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'Everyone lives in fear': HRW report released in Kashmir

Srinagar
Sep 12, 2006:

Everyone lives in fear
Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report on human rights abuses in Indian administerd Kashmir here today.

The 156 page report, "'Everyone lives in fear': Patters of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir" released by Brad Adams, Asia director HRW, is the first ever report relased by an international human rights group in Kashmir.

Earlier India has been reluctant to allow international human rights groups to visit Indian administered Kashmir.

The Indian government's failure to end widespread impunity for human rights abuses committed both by its security forces and militants is fueling the cycle of violence in Jammu and Kashmir, the report said.

Adams remarked that though the human rights situation in Indian administered Kashmir has improved but it was 'still bad'.

"There is no recorded case of public prosecution and punishment of a member of secuirty services responsible for abuses," Adams said and critisiced the impunity granted by laws to police and paramilitary troopers in the region.

"It's absurd that the world's largest democracy, with a well-devoloped legal system and internationally recognised judiciary, has laws on its books that prevent members of the security forces from being prosecuted for human rights abuses,

"Laws like the Pulic Safety Act and Disturbed Areas Act are unacceptabe in a democracy," said Adams while appealing India to repeal these laws. Adams also cited section 197 of Indian Code of Criminal Procedure which disallows prosecution of state officials without permission from the relevant ministry.

The report authored by Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Researcher HRW, documents many cases where Indian security forces have shot civilians under the authority of laws, and also abuses by militants operating in the region.

"Attacks on civilians are not acceptable under any circumstances, whatever the motive" said Adams.

"While militants say they are fights for the human rights of Kashmiri people, every time they set off a bomb they lose the argument," He added.

Human Rights Watch said it will also release a report on human rights abuse in Pakistan administered Kashmir, on September 25 in Islamabad.

Also Read: JKLF observes hunger strike to protest abuses

            Kashmir head priest urges militants for dialogue

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