May 9, 2006Foreign Affairs

Who killed 733 civilians in Jammu & Kashmir in 2004?

Or why the Daily Times must check facts and calm down its headline writers.

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

What’s come over Pakistan’s Daily Times? A few days ago its editorial insinuated that the massacre of villagers in Jammu & Kashmir could have actually been carried out by Indian intelligence agencies. And today it carries a story with a headline that announces Indian forces killed 733 Kashmiris in 2004: US State Department. Shocking eh? So let’s see what that US State Department report actually says:

The [Indian] Home Ministry reported that security forces killed 927 insurgents and terrorists during the year. The ministry also reported that insurgent and terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir declined in 2004 with 733 civilians (including 92 women, 32 children, and 62 political workers), 330 security force members, and 976 insurgents killed. [US State Department]

Well, the facts came from the Indian government and they point to the fact that 733 civilians died as a result of terrorist attacks.

The Asian Center for Human Rights (ACHR) that the State Department report cites, according to the Daily Times alleged that 733 civilians were killed in 2004”. Let’s see what the ACHR report actually says:

Ruled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Congress alliance, Jammu and Kashmir reportedly witnessed nearly one-fourth decrease in insurgency related violence in 2004 in comparison to 2003. There were 2,565 militancy-related incidents in 2004 as against 3,401 incidents in 2003. Similarly, the number of civilian killings has also come down from 836 in 2003 to 733 in 2004. [ACHR]

It is unfathomable how the Daily Times could interpret this to mean that the 733 civilians were killed by Indian troops. Further, ACHR attributes those figures to an article in The Kashmir Times dated 2 Jan 2005. That article itself is unavailable, but its headline makes it clear that the report was based on the same Indian government data.

So it is incorrect to suggest that Indian troops killed 733 civilians. Also the source of the data is not the US State Department or some human rights NGO, but the Indian government itself.

The story may have been filed by an overzealous reporter, but that such a factually incorrect and misleading copy made it to print only reveals that even the barest minimum of editorial verification is considered unnecessary when it comes to covering those Indian atrocities in Kashmir’. Even in the pages of as strong a proponent of people-to-people contacts as the Daily Times, demonisation lives on. Sadly or tellingly?

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