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Report of Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

February 20-21, 2010
Srinagar, Kashmir

This Tribunal was initiated by Human Rights Law Network and ANHAD and held in Srinagar, Kashmir, on February 20-21, 2010.

There is a general perception that human rights situations in J&K is bad and largely unaddressed. The various official human rights mechanisms including the judiciary and the SHRC, are unable to act proactively and rein in human rights violators – the army, paramilitary forces, police and surrendered militants. In this context, it was felt that a civil society initiative including retired members of the judiciary was imperative to clarify the situation and the reasons for the continued deaths and suffering.

Violence is a reality of conflict and it serves as a means and a weapon to meet an objective of overpowering the opponent; and is generally characterized by the use of civilian lives – women and children, in particular – in the realization of this objective.

Over the last twenty years, the state of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the Valley of Kashmir, has experienced the worst forms of human rights violations. Torture, custodial killings, rapes, disappearances and fake encounters are on an ever-increasing rise. These practices and the underscoring impunity accorded to the state armed forces, has become a norm rather than an exception. The recent Amarnath Land Row Agitation of 2008, is representative of many other such cases where civilians were taken into illegal custody and tortured, and where unarmed protestors got fired at. What is noteworthy is that survivors of human rights abuse suffer not only physical harm (at times resulting in lifelong disabilities), but are also affected by psychological trauma, as is endorsed by the swelling number of patients suffering from post traumatic stress disorder at the Govt. Psychiatric Diseases Hospital in Srinagar.