Every Kashmiri is a torture victim

Every Kashmiri is a victim of one or the other form of torture and more than 60,000 Kashmiris have experienced third degree torture at the hands of Indian armed forces. This was stated by noted human rights activist, Gautam Navlakha at a seminar here on Wednesday.
The seminar “Campaign against Torture” was organized by Jammu and Kashmir People’s Rights’ Movement, a group meant for addressing issues of released militants in collaboration with J&K Coalition of Civil Society (CCS) Speaking on the occasion, Navlakha said that torture is considered a potent weapon in the sub-conventional warfare and India has been using it in Kashmir to curb the movement of right to self-determination.He said that it is very difficult to get justice for torture in India “because there is no law in Indian constitution which can deliver justice to the victims of torture.”
“Due to this reason it is in most circumstances futile to approach law,” he added.Citing former Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, Justice D K Basu’s 1996 judgment, Navlakha said a person can take the matter to court but even then there is the possibility that the justice is delivered only to the extent of monetary compensation.“Even in D K Basu judgment there is no provision by which a victim can be given justice fully except compensation,” he added.
Navlakha said that even if some cases of physical torture are acknowledged, hundreds of cases of mental torture are not considered because such torture has no evidence.
He said in the light of United Nation’s definition of torture, every single person of Kashmir is a torture victim “as they are living in the presence of 7,00,000 hostile Indian troops.”
“Physical torture has evidence like injuries, marks etc but a victim of mental torture, which every Kashmiri certainly is, has no evidence to plead his case,” Navlakha added.
Navlakha maintained that unless Kashmiris are freed from the “clutches of Indian forces” and given a chance to decide their future these things would happen.
Speaking on the occasion, another noted human rights activist and chairman of CCS, Parvez Imroz said that India has been using torture as a potent weapon of war to terrorize people and to curb the political movement of right to self-determination.
“There are about four lakh people who have been tortured from a moderate to severe degree. 99 per cent of all those who are arrested are tortured and among them 90 per cent are not militants,” he said.Hailing the initiative of People’sRightsMovement, Imroz said, “In order to sustain this campaign it is necessary to involve civil society including students’ groups and trade unions for the rights of torture victims, and stressed upon the need to sustain this campaign.”
On the occasion, many released militants and members of JKRPM narrated their ordeal in different jails of India. Some of them even broke down while recalling how they and their family members would be stripped naked and humiliated. They urged the civil society to raise their voice against the inhuman treatment.
Noted journalist and human rights activist, Zahiruddin also spoke on the occasion.Chairman RPM, Abdul Qadeer Dar urged people to help them seek justice for torture victims. He also reiterated that torture will only stop when the “occupation” ends.