Conflict & Justice

India confirms 2000 unmarked graves in Kashmir


Indian army soldiers carry a coffin containing the body of an army officer during a wreath laying ceremony in Srinagar on August 21, 2011. An Indian army lieutenant and a dozen suspected militants were killed on August 20 in a clash along the de facto border that splits Kashmir between India and Pakistan, the army said. The fighting erupted in the northern Gurez district when a group of "heavily-armed militants tried to infiltrate" Indian Kashmir from the Pakistani zone of the divided Muslim-majority territory, said an Indian army spokesman.



An official probe confirmed the presence of more than 2000 unidentified bodies in unmarked graves across Kashmir, reports Daily News & Analysis.

An inquiry report into unmarked graves conducted by the state human rights commission said that there are 2,156 unidentified bodies buried in 38 graveyards across five districts of north Kashmir, the paper said.

For years, groups like the Association for Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) have maintained that security forces in Kashmir routinely kill and bury militants and civilians alike. 

The latest enquiry report corroborates the 2009 findings of the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) on Human Rights and Justice, which cited 2,700 unknown, unmarked, and mass graves in Kashmir.

It is not clear what portion of the dead can be attributed to Indian security forces and what portion were killed by militant groups.

According to the UK's Guardian newspaper, the graves appear to date from the mid-1990s, when the battle between separatists and Indian security forces was the most violent.  During that period, human rights abuses were routine on both sides.