SRINAGAR: An international human rights group is urging India to allow an impartial investigation of hundreds of unmarked graves in Indian Kashmir after a government report confirmed they contain more than 2,000 bullet-riddled bodies, including hundreds of local residents, Associated Press reported.
Amnesty International said the investigation of graves in three regions also needs to be widened to cover Indian Kashmir entirely.
The Jammu-Kashmir State Human Rights Commission said in a recent report that 2,156 unidentified bodies were found in graves in three northern mountainous regions, while 574 other bodies in the graves were identified as local residents.
The commission’s report is the first official acknowledgment that civilians killed in the two-decade conflict may have been buried in unmarked graves, but stops short of confirming that suspicion, long held by local residents and rights groups.
Previously, officials insisted that all the bodies were of outside militant fighters.
Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah promised has proposed a truth and reconciliation commission be set up to probe all killings since Kashmiri militants launched an armed campaign against Indian rule and New Delhi responded with a military crackdown in 1989.
“The commission should be assigned the task to probe all the killings in the state. Whether the killings were carried out by militants or security forces, it needs to be probed,” Omar Abdullah said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2011.