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

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Ignoring the Disappeared of Kashmir with Impunity

The blanket refusal by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir to investigate or release the identities of bodies buried in unmarked and mass graves is a gross violation of international law that India has so far been able to commit with impunity. National and international pressure has been found wanting in this regard. Fatigue and helplessness over the persistence of India's egregious human rights abuses has made such relative silence the norm. Domestic apathy and selective enforcement of international law must be overcome to end such impunity to the violation of human rights.

National and international outrage over the mass graves found in Kashmir has been muted at best. When the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) disclosed that roughly 2,700 bodies were found in unmarked and mass graves in Kashmir – some of which were identified as those of local residents, not foreign militants as claimed by the government – national and ­international criticism was hard to find. Fatig­ue and helplessness over the persistence of India’s ­egregious human rights abuses has made such relative silence the norm domestically.

Domestic apathy in the face of mass graves will only fuel that trend and ­allow government abuse to go unchecked. The international community’s silence reflects its willingness to allow geo­political strategy to mask human rights abuses perpetrated by an important international player and, yet again, demonstrates selective enforcement of international law, permits impunity, and ­undermines the international commu­nity’s credibility (Margolis 2011; Waheed 2012). Indians and the international community must show their outrage at the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) state government’s blanket refusal to investigate or disclose the identities of the people buried in these graves.

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