SRINAGAR: Kashmir-based rights group Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) on Tuesday criticised government of India for conferring Padhma Vibhushan civilian award upon the controversial former governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Jagmohan, saying “he deserves prosecution”.
In a statement issued here, JKCCS said the award was government of India’s appreciation to Jagmohan’s services that included “massacres and killing hundreds in Jammu and Kashmir”.
Jagmohan was appointed governor of the state, for the second time in his career, on January 19, 1990, following the dismissal of then-National Conference government.
He worked as the governor till May 26, 1990, when he was removed after Mirwaiz Molvi Mohammad Farooq was killed and dozens of people were subsequently massacred in indiscriminate firing over his funeral procession.
The JKCCS said the people of Jammu and Kashmir remembered Jagmohan as “one of the persons responsible for numerous massacres, killings, torture, weeks-long curfews and crackdown operations”.
“Two days after he took over, Gaw Kadal massacre was carried out in which around 50 people were killed. The five months of rule by Jagmohan was the manifestation of institutionalised brutality.
“On the second day of his rule, he, in a televised statement, threatened to retaliate with violent means against any ‘law and order problem’. True to his words, he ensured that all unarmed civilian protests were dealt with heavy military might, resulting in huge loss of life,” it said.
The rights group said it was under Jagmohan’s rule that “massacres like Gaw Kadal, Handwara, Zakura, Byepass, Hawal, Mashali Mohalla took place” and hundreds of crackdown operations were started as “a collective punishment method for breaking the will of the people who supported the newly-started armed uprising in Jammu and Kashmir against the Indian occupation”.
“During his tenure, hundreds of people were subjected to enforced disappearances. Torture became a natural choice of soldiers against every Kashmiri. All these crimes were being perpetrated at every corner of Kashmir indiscriminately with an absolute impunity, which is only possible if the authorities at the helm of affairs had authorised these actions,” it said.
Jagmohan, it said, at least encouraged the displacement of Pandits, rather than instilling confidence in them.
Jagmohan, as in-charge of the armed forces that were involved in all kinds of “crimes against people”, “is liable for prosecution under the principle of command responsibility under the international law, which the government of India has, of course, always disregarded in Jammu and Kashmir”, JKCCS said.
The group said Jagmohan was no different from Mumma Kanna, the infamous government gunman who was also awarded by government of India “for perpetrating crimes on people of Jammu and Kashmir”.
These awards, it said, were an indication that India “aims to continue its policy of violence and aggression”. “Peace talks may only be political tactic to dilute the international pressure.”