SRINAGAR: The Amnesty International in its report released on Wednesday blamed Indian army and JK police of being involved in widespread human rights abuses inflicted upon the people of Kashmir.
Providing a detailed account of HR abuses, the report “Denied failures in accountability for human rights violations committed by security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir” has documented case studies that indicate the involvement of forces personnel in HR abuses in the Valley.
The report quoted Mohammad Amin Magray, uncle of 17-year-old Javaid Ahmad Magray, who was allegedly killed in April 2003 by government forces.
“If the Army knew they would be charged, and will have to go to court and be prosecuted, they will think ten times before they pull their triggers on an innocent…The AFSPA is a like a blank cheque from the government of India to kill innocents like my nephew,” said Mohammad Amin Magray.
Narrating the story of Magray, AI said that last time, the family saw the 17-year-old boy alive was on the late evening of April 30, 2003 when he was studying in his room.
“When they came down the stairs Javaid was gone,” the report documented. “An Indian army officer in charge of a camp told Javaid’s parents that he was in a local police station. The family rushed to the police state, only to be told, that Javaid had been brought here, but was then taken to three different hospitals, before being finally declared dead.”
In the course of investigations, the Amnesty stated that army officer testified that Javaid was injured during an encounter with the government forces – a claim refuted by the district magistrate who termed the army’s version “false” and categorically stated, “The deceased boy was not a militant…and has been killed without justification.”
Later, the Police filed a murder case against nine personnel who killed Magray and the state home department wrote a letter to Ministry of Defence in 2007 seeking sanction to prosecute the erring soldiers.
“We simply never heard what happened next,” Ghulam Nabi Magray, father of Javaid, said.
The amnesty said that Javaid’s case was among hundreds of other victims of HR violations allegedly committed by security forces in the state. The report also mentioned the involvement of police in HR violations.
It quotes Sheila (name change), who was sexually assaulted by a police officer during an interrogation in 2004.
“The DSP (Deputy Superintendent of Police) came inside the room. He kicked me with his shoes on, right in the abdomen. He hit me, using the legs of a chair with the nails still in them, on my legs, on my stomach and vaginal parts. Then I fell unconscious. The nails went straight inside my flesh and made my legs to swell. He beat me in the abdomen and vaginal parts….till there was blood everywhere,” Sheila was quoted by Amnesty in the report as saying.
Next day, the amnesty report stated the victim went to file a case in police station, but the police refused to do so.
“Sheila says the Inspector General of Police subsequently came to visit her family with a cheque of Rs 200,000 Rupees and an offer of job,” the report stated. “She told him that this is an empty gesture. Is this really the government response? You can leave the money, but who will protect my family from harassment when you leave?”
The report stated that very few individuals have been brought to justice in connection with these violations.
“The lawyers and HR activists point to police failure to register cases against their own, and failure to complete investigations, as the main source of impunity,” it added.
The Amnesty report also blamed controversial law like AFSPA as the main facilitator of impunity for the Army and other government forces, which block the justice deliverance to the HR victims.
“The ministry of defence claims that since 1990 it has received 44 applications for seeking prosecution under section 7 of the AFSPA. However, the Ministry failed to grant permission to prosecute in all cases,” said the report.
The AI report stated that despite assurances from the army’s top brass that there is “zero tolerance” for HR violations by the army, more than 96 percent cases brought against army in J&K have been dismissed as “false or baseless” or with “ulterior other motives of maligning the image of armed forces”.
The report further raised question on the investigations conducted by the security personnel. It states that the number of cases in which the complaints against security personnel have been investigated and military trials conducted are closed for public scrutiny.
“The military are reluctant to share substantive information about how they conduct inquiries and trials by court martial into HR violations,” the report stated.