Withdrawing FIRs Against Stone-Pelters Will Demoralise Security Forces: Centre

| June 6 , 2018 , 09:22 IST

The security forces in Jammu and Kashmir face a myriad of challenges, frequent ceasefire violations from Pakistan, infiltration attempts, militant activity within the state and stone-pelting, often from civilians.

The state government's decision to withdraw FIRs against stone-pelters has been questioned by the Centre which told the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that withdrawing the FIRs would demoralise security forces and embolden militants to use civilians as shields for their terror activities.

Filing a report before the NHRC based on a petition filed by 3 children of army personnel, the Centre said, "withdrawing of cases against stone-pelters by the state government will demoralise the security forces and may encourage the acts of militants to take help of civilians as their shield for terror activities".

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The Centre said, "It is the duty of the state government to take strong action against stone-pelters and provocateurs to safeguard the human rights of members of the armed forces operating in Jammu and Kashmir."

Children of 2 serving and 1 retired army personnel had filed a petition with the NHRC questioning the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP Jammu and Kashmir government's decision in February to withdraw FIRs against nearly 10,000 people booked earlier for stone-pelting.

"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.

The petition sought urgent intervention of NHRC to hold inquiry into stone-pelting incidents and protect human rights violations against armed forces personnel.

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

The children also referred to the Shopian incident when an FIR was filed against an army major for firing at stone-pelters but no FIR was lodged against those throwing stones at the army convoy which led to the firing.