The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a "factual report" from the Union Ministry of Defence on the alleged "humiliation and violation of the human rights of Army personnel" in Jammu and Kashmir.
The NHRC has taken cognizance of a complaint filed by three children of Army officers alleging violation of human rights of the force's personnel in recent incidents of stone-pelting in the State.
The complaints referred to the January 27 incident in Shopian, when an unruly mob allegedly pelted an Army administrative convoy with stones. While three civilians were killed after the Army was forced to open fire in self-defence, seven Army personnel were injured and 11 vehicles were damaged in the clash.
The complainants have now alleged that despite the attack on the army convoy being "completely unprovoked an unwarranted", an FIR was registered against the army personnel. The FIR against the stone pelters, they allege, has been withdrawn on directions of the State Government. They have also cited, date wise, a series of incidents wherein, allegedly, the army faced hostilities from the very people it was deployed to protect. In all such incidents, an FIR was registered against the army.
In the light of such facts, the complainants point out that the administration, which is being assisted by the Indian Army, has failed to safeguard the human rights of the members of the Armed Forces. To this end, they have also made reference to laws enacted in several countries where severe punishment is meted out to those involved in stone pelting on Armed Forces.
Taking cognizance of these complaints, the NHRC explained the steps taken on the allegations in a statement released on Friday, noting, "The Commission has observed that in view of the facts narrated and allegations leveled in the complaint, it will be appropriate to call for a factual report from the Union Ministry of Defence, through its Secretary, to know the present status of the situation and steps taken by the Union Government on the points raised by the complainants regarding alleged humiliation and violation of the human rights of the army personnel in the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Accordingly, a communication has been sent to the Union Defence Secretary, expecting the response within four weeks."
A Petition has also been filed before the Supreme Court by Lt. Col. Karamveer Singh, father of Major Aditya Singh who was named in the FIR registered after the Shopian firing. Besides questioning the non-registration of FIR against the stone-pelters, Mr. Singh has also sought guidelines for protection of rights of soldiers "so that no soldier is harassed by initiation of criminal proceedings for bonafide actions in exercise of their duties".