Avoid excessive force, Amnesty tells Jammu and Kashmir authorities

Last Updated: Sat, Jul 20, 2013 15:00 hrs

Srinagar, July 20 (IANS) Global rights watchdog Amnesty International said Saturday authorities must avoid excessive use of force and investigate killings in Jammu and Kashmir.

In a statement released to the press, Amnesty said: "Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir must avoid excessive use of force while policing demonstrations.

"Dozens of people have been injured in many parts of Jammu and Kashmir in widespread clashes between security forces and protestors. The protests began on July 18, when four people were killed by paramilitary forces in Ramban district.

"Protesters have defied curfew regulations and held violent demonstrations. Authorities have reportedly used excessive force, including firing live ammunition against protestors.

"Amnesty International India calls on authorities in Jammu and Kashmir to protect the right to life in accordance with the constitution of India and international law - including the International covenant on civil and political rights, to which India is a state party - and international standards, in particular the UN basic principles on the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials and the code of conduct for law enforcement officials.

"Law enforcement officials must always apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force, including when policing public demonstrations. They must use force with restraint, and only when it is absolutely necessary and proportional to the threat to public safety.

"Firearms should only be used as a last resort, and the intentional lethal use of firearms must only be employed when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.

"Amnesty International India urges authorities to conduct a full, impartial and effective investigation into any possible excessive use of force by security forces in J&K, and all deaths or serious injuries caused by the use of force or firearms. All suspects, including those with command responsibility, must be prosecuted in a competent, independent and impartial civilian court," the statement said.

More from Sify: