500 personnel including Indian army officers involved in HR violations in Kashmir: rights groups

Srinagar, December 6, 2012:  In Sriangar, the study report has revealed that as many as 500 Indian paramilitary and police personals including the senior officials are involved in human rights abuse in Jammu and Kashmir in last more than two decades of military violence.  Two human rights groups Thursday said that 235 Indian army men, 123 paramilitary personnel, 111 policemen and 31 government sponsored gunmen were involved in 214 cases of human rights violations in Kashmir. International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir (IPTK) and Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) released a report, “Alleged perpetuators –stories of impunity in Jammu and Kashmir”. The report has examined 124 killings, 65 disappearances, 59 cases of torture and nine rapes committed by men in uniform from 1990 to 2011.
“There is a policy not to genuinely investigate or prosecute the armed forces for human rights violations in Kashmir and in only occasional cases, the orders for compensatory relief have been given but not to bring the perpetrators to justice,” the group said in its report released in a press conference in Srinagar. 
The report was released by renowned Human Rights activists Gautam Navlakha, Parvez Imroz, Khuram Parveez and Kartik Murukutla.
Hundreds of Indian armed officials including two generals and senior police officers have been named in a new report on human rights abuses in Kashmir.
The 354-page investigation by two local rights groups, which draws on state documents obtained under freedom of information laws, alleges widespread disappearances, murders and torture.
In the heavily militarised region, the study, a blow to the image of the world’s biggest democracy, examined more than a hundred killings, 65 disappearances, 59 cases of torture and nine rapes committed by government forces from 1990 to 2011.
“By naming names, the report seeks to remove the veil of anonymity and secrecy that has sustained impunity,” said the report, which was released in Kashmir on Thursday.
“What is striking is that the documents in possession of the state itself indict the armed forces and the police by providing reasonable, strong and convincing evidence on the role of the alleged perpetrators in specific crimes.”
The Indian army still benefits from the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, a draconian piece of legislation introduced in 1990, which offers legal impunity and rights to kill suspects and seize property.
The two groups behind the report are the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-Administered Kashmir (IPTK) and the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP).
Gautam Navlakha from IPTK said the study was “just a tip of iceberg and yet a window into what took place in the last 22 years and the reign of impunity that persists.”
In the cases examined, the groups name 500 perpetrators, including 235 Indian army members, 123 Indian paramilitary personnel, 111 police officers and 31 government-backed militants or associates.
It also names two army generals, three brigadiers and senior serving and retired police chiefs.
The army and government declined to comment on the report.
United Nations rights officials have repeatedly raised problems in Indian Kashmir, calling on the government to repeal emergency legislation now that violence has waned and investigate alleged violations.
Militant attacks are at their lowest ebb since the start of the insurgency, but the army and defence minister are staunchly resisting any removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
Last year, a local human rights group discovered mass graves of more than 2,000 unidentified bodies, adding that many of them were people who had disappeared after being arrested by the Indian paramilitary and police forces.
Press conference 
International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-Administered Kashmir [IPTK] and Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons [APDP] releasing program of its report, “alleged PERPETRATORS - Stories of impunity in Jammu and Kashmir”. At Hotel Grand Mumtaz Srinagar
500  Officials involved in Human Rights Abuses in Kashmir
December 6, 2012 
An independent group of legal experts and human rights activists have, for the first time, named hundreds of top security officials for committing human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir over the last 23 years of conflict.nternational Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian administered Kashmir (IPTK) and Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) came out with a report on Thursday which has named 500 officials from various security agencies for being involved in 214 cases of human rights abuses which include abduction, rapes, torture and cold-blooded murders.
 The report has been compiled on the basis of victims’ statements, official and court records while some of the information implicating the officers has been procured using the RTI Act.
 “Our search for truth and justice has taken a step forward with this report,” noted human rights activist, Gautam Navlakha said. “At a time when India is bidding for the permanent seat in UN Security Council, it is imperative to bring this report on international arena.” 
The revelations are part of the report ‘alleged Perpetrators- Stories of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir’, which has been reportedly sent to J&K chief minister as well as Prime Minister of India. The report documents 214 cases of abuses involving nearly 500 officials including 235 Army personnel, 123 paramilitary personnel, 111 J&K police personnel and 31 government-backed militant or their associates.
 “With this report, one can point out that seeking justice under Indian justice system is not possible because crimes committed in J&K are beyond the realm of Indian justice system. Therefore it is essential to seek justice from international justice system,” Gautam added.
 The report further reveals, “Among the alleged accusers are two major generals and three brigadiers of Indian Army, besides nine colonels, three lieutenant colonels, 78 majors and 25 captains. Add to this, 37 senior officials of the federal paramilitary forces, a recently retired director general of JK police as well as a serving inspector general.”

Srinagar, December 06, 2012
INTERNATIONAL PEOPLES’ TRIBUNAL ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND JUSTICE IN INDIAN-ADMINISTERED KASHMIR [IPTK] / ASSOCIATION OF PARENTS OF DISAPPEARED PERSONS [APDP] announce the release of: alleged Perpetrators - Stories of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir at a press conference on Thursday, December 06, 2012, in Srinagar, Kashmir alleged Perpetrators a report by IPTK/APDP examines 214 cases of human rights violations and for the first time, the role of 500 alleged perpetrators in these crimes.

This report, prepared over two years using information gleaned mostly from official State documents in addition to witness testimonies, in cases available with IPTK/APDP, portrays the state of impunity prevalent in Jammu and Kashmir. Where identities of individual perpetrators of crimes are known it seeks a process of accountability for institutional criminality. The State documents used range from police records, judicial and quasi-judicial records and Government documents. IPTK/APDP using the Right to Information legislations sought information on First Information Reports, High Court petition numbers and other documentation.

Out of 214 cases a list emerges of 500 individual perpetrators, which include 235 army personnel, 123 paramilitary personnel, 111 Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel and 31 Government backed militants/associates. Among the alleged perpetrators are two Major Generals and three Brigadiers of the Indian Army, besides nine Colonels, three Lieutenant Colonels, 78 Majors and 25 Captains. Add to this, 37 senior officials of the federal Paramilitary forces, a recently retired Director General of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, as well as a serving Inspector General. The official designations of the alleged perpetrators and the geographical spread of the crimes committed against the people of Jammu and Kashmir indicate a decisive will of the Indian State, carried out by its functionaries as part of a policy. The concept of individual criminal responsibility is well established under international criminal law. From Nuremberg to the United Nations ad hoc tribunals – like the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia - to the most recent, the International Criminal Court [ICC], the focus of international law has gradually moved from laying responsibility for crimes from the general – the State – to the individual – the perpetrator.
Cases presented in this report reveal that there is a policy not to genuinely investigate or prosecute the armed forces for human rights violations. There is an occasional willingness to order compensatory relief, but not to bring the perpetrators to justice. On the contrary, alleged perpetrators of crimes are awarded, rewarded and promoted by the State.
The role of the judiciary in a conflict zone is a vital and, often, the only hope available for ensuring justice. It must serve as an effective check on the executive and be vigilant in ensuring that human rights of individuals are not violated. Despite the occasional passing of strong orders, this report contains numerous examples of the High Court effectively condoning the continuation of violations. The general experience in Jammu and Kashmir has been that judicial and quasi-judicial authorities such as the State Human Rights Commission [SHRC] have allowed themselves to be conscious of the power and will of the executive, thereby rendering themselves subservient to the State. The impunity fostered by the judicial processes have been compounded by the existence of draconian laws such as the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 [AFSPA].
Based on the information before it, IPTK/APDP cannot conclusively pronounce on the guilt of any of the alleged perpetrators, but it is clear that enough evidence exists to warrant further investigations and prosecutions. However, in the absence of any institutional or political will to take the evidence to its natural conclusion – a trial where the crime and the guilt of a perpetrator can be proven beyond reasonable doubt – the Indian State stands indicted.
The Executive Summary of the report is appended below and the full copy of report is attached.

India ignores abuses in Kashmir, says report
Dec, 6 AP Srinagar:SRINAGAR Dawn: India and its courts have prevented fair investigations and prosecutions of security officials accused of human rights violations in Kashmir, ignoring its own laws in the restive Himalayan region, two rights groups said on Thursday.   
 The report by two local groups names, for the first time, specific paramilitary soldiers and police suspected of crimes, which include rape, murder and kidnapping.
 Despite the evidence contained in government documents, India has not shown “any institutional or political will” to prosecute those responsible, the groups said.
 The government would not comment. “We will have first to go through the contents of the report and then we will respond,” Ali Mohammed Sagar, the law minister of Indian-held Kashmir, told The Associated Press.
The report dismissed India’s past claims that acts of brutality by security personnel were aberrations.
 “Volumes of evidence exist of cries committed by specific perpetrators, assisted by a system where impunity is available right from the commission of the crime to the ultimate cover-up,” the report said.
Under emergency laws in Kashmir, government forces can shoot suspects on sight and federal approval is needed for local authorities to prosecute any soldier posted in Kashmir.
Not a single approval has been granted since India began facing a bloody, armed rebellion for the region’s independence or merger with Pakistan in 1989. The uprising and subsequent Indian crackdown have killed 68,000 people. 
In recent years, the armed conflict has largely subsided, with public opposition to Indian rule now seen mostly in street protests, where government forces and rock throwing youths regularly face off.
Nevertheless, emergency laws remain in force, and hundreds of thousands of Indian soldiers are stationed in the region, maintaining checkpoints throughout Indian-controlled territory.
The report examined 124 killings, 65 disappearances, 59 cases of torture and nine rapes committed by government forces from 1990 to 2011.
 It said the Indian judiciary has effectively condoned human rights violations, sometimes by offering compensation to close complaints and sometimes by not pursuing cases due to the emergency laws in place in Kashmir. It called monetary compensation at best a “weak palliative measure, and at worst a bribe to buy the silence of the victims.” 
The report was compiled by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons and the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir, or IPTK. They based it mostly on government documents and information acquired through dozens of demands under India’s Right to Information laws.
Kartik Murukutla, a human rights lawyer and one of the authors of the report, said India’s top priority in Kashmir has been keeping control over the territory – not pursuing justice.
“Our study shows that, first, police investigations into most of the cases have been conducted in farcical ways to shield the perpetrators,” said Murukutla.
“Then lower courts as well as (India’s) apex court have remained subservient to the state and played part in the larger cover-up.”
The 469 individual suspects named in the report include two army major generals, three brigadiers, a recently retired director general of police and a serving inspector general.
 The accusations include: an army major, two senior police officers and four policemen jointly blamed for killing 19 members of three families, including eight children, in 1998; an army captain and a police officer accused of raping a mother and her daughter in 2000; and two army officers blamed for torturing to death three people in custody in 2000.
The groups justified naming the officials as a way to remove “the veil of anonymity and secrecy that has sustained impunity” in Kashmir.
“Only when the specificity of each act of violation is uncovered can institutions be stopped from providing the violators a cover of impunity,” the report said.