Violations are cited on both sides of the border, underscoring the human cost of the conflict. Indian law-enforcement officials are guilty of extrajudicial killings, torture, rape and enforced disappearances in J&K while Pakistan represses democratic freedoms, silences the press and practices routine torture in Azad Kashmir, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.
Longstanding pressures between armed political factions in J&K, civilians and Indian troops have flared in recent months, reviving calls for self-rule as anger grows over New Delhi's actions.
"Kashmiris possess an unalienable right to decide their future, as per the UN Charter, not just choosing between India and Pakistan but for independence as well," explained Siddiqi, a former leader of the pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).
Emotions hit a fever pitch on July 8 when Indian forces killed 22-year old Burhan Wani, a separatist leader who advocated a Kashmir free of both Indian and Pakistani rule. Wani's death saw protesters take to the streets, with Indian forces responding by pellet guns, teargas, and live ammunition. The clashes have reportedly killed 80-100 and injured thousands more. HRW has warned that rock-throwing demonstrators don't give Indian police a free pass to use lethal weapons against civilians.
Also feeding into current anti-India anger is the detainment of Kashmiri human rights activist Khurram Parvez. On Friday, Indian police in J&K capital Srinagar stopped Parvez from flying to Geneva, where he was supposed to address the UN Human Rights Council on the region's explosive situation.
The mounting violence led Tariq Hamid Karra, an Indian politician from Srinagar, to resign from Parliament last week, citing New Delhi's brutal policies in the Himalayan area.
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