UK law firm seeks arrest of top Indian officials for Kashmir 'war crimes'

This is the first legal action against Indian government, military 'for war crimes in Kashmir,' says law firm Stoke White

2022-01-20 12:57:16


A UK-based legal investigation firm on Wednesday filed an application calling on the British police to arrest Indian government officials for “war crimes” in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.

“A legal appeal for the arrest of two Indian government officials under the Universal Jurisdiction principle has been made to London's Metropolitan Police, following the release of a report which accuses the individuals of war crimes against Kashmiri Muslims,” law firm Stoke White said in a statement.

India's army chief Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane and Home Minister Amit Shah “could be liable for arrest by the Metropolitan Police's War Crimes Unit … on alleged war crimes in Jammu and Kashmir,” the firm said.

A report by the law firm into alleged war crimes in the disputed Himalayan region suggests that “Indian security forces, headed by Naravane and Shah, have been responsible for the torture, kidnapping and extrajudicial killing of activists, journalists, and other innocent civilians, particularly targeting Muslims.”

“This report is dedicated to the families who have lost loved ones without a trace, and who experience daily threats when trying to attain justice,” said Khalil Dewan, the author of the report and head of Stoke White Investigations.

Hakan Camuz, director of Stoke White, said: “The fact that Kashmiri Muslims have only international law to turn to after decades of seeking justice in their own country and only being subjected to further violence for doing so, means Stoke White must begin the process of justice on their behalf, in a country that we understand respects the rule of law.”

Camuz said in a press release that the application to the UK Met Police's war crimes unit is a “launchpad to investigate prime minister Narendra Modi's government ministers for war crimes.”

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Camuz said: “This is the first legal action against (Indian Prime Minister Narendra) Modi and his government officials and military officials for the war crimes committed in Kashmir.

“Our investigation is still ongoing and more information is coming out of atrocities taking place in. We will pursue justice as for the victims.”

Indian authorities are yet to comment on the issue to Anadolu Agency.

Disputed region

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, India and Pakistan have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir.

​​​​​​​Indian and Pakistani troops have also fought intermittently in the northern Siachen region since 1984. A cease-fire took effect in 2003.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989.​​​​​​​