Srinagar, November 11 (KMS): In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the Chairman of International Forum for Justice Human Rights JK, Muhammad Ahsan Untoo has documented that the Indian forces have killed at least 47 mentally ill people in the past three decades in the territory.
On a Sunday night, a sentry at an Air Force station on the outskirts of Srinagar shot and killed a 65-year-old man who had crossed the fence and come close to the perimeter wall of the station.
The police said that the man was fired upon after he ignored warning shots in the air. The man was barefoot, wore no winter clothes, and carried no ID card. He was identified as Syed Habibullah, a mentally ill man from Soibug, Budgam.
“He had come very close to the perimeter wall of the Air Force station. They (the sentries) shouted and shouted, asking him to standstill. But he kept moving. There is a video, too. The sentry got a bit nervous and opened fire,” I-G (Kashmir Zone) SP Pani said.
Valley’s top psychiatrist, Dr Arshid Hussain estimated that around 70 percent of mentally ill people were cared by families, but there were still many who were homeless.
“Though the mentally ill are vulnerable across the world, it is worse in a conflict zone,” Dr Arshid Hussain said, adding “We don’t have halfway homes and rehabilitation homes anywhere in Kashmir. The infrastructure is essential.”
Kirti Verma, Chairperson of Social Welfare, said that the authorities planned to bring an ordinance to help mentally challenged people.
Muhammad Ahsan Untoo, said, “The way mentally challenged people are shot dead can’t be reduced to a coincidence”.
The problem in Kashmir, Untoo said, is that draconian laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act allow Indian forces to shoot anybody merely on the basis of suspicion. And because the authorities promise probes but nobody is ever held responsible. There is no accountability, he added.
Even before the killings of the 65-year-old man, the IFFJHR JK had documented 47 such killings of mentally ill people.
On March 16, 2003 the Indian forces allegedly killed a woman who was roaming around their camp in Nowgam, Banihal. Her identity was not established, but it was confirmed that she was mentally unwell.
September 5, 2003: An unidentified, mentally challenged boy was shot, allegedly by paramilitary forces, in the Abi Guzar area of Srinagar.
February 20, 2004: Gul Mohammad Butt (22) of Chattru, Kishtwar, who had been born with a mental illness and could not properly comprehend or communicate, was shot and killed as he was walking towards his home at night. The forces initially claimed that he was a militant, but in the face of an outcry, said it was a case of mistaken identity.
March 1, 2004: A mentally challenged woman, Shameema Begum, was killed during an operation in Banihal.
April 13, 2004: forces allegedly killed Nazir Ahmad Chaku, a mentally challenged man from Islamabad.
August 10, 2004: Mentally challenged Ghulam Hassan Chopan of Zainpora, Shopian, was finally buried after the authorities ordered a magisterial inquiry into his killing. Chopan was allegedly shot by troops in an orchard on August 8. Villagers said he was trying to run away from the forces personnel who were calling him; the forces claimed Chopan was killed in an encounter. The outcome of the inquiry has not been made public.
December 25, 2004: The BSF allegedly shot dead mentally ill, Shamshad Ahmad Ganai in Tral.
June 24, 2005: Army expressed regret after shooting a mentally ill person at Ganwan Kangan, Ganderbal.
May 13, 2006: Army killed mentally challenged Muhammad Abdullah Sheikh on May 12-13 night. There were protests in Kunanposhpora, Kupwara. Army said the death was “highly unfortunate”, a case of “mistaken identity”.
July 16, 2006: Mentally ill Mohammad Abdullah Wani of Braripora, Handwara, was shot dead and the forces termed it a “case of mistaken identity”.
October 26, 2007: Akeel Ahmed Mir, a mentally challenged boy, was shot after he allegedly tried to enter a forces camp at Watlab, Sopore, in the wee hours.
April 11, 2008: Mentally ill Shakeel Ahmad Malik (24) of Boniyar, Uri, was killed as he tried to sneak into an Army camp. Army termed the incident as “unfortunate”.
January 6, 2009: Army shot deaf and mute, Abdul Rashid Reshi on the Gupkar Road in Srinagar. Police said he had crossed the main gate of the Commander 31 Sub Area’s residence.
January 5, 2011: An unidentified, mentally unsound man was shot dead in Lolab, Kupwara, late in the evening after, according to police, he “didn’t stop despite repeated warnings” from police personnel.
August 7, 2011: Army and police claimed to have killed top Lashkar commander Abu Usman in Surankote in a gun battle, but it emerged that a mentally challenged Hindu youth had been killed in a fake encounter.
December 19, 1996: Salam Din Khan, brother of Mir Alam Khan, 12th pass young mentally challenged person was killed by 18 RR in Devar Mien Market, and published news that a militant was killed in Mien Market Dever.
6th October 2021: CRPF Naka party fired mentally challenged ill, Parvaiz Gojjar at Kaimoh in Islamabad and killed him on spot and that claimed that militant Parviz was killed.