Human Rights

Kashmir: Children bear the brunt of security forces' violations of human rights, 30 killed every year

Srinagar: More than 300 children have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir during the last more than a decade, observed Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a Kashmiri human rights group, in a report “Terrorized: Impact of Violence on the Children of Jammu and Kashmir (2018)” which was released here on March 29. The report on the impact of violence on the children of Jammu and Kashmir is an assessment of violence against children in the state during the past 15 years (2003-2017) and provides data on killings, arrests, mass violence and sexual violence perpetrated against children.

Examining the situation of children during 2003-2017, the report demonstrated that children have not been viewed differently by security forces and have been targeted and victimized as part of the state’s offensive against the general populace. According to the report, the period witnessed not less than 318 killings of children (in the age group of 1 to 17) in various incidents of violence in the state. The killing of 318 children constituted 6.95 percent of the civilian killings in the past 15 years, as 4571 civilians were killed in the state during this period, the report added. “At least 16,436 killings were recorded in the state between 2003 to 2017 and a majority of them included alleged militants numbering at least 8537 killings. The numbers indicate that in the last fifteen years Jammu and Kashmir in an average year has witnessed at least 1,095 killings, which belies the government’s claims of return to normalcy,” the spokesperson added.

The report, that provided statistics, graphs, figures and an analysis of killings of children in the past 15 years in various incidents of violence in the state, argued that the pattern of killings of children in the 15-year period suggested that children were direct targets of state violence, as part of its stated offensive to curb uprising and militancy.The report added that at least 144 children were killed by security forces and police in the state that alone accounts for nearly 44.02 percent of the total children killed. Most of the children (at least 110), the report said, killed in state violence were shot dead in different incidents of violence and not less than eight children died due to injuries inflicted by pellet shot-guns fired by security forces. Twenty-seven children died to due drowning either caused by the negligence of security forces in Wullar Lake tragedy or while being chased by security forces during protests, where victims found no way of escape from the security forces and were forced to jump into water bodies, resulting in their death, said the report.

The report stressed that there were no legal and normative processes or practices protecting children’s rights in the state as hundreds of minors have been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA).

The JKCCS spokesperson said that the children in Jammu and Kashmir are living in the most militarized zone of the world, with the presence of 7,00,000 security forces, which exposes them to the risk of all grave six violations against children as laid out in United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.