Arrested officers will be punished if proved to be killers: Azad
4 February 2007
Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has declared that two police officers arrested for killing innocents will be treated as 'killers' if the charges against them are proved.Speaking about the arrests Saturday in connection with the murder of a civilian in the Kashmir Valley, Azad said this was done in accordance with 'our principled stand not to allow any human rights violations'.'This is a manifestation of our zero tolerance towards human rights violations. Zero tolerance means instant action against people in security forces indulging in human rights excesses for the sake of pleasing their superiors, for rewards or promotions. This is the real meaning of zero tolerance,' he told IANS here.In a development that has taken Jammu and Kashmir, Senior Superintendent of Police Hans Raj Parihar and Deputy Superintendent of Police have been taken into custody for their alleged role in the murder of Abdul Rahman Paddar, a civilian who was dubbed a militant and shot dead.The authorities have also unearthed a ring of rogue officers in the police and army who had been indulging in similar killings.Azad stressed that while rights violations 'cannot be ruled out' in conflict situation, his government would not tolerate such violations. The chief minister said it 'should be recognised that the state has been facing a war-like situation for 18 years'. 'The (Pakistan-backed) proxy war is on. Militants are still around. They kill people. In conflict situations, human rights violations cannot be ruled out. But we have shown that if they take place, we would go in for stern action and that is what we have done. 'The two officers have been arrested. If during investigations they are found guilty, they will be prosecuted and get the punishment that is awarded for such crimes. They would meet the fate reserved for killers.'But this does not mean that the anti-militancy operations will be given up. 'We will support our security forces where they do good work and punish those black sheep committing such atrocities.'In his interview, Azad also come out in appreciation of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's statement against violence in his state, where a separatist drive raging since 1989 has left tens of thousands dead.He said the change in the thinking of the Pakistani establishment, as 'reflected in Musharraf's statement ruling out militancy as an option for Kashmir', was welcome. 'This is an authentication of our stand.'It is good the Pakistan president has lent a voice in support of peace moves, and I am sure this changed mindset will help the people of the two countries, especially Jammu and Kashmir.'We have suffered the most. There are widows and orphans and we have to deal with so many social problems and challenges. Our liberties have become hostage to the militant violence. They have curtailed our freedom to move, work and affected our social and cultural life adversely. Besides, they have created more graves.'He said the statements of Musharraf as well as moderate Hurriyat chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq's call to end the armed struggle 'that has only expanded graveyards' were 'positive signals'.At the same time, the India-Pakistan dialogue process was progressing, he noted. The visit last month of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to Pakistan was 'highly successful', he said. 'There would be many things happening on the Indo-Pak front in the next couple of months.'We are looking forward to the opening of trade routes with the Pakistani side of Kashmir. That will strengthen the economy of both the parts. A delegation of PoK (Pakistan-administered Kashmir) traders will soon visit Jammu and Kashmir. These are signs of positive change.'