Pakistan on Saturday called for a judicial inquiry into the extrajudicial killing of three Kashmiris in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IOK) earlier this year.
On Friday, the Indian army said it launched disciplinary proceedings against an unspecified number of soldiers following an inquiry into the killing of three suspected fighters in occupied Kashmir.
A defence spokesman said evidence showed soldiers had exceeded their powers under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which grants the army broad authority including shoot-to-kill powers.
In July the army said it had killed the three men in an operation against militants in the Shopian district of IOK.
The families of the slain men said security forces had killed them in cold blood. The army said it was still investigating the dead men’s ties to militant groups.
In a statement, the Foreign Office termed the Indian army’s statement an “acknowledgement that Indian occupation forces are guilty of war crimes in IIOJK (Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir)”.
The statement said the three Kashmiri boys — 25-year-old Imtiyaz Ahmed, Mohammad Ibrar, 20, and 16-year-old Abrar Ahmed — had come to Shopian to work in an apple orchard as labourers but were killed in a “so-called ‘cordon and search’ operation”.
It added that the Indian army had claimed that the three boys were “unidentified terrorists” to cover up their “cold-blooded murder” and had buried them in a graveyard marked for “foreign terrorists” instead of returning their bodies to their families.
“The Indian occupation army itself has admitted that the three innocent Kashmiri labourers were killed extra-judicially — a hallmark of Indian occupation forces’ state-terrorism in IIOJK. In [its] statement, the Indian army has accepted that the powers vested under the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act were exceeded,” the FO said.
“Since its illegal and unilateral actions of Aug 5, 2019, in IIOJK, India has taken its brutalisation of innocent Kashmiris to a new level. More than 300, mostly young, Kashmiris have been extra-judicially killed by the Indian occupation forces in fake ‘encounters’ and staged ‘cordon-and-search’ operations in IIOJK during the past one year.”
“The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) leadership must realise that they are directly responsible for crimes against the Kashmiri people. No illegal and inhuman [laws] such as Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act (PSA) can provide impunity against the crimes that are being perpetrated in IIOJK,” the handout said.
The Foreign Office called for a “transparent judicial inquiry, under international scrutiny, into the extra-judicial killing” of the three Kashmiris, while urging the international community to take notice of the incident.
“The international community must take immediate cognisance of the July 18, 2020, episode in IIOJK as well as other acts indicative of the RSS-BJP regime’s genocidal tendencies and hold it accountable for continuing crimes against the Kashmiri people,” it stressed.
“India should be well-aware that use of brutal force, including extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture in custody, use of pellet guns [and] burning and destruction of Kashmiris’ houses to inflict collective punishment, cannot break the will of Kashmiri people in their just struggle for the inalienable right to self-determination.”
The “fake encounter” in July revived memories of similar incidents across the restive territory where a three-decade-old separatist insurgency has left tens of thousands dead, mainly civilians.
In 2010, three Indian army officers were found guilty of killing three labourers who had been branded as Pakistani infiltrators near the Line of Control.
— to www.dawn.com