Army must cooperate with police in youth killing probe: Amnesty

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Srinagar: Rights watchdog Amnesty International Wednesday said the Indian Army must cooperate with police in Jammu and Kashmir in the investigation into the killing of two Kashmiri youths.

“The army must cooperate fully with Jammu and Kashmir state police investigations into the shooting and killings of Faisal Yusuf Bhat and Mehrajuddin Dar, and injury to two others in Budgam, Kashmir Nov 3,” Amnesty said in a statement.

“If sufficient evidence is found, suspects must be prosecuted in a civilian court, and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act must not be used to shield soldiers from prosecution,” it said.

The army said it had received intelligence that militants were travelling along the Nowgam-Pulwama highway in a white car.

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The army set up barricades. When a white car refused to stop at the first two check points, the army personnel fired at it at the third check point, resulting in the death of two people, and serious injuries to two others.

While police filed a first information report and began investigation, the army established a Court of Inquiry and said those found guilty will be dealt with severely.

Amnesty said that it has documented cases since 1990 in which the army “has refused to cooperate with police investigations, and failed to hold its personnel accountable for human rights violations based on the findings of Courts of Inquiry”.

“Courts of Inquiry are known to sometimes be based solely on testimony from army personnel and contradict the findings of independent police investigations, and have contributed in the past to impunity for security forces” in Kashmir, it said.

Amnesty urges the Indian government to ensure that “those responsible are brought to justice in fair trials meeting international standards in civilian courts”.

PIC Courtesy: ceasefiremagazine