SRINAGAR, July 28: India’s Defence Minister has cautioned the Army in Kashmir against violation of human rights and has also asked them to reduce their visibility as much as possible.
There can be no justification for violating human rights in a democratic set up like ours, Antony was quoted by a defence spokesperson as telling Armymen on Saturday.
The Defence Minister is on a two-day trip to Kashmir to review the overall situation, for the first time in 18 months. His comments come just days after he ordered a probe into the killing of 21-year-old Hilal Ahmed Dar by soldiers at Ashtengoo Naar area in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district.
The incident triggered huge protests as people claimed that Dar was killed by army soldiers after taking him into custody and torturing him. Kashmir observed a shutdown on Saturday over a call given by senior separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani to protest the incident.
Antony’s order for probe snubbed the commander of Army’s Srinagar-based 15 corps, Lt. General Om Prakash who had ruled out any inquiry into Dar’s killing saying they killed him when he walked into an ambush and “fired on being challenged”.
Efforts should be made to reduce the visibility of the armed forces as much as possible without compromising efficacy, the Defence Minister told the army.
The minister also asked top brass of the army and paramilitary forces besides the state police and intelligence agencies to bring more synergy in their efforts to “ensure peace, stability and prosperity in the state”.
“Enemies from across the border will continue their efforts; however, if the security and intelligence agencies understand each other better, the efforts of the enemies will not succeed,” he told a meeting attended by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and the Army chief, General Bikram Singh besides various others ministers and top officials.