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

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.