India admits hundreds of Kashmiris died in their custody

More than 330 people have died while in police custody in Indian-controlled Kashmir over the past 18 years, official figures revealed today.

A police investigation found a further 111 people had disappeared from cells with no further information on what had happened to them.

Human rights groups believe government forces could be behind far more disappearances, claiming up to 10,000 people have gone missing since 1989.

India has an estimated 700,000 soldiers stationed in the disputed Himalayan region in an effort to combat groups fighting for independence.

The Jammu-Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society said today the police figures were likely to be the tip of the iceberg.

The group said 178 Kashmiris had died in police custody in the past five years alone. A further 239 had disappeared after being taken by government forces.

Pervez Imroz, a spokesman for the coalition, said: “It’s anybody’s guess how brutal security apparatus with a sweeping policy of catch and kill would have been in early 90s.”

Source.

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