`We demand accountability from the state’
Srinagar: People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) has condemned the violence and repression unleashed by the security establishment on Kashmiri civilian population since the killing of Burhan Wani on Friday evening.
A PUDR statement said that CID ADG SM Sahai had declared in a Press briefing on Saturday that “Our non-lethal weaponry is better than we earlier had and we will use it to prevent any further loss of human life.” However, the figures attest the insincerity of the claim, as the death toll of 12 on Saturday, the 9th of July, has more than doubled to 30, of whom 29 are civilians, the PUDR statement said. “While the casualties and clashes had been largely confined to South Kashmir, by Monday these had spread to North Kashmir and Srinagar as well,” it added.
“Since Sunday, “non-lethal” means – firing pellets (shards of hot metal) – have indeed been used. As these have not so far resulted in hiking up the body count, claims can be made about restraint. But the intensity of their use is unprecedented even in Kashmir, as is the extent of damage inflicted. Last known, 92 eye operations had already been performed in SMHS Srinagar alone, though doctors hold little hope of repairing the damage, with many still waiting,” the PUDR statement added.
PUDR said that on Saturday, Sahai claimed that over 96 police personnel have been injured, and several police posts attacked and set on fire. “These figures are being advanced by the administration as justifications for the brutal reprisals by security forces,” it said.
“Two things are immediately noteworthy: One, the targets of the Kashmiri people’s anger have been police and security forces, not civilians. And two, if over 90 personnel have been injured by primarily unarmed crowds, realistically how many injuries and casualties must have an armed force inflicted?,” PUDR has asked. “In the circumstances PUDR believes it to be an act of bad faith to equate the repressive might of the Indian state with the anger of an occupied populace,” the statement further said.
“The government seems to be preparing for a long curfew, with reports coming in of 1000 supply trucks entering Kashmir, pilgrims evacuated, and 800 more troops brought in. If there were ever any doubts it should now be evident that what is prevailing in Kashmir is a state of siege and occupation,” the statement said.
PUDR said that that in the last three days the security forces have been unable to check people’s movements and actions, and, on the contrary, have further fuelled their rage.