DEADLIEST YEAR IN A DECADE: 31 minors among 160 civilians killed in 2018: JKCCS

DEADLIEST YEAR IN A DECADE: 31 minors among 160 civilians killed in 2018: JKCCS

Authorities also accused a couple from Sopore— Mohammad Ashraf Malik and his wife - of involvement in “unlawful activities” sending the husband to jail under PSA.

 In Kashmir, the year just past was the deadliest in a decade with 160 civilians killed in incidents of violence, including an eight-month old and some 30 minors under the age of 17, according to Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society.

According to the monitoring group 586 people were killed during 2018 also including 267 militants and 159 government forces personnel. The bloody year also saw a minor, a pellet victim and one man in his 60s detained under Public Safety Act.

An 8-month old baby, Nitin Kumar was killed in cross border firing in Pallanwala, while 10-year-old Musharraf Fayaz and 9-year-old Saliq Iqbal of Shopian were killed when littered unexploded shells went off near encounter sites. 

The year was also marked with frequent curbs of internet services and many restrictions on the press across Kashmir valley, according to the annual human rights report released by JKCCS on the eve of the New Year.

“Out of the 160 civilians killed 71 were killed by forces, 29 died in cross LoC shelling, 25 were killed by unidentified gunmen, 18 were killed by militants, 10 were killed in explosions, one died in stone pelting, one was killed by a security guard, and one person (a minor girl) was raped and killed by Special Police Officers of Jammu and Kashmir Police,” the report states.

The report also mentions a child Kathua who was gang raped and subsequently killed in Kathua. 

Authorities also accused a couple from Sopore— Mohammad Ashraf Malik and his wife – of involvement in “unlawful activities” sending the husband to jail under PSA. 

A minor, Umar Yusuf Khan, who suffers from a peculiar nervous disorder, was also booked under PSA. 

A 60-year-old political activist, Abdul Rehman Tantray suffered a haemorrhage while in detention under PSA, while another 65-year-old political activist Muhammad Ramzan Sheikh was also jailed under the administrative detention law. 

Both Tantray and Sheikh, the report says, are currently lodged in Kot Balwal Jail, adding that a pellet victim from Pulwama, Suhail Ahmed Trambo was also detained under PSA and lodged in Kathua Jail.

Prominent separatist leader, Masarat Alam Bhat was slapped with PSA for 37th time in the past year.

South Kashmir districts including Kulgam, Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian which have emerged as hotbed of militancy witnessed maximum 85 civilian killings in the year, the report states. 

There have been 191 incidents where “excessive” force was used by the government, while 40 people lost their lives near encounter sites, the report mentions.

Internet services were blocked on 108 instances during 2018, with south Kashmir districts recording the maximum of such 67 instances, remarks the report, adding that Internet was shut in entire Kashmir valley for seven times. 

The report also elucidates curbs on the press, citing several cases including that of jailed journalist Aasif Sultan and Delhi-based journalist Zulkarnain Banday who was summoned and detained in Srinagar.

It also says social media users were harassed for posting their views on many occasions.

According to annual report a youth Sheeraz Ahmad Naikoo was killed due to pellet injuries in Anantnag and a 19-month-old toddler, Hiba Jan from Shopian was injured in her right eye with the metal shards.

The JKCCS report says 275 cordon and search operations (CASOs) and 143 encounters took place in 2018, while 120 residential houses were damaged out of which 31 were completely burnt.

The report says 11 political activists were killed in “targeted violence”, while there have been multiple attacks on the family members of policemen, political activists and militants.

During the whole year the report records November as the bloodiest month with 61 killings.