Stories of Human Shields from Kashmir

    The history of using Human Shields in Kashmir is an old one but has been caught on tape for the first time, a recent incident has brought back the memories of the past.

    Farooq Ahmad, 27, was picked up by the army’s 35 RR in Utligam village, tortured, forcibly dipped several times in the icy cold water of a stream, and was later tied in unconscious state to the bonnet of an army jeep as a human shield.

    Farooq Ahmad Dar narrates his ordeal:

    Tanveer (name changed), a banker from Baramulla, remembers how, when he was in his early teens, a group of Indian Army personnel tried to use him as a human shield. When he resisted, he was beaten up ruthlessly and was bedridden for many days. His family didn’t complain to the authorities, just like most of us. There was nothing unusual in what had happened. It is a routine in Kashmir.

    A few cases did make it to the headlines. In January 2002, Indian army used 9 Muslims as human shields in Rajori. In February 2004, 5 civilians were used as human shields in Bandipora. In 2005, 2 villagers were used as human shields in Pattan. Even though these cases received huge media coverage, Justice is pending.

    In his memoirs, Basharat Peer narrates an incident where he saw an Army Major handing over a bomb to an old man and ordering him to go inside a house where militants were trapped.

    The Present Chief Minister of J&K, Mehbooba Mufti has herself accepted to the fact that India uses Human Shields in Kashmir.

    After this recent incident, people took to twitter to share their experiences:

    Using human shields is considered a war crime by nations that are party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and India is its signatory.

    Also as per Article 13 of the 1956 New Delhi Draft Rules: Parties to the conflict are prohibited from placing or keeping members of the civilian population subject to their authority in or near military objectives, with the idea of inducing the enemy to refrain from attacking those objectives.

    Here is an excerpt from Indian Army Doctrine:

    Indian Army Doctrine Part-2, Page 25; Para 5.4

    Is this the healing touch? Is this winning hearts and minds? We doubt.

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