Over the last months Amnesty International has monitored with increasing concern the grave human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly against the backdrop of the first elections in the state since 1989. Immediately before and during the April/May elections to the Indian union parliament, the Lok Sabha, prominent citizens, human rights defenders, journalists and political leaders were at risk of human rights abuses by government security forces, militias under government control and by armed opposition groups. These abuses included harassment, extrajudicial execution, arbitrary arrest, torture and “disappearance”. During the elections, many members of the civilian population complained that they were caught between militant groups who threatened those who participated in the elections, and the army and so-called renegades who threatened those who did not. There are fears that this pattern may be repeated in the forthcoming assembly elections in September 1996.
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