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UN raps India over killings in Held Kashmir

Discussion in 'Kashmir War' started by Dance, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. Dance


    Jul 20, 2010
    +0 / 4,993 / -0
    NEW DELHI - A top UN official called on India on Friday to investigate allegations of rampant extrajudicial killings and abolish a sweeping law that allows security forces to shoot on sight.
    Christof Heyns, a UN Special Rapporteur, issued the call after travelling for 12 days through Held Jammu and Kashmir state and the northeast, as well as the states of Kerala, Gujarat and West Bengal.

    Heyns, the UN expert on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, urged the Indian government to set up a commission of inquiry into widespread allegations of what he dubbed “so-called fake encounters”. “Despite constitutional guarantees and a robust human rights jurisprudence, extrajudicial killings are a matter of serious concern in India,” Heyns said.

    In a statement he described “fake encounters” as: “A scene of a shootout is created in which people who have been targeted are projected as the aggressors who shot at the police and were then killed in self-defence.”

    India must tackle a culture of impunity that protects troops, police and public officials from prosecution over illegal killings, custodial deaths and detentions, as well as improve rights for women and children, he added.

    Heyns also urged the Indian government to repeal the harsh Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which gives authority to the army and paramilitary forces to kill suspected rebels, arrest people and destroy property. “In the northeastern states and Held Jammu and Kashmir, the armed forces have wide powers to employ lethal force,” Heyns said, referring to the legislation.

    Such a law “has no role to play in a democracy and should be scrapped”, he said. “It has become a symbol of excessive state power” and “clearly violates international law”.

    Heyns’ final conclusions and recommendations will be submitted as a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council at a session in 2013.
    There was no immediate comment from the Indian government.

    UN raps India over killings in Held Kashmir | The Nation

    Abolish ‘draconian’ AFSPA law, UN expert tells India

    NEW DELHI: A United Nations expert has urged India to repeal a law that gives its military sweeping powers to act in troubled areas like the Himalayan Kashmir region and parts of the insurgency-wracked northeast.

    Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions told reporters in New Delhi on Friday that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act allows the state to override rights and has no role in a democracy.

    Under the law, troops have the right to shoot anyone suspected of being a rebel and to arrest suspected militants without a warrant.

    “This law has been described to me as ‘hated,’ and a member of a state human rights commission has called it draconian,” said Heyns, who travelled through Kashmir and the states of Gujarat, Kerala, Assam and West Bengal for two weeks ahead of Friday’s press conference.

    There was no immediate comment from the Indian government.

    The special powers law has been in force in different parts of the country since 1958 and is currently enforced in Indian-administered Kashmir and in the states of Manipur and Nagaland in the northeast, all battling separatist movements.

    In all three regions, human rights workers have accused Indian troops of illegally detaining, torturing and killing rebel suspects, sometimes even staging gun battles as pretexts to kill.

    The law also prohibits soldiers from being prosecuted for alleged rights violations unless granted express permission from the federal government. According to official documents, the state government in Indian Kashmir has sought permission to try soldiers in 50 cases in the last two decades, but the federal government has refused every one.

    India has long relied on military might to retain control over Kashmir and has fought two territorial wars with Pakistan, which also claims the mountain region as its own.

    The region is heavily militarised, with hundreds of thousands of Indian troops stationed and maintaining checkpoints throughout Indian-controlled territory.

    In Manipur in the country’s northeast, an activist has been on hunger strike for over 11 years demand the repeal of a similar law there.

    Irom Sharmila has been kept alive by Manipur state authorities hospitalising her on a nasal drip after arresting her for attempting suicide.

    Sharmila began her hunger strike on November 4, 2000, after soldiers allegedly gunned down 10 civilians near a bus stop, saying suspected militants were in the area.

    Manipur’s insurgent groups demand autonomy or independence for the northeast state of 2 million bordering Myanmar.