SRINAGAR: Impunity for human rights abuses persists in Jammu and Kashmir, with government forces continuing to use inherently inaccurate pellet-firing shotguns during protests, and authorities frequently shutting down internet services, the annual report (2017-18) of Amnesty International released on Thursday said.
The report said that in April 2017, eight people were killed by government forces, some of them by the use of excessive force during a by-election for a parliamentary seat. One voter, Farooq Ahmad Dar, the report stated, was beaten by army personnel and strapped to the front of an army jeep and driven around for over five hours, seemingly as a warning to protestors.
“In May the officer suspected of being responsible received an army commendation for this work in counter insurgency operations,” the report stated. “In July, the JK Human Rights Commission directed the state government to provide Farooq Dar one lakh Indian rupees as compensation. In November, the state government refused to pay.”
The report, which was released in Delhi, said that Indian authorities were using repressive laws to stifle freedom of expression. It raised issues like lynchings, threat to journalists, and killing of Gauri Lankesh, a journalist who was shot dead outside her residence in Bengaluru last year.
“In India, the authorities were openly critical of human rights defenders, feeding a climate of hostility and violence against them. Repressive laws were used to stifle freedom of expression, and journalists and press freedom came under increasing attack,” it said.
Regarding minorities in India, the report said that hardline Hindu groups and pro-government media demonisied Muslims.
“Religious minority groups, particularly Muslims, faced increasing demonisation by hardline Hindu groups, pro-government media, and some state officials. Adivasi communities continued to be displaced by industrial projects, and hate crimes against Dalits remained widespread,” the report stated, adding that “India failed to respect its human rights commitments made before the UN Human Rights Council.”
“In September, the Ministry said that all Rohingya in India were ‘illegal immigrants’ and claimed to have evidence that some Rohingya had ties to terrorist organisations. In October, in response to a petition filed by two Rohingya refugees, the Supreme Court temporarily deferred expulsions. In September, the Home Ministry said that it would grant citizenship to about 100,000 Chakma and Hajong refugees who had fled to India from Bangladesh in the 1960s.”