Monday, December 25, 2023

The government of India for the last 75 years failed to address the democratic aspiration of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Custodial deaths of 3 innocent from Poonch exposed India's state and society to the world.

Families of three innocent civilians from the area of Poonch, of Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, have allegedly been tortured to custodial death by the Indian Army. They were picked up after an attack carried out by the armed opposition, known as the People Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF) in which five members of the Indian army lost their lives and two injured earlier this week.

The victims of the custodial killing were identified as Safeer Hussain, 37, Mohammed Showkat, 26, and Shabir Ahmed, 32, residents of Topa Mastandara village in Poonch district, triggered protests on Friday all across Jammu and Kashmir.

The community leader of the area of Topa Mastandara (Sarpanch), Mehmood Ahmed, said that the slain three were among eight persons who were detained by the Army from their residences.

The local public and families of the deceased alleged that they were tortured to death by the Army. “The army men picked up several civilians from their homes on Friday morning besides summoning a few of them to their camp over the phone,” said Muhammad Siddique, uncle of Showkat, the youngest among the three innocent civilians killed by the army.

Siddique, also a community leader of the locality, testified that he rang up several local politicians and officials to help them in getting innocent victims released from custody after they were detained. His words: “I told them that they were being beaten up but nobody came to their rescue,”.

They were mercilessly killed by Army men in the Mall Post Camp. The press asked representatives of the Indian army “Why these innocent civilians were killed? The reply recorded by the press "They have been killed due to their ‘mistake’”.

The Army and CRPF allowed no one including the media to enter the village just to cover up their crimes against humanity. Another member of the local public Mr. Siddique said for the victims of army brutality that "they were innocent and had not even remote links with any militant activity. There is nothing adverse against them. There is not even an application against them in the police station."

The brother of the deceased Safeer Hussain, Mr. Noor Ahmad, said that he was detained by Army men from his home on Friday. “We were shocked to know in the evening that they had been killed. They have been killed in custody”. He was even unable to talk to the press because he was in shock.

The video clips of the detained men being tortured show army soldiers spraying chili powder on their buttocks.“Gand Mein Dal Es Ko Mirchi (Put chili in his anus),” one soldier can be heard saying in the video.

It is also in the video a young boy, is lying motionless on the ground while another man can be seen moving his hands helplessly before being stripped and sprayed with chili powder.

Army soldiers pushing and beating up a man with what looks like a plastic cane while he is pleading with them to spare him in another video. Also, an army man could be seen sitting with jackboots on the arms of a civilian lying motionless on the ground.

The community leader known as Rafiq said that due to restrictions imposed by the army, he could not visit their village. But he was also told that the five other civilians were admitted to the army hospital. 

He further told the media that "they were all laborers who struggled to make a living. I guarantee that they were not involved in any illegal activities. It is tragic."

The attack was claimed by the People Anti-Fascist Front, The name first surfaced in its earned resistance activities in Poonch on 20 April, Rajouri on 5 May, and in Kulgam on 4/5 August this year but the Indian army is still speculative about its history and organizational strength. 

India was aggressive in its colonial suppressive tools even its own internal arrangements such as Article 370 was removed, that armed opposition has subsided in Kashmir valley after years of shutdowns, clashes, and the graveyards of the thousands of Kashmir young people who had sacrificed their lives for the freedom of their motherland, but the surprise of India that the theatre of people's armed opposition has shifted to the Pir Panjal region where 24 members of the armed opposition had laid down their lives this year while 21 members of the Indian army.

The members of the Indian army have a long history of killing innocent people and then declaring them as members of the armed opposition killed in action.

In 2020, three laborers from the Rajouri district of Jammu were killed in a staged gun battle by the Army in Amshipora village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district and passed off as terrorists, reportedly for a cash reward and quick promotion.

The police investigation revealed that an Army Captain identified as Bhoopendra Singh alias Major Basheer Khan had abducted the three young men in a private car from their rented accommodation at Chowgam Shopian, killed them, and later planted “illegal weapons and material on their dead bodies and tried to tag them as hardcore [members of armed opposition].”

The point is how the video clips came out into the public domain and posted on social media? Was this by the Whistleblower or the Indian army itself? The probability is that video clips were intentionally allowed out into the public domain to terrorize the population.

The deliberate use of violent imagery and torture video clips to terrorize populations is a deplorable tactic employed by various actors, including extremist groups, criminal organizations, and even sometimes state actors. This exploitation of violence serves multiple purposes such as:

Instilling fear and intimidation: Witnessing such brutality can evoke deep fear and anxiety, making people more susceptible to control and manipulation. It aims to silence dissent and quell any opposition to the group or regime responsible.

Propaganda and recruitment: These video clips can be used as propaganda tools, showcasing the group's ruthlessness and power. This twisted narrative can attract individuals seeking violence or validation, contributing to recruitment efforts.

Destabilizing communities: Spreading such content can sow discord, disharmony, and mistrust within communities, fueling societal fractures and hindering any attempts at peaceful resolution. The survival of the colonial hold on an indigenous population requires inhuman and barbaric tactics to create a kind of discord, disharmony, suspicion, and factionalism in society.
The lexicon allotted specific terms for this type of violence "terrorist" or "terrorism". The violence through which one is trying to terrorize others. We don't call a murderer or a serial killer a terrorist because his or her motives were to kill not to terrorize their victims.

The government of India for the last 75 years failed to address the democratic aspiration of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The provisional treaty of accession was the base to move forward, to end the forced division of the state, and allow people to elect their representatives who could formulate their constitution and relation with all its neighbors. 

Democracy is not just about electing people but the right to self-determination is also the fundamental pillar of the modern democratic system and we are living in a state and citizenship relationship today. I can form a political party in London to demand Independence for London. It is up to the people to vote for my party or not but no one can stop me or my party from doing so or call me a traitor or put me behind bars. 

That is democratic culture is an alternative to political violence, wars, deaths, and destruction. Torturing people to extract information even from terrorists or criminals is a crime under international law. 

This is a flagrant violation of the UN Charter which is the basis for India itself to get freedom from the British colonial system. The barbarity seen in the video is an insult to the civilization of the subcontinent which indicates that even in this day and age failed to uphold human dignity and learn to behave like civilized people.

Is it the rule of law to torture the suspects to death? If the subject army or police needs to go for re-education such as in China, terrorists were put on track to re-educate them. This case exposed the Indian state and society to the world. 

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