SRINAGAR: Human rights watchdog, Amnesty International has asked India to initiate an impartial probe into the allegations of human rights violations made in a report ‘’Alleged Perpetrators – Stories of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir” prepared by the International Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-Administered Kashmir (IPTK), and the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP).
“Indian authorities must take responsibility and initiate independent, impartial prompt and efficient investigations into serious allegations of human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir. The Indian central government and J&K state must bring to justice, in fair proceedings, anyone, irrespective of rank, pointed by such independent investigations as suspected of offences related to these violations.
The authorities must also provide reparations to victims of human rights violations in the region and their families”, the Amnesty said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
“Laws such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1990 and Disturbed Areas Act, 1990 and J&K policing practices shielded by such laws have long fostered a culture of impunity in the region for security forces. It is imperative that the authorities hold those responsible for human rights violations accountable, to ensure justice and combat this culture of impunity”, it added..
However, the AI has said that it is not in a position to comment on specific allegations within reports by other organizations. “The Amnesty International does share the general human rights concerns documented and discussed in the report, “Alleged Perpetrators – Stories of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir” prepared by the International Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-Administered Kashmir (IPTK), and the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP),” said Raheela Narchoor, Amnesty International India’s Jammu & Kashmir Researcher.
The report, largely based on official documents, lists 214 key pending cases of human rights violations and seeks to identify the roles of 500 alleged perpetrators, 235 members of India’s armed forces, 123 paramilitary personnel, 111 Jammu and Kashmir police officers and 31 members of armed militias allegedly sponsored by the state agencies, in these violations. The cases examined by the report include 125 extrajudicial executions, 65 enforced disappearances and instances of torture, including rape and other sexual assault.
“Amnesty International urges the J&K and central governments, to address what appears to be overwhelming evidence compiled in the report that judicial inefficiencies and draconian laws have facilitated an atmosphere in which individual officials cannot be held accountable for offences involving human rights violations.”
“Impunity in J&K is also pervasive. There is a lack of political will among political and security force leaders to hold civilian and in particular military officials accountable even in well-documented cases. Amnesty International, is concerned that even the exhaustive compilation of evidence by IPTK will fail to lead to prosecution as the Central Government has been reluctant in the majority of cases to grant sanctions to prosecute.”
The Asian Federation Against Enforced Disappearances (AFAD), a regional federation of human rights organizations working directly on the issue of enforced disappearances has lauded the attached release of the research “Alleged Perpetrators – Stories of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir,” painstakingly undertaken by the International Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-Administered Kashmir [IPTK] and the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons [APDP].
“This landmark study, a compilation of stories of 214 cases of human rights violations where 500 individual members of the Indian army, police, para-military and State supported militants are identified perpetrators will serve as important ground for the families and relatives of victims of enforced disappearances and other victims of human rights violations to demand accountability from the Indian government. The study clearly points to a high level of command decision, given the involvement of top ranking officers of the Indian Army, the highest of them a Major General. If used to the full, it will go a long way towards the unveiling of the truth, the prosecution of perpetrators, reparation for victims and the non-repetition of human rights violations in this paradise lost”, AFAD said ina statement issued here.
The AFAD has called on on the government to address the issue of impunity conducted against the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “For many years now, members of the Association of the Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), a founding member-organization of AFAD, have been demanding for truth on the whereabouts of their disappeared children. They have been living in anguish and pain. Justice has been so elusive with the continued denial of the Indian government. Worse still, cases continue to happen with each passing day”, it added.