The Centre may soon permit prosecution of security forces personnel for violating human rights in Jammu and Kashmir. The decision will, however, not cover the cases involving army personnel.
Home Secretary G.K. Pillai has arrived here to look into specific cases of rights violation and prepare a list before the ministry’s meeting with the separatist leadership.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is scheduled to visit the state this month, is likely to invite the separatist leadership for the meeting.
Security forces personnel, protected by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), are outside the jurisdiction of the law, which has been one of the causes of contention between the Centre and the Kashmiri leadership, including the state government.
Hindustan Times first reported on the moves being initiated to prepare the ground for talks between the Centre and separatist leaders and the Act would be high on the agenda.
A source in the state government, who did not wish to be identified, said Home Minister P. Chidambaram decided to take a final call on the cases in the meeting, as according to the AFSPA, the Home Ministry would have to permit prosecution against security personnel.
The state government has received 458 cases of alleged human rights abuses against security forces during 1990-2007, according to official figures. Of them, in more than 200 cases, the state government is waiting for the Centre’s okay for taking action.
Human rights activist Pervez Imroz, who also heads Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, said, “It is the need of the hour. Otherwise, people here think that the repression is systematic. They believe security forces not only have legal, but also political and moral immunity behind their acts.”
Imroz claimed that the Centre had not prosecuted a single security personnel accused of rights abuses in the state.