US informed of India widespread torture in Kashmir: WikiLeaks

Red Cross provided US diplomats in 2005 with evidence of the systematic use of torture by Indian security forces in Kashmir, cables revealed Friday.

US informed of India widespread torture in Kashmir: WikiLeaks

The International Committee of the Red Cross provided US diplomats in 2005 with evidence of the systematic use of torture by Indian security forces in Kashmir, leaked US diplomatic cables revealed Friday.

The 2005 cable, released by WikiLeaks and published by the Guardian, documents systematic prisoner abuse by Indian police and paramilitary forces based on visits the International Red Cross made to detention centres in Kashmir and elsewhere between 2002-2004.

In a confidential briefing, the ICRC told the diplomats of 177 visits it had made to detention centres in India-held Kashmir that revealed stable trend lines of prisoner abuses, according to the cables released by website WikiLeaks.

Techniques included electric shock treatment, sexual and water torture and nearly 300 cases of "roller" abuse in which a round metal object is placed on the thighs of a sitting detainee and then sat on by guards to crush the muscles. Others had their legs stretched 180 degrees, or were subjected to various forms of water torture.

More than 300 cases of sexual abuse were reported.

The Red Cross said that it had raised the issue of prisoner abuse with the Indian government for more than a decade, but because the practice continued.

The ICRC said it had been "forced to conclude that the (Indian government) condones torture," the cables said.

Human rights groups have repeatedly accused India of abuses in Muslim-majority Kashmir.

The ICRC, which met with nearly 1,500 detainees, stressed that very few were militants. The vast majority were civilians "connected to or believed to have information about the insurgency".

It also noted that all the branches of the security forces used torture techniques and always in the presence of an officer.

The cables concluded that the evidence of ill-treatment and torture was "very disturbing".

Kashmiri groups and parties have long demanded the withdrawal of Indian troops and scrapping of "anti-terrorism" laws, including the Armed Forces Special Powers Act that gives sweeping powers to security forces in Kashmir, where about 500,000 troops are stationed.

In 1948, the United Nations adopted a resolution calling for a referendum for Kashmir to determine whether the Himalayan region should be part of India and Pakistan. But India has rejected to hold referendum in Kashmiri territory.


Agencies

Last Mod: 17 Aralık 2010, 11:13
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