Terrorists in J&K, N-E commit serious abuses: Obama govt



Washington: The Obama administration on Thursday came down heavily on separatist insurgents and terrorists in Kashmir and North-east, charging them with indulging in gross violation of human rights.

However, it praised the UPA Government for progress in reducing incidents of communal violence, saying the Indian Government generally respects the rights of its citizens.

The observations were made in the 2009 Annual Report on Human Rights released by the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today.

"Separatist insurgents and terrorists in Kashmir, the Northeast, and the Naxalite (Maoist) belt committed numerous serious abuses, including killing armed forces personnel, police, government officials, and civilians.

"Insurgents engaged in widespread torture, rape, beheading, kidnapping, and extortion. The number of incidents declined compared with the previous year," said the report which covers 194 countries.

The India section of the report said the Indian government generally respected the rights of its citizens and made progress in reducing incidents of communal violence, expanding efforts against human trafficking, and reducing the exploitation of indentured, bonded, and child workers but serious problems remained.

The report claimed serious internal unrest at times affected the state of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as several states in the Northeast.

"Although civilian authorities maintained effective control of the security forces, security forces occasionally acted independently of government authority," it said.

According to the report, major problems included extrajudicial killings of persons in custody, disappearances, and torture and rape by police and other security forces.

"Investigations into individual abuses and legal punishment for perpetrators occurred, but for many abuses, a lack of accountability created an atmosphere of impunity. Poor prison conditions and lengthy detentions were significant problems," it said.

Noting that some officials used antiterrorism legislation to justify excessive use of force, the report said "corruption existed at all levels of government and police".

"While there were no large-scale attacks against minorities during the year, there were reports of delays in obtaining legal redress for past incidents. Some states promulgated laws restricting religious conversion.

"Violence associated with caste-based discrimination occurred. Domestic violence, child marriage, dowry-related deaths, honor crimes, and female feticide remained serious problems," the report said.

It said there were credible reports that the government and its agents "committed arbitrary or unlawful killings, including extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals and insurgents".

"A high rate of extrajudicial killings, in which security forces shot and killed alleged criminals or insurgents in staged encounters, occurred in the North-east, particularly in the states of Assam and Manipur," it said.

PTI