SRINAGAR: In a move to soothe tempers over Army methods that bedevilled his visit to Kashmir, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said security forces have been “strictly instructed” to respect human rights and pledged to remove deficiencies in implementation of the instructions.
“Sometimes innocent civilians suffer, but whenever such incidents happen it becomes necessary to act against those responsible. I’m aware of some complaints related to human rights,” said the PM, who arrived in Srinagar to review the security situation and inspect development projects. He was addressing a convocation at Srinagar’s Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.
The PM’s pledge comes in the backdrop of recent alleged fake encounter killings in North Kashmir and growing concerns that such incidents could fritter away gains in counter-insurgency operations that have seen militant violence drop to an all-time low since 1989.
It’s also seen as an attempt to address the clamour for the revocation of draconian laws in the state, which activists say ensure impunity for the abuses. Even CM Omar Abdullah has come out in favour of modifying the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
The PM reiterated his call for talks, saying the government was ready to carry forward the dialogue “with representatives of any group which shuns violence and terror.” He said recommendations of his working group on Kashmir were being implemented in a step-wise manner.