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Judicial probe in J&K fake encounters

india Updated: Jan 31, 2007 21:04 IST
Arun Joshi
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Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday evening announced a judicial probe into alleged fake encounters in Kashmir by a judge of the High Court and promised that those found guilty of killing innocents would be punished as per law of the land.

Reaffirming his government' s "commitment to protect the lives of the innocents", Chief Minister declared in the legislative Assembly that a judge of the High Court would probe the killing of Abdul Rehman Padder of Larnoo, Kokkernag and all other related cases.

But, he made it clear that the members in the House had not insisted for a judicial probe, he would have made the investigations to come out with results within a week's time.

He was replying to more than two and a half-hour special discussion on the human rights violations in Kashmir.

The discussion was held in the afternoon session of the House, as the opposition had stalled the proceedings of the assembly in the morning session, accusing the government of trying to play hide and seek game on the issue of alleged fake encounters.

Almost all the participants in the discussion, ranging from leader of the opposition Abdul Rahim Rather and PDP's senior leader Ghulam Hassan Mir, called for a judicial probe into the incident.

Some of the MLAs went onto seek the judicial probe into all such incidents since 1990, the year when terrorism erupted in the state.

Responding to the discussion that had turned bitter at times, the chief minister said that he was ordering a judicial probe "despite knowing that is a long drawn process and it may take a long period for its outcome, only because he wants to respect and honour the unanimous sentiment of the House."

"Any one killing an innocent deserves the punishment of a killer. There can be no compassion and no mercy for that, be he a militant or security personnel. Black sheep in security forces would be punished, for they are tarring the image of the security forces that fight militants in sub zero temperatures, in the most difficult situations. We sleep well, because we know that we are being guarded by the security forces," he said complimenting the Jammu and Kashmir police, BSF, Army and CRPF, and acknowledged their sacrifices.

"More than 5,000 of security personnel have been killed in the past 17 years. This should not be forgotten. We must respect their sacrifices, and reward their efforts", he added.

But before announcing the probe, Azad offered a word of caution to the members of the House that they should not become a part of  a " campaign of demoralising the security forces".

"We should not demoralise security forces so much that they give up their fight against terrorism, and that jeopardises lives of each and every citizen of the state. We should avoid that brinkmanship", he said.

Chief Minister without naming any one said that it should be understood that terrorists are friends of no one. "They kill innocents. Their acts should not be condemned. Their acts of deliberate killings are unforgivable, and they and their gory acts of killing innocents should not be shielded. That is not good."

"The terrorists have made all of us hostage in Jammu and Kashmir. Their presence, their lethal intentions and violent acts and killing of innocents, political leaders, activists have restricted the movement of all peace loving people. That is the worst kind of human rights violation," Azad said and asked members in the House that they should be aware that they are having police protection or escort because there was an " element of fear caused by terrorists. That aspect should not be forgotten."

Azad also categorised killings into four categories, the two of which deserve no mercy- one by terrorists and secondly by security forces of those innocents to gain promotion, reward or please the bosses.

Reminding all the members that no human rights violation has been his government's mantra from the day, he took over as the chief minister, Azad said that at the same time it should be remembered that in society in which we live, we have elements that commit wrongs despite knowing the consequences.

Azad recalled the efforts of the state government and police in uncovering this crime of villagers having one missing.

"We were transparent. It was our suo motto effort that has uncovered this crime. Had there been intention to hide it, it would have never come to light. Since we are committed to the protection of the people and their rights, we have done it as part of our duty:, he said.

Email Arun Joshi: a_joshi957@rediffmail.com

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