Metropolitan police detectives reviewing allegations of war crimes in Kashmir

An Indian soldier guards near the site of an attack on the outskirts of Srinagar, in Indian controlled Kashmir. Credit: AP

Allegations of war crimes in disputed Kashmir are being reviewed by Scotland Yard’s war crimes unit after investigators filed an application seeking the arrest of India’s army chief and a senior government official. 

A specialist Metropolitan Police team unit is reviewing allegations submitted by Stoke White, a London-based law firm, documenting how Indian forces headed by General Manoj Mukund Naravane and Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah were allegedly responsible for the torture, kidnapping and killing of activists, journalists and civilians.

Detectives in London received a referral “concerning allegations of Core International Crimes”, a Scotland Yard spokesperson confirmed to ITV News, adding “a decision will be taken whether to open an investigation”.

A metropolitan police spokesperson said the force's War Crimes Team are reviewing the allegations. Credit: PA

Based on more than 2,000 testimonies taken between 2020 and 2021, Stoke White's report accuses eight unnamed senior Indian military officials of direct involvement in war crimes and torture in India-administered Kashmir, which is disputed between India and Pakistan.

The international law firm said it believes its application is the first time that legal action has been taken overseas against Indian authorities in relation to alleged war crimes in Kashmir.

Hakan Camuz, director of international law at Stoke White, hoped the report would convince British police to open an investigation and ultimately arrest the officials accused of war crimes.

He told ITV News that the evidence collected includes harrowing accounts of those who have been targeted after being falsely accused of being terrorists or belonging to a particular political party.

'That allows the Indian officials to justify and murder, that's a war crime,' Mr Camuz said

The police application was made on behalf of the family of Zia Mustafa, a resident of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir whom Stoke White said was the victim of an extrajudicial killing by Indian authorities in 2021.

It was also submitted on behalf of human rights campaigner Muhammad Ahsan Untoo, who was allegedly tortured before his arrest last week.

The national Indian government, led by Narendra Modi, unilaterally revoked the Himalayan region’s autonomy in 2019, while stripping away its statehood, bringing it under Delhi's control.

Mr Modi leads the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

Muslim Kashmiris support rebels who want to unite the region, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

Indian troops have long been accused of carrying out systematic abuse and arrests of those who oppose rule from New Delhi.

India’s government has denied the alleged rights violations and maintains such claims are separatist propaganda.