Torture and Obstruction of Health Care
The vicious conflict in Kashmir, now in its fourth year, is characterized by the Indian army’s and other security forces’ blatant disregard for international norms of medical neutrality. Security forces frequently detain and assault health professionals; beat and shoot ambulance drivers, preventing them from transporting injured people; and raid hospitals, forcing doctors at gunpoint to identify injured patients who are then arrested, in some cases after being disconnected from life-sustaining equipment. The security forces have also opened fire on hospital grounds, entered operating theaters and destroyed medical supplies. Virtually everyone taken into custody by the security forces in Kashmir is tortured by electric shock and severe beatings. Despite the fact that many health services have been curtailed, and hospitals are short-staffed and overcrowded, India refuses to permit international humanitarian organizations to assist with medical relief in Kashmir.