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India: JCB bulldozers being used in house demolitions in Kashmir

© Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Numerous demolitions taking place in Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority region

Bulldozers destroying homes despite many residents providing proof of ownership

‘No one should be made homeless or vulnerable to other human rights violations because of evictions’ - Aakar Patel

UK construction equipment giant JCB’s bulldozers are being used in house demolitions in Jammu and Kashmir in India, with Amnesty International describing the ongoing evictions and demolitions as a “gross violation” of human rights.

Peter Frankental, Amnesty International UK’s Economic Affairs Director, said:

“JCB should be horrified that their equipment is being used in some of these demolitions. They must take active steps to prevent this.

“At the very least, JCB should use their dealer and customer contracts and their diagnostic technology to prevent such misuse, including by decommissioning machines remotely where possible.

“If JCB fails to act over Kashmir it would be another example of the company falling short of its obligation to conduct proper human rights due diligence over how its machines are being used around the world.”

Demolition of homes

During 4-5 February, the district municipal corporation and state revenue authorities in collaboration with the police demolished the homes and properties of residents in at least four districts of Jammu and Kashmir - Srinagar, Budgam, Anantnag and Baramulla. According to media reports, several residents allege say they did not receive prior notification from the local authorities. Many also said they possessed documents proving ownership of their properties, but the authorities denied them the opportunity to present their claims before bulldozers destroyed their homes.

Aakar Patel, Amnesty International India’s Chair, said:

“The ongoing demolitions appear to be an extension of the brutal human rights violations the region of Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority region of India, has historically witnessed.

“These demolitions could amount to forced evictions which constitute a gross violation of human rights. No-one should be made homeless or vulnerable to other human rights violations because of evictions.

“The Indian authorities must immediately halt the demolition drive. They must offer adequate compensation to all those affected without discrimination, ensure that victims of forced evictions have access to effective remedy, and those responsible are held to account.”

JCB in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

In 2021, Amnesty published a major report showing how JCB diggers had been used in Israel’s unlawful destruction of Palestinian homes and the construction of Israel’s vast network of illegal settlements, warning that JCB’s failure to take appropriate steps to prevent its equipment being used in this way put the company in breach of its responsibilities under international human rights standards applicable to business. The year before, Amnesty wrote to former International Trade Minister James Cleverly urging him to take action in relation to JCB and two other UK companies - Opodo and Greenkote - after the firms were included on a United Nations list of 112 companies conducting “substantial and material” business activities in the illegal Israeli settlements.

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