A Law unto Itself: Extra-judicial Killings in IIOJK


In the August of 2020, a photograph of three slain men appeared on the Kashmiri social media and it took the internet by storm. The men were found to be originating from Rajouri district whose grieving families told the world that the martyred were laborers. These young men had set foot in Shopian to earn a living for themselves and their families.

The army claimed that these three were militants and were killed in an encounter during a search operation on July 18, and were then buried in Baramulla district. The reality begs to differ. Following the public outcry, pretend-enquiries were carried out. A charge-sheet offering some hint of truth was published which said that one Captain Bhoopendra Singh of 62 RR conspired with two civilians to fabricate an encounter and claim a reward.

“They planted illegally acquired weapons and material on their dead bodies after stripping them of their identities and tagged them as hardcore terrorists in possession of war-like stores.”

The court issued orders to complete the inquiry, but soon, the files were closed and the accused absolved on the basis of lack of evidence.

Fake encounters, custodial murders, mass rampage, arson and massacres, arbitrary detention and torture are some of the designs of extrajudicial killing being acted upon in the J&K by the Indian army. A particularly notorious example is killing of at least 53 men and women in the town of Sopore in a deliberate rampage run by members of the paramilitary Border Security Forces (BSF) on 6 January 1993. Amnesty International published a case study of this arbitrary mass murder, demanding an inquiry, to which the Indian government responded that action had been taken against 230 members of the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, but conspicuously failed to give details of those actions.

Below are some of the examples of how the Indian occupation has slain Kashmiri men and women with impunity:

Pathribal murder, 2000: Martyrdom of five men at the hands of the Indian police pronounced as guilty of Sikh massacre of Chattisinghpora. These men were, in fact, local villagers proven innocent by the forensic testing of the crooked authorities themselves.

Srinagar shootout: Mudassir Gul and Altaf Bhat, two Kashmiri locals, martyred in their own building in the Srinagar city and labelled as “killed during search operation at a militant hideout”.

Abdul Rasheed’s arrest and torture: In 2020, this young man, a native of Kunan, was arbitrarily arrested by 41 Rashtriya Rifles deployed in Kupwara. He, too, was martyred extra-judicially after torture. His family accused Indian forces of killing him without any legal proceeding. This is one name among many other civilians who were randomly caught, tortured or shot dead.

Babapora, Zainapora, Rambagh and Rangreth Fake Encounters: Kashmiris dragged out of their car and shot dead as per eye witnesses. Personnel of Srinagar Task force and CRPF 178 Battalion were found associated but to no one’s surprise, they were not charged or accused.

Enforced disappearances, recurrent occurrences: Since 1989, more than 8000 Kashmiris have gone missing. Some of the missing persons would be found as dead bodies with army’s invented stories of militancy and being caught during staged cordon-and-search operations.

Under cover of the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), the Indian army is playing its red hand with even greater of a license. Since August 2019, the valley has seen a particular upsurge in such brutal acts of lawlessness. As is typical with these cases, after the mass public outrage, fake enquiries are being conducted, some members of the force accused in courts and eventually declared free of charge due to the absence of incriminating proofs. The vicious cycle of extra-judicial killings is a step further in India’s plans of genocide.