A human rights activists’ group, International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian Administered Kashmir (IPTK), along with Srinagar-based Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), claimed on Thursday that hundreds of Army and police officers involved in gross human rights abuse have not been prosecuted in Jammu and Kashmir. The report alleges that three brigadiers of Indian Army, besides nine colonels, three lieutenant colonels, 78 majors and 25 captains, and 37 senior officials of federal Paramilitary forces were perpetrators of various crimes and human rights violations in the state.
While releasing the report titled ‘Alleged Perpetrators – Stories of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir’, IPTK investigators said at a news conference today that the government agencies had not shown any inclination to hold a fair and transparent investigation. They alleged that the human rights abuse included murder, kidnapping, rape, enforced disappearance and torture.
Activist Gautam Navlakha, who is among those not permitted into the Valley during the summer turbulence of 2010, was present at the press conference along with APDP activists and compilers of the report, Parvez Imroz, Kartik Murukutla, Khuram Parveez and Parvaiz Mata.
“There is an occasional willingness to order compensatory relief, but not to bring perpetrators to justice”, they said. They claimed that the role of 500 officials and gunmen had been established, for the first time. Government’s reaction to the report was not available till Thursday night.
“This report prepared over two years using information gleaned mostly from official State documents, portrays the state of impunity prevalent in J&K where identities of the individual perpetrators of crime are known”, says an executive summary that was released on the occasion, four days in advance of World Human Rights Day.
Mr. Navlakha and others at the news conference claimed that the report had been forwarded to the Chief Minister and Prime Minister so that perpetrators could be punished. “The report has been prepared from police records, judicial and quasi-judicial records and Government records”, they said.
“The general experience in J&K 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 the will of the executive, thereby rendering them subservient to the State. The impunity fostered by the judicial process has been compounded by the existence of draconian laws such as the AFSPA”, they added.
They said that IPTK and 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 trail where the crime and guilt of the perpetrators can be proven beyond reasonable doubt — the Indian State stands indicted”.
“Our search for truth and justice has taken a step forward with this report,” noted human rights activist, Gautam Navlakha said.