Repression against holding of peaceful demonstrations

Wanton murders of their loved ones bring raging public out in the streets. In funeral processions, people open their hearts and cry or shout slogans in grief. These funerals become targets for forces, who open fire indiscriminately. People carrying the coffins have been killed and the coffins riddled with bullets. The most notable examples are the massacres in Khanyar, Soura and Bijbehara.

On 28th August 1995, in Srinagar, protesters were marching when paramilitary forces fired tear gas into their ranks. Their leaders were arrested and others beaten by rifle butts in presence of TV cameras. A statement issued later said that no tear gas had been used and that no-one had been beaten-up.

Total number of people killed by indiscriminate firing is estimated at 29,500; the Indian army puts these figures at 16,000.

On 19th October 1995, Shabir Ahmed, a young student training to be a doctor, was shot dead. The medical college students demonstrated, on 25th October 995, outside the UN offices in Srinagar, demanding an investigation into the killing. These budding doctors were beaten up with canes and dispersed with tear gas shells and firing.

Every morning people wake up to a day of trepidation and fear. The events of the day pass and that is an another day for them.

Methods Used to Combat 'Militants'

'Militants' are youngsters from the grass-roots of Kashmir society. Indian army has been assigned the job of 'flushing out' the 'militants' from Jammu & Kashmir. They have been given a free licence to adopt any methods they find appropriate.

One method used frequently is to surprise-attack any locality where a militant is suspected and in this crack-down bring everyone out of their homes. The old, sick, children and women are lined up as well as men search them. All young men are taken in trucks to interrogation centres. This 'catch' becomes the human material for the forces to play games in their chamber of horrors.

Torture brings false confessions, while some tortures end in death. The survivors are taken away into prisons as 'terrorists' and put away without trial. Indian heads are pleased.

In certain places, in response to 'militant' activity, the army has acted ferociously, firing not just in the direction of the 'militants' but spray the whole area with bullets, resulting in killings and injuries to innocent people. The army will then finish off the operation by setting fire to properties in the area. Many thousands of people are homeless because their homes have been torched. An estimated 358 people are said to have been trapped inside houses and set alight by the military, in separate incidents.

On 11th May 1995, the night skies over Chrar-e-Sharif lit up with blazing fires. The air was full of gunfire and smoke. The 600 year-old Shrine, 800 homes and 200 shops were burnt to the ground. Around 30 people were found dead and thousands ran for safety.

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