Speed Reads

Kashmir

Kashmir residents say Indian security forces tortured and beat them

Traveling through at least half a dozen villages in Kashmir in the weeks after India revoked its limited autonomy, "I heard similar accounts from several people in all these villages of night raids, beatings, and torture" by Indian security forces, Sameer Hashmi reports at BBC News. India's army disputed the stories, saying it has "not manhandled any civilians as alleged." Several of the villagers showed Hashmi scars and bruises.

During a nighttime raid, "they beat every part of my body," one Kashmiri man told the BBC. "They kicked us, beat us with sticks, gave us electric shocks, beat us with cables. They hit us on the back of the legs. When we fainted they gave us electric shocks to bring us back. When they hit us with sticks and we screamed, they sealed our mouth with mud. We told them we are innocent. We asked why they were doing this? But they did not listen to us. I told them don't beat us, just shoot us. I was asking God to take me, because the torture was unbearable."

Kashmir was the only Muslim-majority state until Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government downgraded Kashmir into two territories in early August, revoking the Indian Constitution's Article 370. Since then, tens of thousands of extra Indian security forces have been brought into the already heavily-policed area, rights were limited, protests broke out, and about 3,000 political leaders, businessmen, and other Kashmir residents have been detained, with many moved to prisons outside Kashmir, BBC News reports.

The Indian government says the troop deployment was a pre-emptive move to maintain order. "No specific allegations of this nature have been brought to our notice," army spokesperson Col. Aman Anand told BBC News. "These allegations are likely to have been motivated by inimical elements." Read Shikha Dalmia's analysis of Modi's Kashmir machinations at The Week.