Two model villages will be set up in Jammu and Kashmir where, according to the chairman of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) often described as a toothless body, it will be ensured that police follow the law and no human rights violations take place.
Justice Nazki made the remarks at the ‘Newsroom Trial’ hosted by a local English daily Rising Kashmir, according to a report in Outlook online.
He said a complaint by anyone in the village will be dealt according to the law. “For example, someone is needed in the police station. The police have to send him a notice and summon him to the police station. We will ensure that the law is followed,” Justice Nazki said.
He said the concept of the model villages will “sensitize people and the state officials about the human rights.”
Since its establishment in 1997, the Commission has registered 5153 cases and has disposed of 3995 complaints. The rights panel is, however, criticized for being a toothless body with observers pointing to its judgments and orders often being limited to recommending compensation money for victims of human rights abuses committed by forces.
For instance, in the case of a Kashmir man Farooq Ahmad Dar who was used as a ‘human shield’ and paraded through several villages in Budgam by the Army on April 9, the SHRC only directed the state government to provide Rs 10 lakh as compensation to Dar, which the government refused.
It did not issue any directions to the Army saying: “it does not have jurisdiction over the Army.”
This despite ruling that Dar “did not suffer only humiliation publically but also suffered trauma which resulted in psychiatric stress which may remain with him for the rest of his life”.
Justice Nazki also evaded a question about the legality of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the model villages, which has been a major impediment in the prosecution of forces personnel involved in rights violations.
Section 7 of the AFSPA provides immunity for human rights violations by security force personnel, as any civilian prosecution can only proceed after obtaining prior sanction from the central government. In the 27 years that the law has been in force in Jammu and Kashmir, not once has sanction been granted by the Indian government .