Wednesday, 29 January 2014

SSSC Statement: We condemn the army verdict of Pathribal Fake encounter & demand its re-opening and repeal of AFSPA

It is sad that in the world's democracy, that army has once again overruled the CBI and the Supreme Court. The army has closed the court martial of its officers who were found guilty of fake encounter of Pathribal, J&K by CBI after which the Supreme Court of India had asked the Army to either provide sanction of prosecution against them or to do court martial for these officers.

The army has closed the court martial on the grounds that there was no evidence against their officers, whereas the CBI had already investigated the matter and found that it was a conspiracy where these officers had picked on innocent civilians to create an impression that the militants responsible for the Chhatisinghpora killing have been neutralized.

It was one of the few cases that had managed to go up till the Supreme Court and in which the Supreme Court accepting the CBI version had directed the army to take action in 2012. But dramatically, after two years, the army closed the court martial file on 24 Jan 2014 and therefore to an extent has overruled the CBI and even Supreme Court. It is also to be noted that how Army opposed the case and argued that no case can be registered against its officers under the veil of AFSPA as it provides impunity and that it requires prior sanction of central government to prosecute as per Section 7 of AFSPA.

Anyone who believes in justice with equality should not accept such rules and must demand to scrap AFSPA. Even in many other cases, AFSPA has proved to be a draconian law and has abetted human rights violations through fake killings, torture and rapes. With time, because of the impunity and no sanction granted by central government to prosecute an armed personal, this has became a habit and mindset of deployed security personals and consequently a danger for all those living in AFSPA-imposed areas.

We believe in truth, justice and peace for all without any discrimination. We do not support any form of violence and we believe that it is a duty of the armed personnel that they must respect every human being and follow the path of justice and truth rather. They must know that just by donning the uniform, they do not get any authoritative command of violence or killing, rather they get a responsibility to protect people and not to harm them. We also believe that being a part of the Indian department of governance, army must respect the investigation and instructions of central agencies as well as of the judiciary.

With these sentiments, we hereby demand and hope that our demands will be heard.

Our demands:
Re-open the Pathribal Case & Respect Supreme Court Instruction & CBI Findings
Provide the sanction to prosecute the officers
Repeal AFSPA from J&K and the North-East

Statement endorsed by:

Antony Arulraj, Advocacy officer, Hotline - Delhi
Asad Ashraf, Jamia Student's Solidarity Forum
Babloo Loitongbam, Human Rights Activist
Debabrata Roy Laifungbam, Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights in Manipur and the UN
Devika Mittal, Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign,
Dr. Raja Muzaffar Bhat, RTI and Social Activist, J&K
Dr. Walter Fernandes, Senior Scholar and Activist
Haseeb Mustafa Alvi, Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign
Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Sr Advocate and Activist
Kiriti Roy, Program Against Custodial Torture and Impunity
Kumar Sundaram, Activist, Co Editor-India Resists.Com
Madhuresh Kumar, National Alliance of People's Movement
Ovais Sultan Khan, Social Activist, Delhi
Prithvi Sharma, Indian Community Activists Network
Prof. Nandini Sundar, Acdemician- Delhi University, Activist
Prof. Ritu Diwan, Academician-University of Mumbai, Activist
Ravi Nitesh, Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign
Sankara Narayanan, Human Rights Activist
Subash Mohapatra, Global Human Rights Commission
Suresh Bhat B., Human Rights Activist
Tahir Ahmad, Mission Bhartiyam, J&K
Tanushree Gangopadhyay, Activist, Ahemdabad,Gujrat
Tanveer Hussain Khan, Political Activist, Srinagar, J&K
V. Arun Kumar, Political Activist, Delhi