India has failed its own Constitution by not addressing human rights violations committed by its security forces in the name of national security in Jammu and Kashmir, an Amnesty International report released on Wednesday says.
The report titled "Denied: Failures in accountability for human rights violations by security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir," is based on the examination of nearly 100 cases of alleged human rights abuses by security forces between 1990 and 2012 and in-depth interviews with 58 family members of the victims in 2013.
"5 July 2015 will mark 25 years since the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in effect came into force in Jammu and Kashmir. Till now, not a single member of the security forces deployed in the state has been tried for human rights violations in a civilian court. This lack of accountability has in turn facilitated other serious abuses," says the report.
The report reveals that the central government has denied permission, or 'sanction', to prosecute under section 7 of the AFSPA in every case brought against members of the army or paramilitary, or in a small number of cases, has kept the decision pending for years.
"Not a single family interviewed for the report had been informed by the authorities of the status or outcome of a sanction request in relation to their case," says Divya Iyer, Research Manager at Amnesty International India.
Mohammad Amin Magray, uncle of 17-year-old Javaid Ahmad Magray, who was killed in April 2003 allegedly by security force personnel, told Amnesty International India: "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."
"By not addressing human rights violations committed by security force personnel in the name of national security, India has not only failed to uphold its international obligations, but has also failed its own Constitution," says Minar Pimple.