Thursday, May 17, 2012

India: Govt. forces wage war on the people, demand license to kill

[The Indian government has long claimed to be the "world's largest democracy"--but democratic rights and democratic accountability have routinely been set aside.  Now, the forces waging "Operation Green Hunt"  want to establish free-fire zones against civilians, and other violations of human and democratic rights, without facing any possibility of prosecution.  --  Frontlines ed.]

Forces want to carry out such acts as this “safari” killing in 2010, in Lalgarh, without facing any investigation or charges.

Paramilitary wants legal immunity for anti-Maoist ops

Published By United Press International
NEW DELHI, May 16 (UPI Asia) – A paramilitary force combating armed Maoist insurgency in central India has sought the legal immunity given Indian Army for decades in its fight with rebels in the northeast, an official said Wednesday.The Central Reserve Police Force has argued it cannot launch sweeping operations against the Maoists in the eastern state of Jharkhand until it is exempted from prosecution for its acts under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
“Our troops are deployed but Jharkhand Police controls the operations,” CRPF Inspector-General D. K. Pandey, in charge of operations, told a high-level meeting of the force. “We need the cover of AFSPA for at least six months.”
Written in 1958, AFSPA can be invoked if the government notifies a civilian region as a disturbed area making way for its Army takeover. The statute gives soldiers indiscriminate powers, especially to fire to kill civilians, to search and seize without a warrant and order destruction of buildings believed to be rebel arms dumps.
Soldiers also have immunity from prosecution for their actions under the law.
Rights activists have long censured the 1958 law as anti-democratic and demanded its repeal for causing widespread human rights abuses. The Indian Army says the law’s cover is crucial to its anti-insurgency operations in the northeast.
In 1990, the law was extended to the troubled northern state of Jammu and Kashmir at the start of a massive armed insurgency to split it from India. The Indian Army is accused of extensive human rights abuses in the state while putting down the insurgency.
Over the last year, the government has suggested it could consider repealing the law.
The CRPF official said at least some areas in Jharkhand should be declared disturbed areas and the AFSPA cover extended to the paramilitary.
The CRPF has deployed at least 16,000 troops for anti-Maoist operations in Jharkhand. It is also widely deployed in the adjoining state of Chhattisgarh. The force has lost more than 200 troops to Maoist fire in the two states in over a decade.
In 2011 alone, the CRPF had lost 10 personnel in Jharkhand.

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