May 2007 News

J&K Fake Encounter Cases Die Early

5 May 2007
The Indian Express

New Delhi: While fake encounters in Gujarat have grabbed the nation's attention, in Jammu & Kashmir, where custodial deaths have a somewhat longer history, there are no signs of legal proceedings against the offenders - be they in the police, the Army or the paramilitary forces. In fact, recently, charges of five custodial deaths were levelled against superintendent of police, H R Parihar, and others; however, not a single case has been registered against any of them. Parties attribute this to a complete breakdown of the justice, and law-and-order system. PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti says the situation in the state has forced the government to enforce draconian laws, which are then exploited by some officers. 'Everybody in the system, from politicians to security forces, is responsible. It happens because of shortcut approach to handling the problem (of terrorism),' Mehbooba told TOI. While Mehbooba asserts that laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) are used to brand any opposition to extra-judicial killings as anti-national, J&K police chief S M Sahai points out that allegations of staged killings are a result of propaganda. 'We'll act on the directives of the government if any investigation-worthy allegations are brought to our notice,' says Sahai. Referring to recent protests in the region following reports of five custodial murders, he said these were due to the 'over-enthusiasm' of some cops. Even after the killings of five peasants in a village, and earlier, the massacre of 35 Sikhs in 2000, the Army refuses to produce the accused in court. According to state home department sources, at least 300 cases against Army personnel are pending with the Centre for permission to launch prosecution. Defence spokesman at Army's 15 corps emphasised that Army was investigating these cases in their own court. 'The Army is investigating the case under the provisions of AFSPA and have reached an agreement with the special investigating team of the police regarding this.'


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