Tuesday, May 21, 2019

India's Torture States


Prisoners in Indian-administered Kashmir have been subjected to abuse and torture, including "water-boarding, sleep deprivation and sexualised torture", according to a report by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). 

The report reveals most of the civilian victims were usually reluctant to report the atrocities due to the fear of reprisals at the hands of security forces.

"Victims have been randomly picked up, tortured and never even told what they were tortured for," it said.
The report released on Monday mentions solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, and sexualised torture including rape and sodomy, used as torture techniques against Kashmiris. Other torture methods included electrocution, hanging from a ceiling, dunking detainees' head in water (which is sometimes mixed with chili powder.) 

During the torture detainees were stripped naked, beaten with wooden sticks, and bodies were burned with iron rods, heaters or cigarette butts, it said. 
"Muzaffer Ahmed Mirza from Tral and Manzoor Ahmad Naikoo were subjected to insertion of a rod through their rectum. It caused multiple ruptures to their internal organs," reads one of the 432 testimonies documented in the report. While Mirza died after a few days in the hospital of lung rupture, Naikoo had to undergo five surgeries to finally heal the wounds he received due to this torture. Apart from insertion, a cloth was wrapped around Naikoo's penis and set on fire." 
India has stationed more than half a million security forces in the disputed Muslim-majority region to quash an armed rebellion against its rule. Indian forces have faced criticism for excessive use of force, with the UN human rights body last year calling for an international probe into rights violations. 
The UN Human Rights Chief had also called for establishing a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir. A COI is one of the UN's highest-level probes, generally reserved for major crises like the conflict in Syria.
Rights bodies have called for repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), a law that gives forces immunity from prosecution.
The report, which documents cases since the start of the armed rebellion in 1990s, reveals many detainees were put under behavioural coercion where they were forced into activities that were against their "religious beliefs" like rubbing piglets on their bodies or forcing them to consume alcohol. In some cases, it said, rats were put inside victims' trousers after soaking sugar water on their legs.
"The prisoners are forced to eat or drink filthy and harmful substances like human excreta, chili powder, dirt, gravel, chili powder mixed water, petrol, urine, and dirty water," it said.



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