Sunday, 10 March 2013

Maximum Human Rights Violation Complaints Against Indian Army, This Year : 51 In Northeast

The Indian Army has 51 cases of human rights violations in the northeastern sattes in this year alone. Defence Minister A K Antony informed Parliament this week that 51 complaints in this year had been filed against the Indian army in the northeast, for violation of human rights.

An officer told this newspaper that in this year's 51 complaints in the northeastern states, seven complaints are of custodial deaths, meaning civilians arrested by the Indian army for interrogation and killed while in custody.

The rest of the complaints are about raiding, checking, molestation and harassment of civilians by the army personnel. But all allegations have been refuted by the army, with no major punishment awarded to its personnel. Only some junior-level personnel have been punished and in most cases the petitioners have withdrawn their complaint cases.

A Naik from the Indian Army's 287 Field Regiment, Anil Kumar Upadhyay, at Nawjan area in Sibsagar district, Upper Assam,was handed over to the police when he tried to molest a 19 year girl. The girl was collecting firewood in Dolopa village when the incident took place in July 2012. The Army human rights cell demoted the soldier and sentenced him to three months rigourous imprisonment in military custody.
It may be noted that the Parliament reply comes at a time when Irom Sharmila of Manipur was in Delhi to appear before a Delhi court on charges of allegedly attempting suicide as she has been been fasting for 12 years, demanding withdrawal of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), from Manipur.

Among all the northeastern states Manipur and Assam are the most volatile and have the maximum army presence. The 3 Corps of the Indian army is headquartered in Dimapur, Nagaland, while the 4 Corps is is Tezpur, Assam, both are sensitive formations. All northeastern formations come under the Kolkata-based Eastern Command.

In 2010, complaints about human rights violations recieved were 29, in 2011 they were 25, in 2012 they were 26, while in 2013 till now they are 51, totalling upto 131 in the last four years.

Human Rights cells were established in the year 2003, beginning with Jammu and Kashmir. These cells are at the Command and Corps level, headed by a Colonel-ranking officer.

In Jammu and Kashmir in 2010 human violations cases have been 18, they were five in 2011, four in 2012 and none in 2013 so far.In all other states there have been only 20 cases in four years.

Antony informed the Lok Sabha that the ,"Army takes suitable action to dispose of above complaints in consultation with units/ formations and other agencies concerned in the matter. Further, in order to strengthen Human Rights Division, the Human Rights set up has been expanded down till Corps level."

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