March 2004 News

Jawans To Be Punished In J&K If Found Guilty

1 March 2004
The Indian Express

New Delhi: The chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir promised on Monday to stop human rights abuse by security forces after several days of street protests, including over the death of a teenager in police firing. Mufti Mohammad Syed, who escaped an assassination attempt by militants on Friday, said some mistakes had been made and vowed action against soldiers found guilty of abuse. A 13-year-old boy died last week when police opened fire on hundreds of demonstrators protesting against what they called rights violations by security forces in northern Kashmir. 'Some bad incidents have taken place...which make us sad. Anybody found responsible for human rights abuses would face action,' Syed said in a statement. Tens thousands of Indian forces are deployed in Muslim-majority Kashmir to put down a 15-year revolt that has killed more than 40,000 people. Authorities deny large-scale abuse of human rights in Kashmir and say all complaints are investigated and the guilty punished. Syed who took power in 2002, promising a healing touch, said he would make 'sincere efforts' to ensure security forces do not abuse their power while tackling militancy. Violence in Kashmir has been unabated despite peace efforts by India and Pakistan who announced last month a roadmap to tackle all disputes including over the Himalayan region. Kashmir's main separatist alliance All Parties Hurriyat Conference, which opened unprecedented talks with the Indian government in January, has threatened to pull out, saying there had been no respite in violations by security forces.


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