ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Buried Injustice

The official confirmation of thousands of unmarked graves in Kashmir calls for urgent investigation.

When an official agency confirms facts unearthed by civil society groups, the government has no option but to act. For many years, groups like the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) have been demanding an investigation into the over 8,000 individuals picked up by security agencies in Kashmir who have “disappeared”. They have also drawn attention to hundreds of unmarked graves scattered across the state containing unidentified bodies and suggested a link between the disappeared and these graves.

In April 2008, the APDP surveyed graves in Baramulla district and published a report “Facts Underground”. This was followed 19 months later by a devastatingly incisive and detailed report by the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir (IPTK) titled, “Buried Evidence: Unknown, Unmarked, and Mass Graves in Kashmir” that documented 2,373 unidentified bodies in unmarked graves in 57 locations in Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara districts of Kashmir. The report contained photographic evidence of these graves and testimonies from gravediggers and eyewitnesses who spoke of how security agencies brought these unidentified bodies, usually at night, claiming they were militants killed in action who could not be identified. Locals were asked to bury them in unmarked graves. The presence of the graves has been known for years, but in the atmosphere of fear and intimidation that prevails in much of the state, no one would speak of them.

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