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    Posted on 06 Dec 2012
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    KASHMIR

    Report identifies serving soldiers, policemen for excesses

    The report on human rights situation in Kashmir refers to the “institutional culture of moral, political and juridical impunity”

    Riyaz Wani
    Srinagar

    Nearly 5,500 stone-pelters have been arrested since 2010

    Photo: Abid Bhat


    In a damning report on the human rights situation in Kashmir over the past two decades, two rights groups have individually identified 500 serving soldiers and policemen for the security excesses in the state.

    The report, prepared over two years using information gleaned from official documents and witness testimonies, portrays the state of impunity prevalent in Jammu and Kashmir. The state documents used range from police records, judicial and quasi-judicial papers and other official documents. The rights groups have used the Right to Information legislations, sought information on First Information Reports, High Court petition numbers and other documentation.

    The report has been jointly prepared by the International People’s Tribunal for Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir and Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons.

    Out of 214 human rights cases, a list emerges of 500 individual perpetrators, which include 235 army personnel, 123 paramilitary personnel, 111 Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel and 31 government-backed militants. Among the alleged perpetrators are two Major Generals and three Brigadiers of the Army, besides nine Colonels, three Lieutenant Colonels, 78 Majors and 25 Captains. There are also 37 senior officials of the federal paramilitary forces, a recently retired Director General of Police, as well as a serving Inspector General.

    “Cases presented in this report reveal that there is a policy not to genuinely investigate or prosecute the armed forces for human rights violations,” the report states. “There is an occasional willingness to order compensatory relief, but not to bring the perpetrators to justice. On the contrary, alleged perpetrators of crimes are awarded, rewarded and promoted by the state.”

    The report has examined 124 killings, 65 disappearances, 59 cases of torture and nine rapes from 1990 to 2011.

    The report comes down hard on the role of the judiciary in the state. “Despite the occasional passing of strong orders, there are numerous examples of the High Court effectively condoning the continuation of violations,” the report states. “The general experience in Jammu and Kashmir has been that judicial and quasi-judicial authorities, such as the State Human Rights Commission, have allowed themselves to be conscious of the power and will of the executive, thereby rendering themselves subservient to the State.”

    The report refers to the “institutional culture of moral, political and juridical impunity” that has resulted in enforced and involuntary disappearance of an estimated 8,000 persons as on November 2012 besides more than 70,000 deaths and 6,000 unknown, unmarked and mass graves. “The last 22 years have also seen regular extra-judicial killings punctuated by massacres. The Gow Kadal massacre on 21 January 1990 and other mass killings discussed in this report are symbolic reminders of the persistent human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir,” the report states.

    The report is scathing about the continuation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act in the state. “The impunity fostered by the judicial processes have been compounded by the existence of draconian laws such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act,” the report states. “The necessity to seek sanction for prosecution under AFSPA, and the complete denial of this sanction, has ensured absolute impunity for the armed forces, and has been upheld even by the Supreme Court, most recently in the infamous Pathribal fake encounter case.”

    Riyaz Wani is a Special Correspondent with Tehelka.
    riyaz@tehelka.com


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    Posted on 06 Dec 2012
 

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