Indian officials accused of Kashmir rights abuses

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Tens of thousands of army and paramilitary troops are deployed in the Kashmir Valley

More than 500 members of India's armed forces are accused of human rights abuses in a damning report on conflict in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The alleged offences detailed in the report by a leading human rights group include custody deaths, abduction, torture and rape.

Army, police and paramilitary officers of senior rank are among those named. There was no immediate army response.

Thousands have died in a separatist insurgency in Kashmir since 1989.

The disputed region, claimed by both India and Pakistan, has seen violence fall in recent years.

But tens of thousands of Indian army and paramilitary troops continue to be deployed in the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley.

The report's authors say they gathered information from the police and under India's new freedom of information laws, as well from interviews with families and others.

An army spokesman said he was not aware of the report.

"If they have sent it to the defence ministry we have not received it so far. We can respond after proper perusal of the document," Lt-Col HS Brar, who speaks for the Indian army's Kashmir-based 15 corps, told the BBC.

'Perpetual wait for justice'

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The report was released in Srinagar on Thursday

The 354-page report was compiled by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and the International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir (IPTK).

It has analysed 214 cases of abuse and highlighted the role of officials in the killing of nearly 70 people and the disappearances of 8,000 people over two decades, the BBC's Riyaz Masroor in Srinagar says.

The report names military officials of very senior rank as "perpetrators", our correspondent reports.

Releasing the report in Srinagar, Kartik Murukutla, a human rights lawyer and one of the authors of the report, said India's priority in Kashmir was to control the territory, not pursue justice.

"For the victims, the wait for proper justice seems perpetual. In its approach to justice, the Indian state has not moved beyond cash relief or the promise of re-investigation.

"The state has wilfully lowered the standard of justice as well as the crimes perpetrated," he said.

The report says that despite the evidence, many of those accused of brutality were decorated for their role in fighting the separatist insurgency.

"While we believe in fixing the responsibility on the individuals, we have highlighted the culpability of the Indian state in shielding the perpetrators," the APDP chief Parvez Imroz said.

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