318 children killed in 15 years in J&K

318 children killed in 15 years in J&K

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A Kashmiri youth throws back a tear gas grenade during clashes with police last week in Srinagar. (Farooq Khan/European Pressphoto Agency)

SRINAGAR: Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) Friday released a report on the impact of violence on the children of Jammu and Kashmir titled: “Terrorized: Impact of Violence on the Children of Jammu and Kashmir (2018).” The report is the assessment of the violence against children in Jammu and Kashmir in the last fifteen years i.e. (2003 to 2017) and gives data on killings, arrests, mass violence, sexual violence perpetrated against children.

    Children in Jammu and Kashmir are living in the most militarized zone of the world, with the presence of 7,00,000 troopers, which exposes them to the risk of all grave six violations against children as laid out in United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    The report by Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society examines the situation of children in the ongoing conflict in Jammu and Kashmir during the last fifteen years – i.e. 2003 to 2017. The report provides statistics, graphs, figures, and the analysis of killings of children in the last fifteen years (2003 to 2017) in various incidents of violence in Jammu and Kashmir. With providing examples of targeted state violence against children, the report demonstrates that children have not been viewed differently by armed forces and have been targeted and victimized as part of the state’s offensive against the general population.

   The report added that the fifteen-year period from 2003 to 2017, witnessed not less than 318 killings of children (in the age group of 1 to 17) in various incidents of violence in Jammu and Kashmir. The killing of 318 children constitutes 6.95% of the civilian killings in last fifteen years, as 4571 civilians have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir in the same period (2003 – 2017). In the same period, i.e. from 2003 to 2017, at least 16,436 killings were recorded in Jammu and Kashmir, and the majority of them included alleged militants numbering at least 8537 killings. The numbers indicate that in the last fifteen years Jammu and Kashmir in an average year has witnessed at least 1,095 killings, which belies the government’s claims of ‘return to normalcy’.

   The pattern of killings of children in the fifteen-year period suggests that children were direct targets of state violence, as part of its stated offensive to curb uprising and militancy. At least 144 children were killed by Indian armed forces and state police in Jammu and Kashmir, which alone accounts for nearly half, i.e. 44.02 percent, of the total children killed. Most of the children, at least 110 of them, killed in state violence were shot dead in different incidents of violence, and not less than 8 children died due to injuries inflicted from pellet shot-guns fired by government forces. Twenty-seven children died to due drowning either caused due to the negligence of armed forces in Wular lake tragedy or being chased by government forces during a protest, where victims find no way of escape from the armed forces and forced to jump into water bodies, resulting in their death.

The report lays bare that there are no legal and normative processes or practices protecting children’s rights in Jammu and Kashmir as hundreds of minors have been booked under the repressive Public Safety Act (PSA), with total disregard to the fact of their being children. (CNS)

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