Friday, July 14, 2017

AFSPA "abuse": J&K accounted for 50% of human rights complaints, its share in monetary relief was 3%

By Our Representative
Amidst media reports that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) might be withdrawn from certain parts of Arunachal Pradesh and adjoining parts of Assam, reply to a Right to Information (RTI) plea has suggested that it is not North-East, but Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) which has suffered most because of human rights (HR) violations through using AFSPA.
Considered by human rights activists as one of the most abused laws of India, AFSPA empowers defence and paramilitary forces such as the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Assam Rifles, Border Security Force (BSF) in J&K and North-East to open fire to the extent causing death of any person, conduct searches to “flush out” militant groups, and arrest people without warrant.
The Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) RTI reply to well-known Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) activist Venktesh Nayak says that in all 186 human rights complaints were received between 2012 and January 2016, out of which almost half number (49.5%) were against the armed forces in J&K.
Giving details of the RTI reply, in an email alert, Nayak says, “A little more than 31% of the complaints were received from people in Assam. Manipur accounted for a little more than 11% of the total number of complaints received. Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura accounted for less than 10 complaints each. Only one complaint was received from Nagaland during this period.”
However, regrets Nayak, “While J&K accounted for almost 50% of the complaints of human rights of violation, its share in the monetary relief recommended was 3% at Rs 21,00,000.”
Worse, he says, “Only five cases were found to be eligible for monetary relief in J&K”, adding, “On the other hand, Assam which accounted for less than a third of the complaints, received the largest proportion (48%) of monetary relief recommended by the government. In 57 cases from Assam, monetary relief was recommended to the tune of Rs 3.10 crore.
Nayak notes, “By January 2016, more than two-thirds of these complaints (127) are said to have been disposed of”, though adding, “More than 57% of the complaints of human rights violations received from Assam are shown as pending.”
The RTI reply further shows that there are 12 categories of complaints of human rights violation ranging from "abuse of power" to causing deaths". Nayak says, “The most number of complaints seem to have been received against the defence forces rather than the paramilitary forces of the Union such as the CRPF, Assam Rifles etc. deployed in the seven States.”
Thus, he says, “About 40% of the complaints are clubbed under the category ‘defence forces’ without any detailing as to what kinds of complaints they are. However, when the distinct categories of ‘death in army encounter’ and "death in army firing’ are added, the proportion of complaints received against the defence forces goes up to more than 61% of the total number of complaints.”
Pointing out that while “10 of the complaints relate to the crime of abduction and rape received from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, J&K and Tripura”, Nayak says, “The data does not specify whether these were committed by the defence forces or the paramilitary forces deployed in the seven States.” Then, “50% of these cases are said to have been received from Assam alone, four of which were sent in 2015-16 (up to January), all of which are shown as pending.”

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