Video By: Basharat Amin | Article By: Nusrat Ali
In the reportage and commentary on the violence that has roiled Kashmir since Burhan Wani’s killing in July 2016, one aspect has attracted relatively little attention: the wanton destruction of property by government forces. The forces almost always blow up or burn down any house they trap militants in, according to locals.
People across Kashmir say government forces are destroying civilian property with increasing frequency. In recent years, almost every gunfight has led to homes being turned to rubble. According to official data accessed by IndiaSpend, in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district alone, at least 105 homes were destroyed during gunfights between 2015 and March 2018.
The frequent gun battles in Kashmir valley between Militants and Indian security forces not only result in killings and fatal injuries, but these battles have left hundreds of civilian families homeless. According to Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, during 2018, at least 120 cases of damage to civilian houses were reported in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir in which 31 houses were completely burnt while 94 were partially damaged. JKCCS is a local human rights body documenting day to day reports of violence. The year 2018, is considered to be the deadliest year in the decades-old armed conflict in this Himalayan region. The total number of killings according to the group, was 586 people in different incidents of violence. Among them, 60 were civilians, 267 militants and 159 were members of Indian armed forces and Jammu and Kashmir police. According to the local people, the excessive use of military equipment often results in burning down of houses. The families are often left with nothing and hardly get any support from the government agencies. In several cases, it has been seen that local people collect money to support the affected families.
with inputs from Sajad Rasool