Torture of youth by police and paramilitary CRPF is proving deadly in the current unrest in Kashmir. Among the 64 victims of past 79 days, five persons have lost their lives due to alleged custodial torture and thrashing by the forces, the youngest victim being the 9-year old Sameer of Batamaloo.
The latest victim of fatal torture is 17-year old Omar Qayoom Bhat, who succumbed to his injuries on past Wednesday. Omar was allegedly tortured in police custody.
Doctors told Greater Kashmir that his lungs were severely damaged due to blunt trauma.
“The trauma caused intrapulmonary hemorrhage and we put him on ventilator but couldn’t save his life,” they said.
The first victim, Rafiq Ahmed Bangroo, was severely beaten by CRPF troopers in June. After battling for life for a week, Bangroo breathed his last at SKIMS. He had received multiple injuries in head and other body parts.
Seventeen-year old Muzaffer Ahmed Bhat of Gangbugh Batamaloo was beaten to death by CRPF troopers and his body disposed off in a stream on July 5, locals say. Medicos, who performed his autopsy, revealed that he had two injury marks in the head.
The youngest victim, 9-year old Sameer Ahmed Rah was beaten to death by paramilitary troopers when he left for his cousin’s home to play carom.
Another victim, Syed Farakh Bukhari, was allegedly killed in police custody after being arrested at Choora Sangrama on July 28 for participating in protests. His body was recovered a fortnight later with multiple torture marks.
Scores of youth have also been wounded due to custodial torture across the valley in past over two months.
“I was beaten for two hours in police lock-up after being picked up on charges of stone-pelting and was only left after blood started oozing out of my mouth,” said Nazir Ahmed (name changed) of old city.
Medicos who treated trauma patients in city hospitals said that they have come across shocking cases of torture.
“We have seen many cases where vital parts of the body have been damaged without firearm injuries. A slight use of force on some parts of body can prove fatal,” said a SKIMS medico.
Experts say that use of lethal physical force has put the debate beyond use of lethal and non-lethal weapons for crowd control in the valley.
“Everybody would blame lethal weapons for civilian causalities, but these deaths have not taken place by firearm injuries,” experts said, adding that there is dire need of humane approach while dealing with detained stone-pelters and protesters.
The human rights activists and lawyers in the valley term torture as most cruel form of force, saying that this issue needs more attention.
“More than 5 lakh persons have been subjected to physical torture in past 20 years of conflict. The issue has not been highlighted like mass graves and disappearances. It is for the first time in present agitation that these deaths are getting noticed,” says human rights lawyer and Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society president, Parvez Imroz.
“Before this, victims would die silently after being subjected to physical torture by forces. We have started documenting torture cases in valley and it is bigger issue and needs international attention,” he said.
Human rights lawyer Mir Shafqat Hussain told Greater Kashmir that police has to follow guidelines given by Supreme Court in B.K. Basu versus state of West Bengal case in detention cases.
“They are flouting these guidelines. They have to produce detainee before magistrate and inform parents. He should be shifted to hospital within 48 hours for medical examination by an expert doctor as per this judgment,” he said. “They cannot torture detainee under custody.”