JAMMU: The Indian Army has punished 89 of its personnel, including 34 officers, for human rights violations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir since the eruption of violence in the trouble-torn state. In the 33 cases of human rights violations established by the Army’s courts of inquiry, 89 personnel have been punished since 1990, defence sources said. Anyone found guilty of rights abuses has been punished, the sources said, adding there is no truth in the allegations that the Army is deliberately going slow in handling such cases.
According to statistics, 34 officers, five junior commissioned officers and 50 personnel of other ranks have been punished for various human rights violation-related offences.
The sources said that though 1,460 complaints of human rights violations were registered against the armed forces, only 33 were found to be true. “The vested interests, especially in Kashmir valley, have embarked on a vicious campaign to malign the image of the security forces. This is evident in the high number of false allegations of human rights violations,” said a source.
“Earlier, these vested interests had raised the bandwagon of custodial killings but now they are using the allegations of rapes and molestation of women. It is easy to gather a crowd by levelling these allegations as emotions run high,” said the source.The source said that since the public support for militancy and separatism in the state has been declining, such issues were acting as a “lifeline for the vested interests”. There have been cases of human rights violations, admitted the source, adding that these were aberrations.
The guilty army personnel have been punished, said the source and cited the example of Major Rehman, who was dismissed from service after being found responsible for violating the army code of conduct in the Handwara molestation case two years ago. The Army has come under severe criticism from separatist groups within the state following several allegations of molestations and rapes by its personnel. Even the Operation Sadhbhawana launched by the Army has run into rough weather with a woman alleging that an army officer raped her while she was working with the forces in the goodwill programme. Speaking about such allegations, defence sources said that “anti-national elements” were using their sympathisers to undo the goodwill generated by Operation Sadhbhawana. “Operation Sadhbhawana has generated tremendous goodwill for the Army, especially in rural and remote areas close to the Line of Control. It is indicated by the huge turnout at recruitment rallies conducted by the Army. Nobody would like to join an Army which does not respect his womenfolk,” a source added.-SANA