ISLAMABAD – The Amnesty International, the London-based world human rights organisation, has said that Indian army personnel facing charges of serious violations of human rights must stand trial.
According to Kashmir Media Service, the Amnesty International, citing the India's Supreme Court February 4 order, stated that the Indian army could not invoke the AFSPA to avoid the prosecution of eight officers charged with the March 2000 killing of five Kashmiri villagers at Pathribal.
"We welcome the Supreme Court's statement that there should be no need to obtain prior approval for prosecuting security personnel charged with having committed grave human rights violations such as rape and murder," said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International's Director on Asia-Pacific in a statement posted on the AI website.
"While the Court's remark opens the chance for the prosecution of the eight army personnel Amnesty International reiterates its demand for the repeal of the AFSPA, which has been in force .in Jammu and Kashmir since 1990," Sam Zarifi said.
"For far too long, Indian security forces have used the AFSPA as a cover for serious human rights violations. The Supreme Court's statement should finally allow some light to be shed on some of the army's most gruesome violations - providing some hope for justice for the victims and a step forward imposing the rule of law," the AI Director maintained.
"The Indian armed forces had claimed that the five were Lashkar-e-Toiba guerrillas involved in the shooting of 35 members of the Sikh community at Chhattisingpura in the valley prior to the visit of the then United States' President Bill Clinton to India in the same month. The CBI's investigation showed that the five people killed were in fact villagers from Brariangan, Halan and Islamabad town. – Agencies