Kashmiri separatist leaders on Saturday said the WikiLeaks cable disclosures on torture of detainees in Kashmir vindicated their stand on rights violations, while the mainstream political parties continued their blame game.
"There is nothing new in these disclosures. Indian forces are resorting to inhuman and brutal torture to crush the sentiments of the people for the past 20 years," hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani told reporters here.
Geelani claimed he too had been subjected to third degree torture in jails in and outside the state.
Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, said: "The leaks have vindicated our stand about the systematic torture prevalent in the jails in Kashmir."
"It was unfortunate that the United States of America had been maintaining an intentional silence on the human rights situation in Kashmir while it spoke about the rights violations in Burma (Myanmar) and other countries," he added.
The pro-freedom Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik said: "Our bodies are witness to the torture and most of my colleagues including myself were subjected to brutal torture in the 1990s."
Reacting to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's remarks that the WikiLeaks disclosures pertained to 2005 when the People's Democratic Party (PDP) was in power, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said: "Our party does not need a certificate either from WikiLeaks or from the National Conference about the improvement of the human rights situation during the PDP tenure here."
Mehbooba said the people of Kashmir were the best judges and she was leaving the final verdict on the matter to them.
Khurram Parvez, coordinator of rights group Jammu and Kashmir coalition of civil society, said in his reaction, "What now needs to be seen is whether the Indian civil society still remains silent or takes to the streets to agitate the human rights situation in Kashmir."
Latest WikiLeaks dispatches reveal that US diplomats in Delhi were briefed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 2005 about the use of electrocution, beatings and sexual humiliation against hundreds of detainees in Jammu and Kashmir.
Other cables show that American diplomats, as recently as 2007, were concerned about widespread human rights abuses by Indian security forces, who they said relied on torture for confessions, the Guardian reported on Friday.
The most highly charged dispatch is likely to be an April 2005 cable from the US embassy in Delhi which reports that the ICRC had become frustrated with the Indian government which, they said, had not acted to halt the "continued ill-treatment of detainees".