Police, CRPF continue to ‘violate’ SOP
Cops Deal With Protesters In Absence Of Magistrates
Srinagar, Mar 9: In spite of a Standard Operating Procedure in place for forces to deal with law and order problems, police and paramilitary CRPF continue to work in absence of magistrates while dealing with protesters in Kashmir. The violation of SOP has often resulted in excessive use of force by the police and paramilitary forces, triggering widespread resentment among the people.
On February 10, when 92-battalion of paramilitary CRPF opened fire on a protest rally in Watrgam area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, killing 15-year-old Ubair Mushtaq and injuring four others, no magistrate was present on the scene.
In a Unified Command meeting in 2009, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had asked the law enforcing agencies to ensure presence of a magistrate when dealing with law and order situations. “No law and order situation or protest should be dealt without the presence of a magistrate,” he had said. Omar had also called for formation of citizens' advisory committees in every district “to develop constant rapport between citizens and administration to avoid misunderstandings.”
However, nothing has changed on ground with police and paramilitary CRPF being accused of using excessive force during the past few weeks.
“If a magistrate is not present at the situation, police and parliamentary CRPF have no right to open fire on protesters. Killing a boy at Watrgam is gross violation of SOP by the forces,” senior High Court lawyer Syed Riyaz Khawar said.
Khawar said under law police and paramilitary CRPF have no right to shoot at protesters. “Not even powers devised to forces under AFSPA empower them to shoot at innocent protestors. The act of CRPF firing on unarmed civilians is tantamount to violation of Constitution and a case may be registered against it,” he opined.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, former Secretary, Supreme Court Bar Association, Ashok Arora said the paramilitary CRPF cannot afford to take law into its own hands. “There is a proper mechanism to deal with a situation. It is extremely unheard of that bullets are showered on people who register protest,” he said.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Asgar Hassan Samoon, has also slammed CRPF for ‘excesses’, saying “how could the paramilitary forces act independently without consultation with civil administration.”
“Strict action will be taken against the erring CRPF personnel. I fail to understand how they act independently when SOP has been set for them,” Samoon told a local news gathering agency recently.
‘HAVE DEPUTED MAGISTRATES’
On Friday, the Div Com said: “The decision to impose necessary restrictions in any of the districts will be taken by the respective District Magistrates depending upon the situation and local magistrates and police officers should accompany paramilitary forces including CRPF during law and order duties,” he told KNS. “To keep check on such incidents, we have deputed magistrates for instructing forces during law and order duties.” However, the ground reports belied the claim.
Divisional Commissioner Asgar Samoon and PRO CRPF Sudhir Kumar did not respond to repeated calls from this newspaper. Inspector General of CRPF, Operations, SS Sandhu, when contacted, said he was “busy in a meeting.”
Lastupdate on : Sat, 9 Mar 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 9 Mar 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 10 Mar 2013 00:00:00 IST
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