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Kashmiris claimed Indian army officers beat them with sticks, gave them electric shocks and shoved mud in their mouths so they wouldn't scream. The army said it never happened.

Alexandra Ma , Business Insider US
 Sep 02, 2019, 05:22 PM
Two Kashmiri brothers show the BBC the injuries they sustained from what they said were beatings by Indian army officers.
  • Warning: This post contains graphic details of alleged violence.
  •  A new BBC reportdetails gruesome allegations from civilians living in Kashmiri villages known to be hubs of anti-India militant groups.
  • Allegations include being beaten with sticks and cables, given electric shocks, hung upside down, and having their mouths sealed with mud so they wouldn't scream.
  • The Indian army told the BBC that these allegations were fake and propagated by people who were trying to spread anti-India hysteria.
  • India has denied many news reports from the region in the past, even when there are footage.
  • The disputed Kashmir region remains under severe lockdown and a communications blackout, more than three weeks after India canceled Jammu and Kashmir's political autonomy.
  • For more stories go to www.businessinsider.co.za. 

Villagers living in known anti-India regions in Kashmir claim that Indian army officer have beaten them with sticks, given them electric shocks, and filled their mouths with mud when they screamed, according to a BBC report from the region.

Two unnamed brothers living in a village known to be a hub of anti-India militant groups told the BBC's Sameer Hashmi that they were woken up and gathered alongside nearly a dozen other men from their village, and beaten up even as they protested their innocence.

Here's what one of them told the BBC:

"They beat us up. We were asking them: 'What have we done? You can ask the villagers if we are lying, if we have done anything wrong?' But they didn't want to hear anything, they didn't say anything, they just kept beating us.

"They beat every part of my body. They kicked us, beat us with sticks, gave us electric shocks, beat us with cables. They hit us on the back of the legs. When we fainted they gave us electric shocks to bring us back. When they hit us with sticks and we screamed, they sealed our mouth with mud.

One of the men then said that they asked the soldiers to: "Just shoot us."

"I was asking Allah [God] to take me, because the torture was unbearable," he continued.

Two brothers in a Kashmir village told the BBC that they were beaten badly by Indian army officers.

The BBC did not name the men, noting that they declined to reveal their identities for fear of persecution. It also did not name the six villages it visited, but said they were in southern Kashmir and were known hubs for anti-India resistance.

Many people in Jammu and Kashmir state, which is mostly Muslim, either want total independence or unity with Pakistan.

The Indian army has denied all the allegations in the article, telling the BBC that they are "baseless and unsubstantiated," and there have been "no injuries or casualties due to countermeasures undertaken by the army."

Col. Aman Anand also told the BBC that "these allegations are likely to have been motivated by inimical elements."

The High Commission of India in London has not yet responded to Business Insider's request for comment.

A man in Kashmir showed the BBC photos of these bruises from what he said were beatings by Indian security forces.

Here are details of the other allegations reported by the BBC:

  • One man said he was pushed to the ground and beaten with "cables, guns, sticks, and probably iron rods," by 15 to 16 soldiers, and that they "pulled my beard so hard that I felt like my teeth would fall out."
  • A man whose brother had joined the Hizbul Mujahideen, a prominent anti-India and pro-Pakistan militant group in Kashmir, had his hands and legs tied, was hung upside down, and beaten "very badly for more than two hours."
  • Another man said Indian security forces ordered him to take off his glasses, clothes, and shoes, and proceeded to beat him "mercilessly with rods and sticks" for almost two hours when he said he didn't know and couldn't name any anti-India protesters in his village.
  • "Whenever I fell unconscious, they gave me shocks to revive [me]," the man said.

The Indian army told the BBC in a statement that it had "not manhandled any civilians as alleged," and that "security forces operate strictly to ensure civilians' safety and security."

"The Indian army is a professional organisation that understands and respects human rights," it added, according to the BBC.

Earlier this month India accused the BBC and Reuters of reporting fake news about widespread anti-India protests in Kashmir, and of police officers using tear gas and pellet guns to disperse the crowds.

These allegations come two weeks after a group of Indian economists and activists reported that Kashmiri security forces dragged hundreds of boys out of their homes in midnight raids, and molested women and girls during them.

Kashmir - already one of the most highly-militarised areas in the world - has seen tens of thousands more Indian soldiers sent into the region since early August, as the Indian government altered its constitution to revoke the political autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir state.

India has detained some 3,000 people, from activists to local politicians, in what authorities say are pre-emptive and designed to maintain regional stability.

India has also imposed a state-wide communications blackout on the region - a common strategy to stop people from organising protests or spreading unflattering news about India.

Internet and phone lines remain cut, and soldiers continue to seal off large chunks of roads in Kashmir. Local journalists are unable to report the news.

The website of Greater Kashmir, a large English-language newspaper in the region, has not been updated since August 5.

The front page of the Greater Kashmir newspaper on August 30, more than three weeks into the region's communications blackout.
Greater Kashmir

Though Indian authorities have cut communication lines, forcibly disappeared people, and carried out mass arrests in the past, the current militarisation is unprecedented, regional experts told Insider's Ellen Ioanes. They warned that the current environment could lead to a full-scale insurgency.

Pakistan - which has funded multiple anti-India insurgencies in Kashmir in the past - has cut off all trade and rail links to India over the Kashmir crisis, and vowed to protest to the United Nations.

Its prime minister, Imran Khan, has repeatedly likened India's revoking Kashmir's autonomy to Nazi ideology. Earlier this month he said that he doesn't want war but would not rule out conflict if it became necessary.

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