Yale Law School releases 'The Myth of Normalcy' in Kashmir

Greater Kashmir

‘1992 circular directs police not to register FIR against SF’

Srinagar, June 18: The United States based Yale Law School has released a report “The Myth of Normalcy: Impunity and the judiciary in Kashmir,” saying that the justice delivery system in Kashmir falls short of international standards.
The report was prepared by a team of students in the Allard K Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School at the request of Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society.
The report which is spread over 50 pages has examined the existing affirmative claims against the troops deployed in the state and the habeas corpus petitions and observed that the government of Jammu and Kashmir in 1992 has issued a circular instructing the state police to stop filing FIRs against security forces without the approval of the higher authorities.
The report said in case FIR was filed, non-cooperation from the security forces often prevents police from conducting a complete investigation.  The report said that the mandatory sanction to prosecute the security force personnel involved in alleged human rights violation has become major hurdle in prosecution.
The report has questioned the credibility of military trials and said that it has led to lack of accountability. The report said in a custodial murder case of 1996, the investigation identified four troopers as perpetrators. “In 2000 the central government granted sanction for prosecution but the sessions judge gave the defendants the option of militarily trial. A BSF court assumed the jurisdiction of the case in 2000 and contacted relatives of the victim in 2005, requesting them to testify the witness. However the document sent to the family at the time of the request revealed that two of the original four defendants had been replaced with new names- thus two of the original perpetrators had been removed from the legal proceedings,” the report said. Later the BSF court notified the family that all four defendants had been acquitted.    
The report says lawyers interviewed have expressed unanimous concern that the state often denies custody of persons after arresting them. The report cited several cases of disappearance and said the refusal to acknowledge custody of detainees has become a norm in Kashmir. It said the security forces and prison authorities often circumvent court orders to release detainees by preemptively re-arresting them before release or re-arresting them immediately after release. The report said that the fresh preventive detention orders under the Public Safety Act were unfounded. The report says that the legal system has failed to respond to habeas corpus petitions.