More than 330 people have died in police custody in the Indian portion of Kashmir since the outbreak of an Islamic insurgency 18 years ago, according to official police figures released for the first time. In a report released Wednesday, the police said in addition to 332 who have died, another 111 people have disappeared from police custody with no information on whether they are dead or alive.
The Jammu-Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, a local human rights group, said the police figures were just the tip of the iceberg.
Pervez Imroz, the group’s leader, said 178 Kashmiris died in police custody in the past five years alone, and 239 more disappeared after being taken by government forces. “It’s anybody’s guess how brutal a security apparatus with a sweeping policy of catch and kill would have been in early ’90s,” he said.
Imroz’s group said that since 1989 up to 10,000 people have disappeared after being detained by government forces in the Indian portion of Kashmir.
His group said that the police kill innocent people on the suspicion they are Islamic militants or support the militants’ fight for Kashmir’s independence from India or its merger with a Muslim-majority Pakistan.
Jammu-Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society site here.