Unmarked graves: Kashmir rights panel flays policeOctober 19th, 2011 - 11:03 pm ICT by IANS
Srinagar, Oct 19 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir’s human rights commission Wednesday said the police did not adhere to established procedures while dealing with those buried in unmarked graves in the state.
“The police has not adhered to the established procedure, even their own police rule besides what is stated in the United Nations’ charter of human rights,” said the judgement by commission chairperson Justice (retired) Syed Bashir-ud-Din and member Javaid Kawoos.
“All the recommendations made earlier regarding the unmarked graves are maintained and it is recommended that the police in future will adhere to the recommendations for personal identification of any unknown person killed in militancy related incidents or otherwise,” it added.
In its earlier recommendations regarding over the 2,000 unmarked graves that have been identified by the investigating agency of the commission, it had said that DNA profiling, denture matching, X-Ray identification and other scientific means of identification and matching the buried bodies with the next of their kin must be started by the government.
The commission also recommended prosecution of the culprits once their identity is established.
“Due compensation must be made to the next of kin of the victims and a structured body must be constituted with powers to investigate and decide the cases relating to the victims buried in the unmarked graves,” the judgement said.
With regard to the much hyped truth and reconciliation commission which Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said must be established, the rights panel judgment said there has been talk of a commission to go into all killings in the state during the over 20 years of violence. However, since the establishment of such a commission needs the involvement of powers across the line of control (LOC), it is not feasible for the state human rights commission to go into it at the present.
The investigating agency of the state rights panel has reported to the commission that there are over 2,000 unmarked graves in north Kashmir areas of the Valley and also in the Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu region.
The disclosure has led to serious apprehensions being expressed by the relatives of missing persons in the state, who fear their loved ones might be buried in these graves.
Omar Abdullah has accepted the presence of unmarked graves, but categorically denied that there are any mass graves in the state.
Omar also held in his statement here last month that it was an urban tradition to mark graves and majority of the graveyards in rural areas are full of unmarked graves.
“All unmarked graves in the rural areas do not mean those killed by the security forces are buried there,” the chief minister had said.
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Tags: bashir, charter of human rights, chief minister, commission chairperson, culprits, dna profiling, due compensation, human rights commission, investigating agency, jammu and kashmir, judgement, kashmir, killings, personal identification, police rule, truth and reconciliation, truth and reconciliation commission, united nations charter, unmarked graves, x ray