‘No DNA test’ for bodies in unmarked graves
The government of Kashmir has rejected the wide-scale DNA testing of bodies in thousands of unmarked graves despite pleas by the families of those who disappeared during two decades of fighting in the region.
A report by the Indian state’s home department said all those in the graves were militants and if families wanted DNA tests, they would have to identify the exact grave where they thought their relative was buried.
The random collection of DNA from the graves would be an “academic exercise” that would “hurt the local sentiments”, the report said.
Khurram Parvez, an official with the local Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, yesterday criticised the report as “yet another attempt by the government to obfuscate the truth and sustain impunity”.
The report was a response to a three-year investigation by the state-run Human Rights Commission confirming last year that 38 sites in the north of Kashmir contained 2,156 unidentified bodies. The Human Rights Commission said 574 other bodies found in the graves were identified as local residents, and it urged widespread DNA testing.
Kashmir home secretary BR Sharma said the government was not hiding anything, but that the wide-scale, unfocused effort could not be done.
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