The Killing of Kashmir: The harrowing story of the Kashmiris caught in a crossfire of rape, abduction and worse. Peace is in the headlines as India and Pakistan begin talks to end 15 years of violence in Kashmir. But this is far from a reality for civilians caught in the crossfire between security forces and militants. Both sides abduct who they want. They torture and they kill. In this latest documentary from the acclaimed Unreported World series, Sandra Jordan and Rodrigo Vasquez bravely travel deep into Kashmir to reveal the harrowing lives of Kashmiris. Two frightened girls weep as they sit in what remains of their home. The night before masked Indian troops burst in through the window and abducted their mother and father. “They destroyed everything,” one despairs. “They beat my father with guns and said they would kill him.” Later only their mother is released. But she has been severely beaten and is barely consciousness. She cries as she tells her daughters their father is so badly tortured he is half dead.
Until 1947 Kashmir was an independent kingdom ruled by Hindus. Now there are virtually no Hindus left. When the British left both India and Pakistan grabbed a share. But Pakistan wants India’s part and has supported the Kashmiri separatists in their bloody guerrilla war. Now there are half a million Indian troops stationed in Kashmir, fighting the militants who slip across the border to attack the troops.
But the people truly suffering are the Kashmiris themselves. More than 60,000 civilians have died in the conflict. “We are caught between both,” cries one man “The army come and torture us. After that militants come and torture us.” The villagers caught on the frontline are the most vulnerable. They live in fear of the army but are also petrified of the militants who terrorise them. “It’s tyranny,” despairs one mother. “They should give us poison for rats so that we could kill ourselves.”
Within days of their arrival the team hear of a shoot-out. They arrive to see the mutilated remains of two important militia leaders being pulled from a house. The armed forces are jubilant but for the terrrified owners this is just another day of agony in the dirty war that they wish would end. Most Kashmiris want independence. But most of all they want peace. “Life is hell here, it’s hell.” despairs one war-weary man.
India - The Killing of Kashmir - 49 min [8 April 2004]
We’d arrived in Kashmir.
Just before our camera showed up, I’d watched these Indian security forces beat and tear-gas a group of women protestors.
PTC: Last night the forces came into her house and they took away her mother and her father. She and her neighbours and friends and family had come to protest. They were just standing in the road and next thing the Kashmiri police started tear-gassing them, beating the women, including one woman officer who had a stick and started beating randomly, children, old women and kicking them on the ground.
Now we had a camera, I could question them about their actions.
Sync: Excuse me, is it your policy to beat women protesters?
Were you going to hit me? Madam were you going to hit me with that stick? Madam were you about to hit me with that stick?
I think he’s telling her not to raise her stick to the foreign reporters, it’s not very good PR.
Half a million Indian troops and police are here to crush a fifteen year rebellion and keep the muslim population Indian.
SYNC: Excuse me sir could I speak to you about your officer who beat these women. Excuse me there she is, this woman here.
A policewoman I’d seen beating the women viciously ran away from the camera.
SYNC: Safiza, why did you beat the women with the stick? Why did you beat the women stick? Why did you beat the women with the stick? Why did you beat the women?
I would soon learn the security forces and the militants take who they want, they torture and they kill.
Caught in the middle are the people of Kashmir
TITLE: THE KILLING OF KASHMIR
The next day I called on the sisters whose parents had been taken.
Around twenty-five masked troops from a Special Operations Group had burst in through the window and grabbed their father Abdul Hamid Hafiz, an administrator in the postal service.
They’d also taken their mother, Atiqa, and their uncle.
Girl: Here’s my father.
Synch: how did they treat you when they came in? Were they violent towards you?
Sync: They destroyed every thing and in front of us they beat up my father with a gun? And get gun in front of him and said they would kill you father said, what’s my mistake, why would you want to kill me? and they said: shut up, shut up. We don’t know why they arrested my father, we were here and we don’t know where is our father, where is our mother. Tell us where is our mother and father?
PTC: There’s a police station not to far from here. We’re going to ask about their mother, try to get her released, at least try and find out how se is.
The girls feared they’d never see their parents again.
International Human Rights groups say 8,000 people taken by the Indian security forces have vanished in Kashmir in the last 15 years.
We arrived at the police station.
The Station House Officer, or SHO, denied any involvement he told the people to try another police station.
Sync: Can we ask the SHO what’s happening? Can we ask the SHO what’s happening? Why won’t he talk to us?
PTC: Nobody will speak to us. They won’t speak to the people. They say it’s not their business. They don’t have these captured people here. They don’t know where the children’s parents are, they don’t have the mother, they can’t do anything basically they are saying “go somewhere else”
They were shouting shame, shame!
PTC: It’s become a much more urgent matter now for the police, the superintendent of police has come here, it’s becoming very embarrassing for them because we’re filming it, and now Kashmiri TV have arrived, it’s become much more high profile.
The people stood their ground.
PTC: They’re releasing the mother. The crowd are pointing three fingers saying “no”, not just her, they want all three, but she’s coming out now.
PTC: They don’t look very happy because they’re not being reunited with their parents. It’s one thing getting their mother back, but what’s going to happen to their father now?
We went back to the girls’ house.
Their mother Atiqa had been severely beaten and was often on the edge of unconsciousness.
Actuality: What did they do to your mother?
Girl: I don’t know how they torture her but she tells us they had tortured her.
She insisted she and her husband had done nothing wrong.
Actuality: Where did they torture her? Where was she kept?
A woman’s police station.
All women officers? She was tortured by women officers?
Does she know who they were? Does she know their names or anything?
No, how would we know their names?
Actuality: What did they say to your mother?
Before she was interrogated she’d been taken to see her husband; she said he’d been so badly tortured he was half dead.
She said when they released her they said they would also release her husband too.
No official charges had been made against him.
She said they must release her husband now so he can be father to their girls and her brother who has three children of his own, this is one of them.
We learnt that the father had been arrested for alleged links to a pro-Pakistani political party.
The police said they’d ring to say when they were releasing . But the phone never rang. He is still in custody.
Until 1947 Kashmir was an independent kingdom ruled by Hindus. When the British left the sub-continent, India and Pakistan each grabbed a share.
Pakistan wants the Indian part of Kashmir and has supported the Kashmiri separatists who wage a guerrilla war to end Indian rule.
Every morning Indian troops search for landmines laid by militants the night before.
PTC: This is the centre of Srinagar it’s the most important part and it’s very sensitive because national day is coming up and often attacks planned for around then, so they’re making sure the area is clear.
These men had been dragged from their beds in the early hours so their houses could be searched.
95 per cent of the 9 million people who live in the disputed Kashmir Valley are Muslim; some want Kashmir to belong to Pakistan. Most want independence.
The trials of daily life here, breed dispair.
Sync: Do you feel humilated?
What do you want for Kashmir?
Actually, we want a united nation, we want our democracy. We want our business, we want our education, this is important, we want our unique nation, we don’t want India or Pakistan, we want our own unique nation. That’s important.
SYNC; Does everybody want a united Kashmir?
Yes, yes, life here is hell.
PTC: We have to leave now because there are soldiers standing beside us, listening to what we are saying. We don’t want to get any of these people into trouble.
This part of Srinagar is deserted. It’s where Hindus used to live.
A small Hindu minority had lived alongside Muslim neighbours here for centuries. All that changed in 1989.
By then India’s rigging of local elections had sparked a separatist insurrection – and Pakistan was happy to fuel it.
160,000 frightened Hindus fled when militants began killing Hindu officials. Many of whom were Hindu. Only 10,000 Hindus remain.
PTC: There’s been some sort of incident here this morning. We’ve heard that two or three people might have been killed. We don’t have any more details. Local people are telling us that it may have happened at a bridge up here.
More than 60,000 people have died in this conflict so far.
PTC: The thing about Kashmir, is the violence is very random. It could happen at any part, at any time, often in the middle of the night. Sometimes you nevert even get to hear about these incidents.
We arrived at the morgue at the same time as one of Kashmir’s most wanted militants.
Mohammed Abas Malik was the deputy field commander of Hizbul Mujhadeen, the biggest militant group in Kashmir. The security forces said he’d died in a shootout. Local newspapers said he’d been captured and then executed.
The authorities say Malik was behind a bomb planted at a marketplace in August.
The bomb killed two soldiers in a passing convoy - and eight passers-by.
But in a typical Kashmiri twist three more civilians died when soldiers in the convoy opened fire.
Neither side has ever been shy of killing civilians.
This woman was wounded in the blast. She has had 14 operations to removed shrapnel from her body.
11:48 WOMAN: She said she and her husband were waiting to get a bus. When the blast happened. He was flung aside by the blast and he was injured. But then he was killed. She said he was killed by bullets fired by the military. After the blast happened they started shooting at the people.
So who do you blame for your husband’s death?
It is risky for Kashmiris to criticise either side, but this woman spoke out.
SYNC: She said the militant who planted the bomb will be dealt with by God. She said he destroyed their family, He killed her husband who was a young man and a bread winner and ruined their lives.
Actuality: We’ve just been pushed away by these police.
She blames the military for shooting her husband but she also blames the militants because they shouldn’t have put the car bomb here. She says every day her child asks when is his father coming home. He just went out to work and now their lives have been ruined.
Whichever side kills says, the killing is a response to the one before.
The militants soon took revenge for the death of their commander.
PTC: We’ve just got some news that there’s been a blast. There was a bomb in a car near a bridge, we’re going down to investigate what happened. I think it happened in the last hour.
Sync: This is a roadblock because of the bomb. All that traffic is backed up. This must be the scene of it.
Militants had detonated the bomb just as a military convoy passed.
This time it wasn’t a suicide bomb – the driver ran away from the car before detonating the explosion.
Sync: These are the remains of the car bomb. Just this shell of a car is left.
No one had died. But policemen had been injured.
This is the driver of this car. He said there was a bus and truck in front of him, and he was intending to overtake, and he moved to the right to overtake. And then the blast happened. And if he’d been more to the left it’s very likely the whole thing would have been blown up and they’d all have been killed.
Sync: He said what can I think of them? They wanted to blow us up..
And so it goes on.
At the hospital, one of the policemen had been treated for head injuries.
He and most of the security forces here come from other parts of India. For them, Kashmir is a hostile place where they are under constant attack.
PTC: We’ve seen casualties today both from the militants and the security forces and with the Indian national day approaching it seems like there’s going to be a lot more trouble in the next few days.
The next day we got a call from the police.
There was a shootout going on between the security forces and the militants in a house in Srinagar.
I was about to learn just how dirty this war is.
END OF PART 1
A shootout was going on between the security forces and militants in a house in Srinagar.
Once the gunfire stopped the Indian army allowed us to approach the house.
PTC: This is where the shootout happened. The militant or militants were in this house, firing from here and they were fired on, you can see the marks.
This was Fayaz Ahmad Dar, financial controller of Hizbul Mujhadeen.
And this was the body of Ghulam Rasool Dar, the operational chief of Hizbul Mujhadeen.
It was a coup for the armed forces. In two days they’d killed three of the most powerful militants in Kashmir.
PTC: The encounter lasted for four hours, it was a joint operation between the army and police. They cordoned off the house, they said the first thing we did was get the civilians out, and then they killed the two most important leaders of the organisation called Hizbul Mujhadeen, a militant group in the Kashmir Valley.
[SUPER: Brigadier AK Chowdhary, Commander of 10 Sector of 2 Rashtriya Rifles]
Sync: Did you try to arrest the militants?
Yes. The moment we came in they fired at the first two boys who entered. They fired at us when we went to search so we had no option but to fire back.
Sync: OK, let’s go inside.
Sync: This must be where they were killed, I think, because there is so much blood in here.
I wondered how the family who lived in the house had escaped uninjured.
Actuality: But, how did you get the civilians out if the militants were hiding in here?
The first thing they do is get a message to them. One of the soldiers has told me that he can’t say it on camera, that they sent a message to the civilians in this house, the owners, to get out and then they proceeded to shoot at the militants. There’s no way of knowing at the moment whether the owners of the house harboured the militants because they wanted to or because they were forced to.
19:41 By now the whole neighbourhood had gathered to watch.
Sync: What do you think about what just happened here?
He says that he doesn’t think that the militants were killed in the house, that they were brought from somewhere.
19:55 The crowd challenged the army’s version.
Sync This man said it’s just like a drama. And another man said they crowd don’t believe the militants were killed in the house because it would have taken a lot longer than four hours and they would have moved from room to room to defend themselves better.
Later we returned to meet the owners of the house, the Kanni family. It’s dangerous to talk to the press – but they wanted to tell their story.
Sync: Why is she so upset? What happened at her house?
Sync: At 8pm (means am) forces come and say we want to search here. And they told us bring your family outside. We all came and sat outside there and they asked is anyone inside the house and we said nobody is now in the house, and they went and searched all over the house.
Sync: The family is really shocked. They told the family to go into this house and shut the door and shut the curtains and half an hour later the security forces arrived in a car and the family say they brought the two militants with them, they say the militants were not hiding in the house, they’ve never seen them before, and then they staged a fake put the men in that room and shot at them for three hours, they staged this encounter.
COMM: Far from being supporters of the militants the family said their father had once been captured by the militants, and tortured until they paid a ransom.
Sync: This torture was done by the Hizbull Mujhadeen to my father. And this is done by the Indian army.
Now, what is the position of a Kashmiri?
You’re in between both.
We are in between both, army come they torture us, militants come they torture us. You can see this – what the hell they are doing with my father?
Suddenly, their father arrived home.
Sync: Hello there, how are you?
Farooq Ahmad Kanni is a businessman.
Sync: Your ID cards.
Director: Kanni PL group.
Chamber of Business and Commerce: permanent member.
Incotex India, Indian citizenship.
PTC He’s at pains to show us he’s a respectable citizen, he’s showing us every ID card he has, he’s a citizen of the Indian nation he said, he’s showing us his ID, he’s a member of he chamber of business and commerce, various organisations, he’s an important man in this town. He just doesn’t know why this has happened to him. He‘s showed us his plane ticket his hotel receipt, he was in Jammu in another part of the province when this happened, and his family was alone.
The family’s story – that the security forces had staged the shootout and then executed the militants – was supported by other eyewitnesses.
[The family speculate their house was chosen because it was near a barracks and is surrounded by a high wall.
International human rights groups say summary executions are part of the Indian Government’s counterinsurgency strategy.
The security forces stand by their version of events.
We left Srinagar for the remote villages near the line of control, the frontline between Indian and Pakistani controlled Kashmir
For years, Pakistani and Indian artillery have fired at each other across the line. It plays well in both countries – but Kashmiri civilians pay the price.
When we visited there was a ceasefire - India and Pakistan had just announced possible talks about Kashmir’s future.
PTC: We’ve been stopped. We’ve got to produce our cards every few hundred metres because the security cordon is so tight.
PTC: This is one of the closest villages to the line of control. Before the ceasefire this was the place that got most of the shells. They were constantly fired from across the border by Pakistani troops.
The Indian security forces showed us a house that had been hit by shellfire back in August.
Actuality: Policeman: You can see the remnants, you can see the perforations..
PTC: We’re protected by a ridge here but on the other side of the ridge over by that mountain is the line of control. The snow capped mountain’s in Pakistan.
This was one of thousands of houses.
PTC: A shell was fired from the mountains over on the Pakistani side came through the roof where the big hole is, hit the floor here and then went into this room where children were sleeping.
Policeman actuality.. She’s a girl was hurt,,,.
9-year-old Masarat was sleeping here with her cousins, six year old Azhar and four year old Masson
What happened to your cousins?
She says my cousins were also here. They were hit. They died.
Outside an Indian army patrol passed. They were watching for militants crossing from Pakistan.
In the northern town of Bandipore we called at the police station to find the latest news.
And found men from a mountain village that had been raided by the Indian army, looking for militants.
Why are you waiting here? What’s happened?
Villagers had been forced to join the army hunt for militants.
They said six of them were taken captive by the army; five of them have been released there’s just one in custody and they’re waiting for that one man.
The missing man’s wife and child were with them, hoping to see him alive.
The police said they knew nothing about him.
One of the men showed us how the army had tortured him.
He says what they do is they get the men they torture them. They tie their hands and they make them carry guns and then they make them go to where the militants are and use them as human shields.
The men were afraid to return home now they’d complained to the police about the army’s behaviour.
The police told us to stop talking to the villagers and come inside the station.
PTC: There are lots of men around the courtyard. Some of them are prisoners, some of them are collaborators.
We waited for the commander.
I spoke to some former militants who were now in the pay of the police.
Ali had become a militant when he was 14.
Sync: He said there was so much talk about this world freedom so he joined up and then he said later there were so many organisations and groups there was a lot of infighting and militants started to kill each other or else be killed by the army in encounters. And that’s why he decided to leave the militants and surrender
The government had promised him a return to normal life; instead, he had to fight on their side.
He said there’s no difference between being a militant and a counter insurgent. We still do things that we don’t want to do. It was a mistake to come over to this side , it was mistake to be militant, they were both mistakes and now we can’t leave.
Suddenly I heard some policemen and soldiers had just arrived back from a gun battle in the mountains.
They’d brought back the body of Pervez Ahmed Reshi, a 20 year old militant
PTC: These men come from the same village where the shootout happened yesterday. This man said he was collecting fodder for his animals when he came a cross the dead militant and the army. The army then accused him of tipping off the other militants so they ran away and took him in on these grounds and beat him and he thinks he’s got broken bones in his chest.
This other man is from the place where the militant was shot and he was taken in because the army accused him of not telling them that there were militants in the area.
And then the police commander arrived
Commander: This militant which has been killed, has been hidden by this pair. He’s a very dangerous man. You can see he’s disturbed, he’s a very dangerous man.
You like militant or not?
They are saying that militants are coming to them. They give them threats if they will not shelter them, they will not provide food to them .. they will throw their heads.
SJ: They’ll cut their heads?
They’ll cut their heads.
Whatever they said, it seemed they were condemned.
Commander: At one time they are saying army is beating them. The second time they are saying militants are beating them. This time they are saying militants are very good to them, while army is very harsh to them. This type of statement shows that there is some sort of involvement between these people and militancy.
PTC: This is the most awful thing about being in Kashmir. These men are just going to be left here. I don’t know what’s going to happen to them
PTC: They seem to have apprehended some militants they want us to meet them
Commander: These are the two militants
SJ: Why did you join the militant group?
Commander: We have not tortured them, without beating them they have co-operated with us.
SJ: Does that mean they surrendered?
Commander: No they have not surrendered. They have been apprehended. But they are co-operating with us.
SJ: Before he fainted that man said it was a mistake to join the militant group
SJ:What did you do with the militant group?
SJ: He said the militants would come and he would help them with food and then they would give him weapons to guard and so he would look after their weapons and he said he was their man in the area.
Why did you surrender so easily and give away the information you have?
It was hard to know if he was speaking his mind – every word was being listened to.
SJ: He said I’ve started hating the militants. The whole of Kashmir is in trouble because of them
SJ: Did you think there was a cause to fight for here in Kashmir. Is that why you joined the militants?
SJ: He said there was no cause. He said he was framed by the militants. He had no choice but to join them but he was just a student.
The father of the dead militant arrived. It turned out he’d worked most of his life as a government official.
PTC:He said he hadn’t seen his son for three years until today. Three years ago his son left . He’d been in school and afterwards his father who worked for the national conference political party had tried to use some influence to get his son a job and send him away from here because he knew it was a bad place to be, but that didn’t work, they did nothing to help, so he got a bank loan and set up a business for his son but that failed too and then his son left and he didn’t see him for three years but he says he swears on his son’s head that he had no idea that he was going to go off and join the militants, he didn’t know.
Similar scenes are played out in dozens of police stations across Kashmir every day.
It was in an area forbidden to foreigners, but we decided to try to reach the mountain top village where the militant had been killed.
END OF PART 2
In a remote Kashmiri police station I’d just seen the body of a dead militant, and met two terrified old men accused of sheltering him.
The security forces had killed the militant in a mountaintop village out of bounds to foreigners, but we decided to try to get there.
PTC: We’re on the road to Panar it’s the place where yesterday’s encounter between the army and the militants took place. We’ve been told by local people that there are no army on the roads today so we’re going to chance going up there so we can ask the villagers what happened.
We can’t drive any further the road’s just too bad so we’re going to try and walk the rest of the way up to the village.
It was the beginning of a two hour walk into contested territory
PTC: All round here is ideal terrain for militants to hide out in.
At last we saw reached our destination - the desolate village of Panar.
PTC: Where was the militant killed?
They’re not exactly certain where the militant was killed but somewhere up there they’re saying.
They said angry soldiers had arrested the two old men simply because their houses were closest to the gun battle.
Then the soldiers did what they often do when they find militants: they took it out on the civilians.
She said when the army came they made them all come out of their houses and stand on the bridge and then they started beating all the people. She said it’s tyranny.
She said there’s no law in this place, there’s only snow. They should move us somewhere else or they should give us poison for rats so we that we could kill ourselves.
What happened to your arm?
They got him and beat him very severely. And his arm was broken and he was in hospital for one month.
And he’s not been able to work since.
This widow had been accused of sheltering militants
She said her house was burnt down by the army and now she has to live with her neighbours and off their charity and she has to beg for a living.
PTC: He said the militants are cruel people too. Whenever a militant is killed they come down here to the village and order the people to tell them who has informed the army or police and they take revenge.
Sync: It is very difficult. If the government will provide us with accommodation we can leave this village. Because we are victims of both sides.
You want to leave?
The school teacher who translated for us, and the rest of the villagers, were so poor most hadn’t eaten that day. You can’t farm in a minefield.
She told us to go in the custody of God and she asked me to pray for us, she said we have such a difficult life, pray for us.
Panar is no different to hundreds of other mountain villages.
Nobody speaks out for these people.
Back in Srinagar, Indian Republic Day was approaching, and the authorities did not want anything to mar this celebration of Indian rule.
We were about to film in one of the poorer districts when two men on a scooter suddenly flagged us down.
We agreed to follow them
PTC: these men have told us last night, in the middle of the night, there was a raid in their neighbourhood. Four men were taken away by the security forces on the grounds that they were Pakistani. I don’t quite know what the wholel story is yet but these men want us to come and find out what was going on.
Eventually we arrived at a security force barracks.
As part of the crackdown, four 17 and 18 year old boys had been taken from the house where they’d been sleeping.
Their mothers were terrified they would join the ranks of Kashmir’s disappeared
Sync: She said these security forces are tyrants. Our boys study and then they go to earn a living. And they can be picked up by the security forces, we don’t know where, and they can be tortured and they can be killed.
The families said their boys had never been in trouble with the security forces before.
The soldiers would not admit they had them in custody .
PTC: She said her mother died and she was at the funeral and then she got a call to say her son had been picked up this morning. She’d left him in the house and she’d told her cousins to sleep with him and now he’s been arrested . He was a student she says.
Their vigil continued for days. No one would give them information about their sons.
It was Indian Republic Day.
The official celebrations were held in a sports stadium in a part of Srinagar that had been cordoned off by thousands of soldiers to prevent militant attacks.
PTC: Not many people have come; in fact the only people who are here are government employees and their families and they have really no choice but to come. As for ordinary people, they say they boycott this event, but to be honest, they’re not invited anyway.
Government employees who don’t attend lose a day’s pay.
They are forced to put on a show of normality for the rest of India to watch on TV.
PTC: The ceremony is half-way through, and now people are leaving, they’re just pouring out of this stadium as quickly as they deem it to be acceptable to get out of here.
A few days later, I went to check if there was any update on the detained boys.
There was good news: they’d been released without charge, and one of them was willing to risk talking to me.
17-year-old Naseer told me about how he had been treated.
He said when they were taken into custody they were beaten up for the first day they were beaten up for the whole day and they were shocked, they were given electric shock treatment this happened to all of them but especially one of his cousins got very badly beaten on the back.
The boys thought they would die.
He said he was told by the people who were holding him in custody the border security force that they weren’t telling their parents that they had them there and they warned them - to put pressure on them to make them talk - if you don’t talk we’ll kill you in a staged encounter.
Torture by Indian Security forces is routine in Kashmir – to gain information - and to intimidate the population.
Javid is another man held during the crack down before Republic day. Accused of hiding a pistol for militants.
He says all his clothes were removed and he was tied to a table and then the army got a telephone wire and attached one end o his toe and one end to his penis and they started to give him electric shocks and what happened then was terrible.
44:06 The more he denied having a pistol, the harder he was tortured.
He said the mark on his neck was caused by the rope. He was tied here and every time he got an electric shock he strained to free himself and it rubbed this mark there and the same with the marks on his hands they’re also from where he was tied.
The Indian security forces make little effort to win hearts and minds. Instead they prefer to rule through fear.
SUPER: Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Divisional Commissioner, Srinager.
You don’t need to take the word of ordinary Kashmiris about human rights abuses. When I met the top civil servant in the Indian administration here I expected him to deny it happened. Far from it.
Sync: Are you aware of human rights abuses in the state, in Kashmir?
Yes, I am aware of the human rights abuses in Kashmir. In fact, we take serious notice of it. I as the head of the civilian administration, I feel it’s largely my responsibility and the responsibility of the deputy commissioner and the civil government and the political government to immediately pinpoint these mistakes to the forces and to be able to convey to them that these are not good, that these things have to be avoided. We can not take action against them.
So that means that it’s really the armed forces, the police and the army who are running the state, who are in charge, not the civilian administration?
45:46No, not the civilian administration. So there is a problem in this. I agree with you.
While Kashmir’s people may despair at the tactics of the militants and their Pakistani backers, the security forces’ brutality creates hatred for India.
At the police morgue the body of the militant commander we’d seen killed earlier was turned over to his brother in law.
Neither he nor anyone in his village had seen the militant since he fled to Pakistan.
Sync: Do you think independence was worth his life?
He said, I don’t know why he did it, why he gave his life for this, but it was his decision.
Only when night fell was the body of Ghulam Rasool Dar, martyr to some, murderer to others, finally released
PTC: We’re on our way to the militant’s village. His body has been taken to a police station along the way, it’s got to be signed off by the police here, the local police. And then the relatives can take it home and bury it.
We arrived at Dar’s home village.
His sisters were waiting.
Everyone clambered to touch the martyr’s face.
These people are wearied by 15 years of war but this commander had died for them.
In the morning, the entire village turned out: a testament to hatred of India.
They were addressed by Sayeed Ali Geelani , a hardline politician, one of the few the militants will listen to. He refuses to compromise.
Sync: Why did you reject the opportunity to take part in these peace talks in Delhi?
The people of Kashmir, should be given the chance to decide their future. We have, our youth have, taken the gun for a just and noble cause. We are not warmongers we have a great respect for humanity but when a nation will be suppressed on the basis of might, on the basis of power, what can they do?
Peace is in the headlines but here, ‘Azadi – freedom’ was the word in everyone’s mouth.
India and Pakistan, two nuclear powers, have long fought over Kashmir both more consumed by domestic politics than any care for the Kashmiri people.
India and Pakistan could end this, but they choose not to.
Both have blood on their hands.