Srinagar, Mar 07: Flouting guidelines, the J&K government has, in the last four years, failed to submit any cases of deaths in police action to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
Back in 2010, the NHRC had issued guidelines to all the state governments, asking them to promptly report to the commission any case of death in police action.
“...all cases of deaths in police action in the states shall be reported to the NHRC by the Senior Superintendent of Police/Superintendent of Police of the District within 48 hours and subsequent report along with Post-mortem report, Inquest report and findings of the magisterial enquiry/enquiry by senior officers must be sent within three months,” read the guidelines.
Between April 1, 2014, and February 15, 2018, no such cases, however, were forwarded to the NHRC by J&K, official data revealed.
The period included the 2016 uprising, which devoured over a hundred civilians in police, paramilitary and army action in almost every district in Kashmir.
Even if one goes by the overly-deflated numbers the government of India made public in December 2017, 97 civilians–37 in 2017, 15 in 2016, 17 in 2015, and 28 in 2014–were killed in forces action during the period.
Asked about it, the State Police Chief, SP Vaid, sounded surprised.
“Have the cases not been submitted?” he asked in reply. “We will examine it.”
An official at NHRC’s Media and Communication wing in New Delhi told The Kashmir Monitor that the Commission does ask for the report from the state governments.
“NHRC asks for the reports at higher level,” the official said.
Asked if they could provide the information on the number of requests the commission has made to J&K in the last four years, the official referred this reporter to Joint Registrar (law), who was not available for comments.
Early last month, the NHRC asked the J&K government to file a report on alleged “human rights violation of the army personnel” in Shopian, where seven civilians have been killed in less than two months.
It, the NHRC claimed, was acting on a complaint filed by the children of army officers in Shopian incident in which three civilians were killed in army firing on January 27.
Prominent High Court Advocate, Zaffar Qureshi, said, “The state never submits such cases to the NHRC on its own.”
“I am 110 % sure they (the state or the police) do not submit such cases (to NHRC) on their own,” he said. “Not once has police, of its own, filed an FIR in such killings – be those that happened in fake encounters, or CRPF and police firing.”
“When they don’t file an FIR, how do you expect them to submit the cases to NHRC?”
Qureshi said he was fighting a few cases in the court in which deaths have taken place in “fake encounters” and the court was still waiting for the status report from police.
“NHRC too has to be asked about their jurisdiction. If the state does not submit the report, what is the next step the commission takes or should take?” he asked.
Qureshi pointed out how the government was silent in the recent killing of four civilians in Shopian.
“Give a dog a bad name and kill him. This is what is happening to Kashmiri boys,” he said.