SRINAGAR: The government of Indian Kashmir has rejected wide-scale DNA testing of bodies in thousands of unmarked graves, reported the Associated Press (AP) on Wednesday. The families of those who disappeared during two decades of fighting in Kashmir had appealed for the testing.
The Associated Press claimed to have attained a report by Kashmir’s home department which stated that the bodies were of militants and said that if the families want the DNA tests done, they would have to identify the graveyard and the grave in which they think their relative is buried.
On the other hand, Khurram Parvez – an official with the local Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons – criticised the report as “yet another attempt by the government to obfuscate the truth and sustain impunity,” the AP report quoted.
Last year, Kashmir’s State Human Rights Commission had surprised everyone when it submitted a report detailing the existence of 2,730 bodies lying in unmarked graves in northern Kashmir.
Crucially the report had said 574 bodies had been identified as those of local residents — a finding that directly challenged the long-held official insistence that any unmarked graves could only be those of foreign militants.
The commission had recommended DNA testing to determine the identity of the remaining 2,156 bodies and the creation of an independent body to monitor the process.