By Dr. Saeed Ahmed Ali
LAHORE, Jun 16 (APP):Renowned politician and human rights’ activist Nelson Mandela said: ’The children must play in the open veld, no longer tortured by the pangs of hunger and not be engaged in deeds whose gravity exceeds the demands of their tender years.’
Various world Human Rights (HR) bodies across the globe had exposed from time to time, in their findings that military forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) were using torture as Instrument of Control (IoC) to quash the Kashmiri Movement of Independence, and killing thousands of Kashmiris turning a large child population as orphaned.
President, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Sardar Masood Khan, in his recent statement on the occasion of the International Day of Innocent Children ‘Victims of Aggression’, had regretted that the IOK children who were supposed to get education and joys of childhood life with their parents, brothers, sisters, were being killed, put behind the bars or deprived of their parents.
He said innocent children of Occupied Kashmir were the most vulnerable of the barbarity and aggression of Indian occupation forces.
These children, since their birth, had witnessed nothing except the sounds of Indian guns, miseries, cries of the injured and smelling smoke rising from the arms and ammunition. He said Hundreds of Kashmiri children have been killed by the Indian army during the last three decades while thousands of others have lost their parents, and many have passed their childhood in the Indian detention cells without any fault,” AJK president said.
The Research Section of Kashmir Media Service (KMS) in its report had revealed that 894 children were among the 95,469 civilians who were martyred by Indian troops from January 1, 1989 till date.
Killing of civilians by the troops rendered 107,780 children orphaned in the territory during the period, the report said. Meanwhile, the report further said thousands of people including young school boys and girls were also injured by the pellets fired by Indian troops.
A large number of these orphan children either had lost their eyesight totally or became handicapped due to pellet injuries and other torture means. Child Protection and Welfare Bureau (CP&WB) sources told APP that the bureau had written a letter to United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to highlight Indian atrocities on children and minors in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK).
Meanwhile, according to another report issued by the HR organisation, Save the Children “Stop the war on Children”, approximately 420 million children making one in five children of the world live in areas of IOK where a huge number of Indian military personnel were deployed.
Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Dr Mehdi Hasan while talking to APP condemned the Indian military brutalities which were making the future of a large number of orphan Children in IOK bleak.
He said the lockdown imposed on some ten million Kashmiris in IOK had turned the occupied territory into the biggest jail on earth, adding, suppressed Kashmiris continued to face gross human rights violations at the hands of more than 700,000 Indian forces deployed in the valley.
He said detention of thousands of youth and minors was being increased day by day, while restrictions on ‘access to food and medicines’ had been further tightened. Meanwhile, two leading HR bodies of IOK, which included Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) had issued a 560-page report in which torture methods on children, minors and Kashmiri people had been highlighted in detail.
The techniques of torture on Kashmiri youth and children included solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, sexual torture including rape and sodomy, which were being used as torture techniques against their Independence movement. Giving the detail, the HR bodies further exposed that other torture methods on children and adults included electrocution, dunking detainees’ head in water (which is sometimes mixed with chilli powder) and hanging from a ceiling.
“During the torture detainees were stripped naked, beaten with wooden sticks and bodies were burnt with iron rods, heaters or cigarette butts,” it said.
Following various reports of torture on Kashmiris to death, the United Nations Human Rights Chief had called for establishing a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir.
President, Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) Senator Sehar Kamran while talking to APP said India was imposing worst restrictions to suppress the voice of people In Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) by making hostages the Kashmiri people and kidnapping youth and children.
She said there were over a billion and a quarter people living in the subcontinent who had been held hostage to the issue of Kashmir, and being tortured to death, adding, this situation was rapidly increasing the number of orphan children which had no future.
The HR bodies concerns had been articulated by Amnesty International, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, VCIVICUS –Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists, International Service for Human Rights and World Organisation Against Torture, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues in a joint statement in Geneva.