Harrowing details of torture and violation of human rights continue to come from Indian Occupied Kashmir over a month after New Delhi stripped the disputed valley of its autonomous status.
In its latest report, Al Jazeera documents the ordeal of civilians subjected to violence by the Indian occupation forces.
Since New Delhi’s decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Indian constitution, Kashmiris are being picked up by the security forces in midnight raids, said Mohammed Shafi Bhat, a resident of Shopian district.
He said that thousands have been detained since August 5 and more are being picked up and tortured to instill fear.
A 22-year-old villager who was beaten up with sticks and rifle butts said he was picked up in a midnight raid and tortured for more than an hour along with a dozen other Kashmiris.
“They kept asking me why I went for a protest march. I kept telling them that I didn’t, but they didn’t stop. After I fainted, they used electric shocks to revive me,” he told Al Jazeera.
“They continued beating and electrocuting me. They wanted all of us to give the names of stone-pelters,” he added.
“They began pulling my beard and even tried to put it on fire. Then, someone hit me on the head and I fainted… I regained consciousness after two days and it’s been 20 days and I still can’t walk properly,” he said.
The Indian Army is given a free hand when it comes to using torture and it is a tactic employed to break people’s will.
From Kupwara district, a 67-year-old man suffering from diabetes was picked up on August 4. He is lodged in Srinagar’s Central Jail, where his wife and two sons came to visit him.
“He was unwell and rarely went out. But he was still picked up. I worry for his health,” said his wife.
Another victim in his late 20s was beaten up to the point where his whole body was bruised and skin had started coming off. He is now in extreme fear, unable to rest, and cannot walk without support.
“The army personnel will identify me by my wounds and I don’t want that,” he said.
Media reports stated around 4,000 people have been picked up in the month of August alone. However, the government of Jammu and Kashmir said there was “no centralised figure” of those detained.
Kashmiris have also reportedly said that numerous young men from Srinagar had been detained by the security forces, while their parents remained clueless about their location and wellbeing.
Another young Kashmiri who had been detained and brutally tortured by the Indian troops said, “The entire village knows that media is here. I can’t trust anyone, even my people, because we all are living in so much fear. Someone might inform them to protect his family.”
A farmer from Shopian said that he was instructed to not send his sons out of the house. “If they are out, I worry that they might be picked up. So, I don’t let them out. It is me who usually goes out to buy essential commodities. I wouldn’t wish this even for my enemies,” he said.
Another victim, Mamur Rasul, an 18-year-old from Pulwama district, was picked up by the security forces on August 9. His father claims his son has been sent to a jail in the city of Agra.
“First, they beat him up and took him to the local police station. On August 14, I was told that he has been booked under the Public Safety Act and shifted to Srinagar’s Central Jail,” the father said.
Victims say they tried all means of peaceful protest in their struggle for justice but not a single case was resolved and the denial of justice has left them dispirited.
“What we are witnessing is unprecedented and the true numbers would only be available once communication is restored.”