UN and track record

Rising Kashmir

UN and track record

July 09, 2018

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, released a report on June 14 on human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. The first of its kind on the human rights violations in the state, the report was rebuffed by the Government of India and criticized by others who claimed the report was based on prejudices than facts.

Few days later, Army Chief Bipin Rawat dismissing the report said “I don’t think we need to speak about the UN record of the army. It (army’s track record) is well known to all of you, the people of Kashmir, and the international community. So, I don’t think we should get too concerned about this report.”

Three civilians including a 7th class girl student were killed and five others injured in army firing during Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) in Hawoora area of Redwani in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on July 7, Saturday. It is not the first time that civilians have been killed during protests and stone pelting incidents in Kashmir and at the hands of the army.

The army version on the latest civilian killings goes as: Defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said an Area Domination Patrol (ADP) of army while moving in Hawoora area came under heavy stone pelting. “As the ADP tried to extricate, they were chased by an aggressive crowd of 400-500 persons, which kept building up and coming dangerously close. Troops while exercising extreme restraint, cautioned the stone pelters.

However, they failed to relent and repeatedly threw petrol bombs and stones at the patrol party. At one point of time some unidentified militants also fired on the column. It resulted in some army men receiving grievous injuries,” he said. Under the garb of exercising maximum restraint while being attacked by mobs, the armed forces have exonerated themselves almost every time. There is no footage or proof of the grievously injured armed personnel, or any media report that would suggest (with credible evidence) use of petrol bombs or firing by militants.

The locals have told an entirely different story, and that too has not been for the first time. If that is what happened at the site, like the defence spokesmen said, why aren’t UN or international bodies given access to investigate the cases in Kashmir? Civilian killings in last three years at the hands of armed forces and exonerations are enough to describe the track record.

Perhaps, it will help in understanding the situation if armed forces make public the list of civilians killed during protests by them when their personnel “narrowly escaped”.