An annual report by the US State Department 2021 on human rights identified unlawful, arbitrary, and extrajudicial killings and disappearances as major issues in both India and Pakistan, on Tuesday.
The report covered incidents reported in 2020, highlighted 32 extrajudicial killings in the first half of 2020 in the Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The statistics include the deaths of 63 civilians, 89 security force members, and 284 insurgents across India as a result of insurgency attacks.
The official US report also referred to a study by the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), which reported 229 killings in 107 incidents in the first six months of the year. “JKCCS also reported 32 extrajudicial killings in the first half of the year in Jammu and Kashmir.”
The report pointed out that the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) received and investigated prisoner complaints of human rights violations throughout the year.
“But civil society representatives believed few prisoners filed complaints due to fear of retribution from prison guards or officials.”It added.
Following New Delhi’s August 2019 abrogation of a special constitutional provision that provided an autonomous status for Jammu and Kashmir, Indian “authorities used a public safety law to detain local politicians without trial,” the report added.
The US report noted that the Public Safety Act (PSA), which applies only in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir, “permits authorities to detain persons without charge or judicial review for up to two years without visitation from family members.”
The State Department reported serious restrictions on free expression, the press, and the internet, including violence against journalists, unjustified arrests and disappearances of journalists, censorship, and site blocking in both countries.
Other issues include government interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, such as overly restrictive nongovernmental organization laws, severe restrictions on religious freedom, and freedom of movement. Corruption within the bureaucracy, lack of investigation, and accountability for violence against women were also common.
The report noted that in both countries, efforts to address the abuses were marred by “a lack of accountability as official misconduct persisted at all levels of government, contributing to widespread impunity.”