Srinagar, March 28: Association of Parents of Disappeared (APDP) on Thursday said the “custodial killing” of Rizwan Asad Pandit, principal at a local school in Awantipora, due to “torture and inhumane treatment” was yet another case among hundreds of cases of human rights violations in Kashmir. “In the past Association of Parents of Disappeared (APDP) has highlighted the use of torture against detained individuals, which either leads to their death or lifelong physical and psychological ailments. In thousands of these cases, individuals have been subjected to enforced disappearance, which is a continuing crime,” the APDP said in a statement issued here.
“ Till now, nothing has been known of at least 8000 plus cases of enforced disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir and APDP has repeatedly demanded their whereabouts and urged the state government to investigate them.”
APDP, the statement said, believes that torture is related to the disappearance, as according to the revelations made by hundreds of family members of victims of enforced disappearances in many of these cases the victims were brutally tortured for information which they didn’t possess and subsequently the torture lead to their death. “In order to hide their crimes, the armed forces would forcibly disappear the body of the victim.”
The APDP further said: “Rizwan was tortured at an infamous torture centre. There are several notorious interrogation centres in Jammu and Kashmir, and some of them have been converted into official residences of politicians. Cargo is one of the remaining few interrogation centres where torture is used – as revealed by the case of Rizwan, and this practice is ensured because of widespread legal, political and moral impunity enjoyed by the armed forces.”
It is telling that despite there being widespread allegations of torture against armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian government has neither criminalized torture under its domestic law nor has allowed international observers like UN Special Rapporteur to visit Jammu and Kashmir and document allegations of torture at the hands of armed forces in an impartial manner, it said. “The refusal to acknowledge torture by armed forces is in line with the government of India’s policy of denial of justice to Kashmiri victims of human rights violations.”