‘Conscientious Indians should pressurise GoI for dialogue with Kashmir’s Azadi leadership’
SRINAGAR: Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations (CDRO) has criticised the Government of India and its law officer for being “parsimonious in their espousal of wisdom” and said that ignorance of law is neither counted as an excuse nor exonerates a citizen from being prosecuted for commission of a crime.
In a statement, the group said, “The alarm bells must be sounded when the highest legal officer of the Government of India, who is meant to uphold law, the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi expresses his ignorance of law and defends Army’s use of human shield in Kashmir as ‘peculiar situation requires peculiar measures’.”
“His statement is not only offensive but shows reckless disregard for lawless acts directed against civilians and then justifies it by using spurious arguments which amount to utter contempt for the Constitution. To argue, as the AG did, that using human shield was ‘a smart thing’ to do or even the practical thing to do, for which the Army should be praised, is actually to gloss over a cowardly and criminal act. He is also prejudicing the investigation,” it said.
The rights group added, “Now that FIR has been registered against the Major and other personnel of 53 Rashtriya Rifles, the Army itself has ordered an internal enquiry. And needless to add has lent a helping hand to those whipping up hysteria against Kashmiri Muslims and baying for their blood.”
“Arguably, the Government of India denies presence of any armed conflict anywhere in India and insists that Rule of Law operates even in the ‘Disturbed’ areas, when in fact the armed forces of the Union of India enjoy legal impunity from criminal prosecution in such areas. Now the fact is that if Rule of Law indeed prevails in J&K then pre-eminence of Article 21 (Right to life and liberty) of the Constitution cannot be side-stepped. Using non – combatants as human shield amounts to torture and cruel and inhumane treatment of citizens goes against the very spirit of Article 21.”
“It is also to be noted that the actions of the Indian armed forces are in direct contravention to the International Human Rights Law as using civilians as military objects violates the jus cogens norms of protection against torture and right to life. Though, India hasn’t ratified the Convention Against Torture (CAT), it is bound by the customary international law and isn’t permitted to infringe the same,” the group said.
CDRO appeals to “conscientious” Indians to denounce the Government of India and its law officer for “condoning the heinous crimes” and to pressurise them to “give up the policy of military suppression and initiate serious and purposeful political dialogue with the political leadership of the Azaadi movement”.