October 14, 2010

Fayaz and Mohammad: Victims of Torture

Feroz Ahmed Ganai, a twenty-eight-year-old contractor, was arrested by the BSF on November 29, 1995. On December 12, he was brought to the Bone and Joint Hospital with a gangrenous broken leg and acute renal failure. According to doctors in the emergency ward, Ganai had been brought in by the commander of the BSF 1st Battalion who claimed that Ganai was a militant and that he had broken his leg trying to escape. However, Ganai told the doctors that the BSF had broken his leg on the first day of interrogation. Ganai pleaded with the doctors, "Keep me here - otherwise they will kill me."
A doctor who examined Ganai stated that his leg had been broken about fourteen days earlier.
It had become gangrenous, with secondary blistering. The leg below the knee was entirely black at the time he was admitted and had to be amputated. The patient had received no medical care for the injury prior to his admission. Both kidneys had failed because of the gangrene and because of the beatings. The patient was in a state of shock; his blood was infected. He had contusions all over his body and face.
It took the BSF three to four hours to arrange for blood transfusions. But the doctors did not use that blood because upon screening it was found to contain sexually-transmitted diseases. Instead they used the hospital's blood bank and amputated Ganai's left leg from above the knee. On December 13, he was sent to Soura for kidney treatment.
While Ganai was under treatment at the Bone and Joint Hospital and the Soura Institute, he remained in BSF custody. Since his arrest, no family member or lawyer had been permitted to see him. In response to a petition filed by the family, on December 19, the High Court ordered that the family be permitted visits and that one person nominated by the mother be allowed to sit with him at the hospital. However, the BSF ignored the order.
When Human Rights Watch/Asia visited the Bone and Joint Hospital in January 1996, we observed six uniformed BSF soldiers accompanying Ganai, who was walking on crutches, out of the hospital. We have been unable to obtain any further knowledge of his whereabouts or condition.
In response to a letter from Human Rights Watch/Asia, the National Human Rights Commission requested information from the BSF in Kashmir about Ganai's case. BSF Commander S. S. Kothiyal responded with a statement claiming that Ganai, who was a “chief of Jamat-ul Mujahideen [a little-known militant group], was arrested on November 29, 1995, and that when he had tried to escape in heavy snow, he broke his leg. Because Ganai “did not observe proper precautions as advised by the doctor and kept on moving his leg” the leg became gangrenous and had to be amputated. The BSF commander also claims that family visits were permitted.
The BSF statement is flatly contradicted by the testimony of doctors who treated Ganai and by the High Court’s December 19 ruling on family visits. According to a statement by the NHRC, as of May 1996, Ganai was in custody at a Joint Interrogation Centre in Srinagar.

Mohammad I., a seventeen-year-old student, was arrested by the 163rd Battalion of the BSF in April 1995 from the old town neighborhood of Srinagar. Along with ten others, he was taken to the local interrogation center at Baramulla. He was kept there for three and a half months. He stated:
“I was interrogated six days a week, all day, for the entire time. The interrogation room was a small room with no windows, only a door. There were ropes and wooden clubs and wires and a car battery. On the first day, I was separated from the others, my legs were tied and I was beaten with clubs and a wooden stick with nails in it, usually on my legs, but sometimes on my hands. They repeatedly accused him of being a militant. I told them I was not. They also tortured me with the roller. They made me lie with my legs tied while two soldiers rolled the roller over my thighs until I fainted”
One day a soldier extinguished cigarettes into Mohammad's right hand to form the letter "F," saying, "You said you wanted freedom.” When Human Rights Watch/Asia interviewed Mohammad I. in January 1996, his right hand was still grossly disfigured from the burns.
Mohammad I. stated that he was given electric shock to his testicles for sixteen days. The shocks were given consecutively, lasting two or three minutes, until he would go into convulsions and faint. After the first three and a half months he was shifted to the Baramulla JIC, where he was not tortured. He was held there until December 20 when the district sessions court in Baramulla ordered him released on bail on the grounds of his medical condition.
Mohammad I. had no medical care while detained. According to a doctor who treated him in Srinagar, he has suffered episodes of manic-depression and needs psychiatric treatment. He has also lost 50 percent mobility in his right hand, passes blood in his urine and has become impotent.

Source:(UNHCR Report on Kashmir,1996)

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