Indian army has stripped itself of all the vestiges of grace that a uniformed soldier carries in any engagement with civilians, women, children and elderly in particular.
Rape is punishable by death or imprisonment under Article 120 of the American Uniform Code of Military Justice. George Washington’s papers for 22 July 1780, record that one Thomas Brown of the 7th Pennsylvania Regiment was sentenced to death for rape at Paramus.
Indian soldiers have used rape of Kashmiri Muslim women as a weapon of war. Unfortunately, these occupation forces have full protection of the Special Laws (AFSPA) in commiting a rape or a war crime.
Kashmiri Muslim youth is a target population for Indian army and Security Forces. They want to either kill him or take him out of circulation.
Indian army raised a private force called “IKHWANI” in 1990. Army gave it incentives of all kind to kill unarmed civilians or their kin to spread terror. Incentives of financial reward and promotion in rank were given to its personnel and to personnel of Kashmir police, to find, arrest and kill the Kashmiri youth suspected of opposing the Indian rule in Kashmir. The incentives encouraged killing in staged fake encounters and death during custody. It has resulted into the death of a generation. The growing local and international uproar on finding Unmarked Mass Graves all over Kashmir under Indian control, forced the IKWANIS to return to their hide outs.
2015 Defence Minister of India
On 21 May 2015 Defence Minister of India Manohar Parrikar introduced the role of private army in Kashmir. He legitimised the role of private army and supported Government ‘terrorists’ to kill anyone fighting the Indian rule and tagged as a ‘terrorist’ by the Indian army. Indian Defence Minister stated that, “you have to neutralise terrorist through terrorist only”. He quoted a Hindi saying “kaante se kaanta nikaalte hain” (you have to extract a thorn with a thorn). “Why can’t we do it? We should do it. Why my soldier has to do it all the time?”
2016 Police Rewards
In February 2016 Police on the Indian side of Kashmir enhanced the reward money for killing militants (in fact unarmed Kashmiri youth). The reward money is paid by the police for killing militants fighting Indian rule in the state. The amount of money is fixed according to the category of a militant, which is decided by his activity.
Kashmiri youth have been profiled as category A++, A+, A, B and C.
Reward for killing A++ category militant has been enhanced from Rupees 10 lakh to Rupees 12.5 lakh;
Reward for killing A+ category militant has been increased from Rupees 5 lakh to Rupees 7.50 lakh.
Reward for killing A category militant has been increased from Rupees 3 lakh to Rupees 5 lakh.
Reward for killing B category militant has been increased from Rupees 2 lakh to Rupees 3 lakh.
Reward for killing C category militant has been increased from Rupees 1 lakh to Rupees 2 lakh.
It is an open contract to any private group or individual to earn through the killing of a ‘militant’ – in fact a State Subject, who is identified for opposing the Indian rule.
Demographic and psychographic profiling
Indian security agencies, not part of the first admission of Indian army in October 1947 into the State but a totally private force inducted over the years, has been conducting demographic and psychographic profiling of Kashmiris and has already done an in-depth survey of central Kashmir’s Budgam district and Srinagar’s east zone areas. This profiling serves as the guide for private military to hound and kill the ones flagged.
Role of a private military and security companies
Government of India has officially endorsed the role of a private military and security companies (PMSCs) in Kashmir, as a means to impede the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination. In July 2016 the government has asked Special Police Officers (SPOs), a quasi-police force in which people are hired for a paltry monthly salary and put at the forefront of anti-militancy operations that their chances of full-time employment in the police force will depend on their performance.
Currently there about 23,000 SPOs serving in the police. Out of these 3,331 SPOs have already been given jobs as constables under the catch and kill policy. Most of the SPOs force was initially drawn from the government sponsored barbaric militia called Ikhwan-ul-Muslimoon.
The government’s policy of fast-tracking promotions and providing rewards for killing militants led to gross human rights abuses, which cost National Conference power in 2002 elections. A senior police officer, Hans Raj Parishar, and some other policemen were arrested for picking up civilians from homes and streets and killing them for rewards and promotions. The cases of Parihar and other accused are under trial currently.
The Sunday April 1st killings in Shopian district and in other south Kashmir areas expose Indian army design that it is using demographic and psychographic profiling to decimate the youth of Kashmir.
The manner of killing and the news that chemical weapons have been used to burn down the buildings, has shaken every human soul in Kashmir, Pakistan and in many other places around the globe. Kashmiri and Pakistani community has been shaken to the core. Military leadership in Pakistan has also expressed its deep concern.
The news that Prime Minister of Pakistan is visiting Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir to address the people, is a welcome step to show solidarity with the people. Address in the AJK Assembly or addressing a public gathering may have an embalming and reassuring effect. It is not enough. There is a need to take more effective and measured steps. There could be a range of actions.
One of these steps could include an in camera meeting with representatives of various schools of opinion and notables at Muzaffarabad. Advance notices could be sent to such people living in various districts of Azad Kashmir. Kashmiri refugees living in Pakistan need to be invited to this in camera meeting, for advice and input. The issue should be addressed as a common concern.
Government of Pakistan, the State and every Pakistani has an obligation under UNCIP Resolutions and under Article 257 of the Constitution of Pakistan to help the People of Kashmir. The dignity of interest and concern, is the key.