49 civilians among 350 killed in Kashmir in 2021, claims pro-freedom alliance
India trying to change Kashmir’s demographics by issuing fake domiciles to non-Kashmiris, All Parties Hurriyat Conference alleges
In 2021, over 350 people, including civilians, militants and Indian forces personnel, were killed in Indian-administered Kashmir, while 1,600 Kashmiris were arrested, a top Kashmiri pro-freedom alliance said in a report released on Friday.
The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), an alliance of 26 political, social and religious organizations formed in 1993 that has led political resistance to Indian rule, said Indian forces this year also destroyed homes of 134 Kashmiris.
“This year total 355 people were killed, among them 49 were civilians, 178 armed rebels (militants), and 128 Indian occupying forces,” the APHC stated in its annual report, adding that 484 people were injured.
Syed Ali Geelani, the conference’s lifetime chief before stepping down earlier this year, was one of the deceased. Geelani died in September while under house arrest at his home in Hyderpora.
According to the report, the death of Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, the slain chief of the pro-freedom party Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, who died in police custody this May, was an “extrajudicial killing”.
During the same period, Indian forces conducted 467 cordoned and search operations, 87 gunfights, and arrested 1,686 Kashmiris.
According to the report, 29 Indian soldiers committed suicide in various parts of Indian-administered Kashmir in 2021.
The report was distributed to journalists outside the Diplomatic Enclave, a huge walled compound housing the majority of the foreign missions, including the High Commission of India, where the All Parties Hurriyat Conference staged a small protest against what they called “state-sponsored terrorism by India in Kashmir.”
India is attempting to change the demographics of Kashmir by issuing fake domiciles to non-Kashmiris, claimed Abdul Majeed Mir, the group’s secretary general, based in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.
India blocked internet access in Jammu and Kashmir 122 times, the report claimed.
“410 people were booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), and 178 others under the Public Safety Act (PSA),” said the report.
Amnesty International has criticized India for its widespread use of the two laws against Kashmiris, including journalists.
In a separate report, the Legal Forum for Kashmir (LFK), a global Kashmir advocacy group, claimed that over the last two years “Indian forces buried 388 freedom fighters (militants) in unmarked graves in remote areas and denied their families the right to participate in their burial rites.”
Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – including two over Kashmir.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights groups, thousands of people have been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.
Islamuddin Sajid | Anadolu Agency