The 'Inhuman' Rights
recurring hallucinations often blurred by the tear-brimming eyes keep haunting
Usha Bazaz - a woman in her early thirties - who was widowed on March 26
in 1990. Her husband Ashok Kumar Bazaz, fell prey to the bullets of terrorists
at Chattabal - a locality in downtown Srinagar city. He is survived by
his widow and seven daughters.
now lives in Jammu with a relative. The dreams of the parents of Ashok
Kumar Bazaz too lie shattered. The uncertainty coupled with the dark future
is large over the faces of the young widow and her minor daughters. The
youngest daughter of Bazaz - who saw her father off on the ill-fated day
- still cherishes the fond hope that her Daddy would return home some day.
She vividly recalls the last moments with her father and even identifies
some people who had come to pick him up. The young widow recalls that none
among her Muslim neighbours came even to console her. Next day her aged
father-in-law air-dashed from Jammu to perform the cremation for which
the police had made arrangements.
another heart-rending case, the victim peeped through a second floor window
of his house in the downtown's dense Chota Bazar locality to ascertain
the mood of the day, when he spotted a gun-totting young man menacingly
mocking at his naivety from the street below. The fateful date was March
19, 1990. The 36-year-old telecommunication engineer Bal Krishan Ganjoo
immediately shut all the doors and windows of his house.
entire family was panic-stricken. Finding the main wooden door too strong
to break, the armed young man sneaked into the compound, after breaking
in from a wooden boundary partition between the houses of the victim and
his neighbours. The terrorist broke the ground-floor window and went inside
the house to be confronted by Ganjoo's wife who by now had persuaded her
husband to conceal himself in a drum, used for storing rice. The gun-wielding
young man was not taken in by her assertion that Ganjoo had already left
for his office. He looked into every nook and corner of the house before
going to the third-floor attic, usually used for dumping stocks. He opened
the lid of the drum and pumped all the bullets into Ganjoo's body.
killer had still some bile left. The wailing widow of Ganjoo begged of
him to kill the other family members as their lives had little meaning
now for them. "Who will cry over his body, if I kill you?" said the terrorist
triumphantly. He is survived by his widow and two daughters. He was married
about three years ago. He had made attempts to flee from Kashmir Valley
twice but was persuaded by the neighbours not to do so. However none of
the 'benevolent' neighbours even came forward to console the family.
same is the story of Ajay Kapoor, who was engaged in a wholesale business
in the Maharajganj area of notorious downtown Srinagar till December 1,
1989. He was killed soon after he came out of his house at 10.30 a.m. There
was so much scare that none could muster enough courage to lift the body:
terrorists had declared that whosoever would remove the bodies of their
prey, would do so at his own risk and peril responsibility. The body was
removed two hours after the merciless killing. He is survived by his widow,
two sons and a daughter who out of fear left the city and settled in Jammu.
Kumar Sapru, was killed on his way back from his official duty, in the
same way on February 27, 1990. He was employed as a telecom inspector.
Nobody - including the jawans of the Kashmir Armed Police standing nearby
- came to his rescue. He is survived by his old mother, two sons and a
Kamal Suri, owner of a provision store at Natipora, was gunned down on March
14, 1990. He had been kidnapped a day earlier by five terrorists who were
seen talking to one Ghulam Mohamad Shah who lived close to the house of
the victim. According to the members of the victim's family, lhe deceased
was first taken by the kidnappers to a palatial house at Nowgam where the
terrorists had built up a big control room complete with electronic gadgets.
The victim was released in the morning and taken away again and this time
to be killed in the evening during the curfew hours. He is survived by
his two brothers, mother and two sisters.
Ahmed Khan, a young man was killed in an exchange of fire between terrorists
and the security forces at Lal Chowk on the evening of February 7 of the
same year. In a moving letter, next day, to Dr. Mohammed Yusuf Khan - father
of the victim - Jagmohan, Governor, wrote: "I am deeply shocked to learn
of the tragic death of your son in the last evening incident near Lal Chowk.
Your loss as well as the loss of your family and friends is indeed immeasurable.
But ours is no less. We all share your grief.
me, I could not sleep last night. Such was the imprint of tragedy on my
mind. Human dimensions of the incident should haunt all sensitive souls.
It is not the blood of the individual alone but all of it that flows in
us - the blood of our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters. It
is the blood that would stain the fair name of Kashmir. It would congeal
and leave an ugly mark on the inner as well as outer landscape of the beautiful
us pray to God Almighty to make us to see the path of peace and sanity.
Let us create a situation in which no policeman is seen on the streets
and they remain full of tourists and thrilling people. Let us impress once
again on our young brothers to see the futility of the cult of the gun
and understand the magnitude of all around misery that it has caused. Let
us assure them that if they abandon the path of violence we would treat
them with care and compassion. Let us remind them that our Constitution
guarantees justice to all, and we would ensure that the same is given both
in letter and in spirit.
no more Shabirs die. Let no one feel the permanent loss of our near and
there is nobody to share these sentiments. There are only a few eyes who
can see the tragedy striking the victims of terrorism. There are few ears
to respond to the sobs of the survivors of the victims.
few days after this incident Tej Krishan Razdan - a Central Government
employee posted in Punjab province - visited Srinagar on leave to meet
his family. An old Muslim colleague of Razdan, still posted in Kashmir,
paid a visit to his residence on the fateful day. Both of them boarded
a Lal Chowk-bound mini-bus. When the mini-bus halted at Gao Kadal, Razdan's
companion suddenly took out a pistol and shot him point blank. Not contended
with this dastardly action a still-breathing Razdan was dragged out of
the vehicle and the co-passengers were asked to kick the dying man repeatedly.
The body was dragged through the street. Taken to a nearest mosque, the
body was put on display for hours before the police came to take it away.
another incident, a group of three terrorists accosted Ashok Kumar Qazi
- a State Gavernment employee - on Feb. 24, 1990 in Zaindar Mohalla when
he was on his way to the market. He was shot at on the knuckles. He fell
down and cried in agony for help. None among the passers-by or the shopkeepers
responded. They just preferred to look the other way despite the fact that
the victim - an energetic social worker of the area - was known to them.
In their sadistic frenzy, the three murderers started dancing around the
injured Qazi. His hair were pulled off. Terrorists slapped him continuously
and spat on his face. One of them even unfastened his trousers and urinated
on the face of Qazi. Terrorists enjoyed the writhing and twitching of the
body of the dying victim. They wanted to kill him slowly. The siren of
a distant police van, however, mercifully ended his agony as the panicky
terrorists pumped bullets into his stomach and chest and left the body
on the frozen road.
Kaul - a shopkeeper at Bijbihara in Anantanag district of the Valley -
met a similar fate, but in a gorier manner. He was skinned off and left
to die. His putrefied body was discovered three days later. The incident
took place on March 22, 1990.
did not spare even Sarwanand Kaul 'Premi', a noted Kashmiri poet and his
27-year-old son who were killed on April 30, 1990 at Soaf Shali in Anantnag
district. Though his family urged him to leave the village in view of the
mounting terrorist activities an unabetted killings of his community members,
the poet refused, believing in the 'secular traditions' of his beloved
Kashmir. He was deeply religious as well as liberal. He thought he was
widely respected in the area predominated by Muslims. But his faith was
ultimately shattered when on the evening of April 29, three terrorists
entered his house and asked the inmates to put all the valuables in one
them in an emptied suitcase, terrorists asked the frail and soft-spoken
poet to carry the suitcase and follow them. "We mean no harm to him and
he will return," the terrorists assured the wailing relatives.
the meantime, Virendra Premi, 27-year-old son of the poet, volunteered
to accompany his father so that he could lead the old man back during the
dark night. "Come on you too, if you so desire," said the terrorists. Both
the father and son were herded out of the house.
their bodies were found two days later, the scene was appalling and nauseating.
The place in-between the two eyebrows, where Premi used to apply the sandalwood
mark commonly known as 'tilak' was found pierced by an iron rod and the
skin peeled off. The entire body bore the marks of cigarette burns. The
limbs were found broken and the eyes of both father and son gouged out.
They had also been shot and hanged to a tree. This happened to a man who
had kept a rare manuscript of the holy Quran with reverence in his prayer
another gruesome case on May 7, 1990, K.L. Ganjoo - a lecturer at the Agricultural
College at Wadora near Sopore, in Baramulla district - was returning home
along with his wife from Nepal, where he had gone to attend a conference.
Two officials of the college had been sent to receive him at the airport.
They turned out to be murderers. They dragged Ganjoo and his wife out of
the vehicle, right in the middle of the bridge at Sopore. Ganjoo was shot
at and was thrown in the Jhelum to die. A young nephew of the couple, who
was also with them, was given a choice - either to jump into the river
or watch what they intended to do with his aunt. The boy jumped into the
river. He survived and managed to escape. The bullet-ridden body of Ganjoo
was found a few days later from the bank of the river. Mrs. Ganjoo - a
school teacher by profession - was gang-raped by terrorists and then killed
in a gruesome manner.
treatment, meted out to Chunni Lal Shalla - a Police Inspector - is testimony
to the barbarity which terrorists can resort to. He was posted at Langate
near Kupwara. He was on his way to visit his family at Sopore after a lapse
of six months. To avoid identification by the Jamaat-i-Islami terrorists,
Shalla had sported a beard. A Muslim constable, working under him, also
accompanied him in the same bus. On reaching Sopore, two terrorists came
searching for Shalla but failed to recognise him. They had hardly left
when the constable called them back and divulged the identity of the police
inspector to them.
the meantime, the constable himself took out a dagger and slashed off the
entire right cheek along with the beard of Shalla. Blood gushed out and
Shalla was in a state of shock. The constable jolted him by saying - "You
pig. I will not allow you to sport Jamaat-i-Islami type beard on your other
cheek also" - and slashed off his left cheek too. The two terrorists and
the constable then battered the face of Shalla with hockey sticks shouting
- "Bastard, we won't waste a bullet on you". Shalla was left to die.
list is unending. It includes Professor Mushir-ul-Haq - the Vice-Chancellor
of Kashmir University - who was abducted during the pious month of Ramzan.
By this time, barring a handful of Hindus, the minority community had left
the Valley. But the naked dance of killling continued. On June 24, 1991,
three probationary officers of the Life Insurance Carporation of India
were abducted from a park. They were severely tortured and locked in a
vacant house of a Hindu who had migrated from the Valley. The house was
set on fire. Two of them died in the fire while the third one was rescued
by the security forces and rushed to a hospital. On August 12 the same
year, the body of Ram Moorli of Bangalore who was a clerk in the State
Bank of India was found hanging in his hotel room.
Khosa reporting for the Tribune (Chandigarh) in its issue of Feb 2, 1993
stated: "Crimes against women by militants are multiplying each day. Forcible
marriages have been reported from a number of places while a large number
of Muslim families with grown up girls have had to migrate in view of matrimonial
demands for their daughters at gun point.
sons of a prominent business family of Kashmir were sent away to Bombay
to evade possible kidnappings for ransom by militants.
by militants are too common. The security forces have recovered a number
of girls who were either being kidnapped by militants or were being kept
in confinement and raped repeatedly. For obvious reasons, the identity
of such girls is being kept secret.
woes of women at the hands of militants was boldly echoed by a lady doctor
of Pulwama. Dr. Rishi, a gynaeocologist whose doctor husband had been slain
by militants last year. In an interview to a foreign television network,
Dr. Rishi said militants had been forcing her and her husband to perform
abortions on the young Kashmiri girls, whom they had raped. 'While we did
a few cases, our conscience did not allow us to carry out this illegal
and un-Islamic practice. ' When the couple refused to carry out abortions,
Dr. Rishi was shot dead.
the television crew asked Dr. Rishi whether she was not afraid of militants,
she replied, ' What more I have to fear from them. They have everything
to fear from me. I will expose them.'
reporter met a 13-year-old girl of Chanapora (Srinagar) who had become
a mother after being sexually exploited by a local militant. When the shocked
parents of the girl complained to a 'chief' of the outfit to which the
said militant belonged, the mililtant was transferred to a remote Kupwara
area as a punishment.
months ago, residents of the plush Rajbagh locality were mute witness to
a burqa clad girl being taken by a couple of gunmen to an abandoned house
of a Kashmiri Pandit for 'interrogation'. The girl was 'interrogated' throughout
the night while about twelve militants were with her. They were served
food from a nearby house where a marriage party was on.
'interrogations' of 'mukhbirs' (informers) are too common. This reponer
met three such women who had been saved from being killed by the timely
intervention of some militant-related influential sections. All of them
had been picked up from Srinagar's different areas and were related to
each other. One of them had been made to drink a lot of water and then
kicked in the stomach by her tormentors. The other one had burn marks all
over her body inflicted with burning cigarette buts. The third one had
cut marks on her breast. They were kept in a vacant migrant's house in
Pulwama for three days.
at least five women were hanged to death in various parts of Kashmir as
a pan of the militants' campaign to kill police 'informers'. In its issue
of Feb. 4, 1993 in The Hindustan Times, A.R. Wig reported from Srinagar,
"The Border Security Force (BSF) during the past few months have recovered
a number of young girls who were kidnapped from the lawful custody of their
parents, criminally assaulted and then sold for handsome money. In some
cases, armed militants even forcibly whisked away young women on the false
pretext that they acted as informers for the security forces and then tortured
them. The dividing line between their ideological commitment albeit misguided
and proneness to criminality is becoming increasingly indistinguishable.
is the shocking story of 19-year-old Shahina of Handwara, who was rescued
by the BSF. Narrating her nightmare she had undergone, Shahina with tears
welling up in her eyes said that she was kidnapped, criminally assaulted
and tortured by members of various outfits as she was suspected to have
passed on information about the presence of two kidnappers of her younger
brother in a house. The suspects were later arrested from the Jama Masjid
area in Handwara.
sought the BSF help after the family learnt that the kidnappers had threatened
to kill her brother. As soon as she returned home after the rescue of her
brother, she was immediately threatened by the militants that they would
kidnap her. Since she wanted to lead a peaceful life, the BSF unit helped
her in getting a job in Ratna Rani hospital in Srinagar. But the fear of
militants continued to haunt her.
she noticed some unknown face in the hospital, she would get scared and
thought she might again be kidnapped. As it happened while she was undergoing
nursing training, one of the staff nurses identified her. Apprehending
that this information might reach the militants, she left her job and went
back to her house in Handwara.
next day, she was forcibly taken away by militant identified as Qayoom Beig, a member of the JKLF militant group as a punishment for informing
the BSF and also securing a job in the nursing course. She was given a
punishment of forty lashes.
that the punishment was not enough, she was again kidnapped on the Id day
in July 1992. This time the militants belonging to Ikhwan-ul-Musalmeen
took her to a forest where she was kept for fourteen days. She was criminally
assaulted by militant Nasir Ahmed Pir and later produced before Dr. Hyder,
leader of the militant outfit where she complained to the leader about
the rape. She was let off with the advice not to contact the security forces
or she would be killed. Shahina told Dr. Hyder that she would prefer death
rather than being raped by the militants.
to her statement, before the BSF rescued her, she became pregnant. First
she concealed the pregnancy but subsequently told the truth to her sister.
With the help of her elder sister, Hamida, who was living in Sopore, she
was taken for abortion by Dr. Ameena Matto of Sopore. She again returned
to her sister's house in Handwara.
the following November Rashid Khan a known militant was killed by the security
forces and she thought that again she was being suspected of passing on
the information to the security forces about the presence of Rashid Khan,
in the town. She was again forcibly taken by militants and kept in an abandoned
house in Buttpora near Sapore. She was totally shocked when she saw a man
identified as Altaf Hussain Nazar who had kidnapped her. She pleaded not
to touch her but her pleadings failed to move him. She was again criminally
assaulted for several days.
in the captivity of the militants, she was introduced to one Akil Ahmed
and her captors wanted to sell her to him for Rs 40,000 for prostitution
in Delhi. She said all through her detention she was pleading for her release
but the kidnappers were unmoved. But one day while she was alone in the
house, she managed to escape and rushed to the BSF unit. Since the BSF
were not there in the camp, she was sent to a family of CRPF jawans.
BSF officers treated her as their own daughter and promised to get her
a job. Shahina said that she would like to join the security forces so
that she could get training and avenge the inhuman treatment meted out
to her by the militants. She said that the so-called militants in fact
were criminals outraging the modesty of young girls and killing innocent
is not the only girl who went through this nightmare. A 12-year-old girl
was kidnapped from Batala in Punjab by one Abdul Hamid who had links with
militant groups in Kashmir and sold to a 60-year-old man of village Khor
and subjected to criminal assault."
mid-1991, the security forces launched a concerted operation to flush out
terrorists who had got themselves entrenched in the vacant houses of the
migrants in Rainawari locality in downtown Srinagar. The locality had been
transformed into a sort of fortress of various terrorist outfits. Some
houses were used as watch-towers, some to store arms, some as residential
quarters and some as field hostels to accommodate the visiting accomplices.
the recapture of this locality by the Army, it was handed over to the
paramilitary forces for use as watch-towers and vigilance posts. The same exercise
was also repeated in other localities by the security forces. Even camps
were pitched in the compound of some of the vacant houses.
sustained efforts of the security forces in containing the menace of terrorism
and secessionism in the Valley yielded some positive results. This development
restored the confidence of the migrants to some extent at Jammu and elsewhere
in India to return to their homes, a number of whom had already been reduced
to ashes by terrorists.
to D. S. R. Sahni - General officer Commander-in-Chief of the Northern
Command of the Indian Army - about three to four houses of migrants were
being burnt everyday since the last quarter of 1991. He described such
attempts as desperate ones at the hands of terrorists who were under the
pressure of the security forces. However, a leader of the migrants claimed
that the number of such incidents was certainly more than 5,000. Shyam
Kaul - a veteran journalist from the region - said that more than 3,000
first information reports (FIRs) had already been lodged with the police
in Jammu alone by the migrant victims in this regard.
incidents are not restricted to various localities in Srinagar city alone:
houses and properties of the migrants in other towns and the countryside
in particular have also not been spared by terrorists. According to Kaul,
some persons have been explaining away this phenomenon by saying that terrorists
feared that the security forces might occupy the vacant houses of Hindus
for their anti-terrorist operations and, therefore, they would destroy
them. But there are a large number of houses in remote villages that were
also set ablaze, apparently for no reason except perhaps to deter the owners
from returning to their homes.
then, terrorists in Kashmir, enjoying patronage from Pakistan and unleashing
a reign of terror on the innocent population in every possible manner,
are being called as 'armed separatists' by the human rights organisations.
for the functioning of the paramilitary forces, one must bear in mind
that they are discharging their duties in absolutely hostile conditions,
where they are not sure about their life even for the next moment. The
local administration is against them. The instances of the involvement
of the local police and Intelligence with terrorists are not rare. Local
politicians are out and out to denigrate and demoralize them. And the ISI
is meticulously conducting the whole campaign against India, both from
inside and outside the State, from the Pakistani soil and from the Capital
of India where voices of dissent are not curbed on account of democratic
method employed by the various terrorist outfits to hound out the minority
community (Kashmiri Hindu Pandits) from the Valley did not follow a homogenous
path. The heterogeneity of the devices used for driving out the aborigines
from their native land bears the ISI stamp. It was so ingenious that one
could not locate a systematic design behind it as that could bring discredit
to 'Jehad' at the outset and its overtures would appear communal which
was likely to invoke international condemnation, besides inviting an organised
crackdown at the very inception of the movement for 'azadi'.
fundamentalist forces had started raising their ugly faces long before
January 1990 when Dr. Farooq resigned as the Chief Minister. Keshav Nath
- a priest of the Vicharnag temple - was beaten to death by a police constable
on December 9, 1988. Responding to a call-attention notice in the Assembly
on this incident, the Chief Minister had stated: "The facts of the case
are that on December 9 at 3.45 a.m. some residents of Vicharnag verbally
reported at police station Soura that the body of one Keshav Nath, priest
of the Vicharnag temple, is lying in the compound of the said temple under
suspicious circumstances and they apprehended some foul play in that. On
receipt of the information, the Station House Officer of police station
Soura reached the spot and started proceedings under Section 174 Criminal
Procedure Code (Cr. P. C.). He found the body of the priest lying in the compound
of the temple with some bruises. During the course of further proceedings
it was learnt through the watchman of the temple, Beant Ram, that Constable
Mohammad Yusuf No. 616/S, who was on guard duty at the temple, had pressed
the priest to recite the Quran and when the latter refused to do so constable
Mohammad Yusuf assaulted him with the rifle in his possession and beat
him to death."
number of reports of the Amnesty International and the Asia Watch besides
some Indian organisations have 'documented the excesses of the Indian security
forces' in tackling the situation in Kashmir. What they are trying to do
is to focus exclusively on the State action against terrorism, masking
the fact that State action cannot be treated as an isolated phenomenon
of human rights violations in an atmosphere of continued terrorist violence.
In fact, it is terrorist violence that ultimately determines the limits
and extent of State action to contain it.
violence per se is a violation of human rights. The resolution of the UN
General Assembly on measures to prevent international terrorism, passed
on December, 1985 followed by the Security Council resolution after nine
days, inter alia stated:
condemned as criminal, all acts, methods and practices of terrorism wherever
and by whomever committed, including those who jeopardised the friendly
relations between states."
UN Declaration of Human Rights, too, does not involve only guarantee against
the actions of the State. Its scope is universal and the obligation of
their protection is not limited to the authority of the State. Don't terrorists
have any responsibility? Moreover, are human rights meant only to protect
a few fundamentalists in Kashmir against the authority of the State? Don't
they equally involve protection of other minorities against the extermination,
persecution and threat? Are they not to be allowed their traditional way
of life or are they to be swept asunder by a religious crusade aiming for
the inaudibility syndrome of human rights activists, in a detailed and
in-depth analysis Harsh Sethi - a prominent human rights activist, wrote
in the Patriot, an English daily, published from New Delhi: "The human
rights groups 'bend over backwards' to prove their radicalism. And this
radicalism seems to consist of a 'gleeful and malicious' State-bashing,
of 'proving' that the law and order machinery is not only excessively violent
but is invariably biased against the minorities and the weak; that the
social based of Hindu communalism has grown to alarming proportions; that
terrorist violence is almost excusable in the face of 'State terrorism',
and so on . . .
the dominant sections of the guardians of public discourse - the intelligentsia and the media - too fall easy prey to these sentiments is predictable.
Their willing complicity in a self-imposed censorship or a deliberate distortion
(or worse, fabrication) of news only further strengthens the votaries of
an authoritarian state . . .
discerning observers of the Kashmir scene would contest that the handling
of the Valley has been less than adroit, or that the perception of discrimination
has led to a near complete 'alienation from India in the Valley'. But to
be served with an analysis that minimises, if not ignores, the reality
of Pakistan's involvement in the Valley, shows poor understanding of the implications
of the global resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism, that views
terrorism only as a social response to State terrorism and is insensitive
to its simultaneous autonomous roots, is to ask us to live in a world of
make-believe. Any commentary that cannot squarely face up to the inability of the organised groups of terrorists in the Valley, be they the JKLF or
the Allah Tigers, to retain the minuscule non-Muslims or nationalist minority
in their ranks stands on shifty moral ground when accusing the State and
society of being Hindu communal.
is somewhat difficult to sustain a hypothesis that the small minority of
Kashmiri Pandits are a threat to the majority Muslim population in the
Valley. If Kashmiriyat is what is finding expression, then why do we not
have non-Muslims joining the struggle for independence?
. . To take a parallel example, if groups are not seen as protesting equally
vociferously against the brutal gunning down of innocent participants in
the Ramnavmi procession in Batala in Punjab, then their concern for their
favoured 'victims' appears fake. They cannot get away with responses such
as, 'The newspapers did not print our statements' or that 'There are enough
people doing that in any case. We have to speak on behalf of the others'.
the human rights groups realise the faith that this society had reposed
in them. Unlike the official media, the politicians and the administration,
the human rights groups were seen as courageous guardians of public morality.
It is this faith that had given them their power, quite out of proportion
to their numbers. But if they too are to be seen as 'no different from
the rest', then we are are indeed in for difficult times. Their pride in
a belief that such reports create confidence in the victim groups and communities
that at least someone cares, remains at best a partial argument.
purpose of a human rights report cannot be to merely contribute footnotes
to history. It must, to be efficacious, communicate with wider sections
in society so as to facilitate the emergence of a genuine public discourse
on the issues that it contends with . . .
only the human rights groups could remember that before them Jayaprakash
Narayan could set up a commission on Jammu & Kashmir and Nagaland,
and never was he then accused of being anti-national, or that Mahatma Gandhi
could find enough support for his insistence that money owed to Pakistan
be repatriated, notwithstanding partition and the ensuing war, can they
begin to define the terms under which a human rights discourse can be sustained
in this society. Otherwise they must be resigned to a fate of inaudibility."
human rights groups conveniently forget to recall information, furnished
to the inquiry team of the Press Council of India by the Army authorities
regarding action taken against the errant jawans in Kashmir. According
to the Army authorities, as many as eleven Armymen, including a commanding officer
of an unit, were awarded punishment in six court martials concerning
the incidents in Kashmir Valley during 1990. Besides them, one officer
and one junior commissioned officer (JCO) were awarded severe reprimand,
affecting their promotion adversely on account of an incident in Petta
Dialgam in Anantnag district on January 29, 1991.
the incident, one Army column while moving was ambushed by the anti-national
elements. During the ambush, the personnel of the J&K Armed Police (JKAP) travelling in the vehicle got involved in an exchange of fire with
the anti-national elements, resulting in injury to two JKAP personnel one
of whom later succumbed to injuries. The Army column is alleged to have
subsequently carried out excesses against civilians during the search operations.
A case was established against an officer and a summary court martial was
ordered in the incident which took place on April 11, 1990 at Srinagar
in which Rs 5,100 was allegedly removed by one officer during the cordon
and search operations. In this case, convening of the court martial was
delayed due to the hospitalisation of the concerned officers.
another incident at Srinagar, on June 2, the same year, Yusuf Jameel, the
stringer for the BBC and several other foreign newspapers and news agencies
and Haji Ghulam Mohammad Goru were apprehended, a severe structure was
awarded to the three officers, including the commanding officer of the
concerned unit. The implication of the punishment are 'entry made in the
officer's dossier, officer not considered for promotion for three years
and the career of the officer adversely affected.' (An intruder had disclosed
to the Army team that following his return from across the border after
training, he had been instructed to contact Yusuf Jameel and Zafar Meraj
at Srinagar for further instructions. He had added that he had been told
to meet a particular hawker on the Residency Road who in turn would direct
him to the house of Yusuf Jameel and in case Jameel was not there, he would
be sent to the house of Zafar Meraj . When the intruder approached Yusuf Jameel, he was being followed by the Army team. Initially Jameel refused
to meet the visitor but when the intruder passed the code word, Jammel
came out to receive him. The Army team in waiting, pounced on Jameel and
whisked him away without taking the local police into confidence. Incidentally
Zafar Meraj was away in Delhi on that day.)
an incident in which the modesty of a woman had been outraged, at Panjgam
in Srinagar district on June 9, the same year, a non-commissioned officer
(NCO), one JCO and one jawan were found guilty in the court martial. The
jawan was dismissed from service, the NCO was not only dismissed from service
but was also awarded six months' rigorous imprisonment while severe reprimand
was awarded to the JCO. The severe reprimand implied that the promotion
of the JCO was adversely affected.
Territorial Army officer was tried summarily and awarded severe reprimand,
besides a year loss of seniority for promotion, in regard to an incident
on May 16, 1990 at Srinagar in which a gold ring was removed from a jewellery
box but was later returned during the cordon and search operations. The
implication of the punishment included an entry made in the officer's dossier
and promotion adversely affected.
yet another incident, Shameem Ahmed and Mohammad Ameen Kathwari - two anti-national
elements - died in the Army detention cell. They had been apprehended during
cordon and search operations on December 17 and 18, 1990 in Rainawari locality
of Srinagar city but died in detention due to cumulative effects of extreme
cold, inadequate administration and lack of medical attention during detention
and use of excessive force during the interrogation. In this case an officer
was served with a show-cause notice for administrative action. The severity
of the administrative action can be as much as termination from service.
A JCO was awarded displeasure.
officer was awarded severe displeasure over an incident in which a convoy
under an officer had been ambushed by the anti-national elements on December
23, 1990 at Tsaripur in Pulwama district and in the following exchange
of fire six civilians had been killed.
the Border Security Force (BSF), a paramilitary force, which is helping
the local police in internal security punished, as many as thirty-four
officials of different ranks on duty in J&K on account of over-reaction
or indiscipline during the last three years (1990 to 92). Among them are
twenty-seven personnel including twenty constables, three head constables,
two naiks and three lance-naiks. Two constables were tried by the Security
Forces courts (court martial) and dismissed from service. Three personnel
including one constable, one lance-naik and a cook, were also tried by
the General Security Force courts (court martial) for the offences such
to a report of the Asia Watch in May 1993, the spokesman of Government
of India said, "Action was taken against 97 Army and para-military personnel,
with 38 sentenced to imprisonment and ten dismissed from services since
the outbreak of terrorism in the Valley."
officers have already been given by the Army authorities a list of dos
and donts while acting under the Armed Forces Special Power Act 1958 -
in force in the disturbed Kashmir Valley these days.
with the subject of the alleged excesses by the Army and the security forces
in Kashmir, the Verghese Committee of the Press Council of India in its
lengthy report 'Crisis and Credibility' noted: "India is signatory to the
Human Rights Charter, the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights and other Instruments which reinforce the Constitutional Bill of
Rights and requirements of due process which the courts are there to uphold."
also said that the country can boast of a large number of human rights
organisations and activists who have been quick to bring any reported infringement
of civil liberties to public notice. These bodies have been vigilant in
monitoring emergency situations where distrubed conditions invoke the application
of special laws. The media have given wide coverage to their observations
while pursuing their own independent investigations as well.
phrases have been used in reporting some of these events, and it is important
to be clear about their meaning. An 'excess' is something beyond permissible
limits. It may be legal but not defensible, the excess being the result
of a panic reaction or an error of judgment. An 'atrocity ', on the other
hand, suggests an act of extreme brutality with deliberate intent, thus
rendering it illegal and beyond the pale of law.
and 'massacre' have been used interchangeably, among others, by militant groups and by Pakistan, though they have different meanings. Genocide implies
the deliberate elimination of nationality or ethnic group whereas massacre
entails the extermination of any large number of people. Again, molestation
(of a woman) connotes forceful sexual liberties short of intercourse, whereas
rape specifically entails sexual intercourse with a woman against her will
by threat or use of force.
are sometimes loosely and carelessly used. Strong disapproval, high emotion
or political bias can result in the deliberate or sub-conscious choice
of the harsher or more dramatic expression among related pairs of words.
With usage, such expressions gain currency as generic terms. Terminological
inexactitude may also be a product of translation, a common enough pitfall.
A J&K policeman told the committee that the Urdu phrase 'tang karna'
with reference to a woman could mean beating her, tearing or tugging at
her clothes, nestling beside her, or even rape. That is indeed a wide spectrum
of meanings. The word 'fauj' is commonly used for any uniformed personnel
other than the police. Likewise 'jawan' or 'soldiers' and, sometimes 'Army'
(i.e., 'fauj''). Simple villagers are unable to distinguish between uniforms,
ranks and nomenclatures . . .
prolonged round-the-clock curfew imposed on Srinagar in the early part
of 1990 did cause considerable hardship. Para-military forces, hurriedly
inducted into Kashmir from wherever they happened to be, were deployed
with inadequate briefing. Lacking in local knowledge or police Intelligence,
unfamiliar with the language and confronted with well armed but faceless
militants able to strike and melt into an alienated population - many security
personnel were prone to regard themselves as part of an occupation force
under seige and the entire population as 'enemies'. The inability to distinguish
friend form foe in situations of high tension led to some unfortunate incidents
during the early days. Overreaction on occasions resulted in excesses as
the para-military forces were pitch forked into a role far beyond their
charter. Intelligence gathering became a particularly vital and onerous
of the incidents involving the paramilitary forces were inquired into
and action was taken as in the Anantnag bridal rape case (May 1990) and
the burning down of a number of shops and houses in Handwara (October 1990).
The case pertaining to the Mashali Mohalla incident in Srinagar (August
6,1990) in which nine persons were killed, had almost concluded in June
incident of firing took place at Khanyar in Srinagar on May 8, 1991 when
a paramilitary patrol party was allegedly fired upon, around 6.15 p.m.,
near Pir Dastgir Sahib, where people had gathered for the burial of three
persons killed in an exchange of fire with militants sometime earlier.
According to the police report issued the next day: "the security forces
returned the fire coming from various directions, resulting in eleven fatal
casualties and injuries to forty-three others. A criminal case has been
registered in connection with the firing incident and a high-level inquiry
by an Additional Chief Secretary to the Government of J&K has been
ordered and further follow-up action will be taken on receipt of the report
of the high-level inquiry. In the meantime, three security personnel have
been placed under suspension pending inquiry into their conduct." The official
release was reasonably prompt and 'excess' was straightaway admitted. Although
there was alleged provocation of militant firing, the return fire was considered
excessive as one SF personnel fired sixteen rounds and the other thirteen.
Some papers reported fifty killed in the firing with many more injured.
Admittedly nine died immediately and two or three of the injured succumbed
to injuries later.
police cite this as an example of unverified reports of the numbers killed,
serving the militant propaganda. In early 1990 when a certain incident
that stirred great excitement was alleged in Srinagar, the Governor, Jagmohan,
issued a public notice asking for the names of those killed so that compensation
might be paid to the bereaved families. There was no response. The alleged
deaths were concoctions.
terms of reference of the Khanyar inquiry include 'determination of the
sequence of events that led to the use of force, identification of any
act of omission or commission that may have contributed towards escalation
of the situation, determination of whether the firing undertaken in the
situation was justified or necessary. If not, recommendation for action
against the persons who may be at fault.' The inquiry was to be completed
within a month.
has been some criticism that the credibility of the inquiry might be undermined
because of the choice of the conducting officer. Be this as it may, the
Hizb-ul-Mujahideen called for a boycott of the official inquiry which amounted
to a threat that will surely impede independent witnesses coming forward
and has in fact delayed its completion. Meanwhile, a parallel inquiry was
announced by Mufti Bahauddin Farooqi - former Chief Justice of the J&K
High Court - which, he says, was demanded by independent citizens, as the
notification issued by the official inquiry officer inviting witnesses
to file statements 'showed bias'. The parallel one-man inquiry was conducted
by Mufti Bahauddin Farooqi himself under the auspices of the J&K People
's Basic Rights Protection Committee, which he heads. It was released on
June 25,1990. It indicts the security forces for indiscriminate and unprovoked
firing resulting in sixteen deaths and fifty-nine injuries.
incident, which aroused a great deal of indignation, took place on June
11, 1991. Twenty-two persons were killed and fifteen injured when, according
to police reports, militants fired on the security personnel, changing
guard at Chota Bazar, in downtown Srinagar. Earlier, a group of militants
had fired on a security patrol killing one jawan and injuring three others.
Two persons were killed when the security forces returned fire. Militants,
however, allege that the Chota Bazar firing was a revenge killing by security
forces personnel in retaliation for the ambush of their comrades at Zaina
Kadal. An official inquiry is under way. Mufti Bahauddin Farooqi, too,
proposes another citizen's inquiry . . .
case of excesses in the course of duty, the CRPF and BSF hold departmental
inquiries and take action on the findings. But where the action of any
member of the security forces is indefensible in terms of going beyond
the law, the case is handed over to the police and magistracy for prosecution.
Rape and molestation cases are also put in court.
sources have little doubt that it is part of the militants' strategy to
trap the security forces in difficult situations, such as in congested
localities, and attempt to provoke extreme reactions. It helps the militant
cause if innocent persons, especially women, children, the sick and aged,
are caught in the crossfire. This fans anger and alienation. Official sources
allege that militants do commit arson when cornered and blame the resultant
loss of homes, commercial establishments and other property on the ruthlessness
of the security forces. On the other hand, the security forces have been
charged with deliberate incendiarism to overawe the people. It has been
alleged that jawans have been seen to spread inflammable powder on houses
and shops or sprinkle petrol (carried in their helmets), set the premises
afire and then prevent fire tenders form putting out the conflagration.
The security forces vehemently deny this. They say that everybody stacks
hay in their lofts and wooden structures that easily catch fire, sometimes
as a result of the use of grenades, crude bombs and other explosive material
in the course of encounters. It is claimed that some militants apprehended
in Anantnag in November 1990, after an armed encounter actually confessed
to committing arson. However, cases of arson have been registered by the
police against the security forces.
is widely believed that the phrase 'killed in cross-firing' is used as
a cover for panic reactions, blind firing (especially when militant attackers
disappear into narrow alleys where pursuit is extremely difficult and dangerous),
and for deliberate revenge killings.
militants' version of righteous innocence is open to suspicion. This is
evident frorn their own statements as reported by the Srinagar Press which
is under severe pressure from them.
a local Urdu daily, reported on March 10 that a youth hurled a grenade
on a para-military truck near Budshah Chowk (Srinagar) the previous afternoon.
Several paramilitary personnel were reported injured and one possibly
killed. Four women were injured in the grenade explosion. Earlier, there
was an exchange of fire between militant youth and the security forces
at Narwara and Safa Kadal. Several persons were injured in the cross-firing.
on March 13, 1991, the Aftab quoted a Press statement issued by a militant
organisation, the AI-Inqilab. This said that a meeting held under the chairmanship
of its chief commander had decided that 'armed militant actions will now
take place in such a way as to cause more damage to the security forces
than to the common people.' That certainly is a frank admission of militant attacks causing innocent civilian
Zamindar on March 12, 1991 reported a meeting presided over by the commander-in-chief
of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen: "The meeting expressed concern over the matter
that several paper organisations and so-called organisations which do not
exist in reality, at the behest of Central Intelligence agencies, harass
gentle, respected and innocent people of the State."
even more revealing is a report carried by the Aftab on March 10, 1991
on an 'important meeting' of comnmanders of the J&K Al-Umar Mujahideen.
A statement of the chief commander was read out. It called on the mujahideen
to fight valiantly against the security forces 'as their cruelty has reached
its climax and they are daily killing people and describing them as terrorists
and these incidents as cross-firing'. The report continued: "To avoid civilian
loss, care should be taken of the surroundings. Khalid Shamaz later thanked
the people of Batmaloo because the action undertaken on March I was not
a planned one. The mujahids of the Al-Umar and other organisations were
forced to undertake this action when the chief commander and some active
workers of an organisation were encircled by the security forces. Mujahids
fired on the security forces from all sides and forced them to run away.
The encircled mujahideen succeeded in coming out of the cordon. Two civilians
were martyred by the security forces". The phrase 'planned action' is interesting.
It clearly shows that large numbers of sympathisers are to be found among
the 'civilian' population who are either required to carry out certain
supportive functions or get out of the line of fire on receipt of prior
warning. Cordon and search operations by the security orces are therefore
not all that mindless.
the provocation or opportunity for such sneak, hit-and-run tactics in bazaars,
crowded mohallas and busy thoroughfares could be minimised, though not
eliminated, through a careful thinning down of possible redeployment of
static security posts and bunkers which offer inviting targets. The committee
was told by citizens that a picket formerly posted in the heart of Srinagar
- Lal Chowk - was recently withdrawn to everybody's relief and that nothing
terribly untoward has happened since, though there was an incident in the
area subsequently. The alternative might be to post mobile patrols. In
any event, the matter would seem worthy of periodic review, though there
may be two views on anything approaching total withdrawal from certain
are being made continuously to brief all personnel and impress upon them
the need to keep their cool and act with restraint whatever be the provocation.
Even critics admit that things have by and large improved. Organised raids
and crackdowns entailing cordon and search operations are led by officers
but difficult situations can arise sometimes when the security forces personnel
give chase after an ambush. The CRPF has inducted a Mahila Police battalion
to deal with women, especially when houses are to be searched for militants
or weapons, and protesting women have to be prevented from obstructing
these procedures. In their absence, charges of molestation and rape were
frequently made; possibly less so now. Some cases of rape have been registered
and action has been taken against those found guilty.
is given to victims of excesses. In case of death the family of a crossfire
victim may get a compensation of Rs.1 lakh, while those whose houses or
shops have been burnt are entitled to relief in the form of Gl sheets and
timber as well as cash compensation.
have alleged attacks on or harassment of hospitals and medical personnel,
and the Asia Watch, has cited such violations brought to its notice as
a breach of 'medical neutrality' by the security forces. The Srinagar Times
of July 31, l990, reported the large-scale killing of so-called informers
by various militant groups 'because they were receiving huge sums while
providing information about militant activity.' Some months later, on Decernber
12, 1990 Aftab a local Urdu daily, reported an incident at the Soura Medical
Institute, Srinagar: "According to reports, some unidentified militants
entered the emergency ward and tried to kill an alleged informer, Bashir
Ahmed, who was admitted in the hospital a day earlier after being shot
by militants at Bemina. He was immediately rushed to Soura Hospital where
he was fired upon. this was followed by firing by the police personnel
on duty. According to the report, these excesses by the security forces
prompted the doctors and other para-medical staff to go on strike, resulting
in disruption of the normal functioning of the institute." Apparently two
doctors and a nurse were injured when the security personnel opened fire
to prevent Bashir Ahmed from being murdered. This is certainly an outrageous
violation of 'medical neutrality'. But by whom?
Asia Watch itself cites the case of Sarla Bhatt - a staff nurse (Kashmiri
Pandit) as the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science in Soura, Srinagar
- who was shot dead on April 18, 1990. Her body was found in Lal Bazaar
with a note in which the JKLF claimed responsibility. She was accused of
informing the police that a number of militants were hiding in the institute.
Four days prior to the killings, Sarla Bhatt had been kidnapped from the
nurses' hostel by unidentified men and the post mortem report concluded
that she had been raped before she was killed.
allegations refer to harassment and beating up of children by security
personnel. The daily report issued on May 17, 1991 by the J&K Police
headquarters, Srinagar, refers to a patrol party stopping a passenger bus
near Chowgam in Anantnag district on May 16. Armed militants in the bus
opened fire. In the ensuing encounter two militants were killed, one was injured and two apprehended. All belonged to the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. On
a search of the passengers, a small boy was found concealing some grenades
and ammunition kept by the militants with him. Altogether five AK-47s with
six magazines and two hand grenades were recovered. Not an innocent catch,
although an innocent face was used . . .
situation in the State today is a blend of low-level proxy war - insurgency
and terrorism conducted against a background of alienation, political propaganda
- and Pakistan is trying to restore the long simmering Kashmir question.
It has been unable to do so by reiterating its claims for self-determination
and bygone UN resolutions - long overtaken by events, primarily stemming
from its own repeated default. For the third time it has trained and sent
in armed infiltrators and provided them support and sanctuary in desperate
bid to stir the pot and either bring about a collapse in Kashmir or compel
war is a vital instrument in such a campaign and is aimed to confuse, demoralise
and divide the opponent and consolidate and extend one's own support among
a alienated population, which in turn is likely to be further embittered
by tales of excesses and atrocities. The power of proxy in Kashmir is manifested
in the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and other Jamaat or fundamentalist-oriented militant
organisations. They want accession to Pakistan and are wary of and even
antagonistic towards the JKLF. Gun battles have broken out among JKLF and
Hizb-ul- Mujahideen groups from time to time. In one such demonstration
in Srinagar on May 8, 199l, a JKLF procession chanted anti-Pakistan slogans
and burnt an effigy of the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Earlier
on April 5, the JKLF had banned the use of the Pakistani flag and Pakistan
PM's photograph and described 'Azad Kashmir' as Occupied Kashmir . . .
all this, the human rights aspect has received considerable attention.
The Kashmiri-American Council in Washington and the International Institute
of Kashmir Studies, London, have been active lobbyists and bring out a
monthly Kashmir Report, which reproduces material about a or emanating from
Kashmir. Ghulam Nabi Fai - Executive Director of the Kashmiri-American
Council - has been communicating with members of the US Congress, the Asia
Watch and United Nations officials with his 'hot line from Pak-occupied
Kashmir'. There has also been an effort to publicise the alleged movement
of l5,000 and more Kashmiri refugees into PoK and to link this with the
UN resolution on the Kurdish refugees. Ahmed Rashid reported from Atmuquam
in PoK in The Independent of June 6,1991: "Refugees from Indian Kashmir
said they fled because Indian troops raped their women, arrested and tortured
their male children and desecrated mosques." Indian sources have no information
of any Kashmiri exodus to PoK. Such reports in all probability are aimed
as a cover for exfiltrators and seem nothing more than propaganda ploy.
Verghese Committee said: "Human rights organisations in India and abroad
have reported on Kashmir from time to time in addition to the international
Press. Human rights groups have a constituency and in the usual manner
of adversarial reporting exhibit a perfectly understandable bias against
the establishment and in favour of the alleged victims who are seen as
the underdog. Human Rights groups, however, need to be more investigative
and check all sides more carefully before they come to firm conclusions
which they then proceed to publicise. . ."
Asia Watch in its May 1991 report, Kashmir Under Siege, makes the cardinal
error of equating a legitimate, sovereign Government with faceless terrorists
and armed infiltrators guided by their mentors across the border. Insurgency
or civil disorder confers no right on any Government to kill indiscriminately.
But the Indian armed forces and paramilitary formations are bound by the
laws under which they operate - the Constitution, and the jurisdiction
of courts. There have admittedly been errors and excesses which cannot
be condoned. Action has been taken and the guilty punished in a number
of cases and so there is no justification for the belief that the Government
of India or Army/security forces commanders have turned a blind eye towards
gross misconduct or excesses by persons under their charge. There certainly
is no absolute warrant for the US Congress to advise the US Administration
that the training America provides to Indian's armed forces must stress
adherence to internationally recognised standards of human rights. One
fails to understand that which training is being referred to. This is a
gratuitous insult by a Congress that irresponsibly supplied the arms that
were diverted by Pakistan from Afghanistan to terrorists in Punjab and
Kashmir who in turn have been responsible for brutal killings on an unprecedented
rights violations are bad. Even one extra Judicial killings or a single
rape is one too many. Yet any judgment on these matters, which are more
a product of human failure or frailty and emotional stress rather than
of deliberate State policy or connivance, should be seen in the context
of the scale, spread and intensity of terrorist/insurgency operations and
official responses, the number of the security forces deployed and the
number of incidents that might on investigation be reasonably listed as
human rights violations. This is not to extenuate abuses, but to ensure
a sense of proportion . . .
human rights activists and organisations must continue their watchdog role
in Kashmir and elsewhere. But they need to be more cautious about publicising
their findings until they have given a reasonable opportunity to the other
side to state or explain its case. It is not axiomatic that the Government
or its agencies are necessarily wrong or prevaricate and that 'the others'
say-so' represents the actual or the only truth. The militant groups in
Kashmir are fighting for a 'cause'. For some it is a ' jehad' with martyrdom awaiting those who lose their lives. Some of them are highly motivated.
And they have two weapons - guns and propaganda. With the gun they threaten
the physical existence of their opponents, while with the latter they aim
at the minds of men, locally, nationally and internationally. Human rights
groups, well intentioned though they are, must be allive to the fact that
they too can work with a little caution. And none should fear to loose
a constituency if that is implied in balanced reporting.
kidnapping of some Israeli tourists and the slaying of one of them in Srinagar
towards the end of June 1991 and the earlier kidnapping of two Swedish
engineers working on a hydel project in Kashmir, both with the object of
forcing international political and human rights intervention on their
behalf is, like hijacking, utterly wrong. For militant groups to indulge
in major human rights violations against third parties in the name of focussing
attention on human rights is grotesque. Innocent people like Maulana Masoodi,
the 87 year old veteran freedom fighter; Maulvi Farooq, the Mirwaiz; Mushir-ul-Haq,
Vice-Chancellor of Kashmir University; H. L. Khera, General Manager, HMT;
Mohd Shaban, Editor of Al Safa; Lassa Kaul; Mir Mustafa; P. N. Handoo and
Syed Ghulam Nabi, two senior officers of the State Information Department;
and many other distinguished citizens have been brutally murdered. In June
1991, two LIC probationary officers were burnt alive in a deserted Kashmiri
Pandit's house in Srinagar. Rubayya Sayeed and Nahida Imtiaz Soz were two
young women among the many innocent persons kidnapped.
are (also) grave human rights violations. Over one lakh persons have had
to migrate from Kashmir - first Pandits, then other Hindus, then other
non-Muslims. They have taken refuge in Jammu, Delhi and elsewhere in northern
India. Whatever may be said about the causes of the early exodus, many
have obviously left in genuine fear or in the face of economic ruin. This
is another human tragedy brought on the State by the militants . . .
Press provides much of the raw material for human rights organisations
both within the country and abroad, both directly through its own reports
and comments and indirectly by feeding the international media. Newpersons,
therefore, have a double responsibility to ensure that they verify their
facts as carefully as possible, present both sides, and avoid sensationalising
events, especially when describing grey areas. Headlining and display,
too, should be restrained in all such situations as emotion often feeds
on itself. The Press in Kashmir as is their wont, give large, bold headlines
to all stories in the style of a tabloid. It needs to review its own norms
and style, including display . . .
can go wrong in the best of circumstances. But credibility and true Press
freedom in terms of the people's right to know is only upheld if corrections
are carried out or the right of reply is conceded within legitimate bounds.
It is the lament of the Army PRO at Srinagar that a number of rejoinders
issued by him, whether directly to newspapers and news agencies or through
the State Information Department have not been used.
the severe indictment of the human right groups under various covers by
the Verghese Committee has failed to dampen the 'spirit' of such activists.
They continue in their biased tirade against the security forces. Army
and the Government of India. One such group - the Co-ordination Committee,
constituted in September '90 - in its sixth report, which was released
to the Press in November 1992,1isted a number of unsubstantiated or scantily
substantiated excesses or atrocities at the hands of the security forces.
The team, sent by the committee relied solely on the alleged victims and
subverters. It once again preferred to condone the reign of terror, unleashed
its unabashed remark, it even went to state: "We learnt that Syed Ghulam
Nabi (Joint Director of the Information Department of the State, who was
brutally killed by terrorists in September 1992) was held responsible for
causing canard on militant leaders, publicised through his department and
that his daughter was admitted to the MBBS medical course out of turn in
the category of 'efficient combators of terrorism'. This was reason enough
for his beheading . . ." The team of the committee seemed to be unaware
of the fact that it is the discretionary quota of the head of the Government
(Governor since the imposition of the President's Rule over the State).
The well-wishers of the team perhaps did not tell the team members that
a few years ago, Syed Ali Shah Geelani - a prominent fundamentalist leader
- had succeeded in securing the favours from the then Chief Minister Dr.
Farooq Abdullah, in getting admission for his son under the same quota.
Would the Co-ordination Committee or other human rights groups or terrorists
recommend the same 'punishment' for Gilani? Moreover, Nabi was shot dead,