David Barsamian, (…was deported from New Delhi for his coverage of Kashmir)
With the erosion of Kashmir’s autonomy, came the military repression and arguably an attempted genocide. From 1989 to 2011 there have been 8,000 documented disappearances and 70,000 deaths of Kashmiris resulting from the Indian occupation. Torture is rampant.

Khurram Parvaiz, Liaison of the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-Administered Kashmir (IPTK), works documenting the cases of torture. “The most under reported phenomenon in Jammu and Kashmir is torture. If you go to any village hundreds of people in every village have been tortured, not just men, but women, children and old people as well.” Parvaiz was involved in documenting the torture of over 1,500 people who became impotent because their genitals were electrocuted. He goes on to explain that there have been hundreds of boys who were raped by soldiers. In one case the abuse by the army was caught on video, still there were no convictions. Parvaiz continued to describe another case of torture, “I have documented very horrible cases, but this is the most horrible.” The army kept a 60-year-old man in solitary confinement for one month. During that time, he wasn’t given anything to eat, but his own flesh. They cut the flesh from his body and served it to him. This was all he was given to eat for a month. Recounting the torture Parvaiz said, “This was something that shook me. We have hundreds of Guantanamo Bays here. Why is nobody talking about it?”

The torture and death can be buried no longer. In July 2011, the State Human Rights Commission of Jammu and Kashmir (SHRC) released a report documenting 2,156 unidentified bodies in 38 graveyards. The state report verified the findings of Buried Evidence, released in 2009 by Parvaiz’s group. Parvaiz explained how the findings were initially swept under the rug, “The government said that these unmarked graves are all of foreign militants and people need not worry about it.” There have been limited DNA tests on the remains. Parvaiz cited that DNA tests of 53 bodies identified that 49 were Kashmiri civilians, one was a Kashmiri combatant and three were unidentified.
Parvaiz said, “It is the right of the family to have the body. The government does not want to give these bodies to the families because there is something to hide. They are hiding the marks of torture.”

Kashmiri children grow up watching graveyards populate their villages. As people are buried, the community holds their story, the memory. Oral history is their biggest weapon against India’s brutal occupation. Even under occupation, the stories of the dead cannot be silenced.

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