Targeting of civilians By ‘Armed Groups’ in Kashmir is Human Rights Abuse

New Delhi/Bangalore: Reports from Jammu and Kashmir of civilians being targeted by suspected members of armed groups are condemnable, said Amnesty International India today.

“The killings, intimidation and harassment of ordinary people by suspected armed group members can never be justified, and should stop immediately,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director at Amnesty International India.

Amnesty International [File Photo]

“Civilians must not be targeted under any circumstances. People’s political or personal associations cannot become a reason for them to come under attack. State authorities should investigate these incidents and bring the perpetrators to justice swiftly.”

Undated videos uploaded on social media over the last week appear to show members of armed groups forcing two political workers to apologise for their political associations at gunpoint. The men – identified as Bashir Ahmad, a former worker of the National Conference party, and Wali Muhammad, a People’s Democratic Party worker – are also forced to say slogans including “Hindustan Murdabad” and “India, go back.”

On 15 April, one civilian was killed and another injured in attacks by unidentified gunmen in Pulwama district. On 16 April, Imtiyaz Ahmad, a former public prosecutor, was shot dead by suspected armed group members inside his house in Shopian district.

According to media reports, armed groups have also ransacked the homes of Jammu and Kashmir state police personnel and threatened their family members. On 16 April, the office of the Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir told police personnel to “preferably avoid visiting their homes for the next few months.”

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