SOME TROOPS MISUSING AFSPA FOR PROMOTIONS: SHRC
‘Govt Should Take Up Review With Centre’
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, June 1: Stating that some officers and troops with vested interests were misusing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) for rewards and promotions, the State Human Rights Commission Tuesday asked the State Government to up the matter with the Central Government.
In the wake of killing of three civilians of north Kashmir in a fake encounter, the Commission also asked the Government to explore possibilities of reviewing the continuance or limiting jurisdiction of the AFSPA to specified areas in the State.
“It is painful that the three innocent civilians were killed in a fake encounter by Army and its aides for rewards, promotions and money on the pretext of maintaining security. This is the worst kind of human rights violation,” Chairperson of SHRC, Justice (Retd) Bashir-ud-Din told Greater Kashmir in an exclusive interview.
“In the garb of AFSPA, instances of killing civilians in fake encounters and dubbing them as militants have come to fore in the past also. This is a dangerous pattern which can have serious consequences besides intensifying alienation among the common people against the political dispensation,” he warned.
He maintained that continuance of AFSPA was a policy decision having wide repercussions. “But given the misuse of the Act and improvement in situation, it will be in the public and national interest to review objectively continuance of the Act. The Government should take up the matter with the Central Government. It is high time to review the AFSPA and lift its jurisdiction from the civilian areas or region wise in a phased manner,” he suggested.
He said many such cases have come to the notice of SHRC and NHRC in which junior officers have been reported to have resorted to arbitrary arrests, inhuman treatment, custodial tortures, rape, violence and fake encounters.
“In the larger interests of politico-constitutional entity and democratic norms, the armed forces have to ensure that their actions in context of AFSPA have to be measured and proportionate to the given situation with the prime objective to save innocent lives. In case of human rights violations by its personnel, the Army must take suitable action according to its laws,” he said.
Elaborating, he said the Army headquarters at different levels have to brave the situation and not allow the force to breach the provisions of the Army Act.
“Army has to open its forces to the charge of arbitrariness, undue and disproportionate use of force. Going by the statistics, the misuse of powers and arbitrariness are increasing at a higher rate among the junior officers and troopers. This situation needs to remedied,” he said.
Pertinently, the AFSPA provides legal proceedings and criminal prosecution against the guilty armed force personnel but after sanction by the Central Government. “Unfortunately sanction of the Central Government which is a prerequisite for launching the prosecution is not conveyed in time. Due to the delay, many cases including the Chattinishpora and Brakpora massacres, Kunanposhora and Handwara rapes involving troopers, otherwise fit for prosecution, are pending due to non-appearance, cooperation of the accused officers,” he said.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 Jun 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 Jun 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 2 Jun 2010 00:00:00 IST
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