By Hamid Khan Wazir
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Indian forces in Occupied Kashmir continued to unleash a wave of barbarism in 2020 as well, as a total of 474 Kashmiris were martyred in 312 Cordon and Search Operations (CASOs) and 124 gunfights besides destroying 657 houses in the outgoing year.
The deceased included 65 civilians, 232 armed rebels, and 177 Indian forces.
The year 2020 may be recorded as “Zero Year” in human history for the COVID-19 pandemic forced most of the global citizenry inside their homes to save themselves from the deadly infection.
However, for Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), this year added more complications and saw no letup in atrocities committed by the Indian occupying forces.
The annual report prepared by the Legal Forum for Oppressed Voices of Kashmir (LFOVK) on the situation of human rights in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir covered the period from January 1 to December 30, 2020.
The outgoing year saw India launching a broad-day inhuman attack on Kashmir’s civil society, raiding residencies and offices of human rights defenders, journalists, and civil society organizations.
The year witnessed the killing of 177 Indian occupying forces and 232 militants besides the extrajudicial killing of 65 civilians across the UN-designated disputed territory of IIOJK.
From January 01 to December 30, 2020, the Indian occupying forces launched the so-called 312 CASOs and Cordon and Destroy Operations (CADOs) which resulted in 124 encounters in which 232 militants died fighting Indian occupying forces.
A total of 177 Indian occupational forces were also killed during these encounters.
During encounters, at least 657 houses were vandalized and destroyed by the Indian occupying forces. The destruction of civilian properties during encounters saw an increase during the COVID-19 lockdown enforced by the government; an entire village in Budgam district was vandalized rendering many families homeless and without shelter.
Despite the fact that the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a global ceasefire in conflict regions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But as the usual offender of international law and agreements, India defied the call from the world’s highest office and continued with its war crimes policies in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Around 65 civilians were killed in different violence-related accidents included the extrajudicial killing of 3 laborers in Shopian in a staged gunfight by Indian occupational forces.
This year, the Journalists working for Kashmir and international media continued to be at the receiving end of the pressure, intimidation, and harassment by the Indian authorities. Many journalists were booked under criminal laws while one still remains behind bars amid delayed trial by the government agencies.
The governing authorities launched a new media policy in which the government now holds full control of newspapers and magazines.
The outgoing year 2020 witnessed the continuation of the ban on high-speed internet services which remained in force since August 5, 2019.
The Right to Access Information continues to be severely restricted in Jammu and Kashmir as part of India’s all-out onslaught against Kashmiris as there were 141 instances of internet blockades recorded during this period amid a deadly pandemic when the internet was of utmost importance for health authorities as well as the general public.
During the period, about 2,773 persons were detained and arrested by Indian occupational forces and lodged in different jails across India. This year saw one of the worst assaults on human rights when India rushed its agencies to Kashmir which raided residences and offices of Journalists, human rights workers, and civil society organizations.
In early November, India’s so-called anti-terror body NIA raided the residence of Khurram Parvez, Parvaiz Bukhari besides others. The raids were held on rights bodies’ offices and NGOs. This is unprecedented wherein Journalists and human rights defenders are put under such humiliation.