In response to the politically sensitive nature of the State, the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir in 1990. The Act provides virtual impunity to the security forces for their actions, which local inhabitants allege to be resulting in gross human rights violations in the State.
“Since the AFSPA came into effect in Jammu and Kashmir not a single member of the security forces deployed in the State has been tried for human rights violations in a civilian court. This lack of accountability has in turn facilitated other serious abuses,” said Minar Pimple, Senior Director of Global Operations at Amnesty International.
This finding was detailed in Amnesty’s 2015 report titled 'Denied: Failures in accountability for human rights violations by security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’.
Data compiled by Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a Kashmir-based human rights organisation, revealed that in the past 25 years, more than 70,000 civilians have been killed, around 8,000 disappeared, about 1,500 women live as half-widows as they are not sure whether their husbands are dead or alive, and 7,000 unmarked graves have been found.
While there is no doubt that some of these people have been victims of militancy in the area, yet the role of the Army has also not been beyond the pale of suspicion.
As for the Army it has dismissed more than 96 percent of all allegations of human rights violations against its personnel in Jammu and Kashmir as false and baseless.
According to the annual (2014-15) report of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, from January 1994 to December 2014, out of 1427 complaints of human rights violations received against the personnel of Army and central paramilitary forces 1321 complaints have been found false.
The report said that 80 complaints were genuine, “in which personnel responsible were punished”.