KAC Demands an Impartial Probe Into the Recent Killings

Washington, D.C. August 18, 2011. The Board of Directors of the Kashmiri American Council (KAC) today sharply condemned the on going custodial killings and fake encounters in Kashmir. On August 7, 2011, Indian army claimed to have killed a Pakistani militant and divisional commander of Lashker-e-Taiba, Abu Usman, after a few-hour gun battle at Surankote area of Poonch district in Jammu region. Later, investigation showed that the deceased was a Hindu civilian. Earlier, Nazim Rashid, 28, had died under policy custody in Sopore district of the Valley.

The KAC Board said that the Indian security forces are relentlessly playing an orgy of death and are out to pick and kill Kashmiris using all possible means. They carry out systematic and significant human rights violations including extra judicial killings, arbitrary arrest and detention and excessive use of force against innocent Kashmiri civilians. Rape is too often used as a tool to humiliate the population and attempt to break their will.

The Board reiterated that Kashmir continues to bleed. We see the horrendous brutality, unstopped and unpunished barbarities unleashed against the defenseless population. A deliberate, systematic and officially sanctioned massive campaign of brutal oppression launched against the people of Kashmir is still on the increase. There is a deliberate targeting of youth in flimsy hopes to crush a legitimate and popular uprising against occupation. Human Rights Watch wrote on June 30, 2008, "Impunity has led the members of the security forces to believe that they can get away with attacks."

India needs to be persuaded to allow an impartial investigation into the recent killings. India must also allow the people of Kashmir to freely express their political views; releasing all political prisoners; repeal draconian laws; and withdraw the troops from urban areas and city centers.

The Board emphasized that no amount of wishful thinking would resolve this outstanding dispute between India and Pakistan. It needs the understanding of the international community in general and the United States in particular, including the full participation of the leadership of the people of Jammu & Kashmir in all future negotiations.

The Board added that in the past, the United Nations had brought about happy endings for a number of international disputes. The UN nurtured independence with democracy for Namibia, brought self-rule to East Timor, helped Montenegro and Southern Sudan gain independence, while the prospects for a plebiscite in Western Sahara look promising. Kashmir being one of the oldest unresolved disputes still pending on the agenda of the Security Council deserves the attention of the world powers in general and the United States in particular to guarantee peace and prosperity not only in Kashmir but also in the region of South Asia.

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