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News: Recently, army and police forces conducted an operation in Srinagar which led to the killing of three civilians along with a Pakistani militant has raised questions of the overuse of their powers.
What was the issue all about?
Army and police personals in the disturbed areas have the special power under Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) to fight against militants. But in some cases, the security personnel find it difficult to distinguish between militants and civilians, a distinction which has blurred even further with the recent emergence of “OGW” (overground worker for militants) or “hybrid militant”.
What were the earlier instances?
A similar instance has happened last year in Amshipora in Shopian, where the Army captain and JCO (Junior Commissioned Officer) in association with two civilians wrongly portrayed three men as terrorists, in order to claim reward money and killed them. The Police had filed a charge sheet against the captain, and the two civilians.
The Army also acknowledged the breach of powers under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act by the officials. Army took over the case from the civil court. As of now, there is no update from either the Military Court or Civil Court.
What is the Supreme court’s view over misuse of power?
SC in 2019 order said that every encounter must be enquired and there must be material evidence before naming someone as a terrorist. The Army leadership must ensure the rule of law is followed and Article 21 is respected.
|Also read: Rule of Law vs Rule by Law|
Source: This post is based on the article “In Hyderpora, leadership of security forces must ensure that personnel follow court’s directions, in letter and spirit” published in the Indian Express on 22nd November 2021.