Amnesty International India Tuesday asked Government of India (GoI) ensure that army men responsible for killings of two people in Bandipora are investigated and prosecuted.
“These deaths must be investigated promptly, thoroughly and impartially, and where sufficient admissible evidence is found, a competent, independent and impartial civilian court should prosecute the suspects,” said Shashikumar Velath, Programmes Director Amnesty International India.
He said it must be ensured that process is not impeded, either by the army taking the matter to a military court or by the GoI blocking prosecution using the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
AFSPA mandates prior permission from the central government before any trooper can be prosecuted for exercising powers conferred by the Act. Such permission is almost never granted.
A number of Indian bodies, including the Second Administrative Reforms Commission and the Jeevan Reddy Commission, and UN bodies, including the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, have stated that the AFSPA must be repealed.
“The AFSPA gives armed forces sweeping and unfettered powers, including to shoot and even kill ‘any person who is acting in contravention of any law or order’, and then protects them from being prosecuted,” said Shashikumar Velath.
He said the result has been numerous violations of the right to life – a key human right under international and Indian law – with virtually absolute impunity.
“Authorities must ensure that investigations into these two incidents are taken to their logical end, those responsible are brought to justice in fair trials, and the AFSPA is repealed in J&K and elsewhere.”
Source: Rising Kashmir