New Delhi: Rejecting charges that the Army was not taking action in cases of human rights violations by its personnel, Army Chief Gen VK Singh has disclosed that 39 officers were among 104 armymen who had been punished in Jammu and Kashmir in this regard.
He said over 95 percent of the allegations of human rights violations proved to be false and had apparently been levelled with the "ulterior motive of maligning the armed forces".
Gen Singh, whose force is time and again accused of fake encounters and other human rights violations, made it clear in an interview to the news agency that he would not tolerate any "bad eggs" in the Army and tough action is taken against erring personnel.
"In the Army, under the Army Act or military law, a procedure is followed, action is taken and the matter is out," he said while explaining how the allegations related to any wrongdoing in the force is dealt with.
Giving details, he said 988 allegations against the Army personnel in Jammu and Kashmir were received since 1994. Out of these 965 cases were investigated and 940 were found false, accounting for 95.2 percent. Allegations in 25 cases were found true.
Insisting that Army action is quick, he said 104 personnel, including 39 officers, 9 Junior Commissioned Officers and the 56 other ranks have been punished.
The punishments awarded to the erring personnel included rigorous imprisonments of up to 12 years, cashiering, dismissal from service and other punitive actions.
"The meting out of justice under the Army Act is expeditious and stringent," the General said. To justify this statement, he said out of 104 personnel, 48 were punished within three months of committing
offence, 20 within six months and 29 within one year. Only two
cases took two years to settle.
In this context, he also referred to the Tehelka sting operation and said all the Army personnel involved have been punished under military laws while no action had been taken against the civilians accused in the case.
When referred to the Machhil encounter in which three Kashmiri youth were allegedly killed after being labelled as terrorists, Gen Singh said two Army officers had been suspended without pay pending inquiry.
The Army inquiry into the case has been delayed as three civil witnesses were not made available till recently and their statements are now being taken, he said and promised action against those found guilty.
He, however, strongly opposed making Army personnel available to civil authorities every time allegations are levelled.
The Army Chief praised J and K police and said it must be empowered to deal with terrorism.