AI seeks independent probe into extrajudicial killing of labourers

Prominent human rights watchdog Amnesty International has sought independent and transparent investigation into extrajudicial killing of three labourers by Indian Army in Shopian area of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The labourers identified as Abrar Gujjar, Imtiyaz Gujjar and Abrar Khan from Rajouri district were killed by Indian Army’s 62 Rashtriya Rifles during a cordon and search operation at Keller Amshipora in Shopian district on July 18, 2020. Indian troops during the operation claimed that the killed persons were “militants”. The families of the labourers said that they had left their homes on 16th July to find work in Kashmir Valley.

Executive Director of Amnesty International India, Avinash Kumar, responding to the reports of the Indian army authorities inquiring into the extrajudicial killing of three labourers by its troops on 18th July 2020 in Shopian, said: “Amnesty International India calls for the extrajudicial execution to be investigated and prosecuted by independent civilian authorities. Civilian investigations and trials offer a degree of transparency and independence that is missing from the military justice system.”

The Amnesty statement said that the UN Human Rights Committee, which monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which India is a state party, has stated that in cases of human rights violations by Indian forces, investigations should be carried out by civilian authorities to ensure independence. This has also been affirmed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, it said.

The statement maintained that the Amnesty International India has previously documented the propensity of Indian Army authorities to almost categorically dismiss allegations of human rights violations against their personnel. In its latest Situation Update and Analysis from Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Amnesty International India has documented the closure of the Human Rights Commission along with six other commissions, including the Commission for Protection of Women and Child Rights, which has left the people of Kashmir with absolutely no redressal for their human rights violations. This is a violation of their right to remedy as guaranteed by the ICCPR, the statement said.

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