The Coalition of Civil Societies (CCS) has said that the Pathribal case serves as an illustration of the ‘Indian State’s record in Jammu and Kashmir. “This case illustrates that questions of impunity in Jammu and Kashmir are beyond mere legal reform or demands for revocation of AFSPA. The Indian State, as a part of a policy, and through the executive, legislature and judiciary, has carried out violations and ensured impunity for the perpetrators,” said a CCS statement issued to KNS.
“Any prospect of fair proceedings are obviously eliminated considering that it is the same army trying its soldiers that carry out crimes that are part of the institutional and State policies. The proceedings are closed to the public despite for example Rule 80-A of the Army Rules 1954 that mandates open courts in general,” the statement added.
Advocate Parvez Imroz, of CCS said that the mockery of the process is brought out clearly by the following lines in the 13 March 2014 Indian army submission in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate [CJM], Srinagar, where a Pathribal victim’s family is seeking information: “That the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Northern Command having analyzed the Summary of Evidence agreed with the views of the Commanding Officer of the accused persons that the evidence on record did not in any way establish a prima-facie case…” [Emphasis added]. “Absurdly, the Indian army’s idea of justice is a Commanding Officer judging his own men,” the statement said.
“Therefore, once again, after 14 years, the case, if not shut down by the CJM, would return to the executive. The same executive, who as a part of the Indian State has carried out the crimes, and then ensured impunity,” the statement added.
The statement further read that no progress has been made in the linked case of the massacre of 36 Sikhs in Chittisinghpora on 20 March 2000. “Here too, the Indian State, despite evidence that the Indian army was involved, has chosen to prosecute two Pakistani nationals: Mohammad Suhail Malik and Wasim Ahmad. But, in 2011 the lower court acquitted them and in 2012 the High Court upheld the acquittal. Therefore, whether in the cases of Chittisinghpora, Pathribal or the April 3, 2000 killing of eight persons in Brakpora protesting the Pathribal killings, the Indian State, in one way or the other, and using all necessary functionaries, has taken no action against anyone, and has ensured impunity for the perpetrators. The Pathribal case sends a clear message to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, including family members and victims of human rights violations, that there can be no justice from the Indian State.”