Security forces in Indian-occupied Kashmir have been accused of carrying out beatings and torture in the wake of the government’s decision to strip the region of its autonomy.
The BBC heard from several villagers who said they were beaten with sticks and cables, and given electric shocks. But the BBC was not able to verify the allegations with officials.
The Indian army has called them “baseless and unsubstantiated”.
Doctors and health officials are unwilling to speak to journalists about any patients regardless of ailments, but the villagers showed correspondent, injuries alleged to have been inflicted by security forces.
In one village, residents said that the army went from house to house just hours after India announced the controversial decision that upended a decades-old arrangement between Delhi and Kashmir.
Two brothers alleged that they were woken up and taken to an outside area where nearly a dozen other men from the village had been gathered. Like everyone else we met, they were too afraid of reprisals to reveal their identities.
The authorities say these actions are pre-emptive and designed to maintain law and order in the region, which was India’s only Muslim-majority state but is now being divided into two federally-run territories.
Army spokesperson Col Aman Anand said, “Measures had been taken to protect civilians but “there have been no injuries or casualties due to countermeasures undertaken by the army”.
Unprecedented restrictions have put Kashmir into a state of lockdown for more than three weeks and information has only trickled out since 5 August when Article 370 – as the provision giving the region special status is known – was revoked.
The Indian army has been fighting a separatist insurgency here for over three decades. India blames Pakistan for fomenting violence in the region by supporting militants – a charge that its neighbour, which controls its own part of Kashmir, denies.