Amnesty International, Jun 14, 2000
Amnesty International is calling on the Government of Jammu and Kashmir
to meticulously implement public assurances given by Chief Minister
Dr Farooq Abdullah that a recent series of unlawful killings in the
state would be promptly subjected to independent and impartial inquiry
conducted by a member of the higher judiciary with a view to holding
the perpetrators to account.
Amnesty International believes that the three incidents described
in this report are closely linked and should be investigated by one
or more judicial inquiry/inquiries whose terms of reference should
be made known to the public. To Amnesty International's knowledge
a judicial inquiry has been set up only with respect to the third
of the events described below. Those holding inquiries should be given
full access to all records, witnesses and material evidence. The results
of all inquiries should be promptly made accessible to the public.
All those identified in the inquiries as bearing responsibility for
the killings should be held to account without undue delay and tried
promptly and fairly in a regular court of law. If convicted, they
should not be given the death penalty as this punishment contravenes
the right to life and the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment. Amnesty International seeks assurances from
the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and from the Union Government
that state sanction, should it be required for criminal prosecution
of those found responsible, will indeed be given.
In the first of the three incidents, perpetrated on 20 March 2000
in Chithisinghpora, it is not known if armed opposition groups, renegades(1)
or state agents are responsible for the unlawful killings of 35 men(2).
The evidence in the second incident on 25 March in which five people
in Panchalthan were unlawfully killed, points to state responsibility.
In the latest incident on 3 April, seven demonstrators were shot dead
in Brakpora by security forces who reportedly used excessive force
to control an agitated crowd.
Unlawful Killings In Chithisinghpora On 20 March 2000
On the evening of 20 March 2000, 15 or 17 unidentified gunmen, some
in Indian army uniform, entered village Chithisinghpora in Anantnag
district, ordered the Sikh men to assemble and systematically from
close range, shot dead 34 Sikh men. Several men were injured by gun
shots; of these one man(3) died later from his injuries. A unit of
paramilitary Rashtriya Rifles (RR) stationed close to the village
failed to intervene and only visited the place of the incident on
the following morning.
The Sikh population of Jammu and Kashmir is estimated to be between
70,000 and 90,000 out of a total population of some 8 million inhabitants
of the state, spread over 130 villages. They are engaged in agriculture
and transport and are centred around Anantnag, Tral and Baramulla.
Whereas members of the Hindu minority(4) have frequently been targeted
by armed groups(5), Sikhs and Muslims have lived in harmony with not
a single attack on Sikhs reported before March 2000 since the flare-up
of the conflict a decade ago. The fact that many members of the army
and central police force stationed in Jammu and Kashmir are Sikhs
did not in the past negatively impact on relations between the Muslim
majority and the small Sikh minority. After the incident, Muslims
pleaded that Sikhs - many of whom felt insecure - should not leave
Jammu and Kashmir. During his visit to the area, Union Home Minister
L.K. Advani on 26 March 2000 promised special protective measures
to the Sikhs of the state but local Sikhs reportedly rejected the
protection plan, with some of their spokespersons saying that the
Muslim majority had not been hostile to them before and that no protection
To date it is not known who was behind the unlawful killings which
took place on the eve of US President Clinton's visit to the subcontinent(6);
the attack was condemned by him, as by the Indian and the Pakistani
governments. Despite the fact that an official inquiry let alone its
outcome had not been announced, the Indian Government and the Jammu
and Kashmir Government held two armed Islamist groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba
and Hizb-ul Mujahideen responsible. Director General of Police, Gurbachan
Jagat is reported to have said the ''incident is a clear indicator
of the militants' plan to turn Kashmir into a single-religion entity''.
The Indian media have echoed Prime Minister Vajpayee's characterization
of the incident as a 'fresh ethnic cleansing'(7) or a 'communal massacre'(8).
Several Kashmiri groups, such as the All Parties Hurriyat Conference
(APHC), a conglomerate of 23 parties, have claimed that the government
was responsible for the deaths, perpetrated in an effort to discredit
the 'azadi' [freedom] cause and to portray its supporters as 'terrorists'
and religious fanatics prior to the Clinton visit. Spokespersons of
both the groups held responsible for the killing by the government
have meanwhile denied their involvement.(9) Hizb-ul Mujahideen leader
Syed Salahuddin Ahmad said: ''Mujahideen have nothing against the
Sikh community which sympathizes with our struggle. We assure them
that there never was and there will never be any danger to Sikhs from
Kashmiri freedom fighters.''
Three human rights activists from Punjab(10) in mid-April investigated
the incident. They found that between 15 and 20 Urdu-speaking armed
men had come to the village several times prior to the massacre and
mixed freely with the villagers. According to the local population,
they were careless with their arms, hanging them on trees while playing
cricket with local boys. Several of these earlier visitors were reportedly
recognized as the attackers of 20 March. However, some local observers
told the activists that they did not believe the attackers to be 'foreign
mercenaries'(11) as they had returned repeatedly to the village and
handled their arms very casually which is unusual for paid fighters.
The attackers wore uniforms of the armed forces and were led by a
tall man whom they addressed as Commanding Officer (CO). All Sikh
men were rounded up, ostensibly to check their identities, and made
to sit on the ground in two groups against the walls of the gurdwaras
[Sikh temples] a few hundred metres from each other; they were shot
at point blank range. As the attackers withdrew, they reportedly shouted
Hindu slogans. A small bottle of liquor was left behind by them.(12)
The human rights activists also spoke to two surviving men. Karamjit
Singh, a teacher, had been stopped by the attackers at the start of
the attack but had managed to slip away after warning a neighbour,
Nanak Singh that he feared trouble. Nanak Singh who was injured by
the gunfire, pretended to be dead and so escaped the killing as well.
Both subsequently left the village with their families.
The human rights activists concluded that dress, language, careless
handling of arms and behaviour are all factors that speak against
the security forces' involvement in the unlawful killing. In view
of the presence of the paramilitary Rashtriya Rifles (RR) close to
the village, the human rights activists considered it improbable that
armed opposition fighters had been involved. Armed groups would not
have openly visited the village several times. The inquiry team concluded
that renegades were the likely perpetrators. Some villagers had told
the human rights activists who were investigating the killing that
the nearby RR unit knew about the attack on the Sikhs in advance and
had done nothing to stop it - which again, given the patronage of
renegades exercised by some paramilitary forces, may speak for the
renegades' involvement in the massacre.
Another organisation, the Ludhiana based International Human Rights
Organization (IHRO) in late March released its own inquiry report
which reportedly reached the same conclusion.
Unlawful Killings In Panchalthan-Pathribal On 25 March 2000
Shortly after assertions of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir that
every effort would be made to find the men responsible for the killing
of 20 March, a joint unit of army personnel and Special Operations
Group (SOG) killed five men in Panchalthan-Pathribal village, Anantnag
district. Official spokespersons claimed that the victims were 'foreign
militants' responsible for killing the Sikhs. According to reports,
the unit after a gunfight blew up a thatch-roofed hutment on a hilltop
near the site of the earlier massacre in which the 'militants' were
hiding and later recovered five bodies charred beyond recognition;
the bodies were buried in different places by the army without a post
Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah said before the State Assembly
that a man arrested on 24 March had revealed the location of the suspected
militants involved in the massacre of 20 March. He claimed that all
the men were 'militants in combat uniforms' responsible for the massacre.
Director General of Police Gurbachan Jagat said on television that
the arrested suspect had given the names of five local people and
11 or 12 foreigners involved in the 20 March killings.(13) Union Home
Minister L.K. Advani during his visit to the state congratulated the
Anantnag police for ''eliminating the butchers responsible for the
Local observers, however, disbelieved the official account; they
pointed out that if armed men hidden in a hut on a hilltop had indeed
been involved in a gunfight as claimed by the authorities, they would
have injured some of the security force personnel attacking them from
the valley - but none was injured. Moreover, security forces could
have exchanged fire until those trapped in the hut ran out of ammunition
and then arrested them instead of using heavy weapons to blast the
hut killing those inside. This would have enabled the security forces
to gain more information about the massacre on 20 March.
Many political activists in Jammu and Kashmir publicly expressed
doubts about the genuineness of the 'encounter'. In the Lok Sabha,
National Conference MP [member of parliament] Ali Mohammad Naik stated
that the Defence spokesperson and the Prime Minister's Office had
told a 'white lie' on March 25 when they claimed that five men involved
in the killing of the Sikhs had been shot dead in an encounter. He
stated: ''They were just innocent citizens and I tell you with authority
that none of the killers of Sikhs have been eliminated or apprehended
as claimed by the forces.''(14) On 2 April, Democratic Freedom Party
Chairman, Shabir Shah staged a sit-in in Anantnag to protest against
the 'fake encounter'. When police tried to arrest him, he resisted
and was injured but then taken into custody. He was released in the
evening. In Srinagar, former chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat
Conference, Mirwaiz Moulvi Umer Farooq was placed under house arrest
to prevent him from going to Anantnag to participate in the protests
against the 'encounter' killings.
On the following days, local people held protest demonstrations claiming
that the dead men were ordinary civilians, labourers or petty traders,
from the villages Braringam, Mominabad and Halam who had nothing to
do with militant activities or the killing of the Sikhs on 20 March.
There were rumours that altogether 17 men had been picked up and 'disappeared'.
Demonstrators have claimed that the five men the authorities claimed
had been killed in the hut were ordinary villagers who had in fact
been picked up by the Special Task Force under the Senior Superintendent
of Police of Anantnag between 21 and 24 March and had gone missing
since. In at least one case, a First Information Report (FIR)(15)
had reportedly been filed about the 'disappearance'.
On 29 March, the district administration offered to conduct DNA tests
of the five bodies buried after the incident on 25 March to set the
protesters' minds at rest about the alleged killing of their relatives.
However, in spite of this assurance, demonstrations and strikes escalated
in Anantnag district and on 30 March, Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah
told the State Assembly that he had directed the DGP [Director General
of Police] and ADGP [Additional Director General of Police] to inquire
into the alleged 'disappearance' of the five civilians in Anantnag
On the same day, Anantnag Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Abdul Waheed
directed police officers from Acchabal to register a case of murder
and abduction (sections 302 and 364 Ranbir Penal Code). He also ordered
an independent investigation to ascertain whether the victims were
civilians or armed fighters after receiving a petition from 14 residents
of Braringam, Anantnag district, who claimed that two of their relatives
had been picked up by security forces on 24 March and were among those
killed on 25 March on the pretext that they were armed fighters. The
CJM appointed Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Sheikh Abdul Rehman
to conduct the investigation, adding that it should be done impartially
and without submitting to any pressure. The inquiry was to submit
its report on 6 April to the magistrate's court.(16) The Senior Superintendent
of Police Anantnag, Farooq Khan welcomed the court orders to conduct
an inquiry, saying that this would remove suspicion from people's
minds. On the same day, the Deputy Commissioner agreed in principle
to having the bodies of the five men exhumed. At that time, the spokesperson
of the 15th Army Corps categorically stated: ''Genuine terrorists
have been killed. Do not give credence to these reports about a fake
encounter. People are expert at twisting facts.''(17) Chief Minister
Dr Farooq Abdullah reportedly said on 3 April that if those killed
were found to be innocent civilians, those responsible for their deaths
would be severely punished.(18)
Unlawful Killings At Brakpora On 3 April 2000
When local residents did not see any action being taken regarding
the promised exhumations and inquiries, public protests grew more
strident. On 3 April, a procession of several thousand demonstrators
flanked by Special Operations Group (SOG) personnel marched on Anantnag
intending to submit a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner demanding
the exhumation of the bodies of the five men killed on 25 March and
information about the fate and whereabouts of the 17 people allegedly
picked up by security forces after the 20 March massacre and 'disappeared'
since. In the course of the march, some youths threw stones at a police
post. After police resorted to lathi charge (beating with sticks),
many protesters withdrew. Some 3,000 to 4,000 people reached Brakpora,
three kilometres before Anantnag where stones were reportedly thrown
at the SOG camp. After another brief lathi charge, SOG men and members
of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRFP) opened apparently indiscriminate
fire, killing seven people outright and injuring at least 15 others.
A melee ensued in which more participants were injured. After the
crowd dispersed, an indefinite curfew was imposed and shoot on sight
orders were issued in the entire district. According to some reports,
one or two men injured in the firing died later.
Zonal police headquarters in the evening stated that members of armed
groups had accompanied the protesters and had opened fire on the protesters
leading to the deaths. It claimed that a case had been filed against
violent protesters and that investigations had started. Another official
statement quoted in the Kashmir Times said that the protesters had
resorted to stone pelting and as firing in the air did not stop them,
security forces opened fire on them. Participants in the march denied
that there were any members of armed groups participating in the demonstration.
On 4 April, members of the State Assembly condemned the police firing
and angrily demanded an inquiry and punishment of those responsible
for the police shooting of seven demonstrators. Chief Minister Farooq
Abdullah pointed to Pakistan for the rising militancy and said: ''My
government does not want to shed the blood of innocent persons here.
Try to understand the tricks of the enemy.'' However, he ordered a
judicial inquiry by a High Court judge into the firing incident and
also reportedly admitted that excessive use of force had occurred
without provocation: ''Non-lethal options were not chosen to control
the crowd.'' Similarly Union Home Minister L.K. Advani reportedly
admitted: ''It was a tragic incident. It should not have happened.''
The state government reportedly transferred the Deputy Commissioner
Anantnag and suspended the Deputy Inspector General and the Senior
Superintendent of Police Anantnag as well as some 20 police officers
involved in the shooting incident on 3 April.
On 5 April, Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah directed the exhumation
of the bodies of the five victims of the alleged 'encounter' of 25
March in Panchalthan after popular demands for it mounted leading
to further demonstrations despite indefinite curfew and as members
of oppositional political parties backed these demands.
Starting on 6 April, the five charred bodies were exhumed in the
presence of senior government officials Minster of State for Home,
Mushtaq Ahmed Lone and the Deputy Commissioner of Anantnag. When the
first body was exhumed on 6 April in Pathribal, villager Roshan Jan
reportedly recognized the body of her husband, Juma Khan: ''I can
say for sure that it is the body of my husband. I have spent my entire
life with him.'' She stated that her husband had been arrested on
24 March. Her son stated that Juma Khan's turban and identity card
had been found on 28 March in the village. Other bodies were exhumed
on 7April and identified by relatives by the rings, clothes, teeth
etc as those of the men arrested earlier; the bodies were charred
and could not be recognized easily. When the relatives protested,
the bodies were finally handed over to them and buried with some 4,000
people attending the burial despite the curfew. More security forces
were sent to the area to prevent further demonstrations which might
take place despite the strict curfew imposed since the 'encounter'.
Four members of staff, headed by Dr Bilquis Kour, of the forensic
department of the Government Medical College took samples of the five
bodies for DNA testing. The samples were to be sent to the Central
Forensic Laboratories in Calcutta and Hyderabad. The team took blood
samples of relatives within a day of the exhumation. One of the experts
was quoted as saying that of the five bodies, four were charred beyond
recognition and one was partially burned. While four bodies had bullet
marks, one was without bullet injuries. The skull of one of the four
bodies presenting bullet marks had been blasted off and the jaws of
another one had been destroyed by bullets.
The police meanwhile denied that the bodies had been conclusively
identified. Kurshid Ahmed Ganai, Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir,
said on 8 April: ''All the five bodies have been recognized by the
family members. The government is waiting for tests to be conducted
before saying anything on the issue.'' He reportedly said that the
bodies were handed over subject to the understanding that the ''correctness
of the identification will depend on the DNA tests as the bodies were
charred, disfigured and not recognizable.'' The directors of the forensic
laboratories in Hyderabad and Calcutta confirmed that on 13 and 14
April respectively, tissue samples were received. The result of the
analyses is not known.
Throughout this period, the setting up of inquiries was announced
to look into the incidents. Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah reportedly
announced on 5 April before a joint meeting of Muslims and Sikhs of
Kupwara and Baramulla that a judicial inquiry by a sitting Supreme
Court judge would investigate the Chithisinghpora killing as well
as the Brakpora killing of seven protesters. On 6 April, Jammu and
Kashmir Minister for Law, P.L. Handoo informed the State Assembly
that Justice Pandian had been appointed to head a Commission of Inquiry
into the Chithisinghpora and the Brakpora incidents. It now appears,
however, that an additional magistrate has been entrusted with the
investigation of the Chithisinghpora killings of the 35 Sikhs but
it is not known if this investigation has actually started, nor what
its terms of reference are. It does not appear to have been set up
under the Jammu and Kashmir Commission of Inquiry Act, 1962.
A one-man inquiry Commission of Inquiry consisting of retired Supreme
Court judge Justice S.R. Pandian was set up on 17 April 2000 and notified
on 20 May 2000. It has been entrusted with investigating the Brakpora
firing incident under the Jammu and Kashmir Commission of Inquiry
Act, 1962. The terms of reference of his inquiry are (a) to inquire
into the causes and circumstances leading to the firing incident,
(b) to establish whether the 'use of force used in firing on the crowd
was justified', (c) to 'fix responsibility for using excessive force,
if any', and (d) to make suggestions for preventing a recurrence of
such events in future. The first sitting of the Commission of inquiry
was on 7 June 2000. So far about a dozen witnesses have appeared before
it; all have apparently testified that the firing was unprovoked.
On 2 May, the police Special Investigation Team constituted to investigate
the Panchalthan 'encounter' submitted its first 3-page report to the
CJM Anantnag; members of the local Bar Association were present when
the report was submitted by the Senior Superintendent of Police to
the CJM. It reportedly follows step by step the team's observations
of the exhumation and identification and describes the circumstances
in which the bodies were handed over.
Meanwhile, a Joint Action Committee consisting of local doctors,
teachers and members of the Anantnag Bar Association has formed to
investigate the allegation of the earlier 'disappearance' of the five
men shot dead on 25 March. Its brief apparently now extends to all
the three incidents. It filed complaints with police with respect
to each of the incidents.
Lack Of Response Of The Government Of Jammu And Kashmir
Expressed By Amnesty International
Amnesty International submitted a draft of this report to the Government
of Jammu and Kashmir on 24 May 2000(19) requesting to be informed
of what steps the Government had taken to investigate the incidents.
The organization urged that all three incidents be fully investigated
by an independent and impartial judicial inquiry and that its terms
of reference be made public. Amnesty International said that the results
of all inquiries should be made accessible to the public and urged
the Government of Jammu and Kashmir to provide assurances that state
sanction, should it be required for criminal prosecution of those
found responsible, would indeed be given. No response was received
by the time this report was printed in the third week of June.
Other expressions of concern by Amnesty International about the rising
incidence of custodial deaths and extrajudicial executions in the
state have met with similar silence. Amnesty International wrote to
the Government of Jammu and Kashmir on 5 and 13 June expressing its
concern about the rising number of custodial deaths(20). The organization
issued an urgent action in early June relating to the arrest of two
men(21) in May and expressed its fear for their safety and physical
integrity. No reply was received in either case.
Official responses when they are received, are often inadequate.
In mid-April 2000, the organization submitted a draft report to the
Government of India about the punitive use of preventive detention
legislation in the state of Jammu and Kashmir with the request for
comment and information. No response was received and the report was
published a month later. On 1 June, Amnesty International received
an 'interim response of the Government of India' from the High Commission
of India in London, consisting of a two-page sheet listing sections
of the Public Safety Act which partly safeguard the rights of detainees.
The letter did not respond to Amnesty International's concerns about
abuses of the Act, its contravening international human rights standards
nor to the concern that many people are detained in Jammu and Kashmir
without reference to any law. The Government of Jammu and Kashmir
has not responded to a comprehensive report on hundreds of 'disappearances'
in the state published in February 1999.
Amnesty International's Concerns And Recommendations
Amnesty International is deeply concerned about the disregard for
the lives and physical integrity of people in Jammu and Kashmir shown
in these incidents. The right to life is laid down in major international
human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights (ICCPR) which India has ratified, and in the
Indian Constitution. Article 6(1) of the ICCPR says: ''Every human
being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected
by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.'' Likewise,
Article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949
which is one of the international humanitarian standards applicable
to conflicts of a non-international character such as the one in Jammu
and Kashmir, strictly forbids the killing of anyone ''taking no active
part in hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid
down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds,
detention or any other cause''.
With regard to the incident at Brakpora, the organization is also
concerned that the right to peaceful protest may have been violated
and that security personnel appear to have contravened international
standards governing the lawful use of force as for example those laid
down in the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (Code
of Conduct). The conduct of SOG and CRFP personnel on 3 April does
not appear to have conformed to Article 3 of the Code of Conduct which
says that force may only be used ''when strictly necessary''. The
official Commentary to the Code of Conduct says that the use of force
should be 'exceptional', that force should only be used ''as it is
reasonably necessary under the circumstances'', and that it should
only be used for two purposes, viz. the ''prevention of crime'' and
''effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected
offenders''. The Code of Conduct says that the force used should be
proportional to the objective, i.e. it should only be used ''to the
extent required'' for the performance of law enforcement officials'
Amnesty International calls on the Government of Jammu and Kashmir
to urgently set up prompt, thorough and impartial judicial inquiries
into all three incidents whose terms of reference should be made known
to the public. While welcoming that an inquiry has begun to investigate
the circumstances of the firing incident at Brakpora, the organization
believes that this is not enough as there are serious human rights
concerns about the other two incidents as well. Moreover, the organization
would like to obtain assurances that the inquiry into the Brakpora
firing incident fully complies with requirements of the Principles
on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extralegal, Arbitrary
and Summary Executions.
In accordance with the Principles on the Effective Prevention and
Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, the
inquiries should seek to determine the cause, manner and time of death,
the person(s) responsible, and any pattern or practice which may have
brought about the deaths. They should include an adequate autopsy,
collection and analysis of all physical and documentary evidence and
statements from witnesses. While welcoming the exhumations of the
bodies of the victims of the 'encounter' of 25 March, Amnesty International
would also like to be informed of the autopsy report and as to whether
qualified staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross were
In accordance with Principle 17 of the Principles on the Effective
Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary
Executions, written reports shall be made within a reasonable time
on the methods and findings of each inquiry. These shall be made public
immediately and shall include the scope of the inquiry, procedures
and methods used to evaluate evidence as well as conclusions and recommendations
based on findings of fact and on applicable law. The reports shall
describe in detail specific events that were found to have occurred,
and the evidence on which such findings were based.
If thorough and independent inquiries are not carried out as required
by international human rights standards, the impression may arise
that the Government condones the abuses described. This would exacerbate
the concerns which the organization has about these unlawful killings.
Amnesty International has long been concerned about the fact that
enquiries into so-called 'encounter' killings and firing incidents
in Jammu and Kashmir have not always been followed by action taken
against the perpetrators. This contravenes Principle 18 of the Principles
on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary
and Summary Executions, which says that governments shall ensure that
persons identified by the investigation as having participated in
such unlawful killings are brought to justice. The Government of Jammu
and Kashmir should publicly commit itself to bringing the perpetrators
to justice and provide assurances to give sanction for prosecution.
Similarly, the Union Government should provide assurances of giving
sanction for prosecution if security personnel falling in its jurisdiction
should be found involved.
The organization also urges the Government of Jammu and Kashmir to
establish the fate and whereabouts of the 17 persons whose ''disappearance''
and subsequent custodial killing has been alleged. Compensation should
be given to the relatives of all the victims in accordance with National
Human Rights Commission recommendations as also in accordance with
Principle 20 of the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation
of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Address concerns set out above about the trail of unlawful killings
in Jammu and Kashmir to members of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative
You can address the above concerns to:
Dr Farooq Abdullah Mr P L Handoo
Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Law and Parliamentary
Office of the Chief Minister Affairs
Raj Bhavan Government of Jammu and Kashmir
Srinagar Raj Bhavan
Jammu and Kashmir Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
Justice G A Kuchhai
Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Commission
Hyderpora, New Airport Road
Srinagar 190 014
Jammu and Kashmir
Footnotes / Endnotes
(1) Renegades are former members of armed groups who have joined the
side of the government. Renegades usually act on orders of or with
the knowledge of police or security forces but are believed to also
have committed abuses on their own initiative.
(2) Some reports mention 36 victims.
(3) Some reports speak of two men succumbing to their injuries later.
(4) Hindus inhabit mostly the southern part of the state but also
lived as a minority in the Kashmir Valley; several hundred thousand
Hindus left the area when the unrest intensified and settled in camps
in Jammu and around New Delhi. In 1998 and 1999, several dozen members
of the Hindu minority, including women and children, died in targeted
killings, possibly carried by armed opposition groups.
(5) There are over a dozen armed groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir
with a variety of objectives, including secession of the Jammu and
Kashmir from India and accession to Pakistan, independence or merely
greater autonomy. While the Pakistan Government claims to merely lend
moral, political and diplomatic support to such groups, there is strong
evidence that Pakistan or groups within Pakistan provide arms, training
and men as well.
(6) Clinton later said that these Sikhs "were murdered because
I was there. ... People who don't want their turmoil eased used my
trip there as a pretext to highlight the difficulties. And somebody,
we don't know who, killed perfectly innocent people - who, I might
add, had never before been targeted in all the conflict in Kashmir."
(7) India Today, 3 April 2000
(8) Frontline, 14 April 2000
(9) Minister of Home Affairs, L.K. Advani said: "Till now the
militants had targeted the Hindu community and tried to see that the
Kashmir Valley is cleansed of that particular community. Now the objective
is to see to it that Sikhs also begin a process of migration and this
purpose must be understood, this design must be recognized."
(The Hindu, 21 March 2000)
(10) They included Justice (retd.) Ajit Singh Bains, Chairman of the
Punjab Human Rights Organization (PHRO), Sardar Inderjit Singh Jaijee,
Convener of the Movement Against State Repression (MASR) and Lt.Gen.
Kartar Singh Gill, Advisor, PHRO and MASR.
(11) Some of the local armed groups are believed to be supported and
reinforced by armed groups including by paid fighters from other countries,
including Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Muslim countries.
(12) The fact of the perpetrators speaking Urdu in a Kashmiri speaking
environment, of shouting Hindu slogans and drinking alcohol has been
variously and inconclusively interpreted by local observers as or
conversely as a ploy to implicate Islamist groups by imitating their
(13) Praveen Swami in a Frontline article of 14 April gave details
about the confessions by Mohammad Yakub Magray, a Hizbul Mujahideen
activist, arrested and 'broken' by the 'ruthlessly efficient' Special
Operations Group. Magray reportedly admitted to having accompanied
a Lashkar-e-Taiba group led by a Pakistani national code-named Abu
Maaz in the night of the incident. According to the article, "Magray's
continuing interrogation seems to be delivering at least some retribution
... the elimination of five members of Abu Maaz's unit at Panchal
(14) Kashmir Times, 21 April 2000
(15) The initial complaint to police after which police investigation
(16) CJM Abdul Waheed was subsequently transferred to Kupwara.
(17) Times of India, 31 March 2000
(18) Outlook reported Chief Minister Dr. Farooq Abdullah as saying
to protesting villagers: "I assure you that if the charge that
the victims were ordinary civilians and not foreign militants, as
claimed by the forces, is true, I will take stern action against those
responsible. I will skin them."
(19) See press release ASA 20/021/2000 of 24 May 2000: India: Inquiries
into Jammu and Kashmir killings must go ahead.
(20) In its letter of 5 June, Amnesty International sought assurances
that the deaths of six young men on 15 May 2000 in Sopore in what
was described as an 'encounter' would be investigated; a list of some
30 people who allegedly died in custody between 1 and 20 May was appended
with a request for investigation. On 13 June, Amnesty International
wrote to the Government of Jammu and Kashmir urging investigation
of the custodial deaths of three men, Abdul Hamid Mir, Abdul Qayoom
Ganai and Rafiq Bakal who had died in different incidents in late
May and early June.
(21) Mohammad Salim Bhat and Shabir Ahmed Khan were arrested in late
May and their relatives feared they would be killed. Mohammad Salim
Bhat's younger brother, Irshad Ahmad died in custody on 5 May 2000.