Army Personnel's Human Rights Are Being Violated: Army Kids To NHRC On Stone-Pelting

| February 8 , 2018 , 11:13 IST

Cases of stone-pelting in the troubled Kashmir valley escalating beyond a certain level often result in intervention from security forces, but sympathy is almost always directed towards the stone-pelters and the 'force' exerted on them by security personnel.

In an unprecedented step, children of two Lt Colonels and a retired Naib Subedar of the Indian Army have reached out to the National Human Rights Commission, asking it to protect the human rights of the army personnel, that is violated by the stone-pelters.

On January 27 in the Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, a large crowd of stone-pelters targeted an Army convoy, forcing the Army to shoot in self-defence, resulting in the death of 2 civilians and an FIR against the Army. The FIR against the national armed forces triggered outrage across the nation.  

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In view of stone pelting incidents such as the one in Shopian where the Army is attacked while it is carrying out its duty, the children Preeti, Kajal and Prabhav presented NHRC Chief Justice H L Dattu with a complaint. Complimenting the apex human rights body and Amnesty International for protecting the rights of civilians in the disturbed areas of Jammu and Kashmir, the petition alleged the bodies of turning a blind eye towards the plight of Army personnel who face a threat to their life from stone-pelters.

"The Army has been deployed in J&K since the state machinery was incapable of handling the law and order situation. But the irony is that the very administration which the Army seeks to assist and support has failed to safeguard the human rights of the armed forces personnel," the petition said.

"On one hand, the Army is expected to curb unlawful and disruptive activities by trouble-makers but while doing so they are expected to face attacks on them without having the human rights to defend their lives. They are expected to watch their troops suffer injuries, deaths and also witness their vehicles burnt, rifles snatched etc. All these actions are violations of human rights of the personnel," it continued.

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"Do personnel of armed forces, facing grave and serious violations of human rights, not deserve the attention and empathy of the custodians of human rights? As young Indians and citizens of this great country, especially as children of Army personnel, we are concerned about the state of affairs of the troops serving in disturbed areas," the petition said, seeking urgent intervention of the NHRC to conduct an inquiry into stone-pelting incidents.

Regarding the FIR filed against the Army in Shopian, the petitioning children said that it was not an isolated incident and that 5 such FIRs had already been lodged against armed forces personnel for taking action to secure areas from militants and stone-pelting crowds.

The children also gave examples of other nations that have strict punishment for those throwing stones as armed forces personnel, with a punishment of life imprisonment in US, 20-year jail in Israel, 14 years in jail in New Zealand, 5 years in Australia and 3-5 years in the UK for civilians attacking armed force personnel.