NEW DELHI, (Reuters) – More than 2,000 corpses have been found buried in several unmarked graves in Indian Kashmir, believed to be victims of the divided region’s separatist revolt, a government human rights commission said in a report.
The graves were found in dozens of villages near the Line of Control, the military line dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
“At 38 places visited in north Kashmir, there were 2,156 unidentified dead bodies buried in unmarked graves,” the inquiry report by the Indian government’s Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (J&KSHRC) said.
The report, released on Saturday, comes after a three-year inquiry by an 11-member team led by a senior police official.
Nearly 50,000 people have been killed in mainly Muslim Kashmir since a revolt against New Delhi’s rule began in 1989. On Saturday, Indian soldier shot dead 12 separatist militants trying to cross from Pakistan into the disputed region.
Indian security forces in Kashmir have been accused of murdering innocent civilians in staged gun battles and passing them off as separatist militants to earn rewards and promotions.
Indian authorities have consistently denied systematic human rights violations in Kashmir and say they probe all such reports and punish the guilty.
The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), which estimates around 10,000 people went missing during nearly two decades of separatist revolt, says many missing people may have ended up in these unmarked graves.
“We appeal to International human rights groups and Indian authorities to identify the people buried,” said Parveena Ahanger, founder and chairperson of the APDP.
International human rights groups have also repeatedly asked the Indian authorities to investigate the unmarked graves.