Persistent torture

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The Committee against Torture’s 78th session that runs from October 30 to November 24 in Geneva marks a critical moment to address the persistent issue of torture and human rights violations in the Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir region. As the body of experts scrutinizes the implementation of the ‘Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,’ it becomes imperative to shed light on the alarming situation prevailing in Kashmir valley.
The Convention, adopted in 1984, defines torture as the intentional infliction of severe physical or mental suffering by public officials, emphasizing the responsibility of states to prevent and punish such acts. Despite this international commitment, the IIOJK remains a hotspot for widespread abuses, as highlighted by human rights advocates and NGOs.
India has authorized a police state reminiscent of the Gestapo in Kashmir. The Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, The Armed Forces Special Powers Act, The Disturbed Areas Act, The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act are illustrative. Generally speaking, these laws empower the Indian military and paramilitary forces in Kashmir to arrest, detain, torture, search, wiretap, try and punish without material restraints and to act with impunity. Allegations of war crimes against Indian forces underscore the urgent need for accountability.
According to a news report published on these pages, notable figures such as Dr Alice Jill Edwards and Ms Arundhati Roy emphasize the persistent accountability gap and the detrimental impact of impunity on governmental legitimacy. The international community’s silence on these grave violations, especially in the context of the United Nations Security Council’s inaction over the years, raises serious concerns about the enforcement of international law and moral responsibility.
It is, of course, a matter of grave concern that even in today’s violent world, the behavior of the Indian occupation regime in Kashmir is singular in so far as it has enjoyed total impunity from restraint imposed through international action or persuasions. No word of disapproval, much less condemnation, has been uttered by the international community.
The Biden administration’s passive stance and the absence of condemnation during high-level meetings with Indian officials reflect a broader trend of indifference. As Bishop Desmond Tutu rightly pointed out, apathy in the face of systematic human rights violations is immoral. The international community must move beyond mere rhetoric and take concrete steps to address the plight of Kashmiris.
It is time for the United Nations and global leaders to call for an end to the culture of impunity in the Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir region. The international community must insist on accountability, investigate reported atrocities and encourage India to uphold its commitment to human rights.
Only through concerted efforts can we hope to prevent further suffering and pave the way for a just resolution to the Kashmir conflict, ultimately contributing to international peace and security.