SRINAGAR, India – A state human rights commission said Tuesday it will review records from the 1995 kidnapping of six foreigners in Indian-controlled Kashmir after a new book alleged that Indian intelligence agents were involved in the deadly crime.
The six tourists were trekking in a Himalayan meadow when they were kidnapped by a previously unknown militant group named Al-Faran. One American escaped, but the body of a Norwegian was later found in a remote village. Another American, a German and two Britons were never located.
India said the kidnappers were backed by Pakistan, and that some disappeared after the crime while others were killed in gunbattles with Indian troops.
However, authors Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clarke suggest in a recently published book, "The Meadow: Kashmir 1995 — Where the Terror Began," that the Indian government deliberately undermined hostage negotiations and prolonged the crisis to damage Pakistan's reputation, and then used its own militants to take custody of the hostages before they were killed.
The Jammu-Kashmir State Human Rights Commission asked Tuesday for reports about the 17-year-old case from government and police authorities. Commission Secretary Tariq Ahmad Banday said it is also seeking access to two officers who were part of the original investigation.
The commission will discuss the case at its next meeting May 28, after being asked to look into it by a local rights group, the International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice.
The group called for an inquiry into "why no action was taken on various points ... despite the authorities having knowledge of the location of the hostages, and then subsequently the burial site of the hostages."