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NHRC notice to Army on J&K killings

ZAHID RAFIQ

Protesters clash with the police in Nowgam on Wednesday.- photo: nissar ahmad

Protesters clash with the police in Nowgam on Wednesday.- photo: nissar ahmad

The Jammu and Kashmir capital remained largely shut on Wednesday in response to a bandh call by separatist leaders against the killing of two civilians in Army firing in the Chattergam area of Budgam on Monday.

Stone-throwing and clashes between youth and the police were witnessed in the Nowgam area, where the two victims lived, but other parts of Srinagar remained peaceful under a reinforced security presence and restrictions. Public bus service, businesses and offices in the city mostly remained shut.

The National Human Rights Commission issued notices to the Defence Ministry and the Superintendent of Police, Budgam, calling for reports into the killings within two weeks.

Amnesty International India, in a statement, said the Army must cooperate fully with the J&K police investigation into the killings and not use the AFSPA to shield its soldiers. “If sufficient evidence is found, suspects must be prosecuted in a civilian court, and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act must not be used to shield soldiers from prosecution,” it said.

The Army in Jammu and Kashmir is protected by AFSPA, an impunity that prevents them from coming under legal purview.

The Amnesty statement said it had documented cases since 1990, including the killing of an 18-year-old boy in Ganderbal in 2013, in which the Army had refused to cooperate with the police investigation.

“Courts of Inquiry are known to sometimes be based solely on the testimony from Army personnel and contradict the findings of independent police investigations, and have contributed in the past to impunity for security forces in J&K,” Amnesty said. It urged the government to ensure that the police investigation into the Chattergam incident was taken to its logical end and that those responsible are brought to justice in fair trials meeting international standards in civilian courts.

 

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/nhrc-notice-to-army-on-jk-killings/article6569273.ece

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