World Bulletin / News Desk
A new video has emerged from Jammu and Kashmir showing a young Kashmiri man being used as human shield by Indian armed forces.
The man can be seen tied to the front of an Indian army jeep in what appears to be an effort to stop people from throwing stones at an army convoy passing by a Kashmiri neighborhood.
In the video clip, an Indian army soldier could also be heard saying: “Those who throw stones will meet the same fate.”
According to a police source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, the video was shot in Budgam district in central Kashmir on Sunday.
Ghulam Mohammad Lone, a resident of Beerwah, told Anadolu Agency: “It is a well-established truth that we have been used as human shields for the last 30 years; it’s just that in the past we had no mobile phones to take such videos.
“You cannot capture such things on video all the time but such things have taken place all the time.”
Lone added that he too had been used as a human shield in the past. “I have been used as a human shield many times by the Indian army when they thought militants were in a house and at gunpoint they forced me to enter the house first,” the 58-year-old said.
Activists say the viral video is yet another concrete evidence of Kashmiris being used as human shields for years in the disputed region.
Kashmiri human rights activist Khurram Parvez, who works for the Srinagar-based Coalition of Civil Society, told Anadolu Agency the Indian forces like Israeli soldiers in Palestine have been using human shields since 1989 in Jammu and Kashmir.
"Palestine or Kashmir, military tactics of using the human shields reveal how Israel and India, while dealing with hostile population, increasingly don't care about the pretense of legitimacy," Parvez said.
Meanwhile, Indian Army spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia said: “The contents of the video are being verified and investigated.”
The latest video is said to have been taken at a time when the constituency in the summer capital of the disputed region, Srinagar, went for Indian parliamentary by-election amid a massive deployment of Indian armed forces and a complete shutdown of the internet.
The election saw a meager voter turnout of 7.17 percent, with several dozen polling booths not seeing even a single vote being cast.
On election day, tens of thousands of people took to the streets shouting pro-independence slogans; several clashes with heavily-armed Indian soldiers were also reported.
On Sunday, Indian armed forces shot dead eight Kashmiri civilians and injured over 130 others seriously.
On Tuesday, the killing of a young boy by Indian soldiers was caught in one of the numerous videos that surfaced online soon after the internet was restored. In that video clip, a group of Kashmiri boys can be seen throwing stones at Indian soldiers standing meters away from them. But then soon after, one of the soldier takes aim at a boy with his automatic rifle and shoots him dead.
But while videos of Kashmiris being used as human shield or getting killed did not spark an outcry or even become the hot topic at mainstream Indian television channels, the one video which did catch their attention and caused an outrage in India was a separate clip that showed retreating Indian soldiers being kicked and slapped by Kashmiri youth.
Some prominent Indian personalities even called for mass murder of Kashmiris for that incident.
Former Indian cricket captain Gautam Gambhir tweeted: "For every slap on my army's Jawan [personnel] lay down at least a 100 jihadi lives. Whoever wants Azadi LEAVE NOW! Kashmir is ours."
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah noticed the sharp contrast in reactions among Indians.
“This young man was TIED to the front of an army jeep to make sure no stones were thrown at the jeep? This is just so shocking. I understand the outrage the CRPF video [showing Indian armed forces personnel getting kicked] generated. I’m also outraged that the video of the youth on the jeep won’t generate the same anger,” Abdullah tweeted.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
The two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.
Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan. More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region.