In Kashmir, A Soldier’s ATM

* Unmarked mass graves in IIOJ&K is an issue that now has official UN acknowledgement after the UN OHCHR Kashmir reports of 2018 and 2019, and the formal letter by UN Special Rapporteurs to the Government of India on July 1, 2020.

Good stories from India are now making way for gory stories. This is also the story of India’s transition from an example for developing nations to a cautionary tale.

“(G)overnment forces fatally shot Ahmed’s 16-year-old son, Athar Mushtaq, and two other young men (25-year-old Zubair Ahmad Lone and 22-year-old Aijaz Maqbool Ganai) when the men refused to surrender on the outskirts of Srinagar city on Dec. 30. They described the men as “hardcore associates of terrorists” opposed to Indian rule.”

“On July 18 — the day of killing, the two accused “reported at the Army Camp Reshinagri in his (Lone’s) car, an ALTO bearing Registration No. JK22B 3365; from there they accompanied Captain Bhoopendra Singh in another white colour private car.”

The “incriminating material” which the Army initially claimed was found on the person of the three deceased — who were then termed “unidentified militants” — included two pistols with two magazines and four empty pistol cartridges, 15 live cartridges and 15 empty cartridges of an AK series weapon.

The accused planted the “illegally acquired illegal weapons and material on their dead bodies after stripping them off their identities associated with their non-involvement, tagging them as hardcore terrorists, the chargesheet said.

According to the chargesheet, the three accused drove to Chowgam Shopian, where the Rajouri youth lived in a rented room. The place of their residence was less than 100 meters from the 62 RR camp and about 20 meters across the road from the residence of the co-accused Tabish Nazir.

The chargesheet stated they “abducted three persons” — Abrar Khan, Abrar Ahmed and Imtiaz, all belonging to Rajouri — “from their rented accommodation in a residential house using the same car and transported them to the scene of occurrence at Amshipora while also travelling a distance on foot.”

A Captain in the Indian army killed three Kashmiri laborers, staged a gun battle, and collected $27,000 in prize money. His case led to separate police and military investigations.

“The army buried the men’s bodies in a remote border area following the alleged skirmish. The incident occurred in the village of Amshipora in southern Kashmir, administered by India and claimed by Pakistan.

The men’s families later identified them after photos of their bodies reportedly circulated on social media. The families, from the remote mountain area of Rajouri, said the three men had been looking for work in Kashmir’s apple orchards when they disappeared. Police exhumed the men’s bodies in September and matched DNA samples to the men’s reported identities, confirming them as Ibrar Ahmed, 16, Imtiyaz Ahmed, 25, and Ibrar Ahmed, 20, according to the Print. The police then returned the men’s bodies to their families.”

Both the United Nations and the European Parliament have confirmed the existence of thousands of unmarked mass graves in Kashmir.

“If India will not take any genuine and immediate steps to resolve the situation … then the international community should step up.” — 18 UN-appointed experts in a letter to the Government of India, August 2020.



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