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Indian paramilitary troopers closes the road leading to Clock tower with barbed wire during curfew in Srinagar , Indian Administered Kashmir on 05 August 2019. Strict curfew was implemented in Kashmir on 05 August 2019 following the decision to scrap Article 370 which gave a special status to Kashmiri people. A complete communication blackout and curfew is implemented in Kashmir Valley from Midnight 05 August 2019.

India tortures and kills a Kashmiri man in custody after framing him

On June 7th, A 38-year-old Kashmiri man from Pulwama district, Kashmir, died in police custody, amidst strong allegations of custodial torture by his family.

The deceased, Imtiyaz Ahmad Pala, a father of two and the sole provider for his family, was allegedly detained by the military on June 2nd during a search operation in a neighboring village. His family claims he was interrogated and beaten. Despite police denial, family members allege coercion to sign documents and threats of framing him in criminal cases. 

Imtiyaz Ahmad Pala was apprehended from his home during a search operation as security personnel were looking for an electrician for fixing a dysfunctional generator. When he didn’t return, his family filed a missing report after learning from the local people that he was interrogated and beaten. 

Despite efforts to locate him at neighboring police stations, they were unsuccessful. Ghulam Hassan, Pala’s father-in-law, recounted that when he brought Pala’s mobile phone to the Pulwama police lines as requested by the police, authorities informed him of Pala’s deteriorating health and advised him to return the next day for a meeting.

Upon his return to the Pulwama police lines on June 4, Hassan was again denied a meeting with Pala. He claimed that following a meeting between the Senior Superintendent of Police and the detaining officers, a senior police official directed him to the Srinagar Police Control Room, where the family waited all day. 

In the evening, Hassan alleged that police presented him with two choices: either Pala would be implicated in a militancy case, leading to his body being buried far away and their home demolished, or he would be framed in a drug-related matter, allowing the family to claim his body. 

Hassan emotionally asserted Pala’s innocence, stating he didn’t smoke or use drugs. He questioned why Pala was killed even if guilty, detailing disturbing injuries discovered during the post-mortem, including a deep head wound and severe genital injuries. Pala was detained under sections 8 and 22 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, but his involvement wasn’t clarified at all by the police.

Custodial killings in Kashmir are a norm. In December, 2023, for example, the Indian army tortured three Kashmiris to death in custody. Residents said the bodies bore marks of severe torture. Videos emerged of the torture, in which the Indian army personnel are seen stripping these Kashmiri civilians naked, beating them ruthlessly, and pouring spices and chili powder on their wounds, especially their private parts. Torture marks were found on the bodies of all three victims of extrajudicial custodial murder.

Throughout Indian rule in Kashmir, not a single army personnel has been prosecuted for their widely documented war crimes and human rights violations.

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