Update of the Situation of Human Rights in Indian-Administered Kashmir and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir from May 2018 to April 2019


On June 14, 2018, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released its first report on the human rights situation in Indian-Administered Kashmir and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir between July 2016 and April 2018.

The report highlighted allegations of serious human rights violations, notably the excessive use of force by Indian security forces that led to numerous civilian casualties, arbitrary detention and impunity for human rights violations. The report also spoke about human rights abuses by armed groups allegedly supported by Pakistan. The Indian government rejected the report’s findings and recommendations, and accused the United Nations of violating its “sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

This second OHCHR report looks at the human rights situation in Indian-Administered Kashmir and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir between May 2018 and April 2019. It contains information available in the public domain (some of which was obtained through the Right to Information Act) and reflects the research and monitoring of human rights defenders and local, national and international NGOs. It also draws from official documents, such as questions in Parliament, court orders and police reports.

The first report’s recommendations are reiterated in the second since the governments of India and Pakistan did not address them, and additional recommendations are also made to the respective authorities. 


  1. The OHCHR reports that around 165 civilians were killed between July 2016 and March 2018 by armed groups and security personnel in Indian-Administered Kashmir.

  2. According to the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a federation of individuals and human rights organisations in Indian-Administered Kashmir, around 160 civilians were killed in 2018, which is believed to be the highest in over a decade.

  3. Of the 160 civilians killed in 2018, 71 were allegedly killed by Indian security forces, 43 by armed groups or unidentified gunmen and 29 due to shelling and firing by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control. 122 of these killings occurred in the Kashmir Valley (where most of the protests and armed encounters reportedly took place), and 85 of these 122 killings were in four districts of south Kashmir – Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian and Anantnag.

  4. JKCCS also found that the year 2018 had the highest number of conflict-related casualties since 2008. A total of 586 people were killed, including 160 civilians, 267 armed group members and 159 security forces personnel.

  5. However, the Ministry of Home Affairs claimed that only 37 civilians, 238 ‘terrorists’ and 86 security forces personnel were killed between January 1, 2018 and December 2, 2018.

  6. According to Press Trust of India reports, civilians were allegedly killed near sites of armed encounters between Indian security forces and armed groups – five on May 5, 2018 and seven (including three minors) on December 15, 2018. They were allegedly fired on by security forces during protests that broke out after the armed encounters.

  7. In 2018, at least 39 civilians, including 11 minors, were killed near armed encounter sites in the Kashmir Valley allegedly due to the excessive use of force against protesters.

  8. Despite the high number of civilians killed near encounter sites in 2018, there were no new investigations into the excessive use of force leading to these casualties. There was no information on the status of five investigations into extra-judicial executions in 2016 either. And the then state of Jammu and Kashmir did not announce any investigations into the killings of civilians in 2017.

  9. JKCCS reports that on December 15, 2018, Indian security forces used four civilians as human shields during a gunfight with armed groups in Pulwama district. Seven civilians and three armed group members were killed during this encounter.

  10. According to information obtained from Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital, 1,253 people were blinded due to metal pellets used by security forces between mid-2016 to the end of 2018.

  11. JKCCS reports that 120 civilian properties were destroyed during cordon and search operations in 2018, including 31 private houses that were completely burnt down. From January to March 2019, 18 civilian properties were destroyed.

  12. In July 2018, the then state government amended Section 10 of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978, removing the prohibition on detaining permanent J&K residents outside the state. Later in 2018, at least 40 people, mainly separatist political leaders charged under the Act, were transferred to prisons outside the state. The report says that this decision was “a way to punish the detainees further, as it makes it harder for them to be visited by their family members or to meet with their legal counsel.”

  13. In 2019, JKCCS reported a total of 28 civilian killings between January and March – 21 reportedly by armed groups, unknown gunmen, Indian security forces and cross-border shelling by Pakistani security forces along the Line of Control; three by the armed forces; and four in grenade or improvised explosive device explosions.

  14. The Software Freedom Law Center, a Delhi-based group dedicated to internet freedoms, reported that in 2018 the then state of Jammu and Kashmir experienced 65 of the 134 internet shutdowns in the country, and 25 such shutdowns between January and April 2019.

    Focus and Factoids by Abizar Shaikh.


Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)


Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Geneva


08 Jul, 2018