Jammu & Kashmir Rights Violations Must Be Probed, Say Interlocutors13 March 2011
Srinagar: Demanding a thorough probe into the alleged violations of human rights, the Centre's interlocutors on Sunday said a judicial process should begin to punish the guilty. They also wanted to put an end to the “new cycle of arrests” in the valley. At the end of the two-day women-specific conference organised by the three-member team of Dileep Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar and M.M. Ansari, they said the meet would help arrive at a consensus on the Kashmir problem. Speaking to journalists, Mr. Padgaonkar said all acts of violence - no matter, who had committed them - and all acts of alleged human rights violations must be thoroughly probed. “Such acts must be swiftly judged and punishment should be meted out to the guilty in a judicial manner,” he said. “We have recommended that everything must be done by the Centre and the State government to help the families of missing youth,” Mr. Padgaonkar said. “We monitor our recommendations on a daily basis in New Delhi, Srinagar and Jammu,” he said. The team is likely to give its report on the “contours of a political solution” very soon. Prof. Radha Kumar said it was “unfortunate” that the cycle of arrests had again started in Kashmir and hoped “our recommendations would end this soon.” She expressed satisfaction over the “fact” that the Army had started cooperating in the cases of disappearances and rights abuses. “Though they have their own courts, they have started cooperating with civil courts as well,” she said. Troop reduction On the deliberations during the conference, she said many women advocated the need to reduce troops in residential areas. “Our attention was also drawn to the continuing arrests of youth and the slapping of Public Safety Acts [PSAs] on the youth,” she said. Prof. Kumar expressed concern over the absence of juvenile protection law. Sources said that delegates had raised issues of detention of minors under the PSA. “The Legislative Assembly here could consider whether similar legislation was required along with the amendments to restrict the use of PSA,” she said. Prof. Kumar said the panel had recommended issuing of passports on a fast-track basis. “At least 20,000 applications out of a backlog of 45,000 have been dealt with,” she said. She said their recommendations were in implementation mode. “One of the important recommendations was easing of travel and trade across the Line of Control [LoC]. I was really happy to see the Home Secretary announcing that they are going to set a counter on LoC for granting of permits to all residents of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir who want to come here,” she said. “Pakistan has not yet reciprocated but we hope that in times to come, they will,” she said. Prof. Kumar said a special task force comprising eminent women from all the three regions in the State should be set up to address the problems of women victims.