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Amnesty Calls for Investigation into 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)

Amnesty International is calling for an impartial investigation into mass graves found in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

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

In a statement released Monday, Amnesty International asked Indian officials to allow impartial forensic experts to carry out a thorough investigation of the skeletal remains.

The rights group also urged Indian authorities to ensure the safety of the witnesses who gave statements to police during the investigation.

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 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.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.