3,844 unmarked graves discovered in IoK: human rights group

Human rights commission has direct IoK govt to investigate at least 2,080 mass graves

Web Desk

About 3,844 unmarked graves have been discovered in Indian-occupied Kashmir, according to a human rights group in the area.

The group, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), stated that as many as 2,717 unmarked graves were found in Poonch while 1,127 in Rajouri.

APDP shared the findings with a human rights commission in India, which after completing its investigation acknowledged the presence of 2,080 graves in the region. Taking action, the commission told the government in IoK to comprehensively investigate the graves within six months and include DNA tests of the bodies.

Earlier in 2011, the commission had directed the government to look into the matter, when a commission’s team had reported that 2,730 unidentified bodies were buried in 38 sites across IoK.

In a judgment issued on October 26, 2017, the commission directed the occupational government to identify graves using “"all available means and techniques like DNA [deoxy nucleic acid] profile, physical description, dental examination, distinctive medical characteristic, fingerprints, carbon dating, forensic pathology.”

However, APDP in a statement pointed out that instead of complying with the directions of the commission, the Indian government has avoided the investigation claiming it would cause a “law and order problem".

"We have been demanding that there be an independent commission to do a credible probe on the mass graves," told APDP’s Khurram Parvez to Al-Jazeera, adding that this will provide relief to families of missing persons.

Searching for closure

A resident of IoK, Tahira Begum shared that investigation of the graves would lead to emotional closure to the families of the disappeared.

Tahira’s husband disappeared in 2002 and as a result, she had to leave her three sons in an orphanage.

"We want to know whether our family members are buried in these graves. At least, we will get an address to mourn," she remarked.

"My kids would run from school and ask me where their father is. For years, I told them he has gone for work outside. But as time passed, I couldn't lie to them anymore."