1,000 nameless graves found in Kashmir
- From: PakistanPal <pakistanpal@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2008 02:57:46 -0700 (PDT)
SRINAGAR, March 28: Human rights workers have found the graves of
nearly 1,000 unidentified people scattered in cemeteries across an
isolated region of occupied Kashmir, a prominent human rights group
said on Friday, saying some of them may hold the bodies of innocent
people killed by security forces.
Researchers from the Association of Parents of Disappeared People
found the graves during a yearlong survey in the region around the
town of Uri, one of the most violent parts of occupied Kashmir. Uri is
near the Line of Control.
The association represents relatives of people who have disappeared
since violence erupted in the insurgency-wracked Himalayan region 18
While many of the graves are said to contain the bodies of
unidentified militants, rights workers say the sheer number of graves
in just one area, along with accounts from villagers, makes "a strong
case for an independent international scientific investigation,"
Pervez Imroz, the group's lawyer, said at a press conference.
The group did not have the resources to exhume the bodies, he added.
The Indian army dismissed the report, with Lt-Col A.K. Mathur, an army
spokesman in Srinagar, saying it was "designed to malign the security
forces"."We're fighting militancy. We're not involved in
disappearances, custodial killings or any other form of (human rights)
violations," he said.
However, human rights workers have complained for years that innocent
people have disappeared, killed by government forces in staged
gunbattles, and suspected militants have been arrested and never heard
from again. Rights groups say there have been an estimated
8,000-10,000 disappearances since the violence erupted.
Kashmir's top elected official, Ghulam Nabi Azad, recently said only
1,017 people had disappeared, although in 2003 his predecessor put the
number at about 4,000.
Last year, authorities charged seven policemen with murdering five
civilians in staged gunbattles and trying to pass them off as foreign
militants to claim rewards and earn promotions.-AP
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