It’s the siege mindset that is responsible for the grim scenario of human rights

The grim situation about unabated grave human rights in Jammu and Kashmir,with the failure of the Indian state even to probe a large number of such abuses and punish the guilty, was too well known . Contrary to the Prime Minister’s talk of “zero tolerance” to such abuses the situation in respect of HR abuses has been deteriorating with every passing day . The latest report of the US State Department on the state of human rights in India , particularly in Jammu and Kashmir and the North East, comes only on a sad reminder of the unabated grim situation of the human rights in these areas in general and J&K in particular. While the mainstream political parties have maintained a stoic silence on this issue the Hurriet leaders and the human rights groups in the state have described it as an endorsement of what they have been saying about the HR abuses in the troubled state with both New Delhi and its pliant regime in J&K continuing to be in a denial mode.

Apart from mentioning the incidents of fake encounters, discovery about the unmarked grave, custodial killings and killings of innocent youth protesting against such abuses, the report also points out to the incidents of arbitrary deprivation of life , curbs on the citizens rights to hold rallies and demonstrations, travel freely within and outside the country, impounding of their passports and misuse of the draconian Public Safety Act to arrest a large number of people including the minors , their prolonged detention without trial and other atrocities being committed by the state . Whether it is the case of fake encounters , extra-judicial killings, disappearance of a large number of persons during the past 24 years whose where about are still not known , presence of a large number of unmarked graves , custodial killings or the heinous crimes of rapes and other atrocities committed by the state , the authorities have failed even to hold impartial, transparent and credible investigations . The manner in which the authorities have been trying to hush up investigations in few cases and shield the guilty makes it obvious that such grave human rights abuses are the essential part of the state policy .

The reports from different local , national and international human rights groups and agencies about the grave human rights abuses have been ignored by the state without even bothering to have independent and credible investigations of the incidents of human rights abuses in the state. The state’s refusal to even establish an independent and credible Human Rights Commission for probing into the cases of human rights shows that it has a vested interest to perpetuate this situation .

While the central and state governments claim a sharp decline in the level of militancy in J&K , they have stubbornly refused to take steps to pull out a large number of armed forces from the civilian areas and scrap draconian laws . In fact the strength of these forces which include the armed forces, paramilitaries like the Central Reserve Force, Border Security Forces has not seen any reduction. On the contrary the State police with its large number of SPOs has expanded monstrously during the past few years. The draconian laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), J&K Disturbed Areas Act , and the J&K Public Safety Act, described as a lawless law continue to be operative in the state . The laws not only arm the forces with blanket powers but also promote a culture of impunity . Even over six decade old Enemy Agents Ordinance has not been removed from the statute book . The violation of human rights is inherent in a situation where not only a very large number of armed forces are deployed in the civilian areas but even a number of draconian laws arming them with blanket powers and providing them immunity for their acts remain operative . The removal of the bulk of armed forces from the civilian areas , scrapping of all draconian laws and establishment of a powerful and independent Human Rights Commission are imperative for ensuring end to human rights abuses.