In Indian Occupied Kashmir, for the first time an official inquiry has said that it is beyond doubt that there are as many as 2156 unidentified bodies buried in unmarked graves at 38 sites in the Kashmir Valley since 1990. A report released after a probe by the investigative wing of the Human Rights Commission of the occupied territory revealed that there were 21 unmarked graves in Baramulla, three each in Bandipore and Handwara and 11 in Kupwara. The probe said that it established 851 unidentified bodies in Baramulla, 14 in Bandipore, 14 in Handwara and 1277 in Kupwara.
|Sri Nagar - An old man crying after identifying his child's picture amongst those martyred by Indian Army amid State Terrorism|
The report said all these bodies with bullet injuries were handed over by the police to the local population for burial and were classified as unidentified "militants" (Mujahideen), which ironically enough, include innocent underage children and women as well. The report while strongly contesting this in the absence of any profiling done by the police, called for a thorough investigation across the territory, FIRs, exhumation and prompt DNA profiling of the bodies and comparison of samples with those taken from residents who had been campaigning against the disappearance of their relatives. The report said that of the bodies, a few were defaced, 20 were charred, five only had skulls remaining and there were at least 18 graves with more than one body each.
The report came after a three-year-long inquiry by an 11-member team led by Bashir Ahmad Yatoo, the Senior Superintendent of Police of the investigative wing of the Commission. The team scoured police records to count the number of unidentified bodies sent for burial, cross-checked this against testimonies from police officials, eyewitnesses, village committees, village heads, elders, mosque committees, gravediggers and records prepared by caretakers of the graveyards. Many witnesses spoke on the condition of anonymity and the testimonies of 62 of them had been made part of the report. The report of the investigation was handed over to the Commission last month.
In fact, the Commission probe was the response to a campaign by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), which in March 2008, released a report, “Facts Underground” and pointed out the presence of unmarked graves. The next month, the SHRC issued notices to the then Congress-PDP puppet administration and set up the probe committee. In December 2009, another human rights group, the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights, released a report claiming that unmarked graveyards “entomb bodies of those murdered in encounter, fake encounters and extra-judicial, summary, and arbitrary executions.”