Analysis

Manipulations in J&K official records

By Syed Junaid Hashmi

Official statements, contradicting official reports and records only strengthen the impunity security forces enjoy in Jammu and Kashmir. Though several official statements have claimed penalisation of accused security men, but the records fail to shed any light on the same. Who was penalized? When? Where and by whom? Such questions continue to baffle.

Official statements, which have a tendency of generating catchy headlines and attracting public eye, are seemingly made without even seeking preliminary reports from the officials on ground. A thorough analysis of various reports and statements made by various officials of the army and central government apart from the respective home ministers of Jammu and Kashmir explains such jugglery.

J&K Ministry of Home Affairs in its annual report for the year 2007-08, while referring to the human rights issue, says “Since January, 1994 till December, 2007, out of 1,158 complaints of human rights excesses received against the personnel of the Army and Paramilitary Forces, 1,118 have been investigated, 1,085 of them found false, in 33 cases where the complaints were found genuine, penalties have been imposed on 62 personnel while in 6 cases compensation has been awarded.”

A similar report for the year 2006-07 maintains that since January, 1994 till December, 2006, out of 1,122 complaints of human rights excesses received against the personnel of Army and Paramilitary Forces, 1,084 have been investigated, 1,052 of them found false, and in 32 cases where the complaints were found genuine, penalties have been imposed on 61 personnel while in 6 cases, compensation has been awarded.

Accurate analytical understanding of the above official record reveals that in the year 2007, Ministry of Home Affairs received 36 complaints of human rights violation, 34 were investigated, out of which 33 were found false. In one complaint which was found genuine, 1 personnel was penalised.

Given the fact that SHRC registered more than 100 complaints against Army and paramilitary forces during the same year, the figures seemingly appear puzzling. If this figure is taken into account, the then Union Home Secretary V.K. Duggal’s official statement on November 23, 2005, that since January 1990, 215 personnel belonging to army and paramilitary were penalised, turns out to be a blatant lie. Former Prime Minister of India H.D. Deve Gowda in the year 1996, while speaking in a seminar organised by the army, stated that 272 members of the armed forces have been punished for human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir since 1991. One wonders who gave him these figures?

Former chief of the Army Staff General N.C. Vij on May 21, 2004 stated that two thousand complaints of human rights violations were received during the last 14 years. “Most of them were found incorrect. 35 armed forces personnel were punished which included 8 officers. Some of them were dismissed from service and later on jailed,” said General Vij.

Even this figure is a little higher than the one quoted in the report of Ministry of Home Affairs. However, the same General has in a contradictory letter to NHRC dated May 24, 2004 stated that 131 army personnel of various ranks were punished for human rights violations. He has maintained that two of them were given imprisonment, 59 awarded rigorous imprisonment, 15 dismissed from service while 55 others were awarded minor punishments like fines, loss of seniority, censure and displeasure.

Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, the then chief minister, said on March 4, 2005 that 118 officials of the security forces were awarded punishment for their alleged involvement in HR violations in Jammu and Kashmir which included 44 from Border Security Force, 47 from CRPF and 27 belonging to police. He gave this in the Legislative Assembly during the budget session. The then minister of state for home Abdul Rehman Veeri had claimed in the legislative assembly on June 21, 2003 that the coalition government was investigating the involvement of 53 Special Operation Group personnel for their alleged involvement in human rights cases. He had further claimed that 272 members of the armed forces had been punished in Jammu and Kashmir between 1991 and 2005.

The most inexplicable case is the report on human rights practices for the year 1992 released by United States Department of State says, “As per the report submitted by Ministry of Home Affairs of Government of India, 33 army and paramilitary personnel have been imprisoned for unexplained abuses in Kashmir, 27 of these for one month or less while 18 others have been dismissed and 45 demoted or reprimanded.”

It goes on to add: “The only conviction made public is that of two army soldiers convicted for the rape of a Canadian lady Lurlambi in October 1990. Sanction for prosecution was granted. Both the soldiers are in barracks in Kashmir while an appeal is pending.”

Another former Minister for Home, who is also a minister in the ruling coalition, Ali Mohammed Sagar, in the year 2000 while speaking in the legislative assembly admitted that around 364 force personnel including 210 army personnel, 125 border security forces and 29 officers of special task force were convicted for violating human rights.

The list would go on and on. But going by these contradictory assembly of reports and statements, one is forced to ask: who has been penalised and for what, when and where? Public memory may be short but it has a tendency of remembering the dead and disappeared persons in their families. (countercurrents.org)

Chief Minister Dr.Farooq Abdullah’s period

  1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 Grand Total
Incidents 3420 2932 3071 3074 4522 4038 = 21,057
Civilians 971 889 873 847 996 1008 = 5584
Security Forces 193 236 355 397 536 453 = 2170
Terrorists 1075 999 1082 1520 2020  1707 = 8403
Foreign mercenaries 197 319 305 436 625 508 = 2390

                                      
                                
                                  Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s period (took over on November 2, 2002)

Year 2003 2004
2005 Total
Number of Incidents 3401 2565  1990 = 7956
Civilians killed 795 707 557 = 2059
Security forces killed 314   281 189   = 784
Terrorists killed 1494 976 917 = 3387


                       During the year 2005, 1,990 terrorist incidents occurred as compared to 2,565 incidents during the year 2004. 557 civilians were killed in the year 2005, compared to 707 last year. The number of Security Force personnel killed in the year 2005 was 189, compared to 281 in 2004. 917 terrorists were killed in the year 2005, compared to 976 during the previous year.


Trends in Terrorist Violence

  • Terrorist-related incidents came down by 22%, killings of civilians by 21% and those of SFs by 33% during the year 2005 as compared to the year 2004.
  • During the year 2006, the number of incidents was lower by 16%, those of civilians killed by 30% and SFs killed by 20% over the corresponding period of the last year.
  • A discernible change in violence profile after April, 2006 suggests a tactical shift against soft targets including minority communities, tourists and migrant labourers.
  • During the year 2006, 226 grenade attacks have occurred as compared to 152 (increase of 49%) in the corresponding period of the last year.


Ghulam Nabi Azad’s period (took over as Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir on Nov 2, 2005)
Like all other states, the people of Jammu and Kashmir enjoy free and equal participation in governance and political life of a vibrant and secular democracy. The popular enthusiasm is demonstrated again and again by the large people participation in the Parliamentary elections of 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004; the Assembly elections of 1996 and 2002 and the Panchayat elections of 2000.

The elections to the urban civic bodies held in 2005, also witnessed a very high voter turnout despite terrorist threats and the boycott call given by secessionist outfits. The bye-elections to the four Assembly constituencies held in 2006 witnessed an all-time high voter turnout which is evident from the table given
 

Year Incidents Civilians Security Forces   Terrorists
2006 1667 151 389 591
2007 887 82 131 358
2008 703  89 65 381
Total 3257 322 585 1330

             
                   
                   
                
                 

The writer is a journalist based in Jammu and can be reached at
syedjunaidhashmi@gmail.com

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 February 2011 on page no. 14

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