Human shield case: govt directed to pay Rs 10L

Human shield case: govt directed to pay Rs 10L

Human shield case: govt directed to pay Rs 10L
The Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on Monday directed the state government to pay Rs 10 lakh as compensation to a civilian reportedly used as human shield by the army earlier this year.

The SHRC chairman, Justice (retd) Bilal Nazki, directed the state government to pay the compensation to the victim, Farooq Ahmad Dar, within a period of six weeks. “I have no doubt in my mind that Farooq Ahmad was subjected to torture and humiliation, besides (being) wrongly confined,” the judgement observed.

“For the humiliation, physical and psychiatric torture, stress, wrongful restraint and confinement, the commission thinks it appropriate to direct the state government to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the victim,” Nazki observed.

However, the SHRC refused to direct the army in the case, saying: “It does not have jurisdiction over the army.” The SHRC directed the chief secretary to file compliance report in the matter within six weeks.

Major Nitin Gogoi of 53 Rashtriya Rifles battalion had tied Dar to the bonnet of his jeep during the Srinagar Lok Sabha bypoll on April 9, reportedly as a human shield against stone pelters.

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had backed Gogoi’s action saying that in a ‘dirty war, innovation’ is needed. Gogoi was also awarded the army chief’s commendation card for his action.

In the last two decades, the SHRC has given several recommendations to the government over the alleged human rights violation cases in the state. However, most of the recommendations were never implemented by the government.

Under Section 12 of the Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Human Rights Act, 1997, it is mandatory for the state government to initiate action on the report of the commission within a period of four weeks from its receipt and informed the commission about the action taken.

In 2011, the commission had asked the state government to re-open the Kunan Poshpora mass rape case that sent shudders across the Valley in 1991.

The commission had also recommended Rs 2 lakh compensation for each victim. Even the division bench of the state high court took up the SHRC report and decreed “the government should explore the possibilities of payment of compensation within three weeks”.

However, the army obtained a stay on the high court’s order in the Supreme Court.  The army maintains that the SHRC is not empowered to investigate alleged human rights violations against its soldiers posted in the state.
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