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More 'unmarked graves found' in Kashmir

By Altaf Husain
BBC News, Srinagar

Protest in Srinagar
Some 8,000 people disappeared during the 20-year conflict

A human rights group says it has discovered more unmarked graves in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice says there are 2,700 graves with nearly 3,000 bodies.

Some of the mass graves contain between three and 17 bodies. Last year too, the group had found 1,000 unmarked graves in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley.

The Indian army and militants have been accused of numerous human rights abuses in Kashmir over the past two decades.

More than a dozen separatist Islamic groups have been fighting Indian administration.

'Civilians killed'

In a recent report, the tribunal said most of the graves were found in three northern districts of Baramullah, Kupwara and Bandipora.

The report said the group examined the cases of 50 people whom the Indian authorities described as foreign militants who had been killed in fighting with Indian security forces.

Investigations revealed that 47 of them were ordinary civilians killed in false encounters, it said.

"We are not saying we have evidence of who is in each grave. What we are saying is we don't know," said Dr Angana Chatterjee, convener of the group.

"Fifty of them were identified and recorded as foreign militants. Forty seven were civilians. So if you look at a sample and the sample gives you an evidentiary understanding, so you can make an assumption about the other graves."

Dr Chatterjee said the graves might be containing the bodies of the 8,000 people who disappeared during 20 years of the armed conflict.

She said the police should publish the photographs of the people buried in the graves to help families of the disappeared people to check whether their relatives were among them.

Dr Chatterjee said the "new" graveyards were found next to fields, schools and homes, largely on community land.



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