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July 13, 1999
24,537 killed in J&K since 1988
Annapurna Jha in New Delhi
The Jammu and Kashmir militancy has claimed 16,850 innocent lives, while 7,687 militants were killed by the law enforcement agencies between 1988 and 1997 when terrorism was at its peak in the state.
This was revealed in a report submitted by the Union government to the National Human Rights Commission.
Among those killed are 352 government officials, 15 senior political leaders, 110 politicians, 10 members of the judiciary and an equal number of journalists. Militants also kidnapped 2491 people, including 20 foreigners, of whom 1036 were killed.
At least 1,416 security personnel also laid down their lives during this period in order to bring normalcy in the strife-torn state, the report stated.
Militants destroyed 1,264 government buildings, 758 educational institutions, 9,309 houses, 1,659 shops, 243 bridges and nine hospitals in the state during the period. Criminal acts, extortion and looting by militants between 1990 and 1997 were valued at Rs 106.1 million.
The report acknowledged that ''due to targeted attacks by militants against innocent civilians in the early years of the ongoing terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir, coupled with calls by fundamentalist terrorist groups to Kashmiri Pandits to leave the valley, the vast majority of Kashmiri Pandits and other minority communities were forced to migrate''.
It said that militancy forced 49,000 Hindu and Sikh families to migrate from the Kashmir valley while 1,468 Muslim families also left the valley in search of security. The report says a significant number of migrating Muslim families may not have registered themselves due to fear of the militants' reprisals against their relatives in the valley.
An expenditure of Rs 2.64 billion was incurred on relief for the Kashmiri migrants in various states between 1990-91 and 1996-97, the report stated.
Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir government informed the Commission that 43,364 Hindu families went to Jammu until 1991 and 28,713 went to Delhi. About 5,000 Muslim families had also migrated during this period. Between 1992 and 1994, 49 Hindu families had left the valley.
Militants destroyed 93 temples, 27 mosques and two gurdwaras between 1990 and 1994, the state government informed the Commission.
Underlining the involvement of Pakistan in spreading militancy in Jammu and Kashmir by providing training and support to extremists, the state government expressed the view that the Pandits were targeted as part of a design to communalise the state. However, the militants had shown no regard to any community as all of them suffered at the hands of militants.
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