About two dozen young people in the Shopian villages tell stories of severe torture at the hands of the Indian army.
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The soldiers arrived after midnight, says Abid Khan, with trembling hands, one of about two dozen young people in only part of occupied Kashmir who claim to have been tortured by the Indian army.
The alleged abuses, residents say, aim to create a climate of fear after India stripped the Himalayan region, long restless and bloody, of its autonomy on August 5.
Khan, 26, from the village of Hirpora in the Shopian district, says he was dragged and blindfolded along with his brother, who has learning difficulties, on August 14.
“They gave my brother electric shocks right on the road outside. I heard him scream painfully, "Khan said. AFP, showing marks on his arms, legs and buttocks.
Read: Stories of torture after annexation by India emerge from occupied Kashmir
Once inside the nearby Chowgam military camp, Khan said the soldiers undressed him, tied his legs and wrists, suspended him and hit him with rods.
The camp commander, Khan said, accused him of inviting Riyaz Naikoo from Hizbul Mujahideen, one of several armed groups fighting the Indian government, to his recent marriage.
An uprising in occupied Kashmir has killed tens of thousands since 1989, mostly civilians.
"I kept repeating that that was not true," Khan said. “Then I was reapplied to the genitals and wounds. One of them said & # 39; I will make you helpless & # 39; "
After being released at dawn and barely able to stand up, Khan says he kept vomiting for 10 days and only managed to start moving again after 20 days.
"I can't eat well anymore," he said. “I no longer enter the room where my wife sleeps […] It is better to die with a bullet than to suffer such torture.
& # 39; Friendly with people & # 39;
New Delhi says that its Kashmir blockade since last month, with mobile and Internet service still interrupted in most areas, is to prevent "terrorists" from generating problems.
Watch: How India is trying to portray & # 39; calm, normal & # 39; in occupied Kashmir enclosed
India's national security adviser has denied that the army has committed atrocities, a statement echoed by Colonel Rajesh Kalia, an army spokesman in Kashmir.
“All anti-terrorism operations are carried out in the most professional and friendly way for people. The accusations of abuse against the army are completely unfounded, "Kalia said. AFP.
But people in Hirpora say they often hear screams in the military camp at night.
Three other villagers said AFP They were also tortured. In total, about two dozen young men in Shopian villages told similar stories.
"The army is making examples of two or three young men from each village," said a Shopian resident who has compiled a list.
The pattern is often of soldiers who raid houses, take identity cards and mobiles and tell young people to come to the fields to retrieve them.
A 21-year-old boy, who refused to be named but shared with AFP Photos of his injuries, he said he had reported to Pahnoo camp three times since August 27 and was abused every time.
An officer accused him of giving food to the Kashmir fighters and then offered him money to get information, he said. On another occasion, he was questioned about a former classmate who is now a fighter.
"I was given electric shocks inside a dark room for about two hours," said the man, showing scars on his forearm.
& # 39; Come back with names & # 39;
Obaid Khan, also 21, from the village of Gugloora, said he had to go to the same camp to retrieve his ID and phone on August 26.
“Eight soldiers continued to beat me with rods for a long time. Before they let me go, they asked me to come back with names of stone shooters in my town, ”he said, referring to the protesters who face the security forces.
Related: Genocide Watch issues alerts for the occupied state of Kashmir and Assam of India
Sajjad Hyder Khan, a local official in the town of Pinjoora, said AFP He has seen a list of 1,800 people detained by police and soldiers alone in Shopian, one of the four districts in the southern Kashmir valley.
Not far from his home in the city of Shopian, five black soldiers with "COMMANDO" on their sleeves and with assault rifles went from house to house, looking for details of the residents.
"With my humble and muted voice, all I can say is that there is pressure to prevent people from protesting," said Khan, the Pinjoora official.
And it has worked.
The official added: "There has been no throwing of stones on the soldiers since August 5th."
Header image: Abid Khan, 26, who says he was tortured by the Indian army, observes during an interview with AFP in the village of Haripora in the Shopian district of occupied Kashmir. – AFP