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Indian Government Confirms Mass Graves in Kashmir


Kashmiri villagers walk past a graveyard containing unidentified dead at Bimyar, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) west of Srinagar, India (File Photo)

Kashmiri villagers walk past a graveyard containing unidentified dead at Bimyar, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) west of Srinagar, India (File Photo)

Indian authorities have confirmed the existence of mass graves in Indian-controlled Kashmir, containing bodies of more than 2,000 people apparently killed in a long-running separatist conflict.

India's Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission released a report Sunday saying a three-year investigation has uncovered 2,156 unidentified bodies in 38 sites in the region.

Indian authorities conducted the inquiry in response to allegations that Indian security forces have committed rights abuses in fighting a more than two-decade-long Muslim separatist insurgency.

Rights groups accuse Indian security personnel of killing Kashmiri civilians in staged gun battles and passing them off as militants when handing the bodies to residents for burial. The Indian government commission did not confirm that allegation. It called for DNA profiling to identify the bodies discovered in the mass graves.

Rights activists say at least 8,000 people have gone missing in Indian Kashmir since the separatists began fighting in 1989 for independence from Hindu-majority India or a merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan. Rebel attacks and Indian government crackdowns have killed at least 50,000 people.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in full by both.

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