Ugly face of human rights

Use of brutal forces against protestors and failure to repeal draconian laws
The pathetic state of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir, highlighted vociferously by local, national and international organizations, does not show any prospect of improvement mainly because the concerned authorities enjoy an immoral immunity. The officially acknowledged decline in the level of violence has failed to bring about a corresponding improvement in the situation. The main reason is that the rule of law is just not allowed to prevail despite the fact that the authorities in the state and at the centre have been claiming credit for restoring normalcy. The virtual collapse of the judicial system in J&K stands out as an ugly scar on the face of the Indian state which would continue to attract attention as India’s global profile becomes larger. 

The unabated incidents of extra-judicial killing, fake encounters and forced disappearances underline the worsening state of human rights in the state. The callous attitude of the state authorities is evident in the tendency of the establishment to justify the prevalence of abuse under the garb of quantifying incidents of violation. It conveniently forgets the universal truth that loss of even a single innocent human life is not acceptable in any civilised society, statistical cover up notwithstanding. 

Hopelessness on this front impacts adversely on the outcome of the peace process and the confidence building measures. Both, the peace process and the CBMs are quite desireable in themselves. But so long as injustices and atrocities continue to be practiced with impunity not much improvement is possible on the ground. That is exactly what has been happening over the past several years. 

Both the central and the state governments have been rich in rhetoric on the question of putting an end to the human rights abuses and removing curbs on the people’s democratic rights but poor in performance in this regard. The utterances like the zero tolerance to human rights abuses have simply remained pious wishes with the concerned authorities unable to evolve institutional mechanism to put an end to HR abuses and bring those found guilty to book. The situation as for as the violation of human rights is concerned cannot be improved without revoking the draconian laws like AFSPA and PSA, getting the civil space vacated by the armed forces and restoring the credibility of the derailed judicial system. For creating a climate of trust it is important to set up a high level commission for probing all cases pertaining to the human rights abuses since the beginning of insurgency, release of all those political leaders languishing in jails and withdrawing cases against them. All curbs on the movements and peaceful activities of the political leaders and activists of separate organizations need to be lifted without any delay. The best course is to let the rule of law prevail and allow the judicial process regain its supremacy. The strengthening of Human Rights Commission and establishing its independence and efficacy is equally important. Clinging to unconvincing diversionary tactics for dubious reasons and malicious interests is bound to further impair the country’s image apart from perpetuating uncivilized practices.