The Indian Government has failed to hold those accountable for human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir even 25 years after the introduction of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in the state, a new report published by Amnesty International has claimed.
Entitled 'Denied: Failures in accountability for human rights violations by security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir', the report documents the obstacles faced in several cases of human rights violations believed to have been committed by Indian Security Force personnel in the northern state of India.
Based on in-depth research in Jammu and Kashmir, the report primarily focuses on section seven of the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 (AFSPA), which grants virtual immunity to members of the security forces from prosecution for alleged human rights violations.
Amnesty International Global Operations senior director Minar Pimple said: "Till now, not a single member of the security forces deployed in the state has been tried for human rights violations in a civilian court.
"This lack of accountability has in turn facilitated other serious abuses."
The report includes interviews with 58 family members of victims of alleged human rights abuses by security forces, right to information applications, examination of police and court records, as well as interviews with civil society groups, lawyers, and government officials.
According to Amnesty, the Indian Government has denied permission to prosecute under section seven of the AFSPA in every case brought against members of the army or paramilitary, and also delayed the decision for years in a small number of cases.
Several families interviewed alleged that the AFSPA also provides immunity for security force personnel indirectly.
Amnesty International India research manager Divya Iyer said: "Police and court records pertaining to nearly 100 cases of human rights violations filed by families of victims between 1990 and 2012 showed that the Jammu and Kashmir police often failed to register complaints or take action on registered complaints until they were compelled.
"In some cases, army personnel have been reluctant or refused to cooperate with police investigations."
Despite dismissing more than 96% of all human rights abuse allegations against its personnel in as 'false or baseless' the army has, however, convicted and sentenced five soldiers to life imprisonment for killing three men in a 'fake encounter' in Machil, Jammu and Kashmir, in 2010.