Amnesty favours trial of rights violators in Kashmir

New Delhi: Security personnel involved in rape and murder cases in Jammu and Kashmir should stand trial instead of seeking immunity under the often criticized armed forces’ special powers law, human rights group Amnesty International has said.
Welcoming a Supreme Court ruling on the blanket immunity under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the rights watchdog said: “There should be no need to obtain prior approval for prosecuting security personnel charged with having committed grave human rights violations such as rape and murder”.
The apex court on Feb 4 said rape and murder committed by army personnel should be considered a “normal crime” and that there was “no question of sanction” from the government to prosecute them.
“Members of the army must stand trial when facing charges of serious violations of human rights, instead of hiding behind the controversial AFSPA,” Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific director Sam Zarifi said in a statement.
Citing human rights defenders in India, Zarifi said the union home ministry has recommended approval in only eight of 50 cases in which the Jammu and Kashmir government had sought clearance for prosecuting security personnel for human rights violations – “including torture, rape and extra-judicial executions”.
The defence ministry has denied approval in all such 50 cases, said the Amnesty official.

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