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Updated: September 17, 2011 08:00 IST

2,156 unidentified bodies in Kashmir graves to undergo DNA profiling

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Mother of a disappeared youth weeps during a demonstration in Srinagar. Human rights groups in J&K claim disappearance of “thousands” of Kashmiris since 1990. File photo: Nissar Ahmad
The Hindu
Mother of a disappeared youth weeps during a demonstration in Srinagar. Human rights groups in J&K claim disappearance of “thousands” of Kashmiris since 1990. File photo: Nissar Ahmad

The Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has recommended the identification of all those 2,156 people buried in unmarked graves in north Kashmir. The graves were identified through an investigation done by its police wing last month.

In its order on Friday, a division bench of the SHRC comprising Chairman Justice (retd.) Syed Bashiruddin and Javed Ahmad Kawoos suggested that all means like DNA profiling be used to identify the bodies buried in 38 places in Kashmir.

The bench made six recommendations to address the issue and linked it to cases of disappearances in the State.

It said that “the dead bodies in unmarked graves … shall be identified by all available means and techniques like DNA profile, physical description, dental examination, distinctive medical characteristics, finger prints, carbon dating, forensic pathology etc. as may be applicable.”

The aim is to see if the identity of the bodies i matches the identity of ‘disappeared' persons.

Human rights groups in the State claim “thousands” of Kashmiris have disappeared since 1990. The documented numbers are more modest though no less alarming -- the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons has 350 names on its roster while the State government acknowledges some 1,200 residents are “missing”. While the APDP's charge is that the majority of these ‘disappeared' persons have been illegally killed by the security forces, the State says the missing numbers are mostly made up of young men who crossed the Line of Control to join militant groups.

Positive DNA matches with family members of missing persons may not immediately settle the debate over the circumstances leading to the death of the individuals buried in these unmarked graves – eg. whether the encounter was genuine or fake – but they will likely embarrass the State and the Centre .

On August 20, the first official inquiry report of the SHRC suggested there were 2,730 unmarked graves across Baramulla, Bandipore and Kupwara districts. According to the report, 574 of these were buried by locals, leaving 2,156 bodies still buried in the unidentified graves.

The Commission has now ordered that DNA profile sampling be supplemented by modern scientific techniques and methods facilitating and ensuring matching of the unidentified dead bodies in unmarked graves on maintenance of the identification profiles with the identity of a particular dead body or a disappeared or any other person whose identification with the bodies discovered in unmarked graves is sought or claimed by the families concerned.

The SHRC has also said that after the bodies have been identified, any prosecution for crimes like culpable homicide shall be undertaken on the basis of the due process of law.

It asked the government to ensure compensatory justice in case identified disappeared persons had suffered an unnatural death. To address the larger issue, the Bench said “an independent duly representative structure/body…” be constituted and put in place in time”

Well Good job done India..justice at last to innocents. Time to expose the seperatist who claim lakhs of unmarked graves...isnt this the people killed by separatist....will saudi /Iran/pakistan even admit disappearance or unmarked graves of Missing....Bangladesh had 3 million killed ...when will these hippocrates understand the cost of Human lives....

from:  sunil
Posted on: Sep 19, 2011 at 17:12 IST

We should introspect is this really a moment to praise ones country or ask questions about its morality.This is genocide and i m sorry i cannot feel proud about genocide.Kashmir wants justice and India has been denying that.

from:  Faris Hamid
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 18:39 IST

It is realy a serious concern, if world doesn't take it seriously, it is dangerous threat to the existance of human being around the world, if world doesn't take action againest such inhuman act by indian brutal forces and shun the responsibility of helping the victims, tomorrow the same things will turn over them, and nobody can ask for justice in their favour. word unit should unite irrespective of their religion, nationality etc. and demand action against such henious crime.

from:  Shabir Lone
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 16:53 IST

Moral Authority ??? Moral Legitimacy ??? Exactly where was it when the minorities in Kashmir were purged and their lives altered for ever. Morality died way back when your brothers were busy pasting 'hit lists' on our doors.

from:  Nishant Zutshi
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 16:38 IST

These could be bodies of those Kashmiris who are strongly against the separatist movement, those who have realised that being with India is much better than aligning with Pakistan, a collapsing nation. Militants are known to kill to silence pro India voices among Kashmiris.

from:  Ajn
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 16:32 IST

Everytime a justice is denied or unduly delayed, country is weekend. Sooner we understand this is better.

from:  alam
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 15:07 IST

It took almost 21 years just to discover that people missing since 1990s >may be killed and buried in unknown graves. When will their near and dear ones get justice ? probably next 50 or more years ? What justice we are talking about ?.. May be we are waiting their parents die in the wait and all thing get buried in time.....

from:  M. Birla
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 14:36 IST

Let the truth come out clear and swift. The people who lost their kin should be answered. The dilemma of living or dead is the biggest pain one can undergo. The agencies/persons behind these mass killing need to be brought to book, by best investigative methods. The impartiality of such measure, should put India on a higher moral ground than where it today stands. Here India includes its people who are geographically divided but belong to the same fabric. Let this truth of this investigation reinforce the fabric.

from:  Syed Irfan
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 13:03 IST

Displacement and disappearance both are painful and unfortunate facts. Justice and credibility of justice mechanism are on stake. It is harsh and questionable why we delayed in addressing the entire issue with broad mind? What will bring DNA test, yes of course the grave which had no identification yet, will get identification. But fact is remained same why and how it’s happened, and who is accountable for it? What measure authority and individual has taken to confirm it that such atrocities/unethical act is going not to be recurring?
Every land made for men/human but if power of land/wealth and material is subjugating human value than i hope we need serious analysis. Justice is essential for prevailing of peace, should be based on facts not on plan evidence because evidence is getting tempted. We need integration on the basis of human values because
human value is above on all other material.

from:  Rehan
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 13:01 IST

At last we are on the road to become a truly democratic nation. The wrongs that people in authority commit must be brought to book.They will now be held accountable for their actions. In the past we have always conducted ourselves like "Ostriches ".This will now serve as an example for all people who think they can get away with murder.

from:  Tyrone d'brass
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 11:51 IST

I am proud of my country that such a step has been taken -- wish people get Justice and the culprits among the security personnel are severely punished. This kind of a step really gives the Indian state the moral authority in fighting against sectarian forces of all kinds.

from:  Yashwanth P
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 11:19 IST

It's shocking for every one who understands the meaning of being from human race and feel the pain of others. It's the responsibility of the governing individuals, and institutions to fix the truth of such graves and, if an impartial investigation results in confirming a foul play on the part of the state or central bodies, necessary measures should be taken to identify those responsible for such heinous crime through misuse of power and bring them to justice. It's definitely mutilating for our polity based on the principle of social justice and security.

from:  A.M.Ibrahim Ansari
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 07:22 IST

DNA identification and a process to punish those responsible for these disappearances of the people will bring closure to a number of people.

from:  Naveed
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 04:51 IST

SHRC keeps on raising one or other issue to play with sentiments of locals and to keep anti-India issue alive. Other motive is to "keep their existence in Kashmir" they have to raise such issues from time to time. Also they keep on filling their pockets in name of compensation from State and Centre, alongwith anti national elements. Our media keeps getting in trap too by supporting such activities and by misleading public at large.

from:  harshi
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 03:50 IST

India has lost all moral authority on Kashmir. India's lack of moral legitimacy is well-established amongst the Kashmiris, the world knows that, and is something indians should start to pick up on themselves.

from:  Mir Agha
Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 at 01:45 IST
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