Break The Silence for #Kashmir

Posted: December 8, 2012 in Uncategorized
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The kashmir Reader

Published: Sat, 08 December 2012 08:47 PM

The most consistent discourse in Kashmir for the last 22 years has been about allegations of grave human rights violations inflicted on the people by various actors in the armed conflict over the territory. We have seen non-state armed combatants have often been punished through court trials as well as by a system that ensures the rebels or dissidents don’t live dignified lives even though in no circumstances does the international human rights law take that right away.
However, when it comes to crimes allegedly committed by members of the government forces not only do we see lack of political will to subject the accused to the rule of law, but also on the contrary some accused personnel have been rewarded in various ways for actions that could have resulted in those crimes.
This is one of the significant concerns raised in a report released by human rights groups in Srinagar on Thursday. Apart from naming 500 alleged perpetrators who, according to information available with the government and in many cases the courts as well, have not been put through a legally desired process or prosecution to prove them guilty or otherwise beyond any reasonable doubt. These accused personnel mostly belong to the central armed forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir, the state police and government backed gunmen active in Kashmir at various points in time since 1990.

In absence of laws under which crimes like enforced disappearance and torture could be tried the government has squarely failed the victims and their families. The issue cannot be ignored or responded to by silent indifference

The list of crimes includes extra-judicial killings and rape besides enforced disappearance and torture. It is the latter two crimes that pose a challenge to both the government of India and Jammu and Kashmir as well as the affected people – the victims and survivors. The Indian state has not legislated on crimes of enforced disappearance and torture, which means that there exist no laws in the country under which such grave crimes can be tried.
What this has meant for the wives, children and families of an estimated 80000 victims of alleged enforced disappearance is that they have no access to legal instruments they could use to ensure a legal process for securing justice. This is precisely the reason why Thursday’s report calls upon the international community to press for the use of existing international humanitarian law to address issues of justice delivery in Jammu and Kashmir.
Any government, duly elected or not, has the paramount responsibility of securing the lives of citizens and ensure a legal environment in which no victim goes unheard by means of a due process.
The issue at hand is a serious one which cannot be ignored or responded to by silence

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