ISLAMABAD – India’s killing spree in occupied Kashmir worsened in 2020 despite global calls to resolve the issue peacefully.
The Indian occupational forces killed 474 Kashmiris in 312 cordon and search operations (CASOs) and 124 gunfights and destroyed 657 houses.
The year 2020 may be recorded as “Zero Year” in the human history for the COVID-19 pandemic that forced most of global citizenry inside their homes to save themselves from the deadly infection.
However, for Indian-occupied Kashmir, this year added more complications and saw no letup in atrocities committed by the Indian occupying forces. This annual report prepared by Legal Forum for Oppressed Voices of Kashmir on the situation of human rights in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) covers the period from January 1 to December 30 2020. Year 2020 also saw India launching a broad-day inhuman attack on Kashmir’s civil society, raiding residencies and offices of human rights defenders, journalists and civil society organisations.
From January 1 to December 30 2020, the Indian occupying forces launched the so-called 312 CASOs and cordon and destroy operations (CDOs) which resulted in 124 encounters in which 232 mujahideen died fighting Indian occupying forces. During encounters at least 657 houses were also vandalised and destroyed by the Indian occupying forces.
The destruction of civilian properties during encounters saw an increase during the COVID-19 lockdown enforced by the government; an entire village in Budgam district was vandalized rendering many families homeless and without shelter.
Despite the fact that United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for a global ceasefire in conflict regions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, as usual offender of international law and agreements, India defied the call from world’s highest office and continued with its war crimes policies in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
At least 65 civilians were killed in different violence-related accidents included extrajudicial killing of 3 labourers in Shopian in a staged gun fight by Indian occupational forces.
In 2020, the journalists working for Kashmir and international media continued to be at the receiving end of the pressure, intimidation and harassment by the Indian authorities. Many journalists were booked under criminal laws while one still remains behind bars amid delayed trial by the government agencies.
The governing authorities launched new media policy in which government now holds full control on newspapers and magazines. 2020 also witnessed the continuation of the ban on high-speed internet services which remained in force since August 5, 2019.
The right to access information continues to be severely restricted in Jammu and Kashmir as part of India’s all-out onslaught against Kashmiris as there were 141 instances of internet blockades recorded amid deadly pandemic, when internet was of utmost importance for health authorities as well as general public. During the period from January 01 to December 30, 2773 persons were detained and arrested by Indian occupational forces and lodged in different jails across India.
The year also saw one of the worst assaults on human rights when India rushed its agencies to occupied Kashmir which raided residencies and offices of journalists, human rights workers and civil society organisations.
In early November, India’s so-called anti-terror body National Investigation Agency (NIA) raided residence of Khurram Parvez, Parvaiz Bukhari besides others. The raids were held on rights bodies’ offices and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This is unprecedented wherein Journalists and human rights defenders are put under such humiliation.