Indian authorities in Kashmir have detained 144 minors, including a nine-year-old, since the government removed the region’s special status in August, a police list seen by AFP showed Tuesday.

Sixty of the minors are under 15, according to the document submitted to a committee appointed by India’s Supreme Court to look into allegations of illegal detentions.

Reasons given by the police for detaining the minors include stone pelting, rioting and causing damage to public and private property, the committee said in its report.

Most have since been released.

The police, however, denied that any child was taken into “illegal detention” and said that the juveniles are “dealt strictly [with] as per the prescribed law.”

“It happens often that when minors/juveniles indulge in stone-pelting, that they are momentarily held up on the spot and sent home. Some of these incidents are exaggerated beyond proportion,” the report quoted the police as saying.

New Delhi stripped Indian-administered Kashmir of its autonomy on August 5, sending in tens of thousands of extra troops, cutting telecommunications and detaining thousands of people.

Almost two months on, many of the region’s top politicians remain in custody and mobile phones and the internet remain largely snapped in the Kashmir Valley, the main trouble hotspot.

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said last month she was “deeply concerned about the impact of recent actions by the government of India on the human rights of Kashmiris.”

Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since 1947 and has sparked two wars.

Last week Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told the UN General Assembly that India could unleash a “bloodbath” in the Muslim-majority territory.

An uprising against Indian rule, which New Delhi blames on Islamabad, and a tough Indian response has killed tens of thousands of people since 1989, most of them civilians.

– AFP