February 6, 2007Security

Five dozen too many

Extra-judicial killings must be investigated, and their perpetrators punished

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Praveen Swami provides much need illumination amid all the noise following revelations of extra-judicial killings by counter-terrorism forces in Jammu & Kashmir.

Activists have done themselves no favours with overblown comparisons of events in Jammu and Kashmir with the carnages perpetrated by General Augusto Pinochet’s military regime in Chile or even Nazi Germany — comparisons that serve only to valorise the dissent of those who use them, rather than accurately describe reality.

But India’s use of such errors to stonewall action against the perpetrators of human rights violations both demeans its democratic project and undermines the credibility of its institutions. Even if Mr. Sayeed was correct in asserting that just 60-odd enforced disappearances have taken place since 1990, that is still five dozen too many.[The Hindu]This controversy has surfaced at the exact moment that the moderate Mirwaiz has (echoed Gen Musharraf) called for demilitarising Kashmir. The government and the media must resist linking the two issues. The question of troop levels is related to the security calculus with Pakistan. The alleged criminal acts carried out by Rashtriya Rifles troops is a different matter. As Swami writes, India should spare no attempts to get to the bottom of the story and mete exemplary punishments on those found guilty.

As Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad pointed out, it would naïve to expect zero human rights violations in the midst of a quasi-war. But the Ganderbal killings have demonstrated that the system can deliver justice when it chooses — after all, had investigators thrown away a mobile phone the truth about the murders would never have been known. [The Hindu]

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