THE international Day of Victims of Torture reminds the world that Kashmir is a living wound within the core of the Asian region, and without resolving the issue it is impossible to restore regional peace and development or counter any common challenges such as reigning Covid-19 pandemic.

THE United Nations Convention Against Torture [1984], Article 1.1 states : '' Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person -

Information or a confession, - punishing him for an act he or a third person, or a for any reason has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such suffering or pain is inflicted by or-

Or at the instigation of or with the consent and acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising  from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.''

No matter how blind the world would act in its reaction towards the afflictions of Kashmir people, the International Day of Victims of Torture - that is observed on June 26 every year - brings to mind the state of affairs of the innocuous Kashmiris in the Indian Occupied Kashmir [IOK], who are subjected to the most brutal forms of torture in the name of law enforcement.

Appallingly, the most vicious torture practices, as cataloged in the Istanbul Protocol of UN-OHCHR, have been employed by the Indian forces against innocent people craving a meaning for a dignified life.

Physical torture on the pretext of law enforcement has become a mundane practice by the Indian Law enforcement authorities in Kashmir as it is quiet rampant and indiscriminate.

Torture, undoubtedly, is a horrendous criminal act which not only ruins the lives of victims but also those who are directly or indirectly related to them. Besides causing irreversible physical damage, the phenomenon has indelible physiological impact over its victims disrupting the normalcy of their lives.

Nevertheless, these physical and psychological effects get exacerbated by trauma and depression which is consequent upon the previously experienced helplessness and the humiliation of the victims at the hand of their torturers.

It is one's great disappointment and disgust that the physical torture is 'state sponsored' in Kashmir as the law enforcement personnel get away scot free even though torture cases are reported against them, by virtue of the legal provisions of the Armed Forces [Jammu & Kashmir] Special Powers Act 1990 [AFSPA].

Section 7 of AFSPA bars the initiation of any legal proceedings against security officials without the prior approval or ''sanction'' of the Government of India. Which is why, not even a single officer has ever been tried and convicted of in a court of law in the past 30 years despite the fact that there have been numerous torture and killing incidents reported in the media and registered formally with the police stations.

Many precious lives - like that of Rizwan Pandit, a young teacher hailing from the Pulwana district- were finished when the ingenious ordinary people were subjected to ferociously horrible physical torture.

Taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency, Pandit was declared ''dead'' grotesquely by the Jammu and Kashmir Police the very next day.

Despite the fact that a magisterial inquiry was ordered to probe into the facts relating to his death maid claims of his family that his body was blotched with torture marks, nothing worthwhile popped up.

Doomed abysmally?

The World Students Society thanks author Asia Rahman.


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