J&K Admits Extra-judicial Killings
21 June 2003
The Asian Age
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday admitted to the extra- judicial killings taking place in the fight launched by the security forces against militants and said that as many 144 persons died after their reported arrest. Also, 3, 931 persons went into missing after being allegedly picked up by the security forces for interrogation. Minister of state for parliamentary affairs, Mr Abdur Rehman Veeri, told the state Assembly, now in its Budget session here, that various security forces and local police have been identified as the accused in the 144 alleged custodial killings since the beginning of the trouble in 1989. He provided a district-wise break-up of such incidents, with Baramulla topping the list with 39 cases and Doda reporting 34 custodial deaths. The minister, however, told the House that enquiries have been conducted in all such incidents and action wherever indicated was taken. But the members of the Opposition National Conference disagreed with the figures given out by Mr Veeri and staged a protest walkout. They also wanted to know who ordered these killings. As some of the National Conference members spoke of latest incidents of extra-judicial murders and forced disappearances, the minister admitted to 'some complaints of alleged custodial killings' having been received since the political changeover and a new coalition government taking over in November last year. He also informed the house that 1, 243 people died in the state during the past seven months. Of these 672 were militants, 167 security force personnel and 404 unarmed, innocent civilians, including 346 killed by terrorists. He added that 58 civilians died when caught in crossfire between the security forces and the militants. But the NC members, insisted that the government should specify the number of the civilians killed by the security forces since Mufti Muhammad Sayeed government took over. The minister said that militants have killed 10,940 civilians in the state over the past 14 years, including 1, 477 Hindus and 110 Sikhs. 'The rest were all Muslims,' Mr Veeri said. He added that most of the civilian killings-1, 880 and 1,939- have taken place in Srinagar and Baramulla districts. He also informed the house that the militants killed 4, 003 security force personnel since 1989. Returning to the alleged forced disappearances issue; Mr Veeri said that since the start of the unrest 3, 931 people have been reported missing. Of these 852 people have been reported missing in Baramulla and 761 in neighbouring Kupwara district. While the local human rights groups put the number of the forced disappearances twice as high, the government has reiterated that most of the missing persons have reportedly crossed over to Pakistan- occupied-Kashmir for acquiring arms training. Meanwhile, government has assured that the security forces combating the militancy have been clearly told that no human rights violations be committed even in the event of gravest of provocation's. In this context that the state police chief, Gopal Sharma, has invited D.K Arya, IPS (retired), presently consultant of the International Committee of Red Cross to deliver lectures on Human Rights to the officers and men of state police. Mr Arya has conceded to deliver lectures, hold seminars and group discussions on 'UN Approach to Human Rights Training to Police' for about one week starting on June 23, a police spokesman said here. The address of Mr Arya to the personnel of J&K police would include human rights and international humanitarian law aiming at alleviating the human misery. It would also include provisions of the Geneva Convention - use of force and firearms, prohibition on torture, custodial deaths, involuntary disappearances, the police support to vulnerable groups like women, children, weaker sections of the society, arrest, bail and detention, victims of crime and abuse of power and above all democratic, legal and ethical policing.