India: Justice Denied, Blind to Justice

India

Conducting human rights investigations in the world's most militarized zone

I have documented human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir since 2012. After an 18-month campaign to access court records for military personnel, I gained access to the records to find that no member of the security forces had ever been prosecuted for human rights violations since the start of the conflict in 1989. My ongoing investigations demonstrate the role of the Indian state in shielding the military and police from accountability for their crimes. 

 
 Photo by Christine Mehta

Photo by Christine Mehta

Reports

 

"Denied": Report on impunity for human rights violations committed from 1989 - 2016

This report required analysis of hundreds of court records and legal documents obtained from courts in Jammu and Kashmir, the J&K state government, and the central government's Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence. From 1990 to 2011, the Jammu and Kashmir state government reported that more than 43,000 people had been killed in the ongoing conflict. Of those, at least 13,226 were civilians, although that number is likely to be higher. Activists estimate that up to half of all human rights violations by security force personnel may have gone unreported in the 1990s and early 2000s, including 800 cases of torture documented by Amnesty International since the late 1990s. I reviewed government records that show despite the thousands of registered human rights complaints with the military, very few complaints were ever investigated, and almost none faced disciplinary action of any kind. 

 

"Blind to Justice": Emergency reporting on use of force by police against protesters in Kashmir July - November 2016

This report required analysis of hundreds of pages of court documents, medical records, and forensic evaluation of the "less than lethal" weapons used against protestors in 2016. The use of the so-called "pellet gun" led to the deaths of nearly 100 protesters, and injuries to 9,000 more. After analysis of manufacturing specifications of the pellet gun, we determined the weapon was in fact a 12-bore shotgun shooting cartridges of birdshot, meaning the pellets are designed to penetrate soft tissue, and at close range, can be lethal. 

They say Kashmir is heaven on earth...for us, Kashmir is a prison.
— Interview with lawyer in Kashmir, September 2013