New Delhi: International rights group, Amnesty International on Saturday sought “prosecution in civilian courts of those suspected to be responsible” for strapping a civilian to the bonnet of an armed forces vehicle. The rights group also termed the “killing of 17-year-old boy by personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police” as “inhuman”.
Videos of the two incidents that occurred during Srinagar parliamentary polls went viral on social media and were later picked up by news organisations. Amnesty representatives in the valley have since interviewed the victim, Farooq Ahmad Dar, who was tied to the front of the vehicle and also spoken to the family of the slain youth, Akeel Ahmad Wani.
Amnesty International India said that Farooq Ahmad Dar was subjected to “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” that amounted to torture. “Whether army personnel in this case wanted to deter stone-throwers, or intimidate people by making an example of Farooq Dar, such conduct is unlawful and unacceptable. Authorities should bring to justice those responsible, including those with command responsibility, in a civilian court. Army officials must think carefully about the signals that such demeaning acts send to ordinary people in Kashmir. They should not block prosecution using the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act,” Zahoor Wani, Senior campaigner at Amnesty International India said in the statement.
Taking notice of the “widespread outrage” over the video that shows the killing of Wani, Amnesty International’s statement said that “security force personnel are seen shooting from behind a wall at the protestors a short distance away”. Noting that Wani was a part of a group throwing stones, the statement said that “force (used) against violent protestors, must be both necessary and proportional” and in Wani’s case it “exceeds what is an acceptable use of force”.
Amnesty also commended the restraint shown by a member of paramilitary force who were “being heckled and kicked by protestors as he makes his way out of a polling station on 9 April”.