Separatists, Terrorists In J&K Involved In HR Abuses: US8 April 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Washington DC: Separatists and terrorists in the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir and northeast along with the Maoists committed serious human rights abuses, an official US report said today, even as it slammed the Government for extra-judicial killings. 'Separatist insurgents and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, the northeastern States and the Naxalite belt committed numerous serious abuses, including killing armed forces personnel, police, Government officials, and civilians,' said the US State Departmentís Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010. 'Insurgents engaged in widespread torture, rape, beheadings, kidnapping, and extortion. The number of incidents, however, declined compared with the previous year,' said the Congressional-mandated annual report released by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The report, which provides encyclopedic detail on human rights conditions in over 190 countries for 2010, said Indian Government made no progress in holding officials accountable for abuses that occurred during the period of the Punjab counterinsurgency between 1984 and 1994. It said civil society activists continued to express concern about the Gujarat Governmentís alleged failure to arrest those responsible for communal violence in 2002 that resulted in the killing of more than 1,200 persons, the majority of whom were Muslim. 'Unlike in previous years (2008 and 2009), there were no instances of officials using anti-terrorism legislation to justify excessive use of force. However, indiscriminate use of force by Border Security Forces was a problem,' it said. The State Department report claimed corruption 'existed at all levels of Government and police,' with 'delays in obtaining legal redress for past attacks against minorities.' The law in some states restricted religious conversion, but there were no reports of convictions under these restrictions. It also claimed that violence associated with caste bias occurred. 'Domestic violence, child marriage, bonded labour, dowry-related deaths, honour crimes, and female foeticide remained serious problems,' the report said. In her preface to the report, Clinton said the eyes of the world 'are focused on the Middle East and North Africa,' where people are demanding that their Governments live up to the guiding principle of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 'The promise of this principle is the driving power behind every movement for freedom, every campaign for democracy, every effort to foster development, and every struggle against oppression,' the top US diplomat underlined. Praising the 'courage and determination of these activists,' Clinton said: 'We see in their struggles the true manifestation of a universal yearning for dignity and respect.' 'We stand with them and with all citizens, activists, and Governments around the world who peacefully work to advance the causes of democracy and human rights,' she underlined.