LFK bi-annual report exposes escalating human rights abuses in IIOJK

LFK Bi-Annual Review 2024: Rights Abuses in IIOJK

The Legal Forum for Kashmir (LFK) has released its comprehensive Bi-Annual Review for 2024. This report details severe human rights violations in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). It also highlights the escalating repression in the region. The LFK is an International advocacy group working on the conflict in Kashmir. This organization is working for the political, social, and human rights of Kashmiris. This report underscores the ongoing plight of the Kashmiri people and calls for urgent international intervention.

LFK Bi-Annual Review 2024

The LFK report also includes a compilation of information from official sources in IOJK. It draws from recognized media groups and fact-finding reports by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Additionally, it incorporates information received from the victims’ families. Fact-checking the details in the LFK report against various sources ensures the information is as accurate as possible. Moreover, the reports systematically present the events in the first six months of 2024. Let’s delve into how events have been unfolded!

How is Human Rights Violation Augmented?

In August 2019, the Indian Government unconstitutionally impoverished IOJK’s semi-autonomous status. Despite the United Nation’s calling for a free referendum, the Indian Govt. is occupying Kashmir for 77 years. Thereafter, under the Indian brutal military occupation, the Kashmiris faced Indian oppression and colonial machination.   

What Happened in the First Six Months of 2024?

The JanuaryJune saw a continued trend of state repression and counter-insurgency operations in the war-trampled region of IIOJK. Local media reported that Occupying Forces have launched a total of 202 Cordon and Search Operations. During these operations, they vandalized and destroyed nearly 25 civilian properties.

The first six months recorded 72 killings in multiple incidents. At least 32 gun fights took place between Indian occupying Forces and the freedom fighters of Kashmir. Reports indicated 22 instances of Internet shutdown in IOJK. On the ground, violations of International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) led to appalling human tragedies.

Intensified Militarization

Nearly one hundred thousand (100,000) Indian army and paramilitary forces stationed in UN-recognised disputed territory operate through a legal instrument – the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

The militarization has facilitated the process of colonization and illegal annexation. Moreover, in 2019, almost 50,000 military and paramilitary personnel were deployed in the region.

On March 8th, 2024, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defence of India, which directly controls the occupied territory, announced the deployment of a 10,000-strong unit of the Indian Army. On June 29th, 2024, the Ministry of Home Affairs decided to deploy over 500 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to the Union Territory ahead of the Amarnath Yatra.

The on-ground research has uncovered disturbing evidence of escalating “atrocity crimes” against the civilian population in the United Nations-recognized disputed territory. These crimes include heavy-handed repression, confiscation of civilian properties, land grabbing, demolition of civilian properties, torture, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, and a series of other crimes against Kashmiris.

Instances of ‘Atrocity Crimes’ Perpetrated by Occupying Forces

Since August 5th, 2019, the occupying authorities have brazenly disregarded the established regulations and protocols designed to protect the health and environment of the local population. This flagrant disregard for the well-being of the people has exacerbated the already dire situation in the region, leading to a deepening health and environmental crisis.

On April 15th, Baramulla police in Indian-occupied Kashmir booked 8 civilians under the Public Safety Act. Afterward, on the 04th of May, an armed resistance group attacked a convoy of IAF killing one corporal and injuring four others.

On June 10th, 2024, a suspected militant attack caused a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims to plunge into a deep gorge in the Reasi District of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, killing at least nine people and injuring 33. The attack came at a time when Narendra Modi was taking oath as prime minister for a record-equaling third term.

On June 29th the first batch of Hindu pilgrims began the annual Amarnath Yatra in the Kashmir Valley amid heightened security. Around fifteen thousand pilgrims took the journey on the first day from both the base camps in Baltal in Sonamarg and Nunwan in Pahalgam. Around 60-70 thousand troops have been deployed to secure the Amarnath Yatra routes in the Union Territory. Multiple security review meetings were held before the start of the Yatra to make sure that every nook and corner of the Yatra was fully secured.

Also See: Kashmir: The Silenced Cry

A Question Mark on Religious Freedom

The occupying authorities in IOJK curb religious freedom on the pretext of a law and order problem. In the last six months, the local administration barred Kashmiri Muslims from offering Eid prayers in the historical Jamia mosque and Eidgah.

Recently, on June 30th, 2024, a joint team of Jammu and Kashmir police and revenue officials in Kathua district tried to dismantle the mosque early morning with four bulldozers allegedly built on government land. The government officials also attempt to desecrate the holy books.

International Response

The LFK report further sheds light on the plight of human rights defenders, lawyers, and journalists who have faced increased targeting and persecution. The international response against these ‘Atrocity Crimes’ was inconsistent, as well as other patterns of egregious violations, some amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The occupying authorities use anti-terror laws to criminalize the work of Human rights organizations, civil societies, socio-religious organizations, and digital media networks in the IIOJK.

These anti-terror laws supersede the universal safeguards guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and other international conventions.

The organization calls upon the international community to not only hold the direct perpetrators accountable but also those who order, instigate, or incite these human rights violations. Moreover, the International Community must take cognizance of the evidence presented.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own. They do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of the South Asia Times.

Mishaal Malik, presently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in International Relations at Quaid-e-Azam University, demonstrates a commitment to scholarly inquiry, particularly focusing on research related to South Asia and East Asia.

Mishaal Malik, presently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in International Relations at Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU), serves as a Research Associate at South Asia Times (SAT). Mishaal demonstrates a commitment to scholarly inquiry, particularly focusing on research related to South Asia and East Asia. She can be reached on X, formerly Twitter at @MishaalMalik502.

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