Sofi Aziz Joo, a 90 years old gravedigger in Poonch, revealed that he has buried over 2,500 unidentified bodies, sometimes in mass graves, handed over to him by the Indian police and the army. He said the bodies handed over to him by the police and the army were usually bullet-ridden, without limbs or mutilated. He also pointed out that most of the bodies had their faces disfigured beyond recognition. Sofi used to bury the bodies, and sometimes only heads without any other part the body attached to it, in a graveyard opposite a small shrine near the Indian army garrison. "The bodies would come anytime and burials were to be made without involving townsfolk for fear of provoking "anti-India" protests. So, I used to take the help of two labourers," he said. It is pertinent to note here that the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) had found in an inquiry over 2,100 unidentified bodies at 38 sites in Indian Held Kashmir. The commission's report had come out last month. But this is for the first time that unknown men have been identified in the Jammu region. These bullet-riddled bodies have exposed the gross human rights abuses perpetrated by the Indian security forces over the years in a bid to suppress a popular uprising. Particularly revealing is the finding that of the more than 2,000 bodies found, at least 574 were local residents a grim refutation of the boilerplate Indian claim that all men buried in such graves are militants. MUZAMMIL MUJAHID BHATTI, Rawalpindi, September 30.