Violence spikes in Indian Kashmir after video showing man tied to military vehicle goes viral

Protests last week followed the deaths of at least eight people in violent clashes during a botched by-election

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 April, 2017, 8:50pm
UPDATED : Monday, 17 April, 2017, 9:40pm

Militants have stepped up attacks in Indian-ruled Kashmir and ­police warned officers not to go home, amid a spike in violence in the contested region, after the army allegedly tied a man to the front of a jeep as a human shield.

Police have filed a case against the army over the incident, in which soldiers are accused of ­seizing a 24-year old shawl weaver on April 9, strapping him to the front of their vehicle and then parading him through villages.

A video of the episode circulated widely on social media, in a ­reminder for some of alleged ­human rights abuses perpetrated by Indian security forces as they struggle to contain a separatist ­insurgency now in its 28th year.

Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Rajesh Kalia said the ­veracity of the video was being ­ascertained, adding: “Action will be taken against those found guilty of misconduct.”

Protests last week followed the deaths of at least eight people in violent clashes during a botched by-election.

Over the weekend two more videos circulated on social media showing workers of the ruling political party in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir renouncing mainstream politics, one of them beside a man wielding a gun. Another is said to show the killing of a teen by paramilitary officers during the by-election, has roused further anger.

Farooq Ahmad Dar, a shawl weaver, was picked up by soldiers near the home of a relative after voting in the by-election.

“Look at the fate of the stone-pelter,” a soldier says over a loudspeaker, in the video.

“This is a phenomenon that has been going on for the last 27 years,” said Khurram Parvez, a leading Kashmiri human rights activist. “This is not the first human shield case. What is different now is that this case has been documented, thanks to social media.”

The clashes in Kashmir, a ­region divided between India and Pakistan but claimed in full by both, have preceded the summer months when protests in the ­territory are more frequent.

India accuses Pakistan of backing separatist fighters – a charge Islamabad denies. Kashmir witnessed deadly protests after a well-known separatist mil­itant was killed last year.