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Saturday Sep 19 2020
Web Desk

Pakistan calls for judicial probe 'under international scrutiny' into extrajudicial killing of three Kashmiris

Web Desk
Indian security forces personnel patrol a deserted street during restrictions after the government scrapped special status for Kashmir, in Srinagar August 9, 2019. — Reuters/Files

Pakistan on Saturday called for a judicial inquiry, "under international scrutiny", into the extra-judicial killing of three innocent Kashmiris in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, a day after New Delhi admitted wrongdoing in the matter.

The Indian occupation forces, on July 18, had murdered 25-year-old Imtiyaz Ahmed, 20-year-old Mohammad Ibrar, and 16-year-old Abrar Ahmed in a so-called “cordon and search operation" in Shopian.

According to a statement from the Foreign Office, the young Kashmiri men had come from Rajouri to work in an apple orchard as labourers.

The incident had generated outrage in Kashmir, with political groups, rights activists, and many residents demanding an independent probe into the deaths.

Read more: Indian army admits soldiers' wrongdoing in deaths of three Kashmiris in July

"To cover up the cold-blooded murder of these innocent Kashmiris, the Indian army had claimed that the three were unidentified terrorists,” said the statement, adding: "To further hide their crime, instead of handing over the human remains to the families of the victims, the forces had buried them in a graveyard marked for foreign terrorists."

The FO said that two months after the incident, the Indian Army itself admitted that the three innocent Kashmiri labourers were killed extra-judicially — a hallmark of Indian occupation forces’ state-terrorism in IOJK.

"In a statement issued on 18 September, the Indian Army has accepted that the powers vested under the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) were exceeded," the Foreign Office said.

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The Foreign Office highlighted that India has taken its brutalisation of innocent Kashmiris to a new level after its illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019 in occupied Kashmir — and the international community was aware of it.

More than 300, mostly young Kashmiris, have been extra-judicially killed by the Indian occupation forces in "fake encounters” and staged “cordon-and-search” operations in occupied Kashmir during the past one year, it said.

The Indian Army’s statement of September 18 is an acknowledgment that Indian occupation forces are guilty of war crimes in occupied Kashmir, said the FO.

"The BJP leadership must realise that they are directly responsible for crimes against the Kashmiri people," it said, adding: "No illegal and inhuman Acts such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA) can provide impunity against the crimes that are being perpetrated in [occupied Kashmir]."

The Foreign Office said that India should be well-aware that the use of brutal force, including extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture in custody, use of pellet guns, burning and destruction of Kashmiris’ houses to inflict collective punishment, cannot break the will of Kashmiri people in their just struggle for the inalienable right to self-determination.

India's annexation of IOJK: A timeline of events that transpired post August 5

"The international community must take immediate cognizance of the 18 July 2020 episode in [occupied Kashmir] as well as other acts indicative of the RSS-BJP regime’s genocidal tendencies and hold it accountable for continuing crimes against the Kashmiri people," it added.

Indian army spokesman Rajesh Kalia had said the soldiers on the operation had "exceeded" their powers and "contravened" the guidelines governing military conduct in Kashmir.

"Disciplinary proceedings" would be taken against those responsible, Kalia added.