Army Seminar Debates Rights Abuses By Militants

Srinagar: The General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Army’s Srinagar-based Chinar Corps (15 Corps), Lt Gen D P Pandey on Wednesday questioned human rights groups, local, national and international media houses, for their “silence” on the recent spate of civilian killings in Kashmir.

General Pandey was addressing a seminar at Army’s Badamibagh Cantonment in Srinagar. In the opening remarks, Lt Gen Panday said that these groups come down heavily on the security forces for any wrong doings but remain silent when militants commit the human rights violations.

“Why don’t these human rights groups, civil society and media speak-up now,” he said, adding "it is important to hold the militants accountable for the crimes".

Over 11 civilians have been killed since the last two weeks in Kashmir by suspected militants, most of them were non-locals.

The targeted killing of civilians evoked massive condemnation across Kashmir baring the party lines.

The two-day seminar on “Human Rights Violations by terrorists and how these have impacted Kashmiri citizens in the last 30 years” started on Wednesday Badami Bagh cantonment in Srinagar.

According to the Army, twenty one subject experts, including research scholars, social activists, government officials and intellectuals from within and outside Kashmir, having proficiency in the subject, participated in the seminar.

Lt Gen DP Pandey said that while rightly the state is responsible and accountable for maintenance of high standards of human rights in all activities, it is a fact that human rights get curtailed in a conflict region due to security concerns.

“J&K has seen acts of curtailment of human rights violations by militants due to threats, killings, disrupting education and economic activity and denial of freedom of speech,” the GOC said.

According to a statement by the Army, the GOC further exhorted the audience to question and hold the Pakistan affiliates responsible for the denial of basic rights of economic activity, education, entertainment and freedom.

He further remarked that the aim of the seminar is to discuss these and deliberate on the way ahead.

The Army said the seminar proceedings were broadcast live to civil and military audiences at Kupwara, Baramulla, Awantipur, Sharifabad, Delhi, Shimla, Nagrota and Udhampur. The talk by the panellists was also streamed live over Chinar Corps Facebook page.

Other speakers who spoke in the seminar included Bashir Assad, Editor, KZINE magazine, Lt Gen KJS Dhillon, Owais Nanda, Sheikh Younis Amin, Raja Muneeb, Tariq Rashid Malik, Aasif Umar, Arti Tikoo Singh, Prof Kulwant Singh, Rajeev Bhatnagar and Chairman, Delhi Public School, Srinagar Vijay Dhar.

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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