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SRINAGAR, India — A prominent rights group in Indian-controlled Kashmir is advocating for the United Nations to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate what it calls the endemic use of torture by government forces amid a decades-long anti-India uprising in the disputed region.
The Jammu-Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society on Monday released a detailed report saying India is using torture as a “matter of policy” and “instrument of control” in Kashmir, where rebels have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989.
“Torture is the most under-reported human rights violation perpetrated by the state,” the report states. “Due to legal, political and moral impunity extended to the armed forces, not a single prosecution has taken place in any case of human rights violations.”
Indian authorities said they would review the report before commenting on it. In the past, officials have acknowledged torture exists in Kashmir but have denied that Indian forces strategically use sexual and other abuses to control the population.
The 560-page report recommends an investigation be led by the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It also urges India to ratify the U.N. Convention against torture and also allow global rights groups “unhindered access” to Kashmir.
Last year, the U.N. in its first report on Kashmir called for an international investigation into reports of rights violations like rape, torture and extrajudicial killings in the region. The report particularly criticized Indian troops for firing shotgun pellets against protesters, blinding and maiming hundreds of people, including children. India rejected the U.N. report as “fallacious.”
For years, international rights groups have accused Indian troops of using systematic abuse and unjustified arrests to intimidate residents opposing India’s rule. Human rights workers have accused Indian troops of sometimes even staging gunbattles as pretexts to kill for promotions and rewards.
Aijaz Hussain is an Associated Press writer.