Posts Tagged ‘Jammu and Kashmir’

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In view of last week of May recognized as the International Week of the Disappeared, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) led by a noted Human Rights lawyer Parvez Imroz Thursday said Indian state has remained in denial of the ongoing international movement against enforced disappearances.

“This week provides an opportunity to remember the disappeared, and acknowledge the struggle of their families,” said Tahira Begum, APDP spokesperson. “It is also an occasion to recommit to the fundamental right not to be subjected to enforced disappearances, the right to know the truth and the right to justice and reparation. It is an occasion to continue to demand that governments sign, ratify and implement the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.”

The Convention presently has 94 signatories and 46 State parties and came into force on 23 December 2010.

The Indian State has remained in denial of the ongoing international movement against enforced disappearances, Tahira said. “Following the commission of widespread and systematic enforced disappearances, the Indian State has chosen to protect itself and its own forces by disregarding the very existence of the crime itself. The number of fully documented cases today in Jammu and Kashmir stands at 1519. According to conservative estimates, and extrapolating from existing documentation, more than 8000 people have been subject to enforced disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989. There are 7000+ unmarked and mass graves in Jammu and Kashmir.”

Govt of Jammu and Kashmir is also culpable for both aiding the State in the crimes and in the ongoing cover-up, Tahira said. “Despite a consistent campaign in Jammu and Kashmir against enforced disappearances for 26 years, no action whatsoever has been taken.”

“No Commission of Inquiry as demanded was set up. There have been no effective investigations. No prosecutions whatsoever. The connected issue of unmarked and mass graves in Jammu and Kashmir, which was recognized by the State Human Rights Commission [SHRC] in 2011 [2156 graves in three districts of North Kashmir], and the European Parliament in its resolution in July 2008, has not been addressed by the government. The SHRC has been made defunct and ongoing complaints by APDP of 3844 unmarked and mass graves in Poonch and Rajouri districts, and 507 cases of enforced disappearances from Baramulla and Bandipora, and 132 cases of enforced disappearance from Banihal, remain pending.”

This is in addition to numerous other complaints in individual cases of enforced disappearances, she said.

“As APDP and families of disappeared began to approach the SHRC, the government chose to make it defunct. Despite APDP providing evidence of the involvement of police personnel such as present ADGP SM Sahai, ex-DGP Kuldeep Khoda, and army personnel such as Brigadier VK Sharma of the Dogra Regiment, and CO RK Singh of the 9 Para commandoes, in crimes of enforced disappearances the government has not ensured an alternative independent investigative mechanism and has instead chosen to subject them to the same criminal police system which has ensured impunity.”

With regard to unmarked graves, in September 2011 the then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that families would need to indicate in which graveyard their relatives may be buried, and following this the government would do the needful. On August 13, 2012, the government of Jammu and Kashmir refused to accept the recommendations of the SHRC, including on DNA tests.

“This refusal to investigate enforced disappearance and graves is a continuing torture for the families of the disappeared,” she said.

On March 26, 2015, APDP submitted its demands on the issue of enforced disappearances to the present Chief Minister.

“There has been no action or response to this communication to date. As the Indian State and Government of Jammu and Kashmir continue to disregard demands for justice their culpability for these crimes is made clearer. Under international law, all present and past officials in positions of responsibility must be held accountable for their role in the crimes committed in Jammu and Kashmir, including the numerous enforced disappearances. Until then, the families of the disappeared will continue to remember and struggle. In this context, APDP appeals to religious leaders to make special prayers for the disappeared tomorrow, 29 May 2015,”

http://www.kashmirlife.net/enforced-disappearances-indian-state-in-denial-79771/

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Investigate Border Security Force Actions
July 19, 2013

(New York) – The Indian [2] government should appoint an independent commission to promptly and transparently investigate the killing of four protesters by Border Security Force (BSF) troops in Jammu and Kashmir state, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should act to end the BSF’s longstanding impunity for large numbers of killings over many years.

The unclear circumstances resulting in the deaths of four protesters, and the wounding of nearly a dozen more people, highlight the urgency of an independent inquiry. The BSF reported that on July 18, 2013, in Ramban district, its troops interrogated a local resident who it said “made baseless and false allegations about being mistreated.” After protesters gathered and “started stone pelting vigorously on the BSF post,” troops fired at the protesters in self-defense, the BSF said.

Local residents allege that BSF soldiers entered a mosque during a search operation and were rude and disrespectful to the mosque staff. When unarmed protesters gathered at the post, the BSF troops called for police support. The security forces then opened fire on the protesters, the local residents said.

“The loss of life at the Ramban mosque needs a prompt investigation by an independent commission,” said Meenakshi Ganguly [3], South Asia director. “Any finding of illegal use of force by BSF troops should result in prosecutions. Too often the BSF’s version of events is simply accepted, allowing killing after killing for which no one is held to account.”

Senior Indian officials have responded appropriately to the incident, but need to follow up with action, Human Rights Watch said. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that it is “highly unacceptable to shoot at unarmed protesters.” Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has promised an investigation and said that “any use of excessive force or irresponsible action will be dealt with strictly.” Previous investigations of BSF abuses have often been delayed and prosecutions stalled.

Human Rights Watch has previously documented [4] misbehavior and serious human rights violations by BSF troops along the Bangladesh border. The border guards, who are deployed to prevent infiltration, trafficking, and smuggling, had engaged in numerous cases of unlawful use of force, arbitrary detention, and torture, and killed over a thousand Indian and Bangladeshi nationals. The BSF was ordered to exercise restraint and use rubber bullets instead of live ammunition, which led to a decrease in the number of people fatally injured, though unlawful killings continue.

The government has repeatedly failed to prosecute BSF personnel responsible for serious abuses. Inquiries by the National Human Rights Commission receive a standard response that fatalities occurred when troops had to fire in self-defense.

Human Rights Watch called on the Indian government to publicly order the security forces to follow the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. The Basic Principles state that security forces shall “apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms,” and that “whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall: (a) Exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective to be achieved; (b) Minimize damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life.” Furthermore, “intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.”

Since the shootings, violent protests have broken out in several parts of Jammu and Kashmir, and authorities have imposed curfews in some areas. Human Rights Watch called on organizers of protests to take steps to deter supporters from engaging in violence, including attacks on law enforcement officers.

Security forces sometimes react with gunfire when outnumbered by an angry crowd, which is why they need to be properly trained in nonlethal crowd control methods,” Ganguly said. “Incidents that end in shootings are not only terrible for all those involved, but set the stage for unnecessary bloodshed in the future.”


 

Muzamil Jaleel : New Delhi, Sun Jul 07 2013, IE
FPHabibullah was posted in J&K then
Wajahat Habibullah, chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, has said that the government “deleted important portions of his confidential report” on the Konanposhpora mass rape case in which he had recommended a police probe, upgradation in the level of investigation, entrusting the case to a gazetted police officer and seeking an order from the 15 Corps Commander to ensure Army cooperation in the probe.Habibullah was Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir when troops of 4 Raj Rifles allegedly raped 23 women in the village during a cordon-and-search operation on the night of February 23-24, 1991. The government used his report to give a clean chit to the Army.

More than two decades later, the mass rape case reared its head again last month after a Judicial Magistrate in Kupwara refused to entertain a police case closure report and ordered “further investigation by an officer not below the rank of a Senior Superintendent of Police” and its completion within three months.

“The Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara had received reports from the villagers of Konan that a mass rape had been committed in the village on the night of 23/24 February during cordon-and-search operations conducted by elements of the 4 Raj Rifles. He (Deputy Commissioner) had visited the spot on 5th March and according to his preliminary investigations, it appeared to him prima facie that an offence of monstrous proportions had been committed,” Habibullah’s confidential report stated.

“Consequently, on being approached by the DG, Police, J&K, the Corps Commander deputed Brigadier H K Sharma, Commander 19 Arty Brigade, to visit the village and report. The Brigadier made some local enquiries on 10/3 and came to the conclusion that the report (of mass rape) was baseless. His report does not, however, discuss in detail why he has altogether dismissed the statements made before him by a number of village women,” the report stated.

Habibullah said he visited the village on March 18, 1991, accompanied by Lt Col Naeem Farooqi, Commandant of the 76 Battalion of BSF Tyagi, the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police.

“I found the allegations of mass rape exaggerated because the women of the entire village were saying they were raped. But I didn’t say nothing has happened. I thought perhaps the entire village had decided to say they were raped so that the victims do not have to live alone with this blot,” Habibullah told The Sunday Express.

“The paragraphs of my confidential report where I had recommended that the level of investigation be upgraded to that of a gazetted police officer so that this case is probed efficiently were taken out of my report. I had also asked that the Corps Commander should issue orders to ensure that the Army cooperates with the investigation because SP Kupwara had indicated that in other cases, he was not getting the required cooperation for investigation from the Army. That paragraph was also deleted.”

Habibullah said he had also recommended several measures that the Army needed to take during operations.

“When the report came out in the public, I did protest. I called up the Governor (G C Saxena). But I was already posted out of Kashmir by then,” he said.

But Habibullah’s explanation has not gone down well with human rights groups pursuing the case in Kashmir who question his role.

“His silence of 22 years makes him culpable of the cover-up. The contents of his report that were made public earlier prove he was actively trying to obfuscate the truth,” Khurram Parvez of the Coalition of Civil Society said. “He has always been pretending to be sympathetic to the victims of human rights atrocities in Kashmir. This report shows how he himself was hand in glove with the perpetrators while holding an important position in the administration in Kashmir”.

Habibullah’s confidential report is controversial because he said the veracity of the complaint was “highly doubtful” though the Deputy Commissioner and Station House Officer concluded that mass rape had taken place.

 

Over 8,000 Men Disappeared in Kashmir Since 1989

Kashmir women protest, demanding information and responsibility for missing husbands and children, who were disappeared by the Indian security forces and presumably killed –  June 24, 13 
 

Transcript

Over 8,000 Men Disappeared in Kashmir Since 1989SHAHANA BUTT, PRODUCER: Asia’s nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan, since their independence from British rule in 1947, have always remained at dispute over issues related to a territory called Kashmir. The two traditional neighboring rivals have fought each other thrice, and two out of the three wars over the disputed Kashmir. Both claim the entire territory but rule it in parts. And it remains at the heart of their enmity. An armed revolt against the Indian rule that started in 1989 in Kashmir has claimed over 60,000 lives and left almost no aspect of life in the area untouched. The armed groups fighting Indian rule in Kashmir are perceived to be backed by Pakistan. Each side claims itself to be right. India insists succession of Kashmir to India as final and complete, and hence Kashmir is an integral part of India, key to highlighting the secular nature of Hindu-majority Asian nation, and that all would be well in Kashmir if Pakistan stops crossborder terrorism. On the other hand, Pakistan insists Kashmir is a disputed territory, unresolved, and it is merely providing moral and diplomatic support for an indigenous freedom struggle in Kashmir.Presently, the human rights issues top the concern list for the people living here. Among the worst sufferers of human rights violations in Kashmir are those whose husbands and sons have gone missing after their arrests by security forces. Each month, hundreds of women, young and old, gather in the sprawling fields of the Himalayan territory controlled by India. These women seek information about their loved ones that went missing years ago now, after they were taken away by government forces during the past two decades of bloody turmoil in the region, which claimed lives of tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians. Parveena Ahanger is a founder of the Association of Parents of Disappeared People, supported by lawyers and human rights activists in Kashmir. APDP is a union of the relatives of victims of enforced disappearance in Jammu and Kashmir. Back in early 90’s Parveena’s son Javaid Ahangar was abducted by Indian security forces and was never heard from again. Today, 22 years have passed, but she never fails to attend this solidarity meeting on the 10th day of each month.

PARVEENA AHANGER, FOUNDER, ASSOC. OF PARENTS OF DISAPPEARED PEOPLE (VOICEOVER TRANSL.): It’s not a joke. People do not understand the pain we are going through. But our efforts will make sure none else in this region gets missing. The government tried its best to offer us perks, but money can’t buy us our beloved sons. Our children have been taken by Indian security forces, and we will continue to ask India where our children are. If they have killed them, we at least need to know where they have buried them. As long as they don’t give us proofs of their death, how will we accept they are dead?

 BUTT: Parveena says a large number of disappearance cases remain undocumented for many reasons, including fear of reprisal by the security forces. Also, no reparations or recourse are offered for these disappearances.

AHANGER: They have been using all sorts of pressure tactics to shut our mouths, but we haven’t given up so far. We know the culprits. Why doesn’t the government book them and punish them? My case is languishing in the Indian Home Ministry since 1997, and it has a clear mention of culprit. India is giving its forces a free hand in Kashmir. But as long as I live, I will make sure to knock each door of justice to seeking our children.

BUTT: Rights groups have estimated that there are more than 8,000 men that have disappeared in Kashmir after being taken away by state authorities. But the government has always denied the accusations, saying these men might have crossed over to Pakistan for arms trainings.

KHURRAM PARVAIZ, RIGHTS ACTIVIST: These disappearances are of four kinds of disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir. One of those–and that’s the most number of people. These are those people who have been arrested by the Armed Forces, the Indian Armed Forces. And after their arrests, their arrests were denied and their whereabouts have not been ascertained. They have perhaps disappeared in the custody. So there are clear-cut evidences against Armed Forces in these cases. Then there are other number of people who disappeared mysteriously, where we don’t know–they left in the morning–where we don’t know what happened to them. Situation was a conflict situation, situation was bad here. We don’t know what happened to them. Then we have a third kind of disappearance here, where militants were involved in disappearing people for political reasons or for being informers. And then there is a fourth kind of disappearance, where militants themselves have disappeared while crossing over to the Pakistani-administered Kashmir or coming back to Jammu and Kashmir after getting the arms training. So they were either arrested or killed in encounters, sometimes fake encounters, sometimes legitimate encounters. But their bodies were not handed over to their families. Their families do not know whether they have died or whether they’re alive.

BUTT: Kashmir, dotted with security camps, is perhaps today the most militarized zone in the world. Besides thousands of troops who are guarding a military control line that divides Kashmir between South Asian neighbors, armed personnels are deployed in streets, towns, villages, and hamlets surrounded by lofty snowy Himalayan peaks. International rights groups have accused Indian troops of grave human rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir and have asked India for investigations. However, little has been done by India in this direction so far.

AHANGER: We are demanding an independent commission. If India thinks it’s not responsible for the crimes, why isn’t it allowing investigations? Let’s have free trial. All the major right groups have been asking India for investigations why it isn’t giving access to them. This is clear evidence that India is responsible for all sorts of human rights violations. We had hopes international community might intervene, but to maintain its economic ties with India, human lives have no value.

BUTT: The turmoil of past two decades in this region gave birth to a new group in a society commonly known as “half-widows”. These are the women whose husbands have disappeared over a period of time, and because of the Islamic law, these women couldn’t remarry, thus are facing the burden of being a single parent.PARVAIZ: The story of half-widows is a story of honor, the story of resilience. And in Jammu and Kashmir, though so far our estimates are there are 1,500 women, but you would see most of these women are suffering in a very bad way, and there are very few organizations who are focused in supporting them, because normally you have to prove yourself to be a widow to receive support from a humanitarian organization. Unfortunately, the children of these half-widows, they were the worst affected because of the psychological trauma they had to face, and also their education suffered.

BUTT: Once such woman we met who is taking care of her three sons for the past ten years now. Tahira’s husband was a contractor who once left home for some work and never returned.

TAHIRA BANU, WIFE OF DISAPPEARED: It’s not easy to be a single parent. I have faced the worst since he is not there. Two of my sons are in the orphanage, and the youngest lives with me. Earlier, people used to give me charity, but now I work here in this beauty clinic to make my living. I could not get support of my in-laws, because my husband married me without their consent. And I know I’m not the only struggling. There are hundreds of women like me. We are just telling the government to help us locate our missing men. But they are not paying any attention to our demands. This clearly hints that government has some stakes in their disappearances. BUTT: Indian authorities deny any systematic rights violations and say they investigate all the cases and punish those found guilty. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights established the working group in 1980 to assist families in determining the fate and whereabouts of disappeared relatives. India signed the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in February 2007; however, it failed to ratify the convention. Observers say such seething protest against human rights violations will endanger the world peace and there can be no lasting political settlement in Kashmir unless human rights abuses which have fueled the insurgency are addressed. 

For The Real News Network, this is Shahana Butt in Indian administered Kashmir.

This is a press release by the JKCS and the Kashmiri women fighting on behalf of Kunan Poshpora villagers

BOYCOTT B.G. VERGHESE

Press Statement
24 June 2013

On 22 June 2013, for the first time, the villagers of Kunan Poshpora spoke to the civil society and media of Srinagar. They spoke of rape, torture, suffering, pain and courage. More specifically, they spoke of the fight ahead. They vowed to continue the struggle for justice, and never to forget persons responsible for the cover up of the Kunan Poshpora case.

B.G. Verghese was called a liar by the villagers of Kunan Poshpora and several civil society members in the audience. He headed the Press Council of India fact finding team report on Kunan Poshpora, which was ‘appointed’ by Indian army. But, he never visited the villages of Kunan and Poshpora. He, through the report and subsequently, has sought to malign the men and women of Kunan Poshpora. He has called them shameless, as according to him the allegation was orchestrated on behalf of the militants.

In the recently held public meeting B.G. Verghese was accused of actively abetting the rape and torture of Kunan Poshpora. It is public knowledge that B.G. Verghese served as an “Information Consultant” for the Indian Defence Minister.

The re-opening of the Kunan Poshpora case also implies that those involved in cover ups and in maligning the women of Kunan Poshpora had lied. Therefore recognizing his criminal role in the Kunan Poshpora case, it was unanimously resolved that B.G. Verghese is to be socially and professionally boycotted. The civil society vowed to not engage with him. Further, anyone who does engage with B.G. Verghese will in turn be boycotted. B.G. Verghese presently occupies positions of importance in the Center for Policy Research, Delhi and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Delhi. The Support Group for Justice for Kunan Poshpora alongwith other civil society stakeholders will communicate directly with these institutions, and any other institution that may have ties with him, to immediately stop all engagement with him.

We urge civil society groups, conscientious citizens in India and Jammu and Kashmir that until B.G. Verghese is prosecuted for his role in the Kunan Poshpora case, there must be an absolute boycott: he must not be invited to speak at public functions, he must not be allowed to occupy any positions of responsibility, and he must constantly be reminded of his own criminality.

Finally, before and after the 22 June 2013 press conference, the State has continued its intimidation. The Jammu and Kashmir Police [Tregham Police Station], Indian army [specifically 24 Rashtriya Rifles, based at Trehgam] and other agencies, have sought to intimidate the villagers of Kunan Poshpora. They have gone to the villages, demanded answers to questions about the case and sought to intimidate them through repeated phone calls. This will not be accepted. Legal action will be taken against anyone who seeks to intimidate and threaten the villagers of Kunan Poshpora. They will, first, be named in public, and then dragged to court.

Representatives of the Support Group for Justice for Kunan Poshpora
1. Ifrah Mushtaq
2. Samreena Mushtaq
3. Uzafa Basu
4. Uzma Qureshi

kunanposhporaRita Pal   |   Jun 01, 2013, Huffington Post
I have previously summarised human rights abuses in Kashmir in this post. Issues affecting Kashmir appear to have been missed from the international stage. Its people bravely struggle on alone, attempting to achieve some accountability. With one of the highest rates of post traumatic stress disorder in the world, the impact is obvious. Nevertheless, their plight is largely forgotten by India and west.

In April 2013, the UK’s Foreign Minister, William Hague, and the Hollywood actress and Special Envoy to the UN Commissioner for Refugees, Angelina Jolie, announced their fight against sexual violence in war. They announced additional funding of 36 million dollars from G-8 nations, to develop a series of measures to prevent sexual violence and ensure justice for survivors of military conflicts.

Mr Hague said:-

And today we know the facts about sexual violence in conflict and we have the means to address it, so we must not look away or rest until the world faces up to its responsibilities to eradicate this violence.[Independent].
There has been no mention of Kashmir, and just a stony silence from Foreign Office in response to my tweets. It is interesting to note, however, that Human Rights Watch [HRW] were the first to document sexual violence in conflict in 1993 [Rape in Kashmir – A Crime of War ]. They published a report outlining how the Indian security forces in Kashmir used rape to “brutalise women and punish their communities, accused of sympathising with separatist militants” [It’s Not Just about Violence]. Since then HRW have investigated and documented rape in conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, Somalia, Iraq, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Haiti.

Sexualised violence in Kashmir is “systemic and institutionalised as part of a larger framework of punishment meted out to civilians”. The Indian government decided to crackdown on Kashmiri insurgents in 1990. It was then that reports of rape were disclosed. A United Nations report in 1992 cited that the Indian security forces allegedly gang raped 882 women. Moreover a 2005 study by Médecins Sans Frontières found that that “11.6 percent of interviewees said they had been victims of sexual violence since 1989” and that “one in seven had witnessed rape. [ A long struggle Against Systemic Rape in Kashmir ] .

The alleged set of crimes, known as the Kunan Poshpora case, happened more than 20 years ago, on February 23, 1991, when armed forces allegedly raped at least 32 teenaged, adult, and elderly women. The Indian government has refused to hold anyone accountable for these alleged crimes. In 1992, the United States Department of State‘s report on international human rights rejected the Indian government’s conclusion and stated that there was “credible evidence to support charges that an elite army unit engaged in mass rape in the Kashmiri village of Kunan Poshpora”. It is also interesting that Justice Verma’s report on the Delhi Rape issue acknowledged the need for accountability. The team wrote

“We are indeed deeply concerned at the growing distrust of the State and its efforts to designate these regions as ‘areas of conflict’ even when civil society is available to engage and inform the lot of the poor. We are convinced that such an attitude on the part of the State only encourages the alienation of our fellow citizens.” They continued, “It must be recognized that women in conflict areas are entitled to all the security and dignity that is afforded to citizens in any other part of our country” and finally the recommendation was as follows: “Sexual violence against women by members of the armed forces or uniformed personnel must be brought under the purview of ordinary criminal law”
A few weeks ago, “50 Kashmiri women came together to demand that police reinvestigate a well-known case of mass rape. The women–teachers, students, journalists, human rights workers, lawyers, and other professionals–filed a public interest litigation case before India’s Jammu and Kashmir high court”. The Hindustan Times recently reported on a petition to the High Court to reopen the Kunan Poshpora case. The petitioners pleaded “As usual, the State refused to act. One and a half years have passed and the State has displayed a cruel disregard for a crime whose consequences continue to date.” The history is summarised by Women Under Siege . The local media reported on the potential reopening of the case. The international media appears to have remained tight-lipped despite these events occurring during the same time as William Hague’s publicity campaign.

The disappearance of the human rights abuses from the international stage is curious. Mr Rameez Makhdoomi, a local journalist in Indian administered Kashmir, stated,

“‘Tragically, Kashmir human rights violations are grossly overlooked by Western world which is otherwise considered as the region which gave birth to enlightened concepts like democracy and liberty. History will remember with dark words the silence of West over gross human rights violations committed by India in Kashmir. India may have literally committed every crime in book-rapes, murders, torture deaths to quell democratic freedom struggle of Kashmir based on the right to self-determination which was promised by Indian state. Western world is acting blind and voting economic and strategic interests over humanity and democracy when it comes to India’s cruel conduct in Kashmir.”
UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura states

“Sexual violence in conflict needs to be treated as the war crime that it is; it can no longer be treated as an unfortunate collateral damage of war”
It follows that the alleged crimes committed against the people of Kashmir and their difficult journey to achieve accountability must never be forgotten by the international community.

“To those who believe in resistance , who live between hope and impatience and have learned the perils of being unreasonable. To those who understand enough to be afraid, and yet retain their fury”

Jun 4, 2013, 02.59PM IST PTI

JAMMU: An ‘encounter specialist’ sub-inspector, who was instrumental in the killing of 68 militants in the Doda-Kishtwar belt, was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly running a militant module in Jammu and Kashmir.

A recipient of President’s gallantry award, SI Shiv Kumar Sharma was arrested in Doda for his alleged involvement in militant activities, official sources said.

State minister for home Sajad Ahmed Kitchloo confirmed the arrest and said investigation is in progress.

Sharma, serving in J&K Police, was allegedly involved in running the militant module in Kishtwar district. The module was involved in the grenade attack on Thathri police station last month, the sources said.

Nick-named as “Robinhood”, he was involved in large number of encounters and instrumental in killing 68 militants in Doda-Kishtwar belt. He has received several awards including the President’s gallantry award.

The SI’s involvement came to light after five arrested ultras allegedly involved in the Thathri police station grenade attack claimed during police interrogation that Sharma provided weapons and explosive material to them, according to sources.

The module was planning some political killings in the mountainous belt as well, they added.

The five suspected militants were arrested on May 23 in connection with the botched plot to kill security personnel near Thathri Police Station in Doda district.

Police had alleged that the militants had planned to attack the security personnel by hurling grenade on the police station on the intervening night of April 27 and 28, but the grenade fell just short of the police station averting casualties.

Sharma had joined police as a special police official (SPO) and got two out-of-turn promotions to reach to the rank of sub-inspector. He was posted in special task force (STF) in Kishtwar district.