Skip to main content

Armed forces' "accesses" in J&K: Govt of India "doesn't know" procedure followed to sanction persecution

By Our Representative
After waiting for more than 40 days, well-known Right to Information (RTI) activist Venkatesh Nayak has received a strange reply to his RTI plea regarding procedure followed by the Union ministry of defence in “sanctioning” the prosecution of members of the defence forces for human rights violations committed under the Armed Forces (Jammu & Kashmir) Special Powers, 1990 (J&K AFSPA).
While the reply says, the information on it is "not available/held with the concerned agency of the Army”, ironically, the Ministry told Parliament early this year that it had denied requests from the J&K Government for sanction to prosecute security personnel in 50 cases that occurred during 2001-16.
While the requests were pending in three cases, the Ministry’s reply to the Rajya Sabha to an unstarred question by Husain Dalwai, MP, said, it had ‘denied’ sanction to prosecute the accused in other cases involving allegations of ‘murder or killing of civilians’ (17 cases), ‘rape’ (2 cases), ‘death in security operations’ (10 cases), ‘custodial death’ (3 cases), ‘beating or torture’ (2 cases), ‘abduction and death (of the abducted person)’ (3 cases), ‘disappearance’ (7 cases), ‘illegal detention’ (1 case) ‘fake encounter’ (1 case) and ‘theft and molestation’ (2 cases).
Seeking a photocopy of all official records containing details of the procedure that is required to be followed by the ministry while deciding whether or not to grant sanction for prosecuting any member of the defence forces, Nayak said in an email alert to Counterview, he had also sought photocopies of official records/documents containing the norms, criteria and standards that are required to be applied for assessing the evidence submitted by the J&K government.
Nayak further sought the rank or designation of the officer who is competent to make a final decision on whether or not to grant sanction for prosecuting any member of the defence forces for actions committed under J&K AFSPA; and photocopies of the communication sent by the Ministry to the J&K government denying sanction for prosecution.
At the same time, Nayak had sought inspection of every file including all papers, correspondence, file notings and emails, if any, relating to the denial of sanction for prosecution. The reply to Nayak, notably, comes against the backdrop of the “good news” for the people in Meghalaya – lifting of the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) from their State.
Section 7 of J&K AFSPA requires that "no prosecution, suit or other legal proceeding shall be instituted, except with the previous sanction of the Central Government, against any person in respect of anything done or purported to be done in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act."
Nayak received the reply after several departments of the defence ministry apparently avoided giving any reply to the RTI query. The Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of defence ministry transferred the RTI plea to another CPIO, who sits in Sena Bhawan. The second CPIO transferred the RTI application to the CPIO, Indian Army after next four days.
Interestingly, the CPIO, Indian Army, sent Nayak an “acknowledgement” within a week of receiving the RTI plea transferred by the Defence Department, saying as the headquarters of the Indian Army worked only five days a week, and as there were 8 non-working days in a month, he should “accept” delayed response.
What Nayak, who is with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), finally received was a one line reply – that the information sought in the RTI application was "not available/held with the concerned agency of the Army”!
Asks Nayak, “If neither the defence ministry nor the Indian Army has the details of cases sent by the J&K government requesting sanction for prosecution of defence personnel, then what was the basis of the Minister's reply tabled in Parliament?”

Comments

Anonymous said…
Strange are the ways of Government. Left hand doesn’t know what right hand does . Or is it blocking all further queries?
Uma Sheth said…
When the government does not respect its own Acts, there is little wonder that crooks get away with anything and everything

TRENDING

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says:

'Discussed' with Modi, Gujarat Rann Sarovar proposal for Kutch runs into rough weather

By Rajiv Shah
Top Saurashtra industrialist Jaysukhbhai Patel’s by now controversial proposal to convert the 4,900 sq km Little Rann of Kutch area, an eco-sensitive zone – a UNESCO biosphere, world’s only wild ass reserve, and a nesting ground of lesser flamingoes – into a huge sweet water lake, called Rann Sarovar, has suffered a major roadblock. At least three Central agencies have expressed serious doubts about its feasibility.

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.