Assam violence: HRW seeks prompt investigation



Washington: Seeking compliance of international standards in responding to ethnic violence in Assam, an eminent human rights body has demanded prompt investigation into the ongoing violence in the northeastern state of India and prosecution of those responsible for it.

In a statement, the Human Rights Watch said the Indian security forces should abide by the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms, which call upon law enforcement officials, including members of the armed forces, to apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and only in proportion to the seriousness of the offence.

The UN principles allow lethal force only when it is "strictly unavoidable in order to protect life," it noted.

Authorities in India should rescind "shoot at sight" orders to enforce a curfew in badly affected areas of Assam, the New York-headquartered human rights body said.

The government should ensure compliance with international standards in responding to ethnic violence, and promptly investigate and prosecute those responsible while addressing the underlying causes of the clashes, it said.

"Security forces should comply with international standards that only permit the use of lethal force when absolutely necessary to protect life," Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said.

PTI