Investigate 3000 unmarked graves in Poonch, Rajouri: SHRC to Government

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By: Muddasir Ali
Srinagar: After its inquiry revealed that there are more than 2,000 unknown bodies buried at different sites in north Kashmir, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has asked Jammu and Kashmir government to investigate into the alleged 4,000 unmarked graves found at different sites in Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu.
Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons had filed a rejoinder with the SHRC on its investigative report about presence of the unmarked graves in Kashmir stating there are at least 2,717 unknown graves at 90 sites in Poonch and another 1,127 unmarked graves at 118 sites in Rajouri.
“The Commission has taken cognizance of the report filed by the APDP and it has asked government to provide actual report regarding these allegations,” Secretary, SHRC, Tariq Banday told reporters here after a division bench of the Commission comprising Chairperson Justice (retd.) Syed Bashir-ud-din Ahmad and Member Javaid A Kawoos, in its hearing of the unmarked graves case asked government to use all the available scientific means including DNA profiling to know the identity of unknown bodies found buried at 38 graveyard sites in north Kashmir.
“The dead bodies should be identified by all available means and techniques like DNA profiling, physical description, dental examination, distinctive medical characteristics, finger prints, carbon dating, forensic pathology so that the identity of the bodies in these unmarked graves is possible with the claimed disappeared persons,” the SHRC order, a copy of which is lying with Greater Kashmir, said.
The Commission has simultaneously called for investigation by an independent “representative structured” body empowered to probe all aspects of unmarked graves in the Valley.
“An independent duly representative structured body having due credibility and weight, fully empowered to go in(to) all questions (and) aspects regarding unmarked graves, disappeared persons be constituted and put in place in time,” the SHRC order said.
According to SHRC, three years of investigative work by senior officials at the Commission, have discovered that hundreds of men branded as unidentified militants were buried in unmarked graves in the border districts of Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora.
As per the report, out of more than 2,000 graves, 574 were identified that of local residents.
“There is every probability that these unidentified dead bodies buried in various unmarked graves at 38 places of North Kashmir may contain the dead bodies of those believed to be the cases of enforced disappearances,” the report said.
The report catalogues 2,156 bodies found in graves in four districts of Kashmir that had been at the heart of the insurgency.
The order said perpetrators of the crime should be brought to the justice.
The SHRC order reads that in case police has maintained an identification profile of buried persons in the respective police stations – be of militant or civilian – then the process of identifications need not to be gone through. However, it has asked, that such profiles shall be made available for identification.

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