sofi’s 20-year-old son, recounting the August 7 incident. “They hit our backs and legs for three hours. They gave us electric shocks,” Ahmed said, lifting his shirt to show his burned and bruised back.
“As we cried and pleaded (with) them to let us go, they became more relentless and ruthless in their beating. They forced us to eat dust and drink water from a drain.” Ahmed, the baker, said the soldiers finally left at dawn, leaving them writhing in pain. He and his elder brother along with at least eight others were then bundled into a single ambulance and taken to a hospital in Srinagar.
Ghani Dar, 60, said soldiers have raided his home in the village of Marhang seven times since early August, adding that he sends his daughter to another location before they arrive. “They say they’ve come to check on my son but I know they come looking for my daughter,” Dar said, his eyes welling with tears.
Residents of three other villages said soldiers had threatened to take girls away from their families for marriage. “They’re marauding our homes and hearths like a victorious army. They are now behaving as if they have a right over our lives, property and honour,” said Nazir Ahmed Bhat, who lives in Arihal.
In early August, soldiers came to the home of Rafiq Ahmed Lone while he was away. “The soldiers asked my wife to accompany them for searching our home. When she refused, she was beaten up with gun butts and sticks,” Lone said. While she was being beaten, the soldiers killed their rooster, he added.
For years, human rights groups have said that Indian troops are intimidating and controlling the population with physical and sexual abuse and unjustified arrests. Abuses alleged by rights groups since 1989 have included rape, sodomy, waterboarding, electric shocks to the genitals, burns and sleep deprivation. The United Nations last year called for an independent international investigation into allegations of rights violations like rape, torture and extrajudicial killings in Kashmir.
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Kashmir Media Service
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