Indian Army Launches Human Rights Campaign In Kashmir26 March 2011
Jammu: Long accused of committing excesses in Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Army has embarked on spreading human rights awareness to the villagers living in remote areas. A special campaign, christened 'Army for Human Rights', has been launched by the army with the help of locals to make the villagers aware of their rights. On Saturday, a camp was held in Bhatt and Udaipur blocks of the mountainous district of Doda where the army has been active in anti-insurgency operations since the 1990s. A spokesman of the army said here that the human rights camps were aimed at empowering citizens in the remotest corners of the state. 'The focus of the camp was primarily to educate the disconnected villagers about the exact idea of human rights, which is right to life, right to freedom, right to no torture, right to education and right to equality,' the spokesman said. 'Other aspects covered were the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution of India, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and articles under it, and action we can take on violation of any of these rights,' he said. 'The army has played a key role in ensuring the human rights of people by bringing in peace and harmony, thereby paving way for the unhindered developmental activities and emphasis on issues like health care, education and employment,' the spokesman said. He also disclosed that the army units conducting such camps have also set up a human rights cell, named 'Khuda ke Bande' (god's men). The villagers were encouraged to contact the officers directly in case of any complaint. They were given the personal mobile numbers. They were asked to call any time of the day or night to register their complaint. The officers, the spokesman said, promised to 'take instant action on the complaints of the villagers'. 'By organising this camp, the army has given a clear message to people that they are working as the saviours, and not violators, of their human rights,' he said. A total of 800 people attended the human rights camp, the spokesman said.