Justice Delivery Painfully Slow In JK: Amnesty

Justice Delivery Painfully Slow In JK: Amnesty

21 April 2012
Kashmir Observer


Srinagar: Advocating the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and amendments to the Public Safety Act (PSA), the Amnesty International on Saturday said that a sluggish legal system and long delays in cases were great impediments in delivering justice to the aggrieved in Kashmir. A two-member team of the global human rights watchdog currently in the valley on a fact-finding mission over the issues of enforced disappearances and unmarked graves also said that several recommendations by the State Human Rights Commission were not being implemented. Saptarshi Mandal and Sahana Basavapatna have been touring the valley for the past 10 days, meeting conflict victims, separatist leaders, and rights activists and lawyers. “Our position on the AFSPA remains unchanged,” the Amnesty officials said in an interview to the KNS. “And we are also pressing for amendments to the Public Safety Act.” “We have gathered details, suggestions and documentation in this context,” they said. “We have come for further investigation into the work the Amnesty has done in the state during 2010, which came out in a report in 2011,” the duo said. “We are also studying the impact of laws like the AFSPA, and surveying progress of various kinds of cases,” they said. Hinting at giving mainstream leaders the go by this time, the team said that violence- affected families were the primary focus of their current visit. “We have met 25 such families over the past 10 days, including those of Wamiq Farooq and Zahid Farooq,” they said. The team, however, said that they had not been able to meet the family of Tufail Mattoo. They said they had met separatist leaders, human rights activists, lawyers, and had also had a meeting with the inspector general of the police (IGP) for Kashmir, SM Sahay. The team expressed serious concern over the discovery of unmarked graves in Kashmir, but declined from commenting on the issue, saying that they had gathered details on the issue. The said that the justice delivery system in the state was extremely slow, and the aggrieved did not have prompt access to the system. “Not only are there delays in registering an FIR, but the investigations show no sign of ending once started,” they said. “During our meetings with families, we have found that many cases have been dragging on for the past 10 years, but the investigations have not been completed even today, as a result justice eludes the affected families,” he said. “Several recommendations made by the SHRC in cases of custodial killings have not been implemented, and many families approaching the government for compensation and relief have not been entertained, though some have been provided recompense and government jobs under the relevant SRO,” they said. “The SHRC has been doing some good work, but it has itself complained that many of its recommendations are not being carried out,” they said.