Kashmir In Israel’s Supreme Court: Activists Want Pre-Screening Of Cops Being Trained By Tel Aviv

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SRINAGAR: Kashmir crisis has crept into Israel, formally. Taking note of “violations” by police in Kashmir, a group of 40 Israeli citizens have filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Israel demanding that the Israeli Police be prevented from training Indian police officers involved in “severe violations” of human rights and international law in Kashmir, reports The Wire.

Indian police cadets at the National Police Academy in Beit Shemesh (Israel). Photo: Ministry of Public Security, Government of Israel

The Petition

Filed in January 2020, the Israeli citizens’ petition argues that the fact that India is the “biggest democracy in the world”, and an extremely important economic and political partner of the State of Israel and Western countries, “cannot legally and morally justify the provision of assistance to specific Indian police officers that are involved and responsible for grave crimes under international law in Kashmir, by way of their training by the police in Israel.”

The concern of the citizens as filed in the petition reveals that “the fact that there are terrorist groups and separatist groups operating in Kashmir that commit grave crimes against representatives of the Indian government and security forces, crimes against the local civilian population in Kashmir, as well as crimes and terrorist acts across India, cannot justify morally or legally turning a blind eye to the collective punishment and human rights violations allegedly committed in Kashmir by Indian security forces, which include documented instances of torture, custodial killings and the detention of thousands for extended periods and without legal proceedings.”

Quoting instances from the Kashmir protests, the petition says “hundreds have lost their eyesight in one and in some cases both eyes when, in response to demonstrations – both non-violent and those in which some participants throw stones at Indian security forces – soldiers and police have used live fire and pellet rifle fire,” and adds  “the pellet rifles that came into use by Indian security forces in Kashmir in 2010, quickly fire 400-600 small pieces of metal at a time, so there can be no guarantee that they will not cause unnecessary harm.”

As reported by the website, the petition was filed after Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Police and the Ministry of Internal Security refused to “pre-screen” specific Indian police officers who wish to train with the Israeli Police in the State of Israel, so that “none of them are involved in, or responsible for, serious human rights violations in Kashmir, and in particular police officers who allegedly blind, murder, rape, torture and forcibly disappear civilians in Kashmir.”

However, the Israeli Police and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted their response to the Supreme Court in May 2020. Among other things, they sought to dismiss the petition on the grounds that an “intervention as to the identity of the Indian police officers coming to Israel to participate in training would be construed as a blatant intervention by the State of Israel in India’s internal affairs, and could damage foreign relations and trust between both states”, besides citing “practical difficulty in pre-screening the visiting officers.”

The report reveals that these citizens have reiterated that “they will do everything in their power to assist in the international campaign for the protection of human and civil rights in Kashmir.”

The Practice

As part of the agreement since October 1, 2014, regarding cooperation on homeland and public security issues between the two countries, the State of Israel and the Government of India, Indian police officers are being trained in “counter-terror warfare” by the Israeli Police.

In 2017, as reported by the website, the Israeli Ministry of Public Security has said 120 Indian police officers had completed “a two-week course with the Israel Police on terrorism and intelligence”.

Later in 2018, as reported by The Economic Times, the first time two groups of 75 IPS officers visited the Israel National Police Academy to “learn about their best practices in counter-insurgency, managing low-intensity warfare and use of technology in policing and counter-terror.”

The groups, reports said also visited Jerusalem and Ben Gurion airport to learn about “community policing and security of important installations.”

The IPS trainees were earlier sent to Singapore and Japan for similar purposes.

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