Annual Report: India 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: India 2013

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  • In January, the Supreme Court ordered new investigations into 22 alleged extrajudicial executions in Gujarat, mostly of Muslim youth, during 2003-2006.
  • In April, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) closed its inquiry into alleged unlawful killings and mass cremations by police during the Punjab conflict, without recommending criminal investigations. It awarded 279.4 million Indian rupees (US$5.78 million) in compensation to the families of 1,513 of the 2,097 dead. The findings of a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the killings remained unpublished.
  • During 2007-2012, the NHRC distributed cash compensation to the families of 191 out of 1,671 people killed in the country, after determining they had been extrajudicially executed. Criminal investigations into the majority of such killings failed to make serious progress.

Jammu and Kashmir

Widespread impunity prevailed for violations of international law in Kashmir, including unlawful killings, extrajudicial executions, torture and the enforced disappearance of thousands of people since 1989. The majority of cases of more than 100 youths shot dead by the police and other security forces during protests in the summer of 2010 were not fully investigated.

  • In May, the Supreme Court allowed eight members of the armed forces, suspected of involvement in the extrajudicial executions of five villagers from Pathribal in 2000, to effectively sidestep civilian courts. Instead, they faced trial in military courts, later boycotted by the victims' relatives.
  • In July, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court cited the Pathribal verdict when ruling on a similar case, relating to the 2010 Machil extrajudicial executions of three villagers.
  • In August, the state authorities rejected the state Human Rights Commission's recommendation to use modern forensic techniques to identify bodies in more than 2,700 unmarked graves in north Kashmir.
  • In December, a report by two Srinagar-based human rights organizations on 214 cases of enforced disappearance, torture, extrajudicial executions and other violations since 1989, alleged that the authorities were unwilling to investigate serious charges against 470 security personnel and 30 state-sponsored militia members.

Limited amendments to the Public Safety Act (PSA) in April after calls for its repeal, failed to bring it in line with India's international human rights obligations. Administrative detentions under the PSA continued with political leaders and separatist activists held without charge or trial.

  • In December, the authorities acknowledged that 219 people were detained under the PSA, including 120 foreign nationals, and seven whose detention orders had already been quashed by the courts. Teenagers Mushtaq Saleem Beigh, Mohammed Mubarak Bhat and Danish Farooq were released from administrative detention.

Proposed amendments to the state's juvenile justice law, raising the age of majority from 16 to 18, remained pending before the legislative assembly.

Communal and ethnic violence

In July and August, 75 villagers were killed in clashes between Bodo and Muslim communities in Assam. A total of 400,000 people were temporarily displaced across 270 camps. Involvement of armed groups exacerbated tensions and violence. The authorities were criticized for their inadequate response.

Ten years after the 2002 Gujarat violence in which 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed, the majority of victims and their families had not secured justice. At least 78 suspects were convicted, including former Minister Maya Kodnani, and some 90 acquitted, in three of the cases being monitored by the Supreme Court.

  • In February, a special team set up by the Supreme Court to investigate 10 Gujarat cases found no evidence to prosecute Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 62 other senior politicians and officials. Zakia Jaffri, who had accused the Chief Minister and others of failing to save the life of her husband Ehsan Jaffri and 68 others, petitioned the Court, questioning the basis for the team's conclusions.

Members of Dalit communities continued to face discrimination and attacks. Special laws to prosecute suspected perpetrators were rarely used.