Channel 4 hammers India over "war crimes’’ in Jammu and KashmirJuly 14, 2012, 6:43 pm
By Shamindra Ferdinando
UK media outfit, Channel 4 pursuing international war crimes inquiry targeting Sri Lanka over accountability issues during Eeelam War IV has now accused India of war crimes in Jammu and Kashmir.
The hour-long TV documentary, ‘Kashmir’s torture trail’ telecast late Tuesday lashed out at India over atrocities committed by its troops, while UK’s Guardian newspaper, too, attacked the Indian government also on the same issue.
Last year, both India and Sri Lanka were lambasted by some UK MPs during a debate, which dealt with human rights situation in the Indian sub continent.
A senior GoSL spokesman told The Sunday Island that the unprecedented attack on India meant that the media could be manipulated by interested parties.
The official alleged that the Channel 4 attack on Sri Lanka had been prompted by influential Tamil Diaspora and it wouldn’t too, difficult to identify those behind the latest documentary.
Those demanding an international war crimes inquiry on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations made by Channel 4, couldn’t turn a blind eye to the latest revelations made by the same channel, he said.
In fact, it would be interesting to know the reaction of the British foreign office which, in the immediate aftermath of the telecasting of ``Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’’ in June 2011 warned Sri Lanka of dire consequences unless it investigated war crimes.
The UK is yet to respond to Channel 4 allegations against India. Analysts noted that the latest UK human rights report, too, avoided commenting on India’s human rights record, though two senior UN officials lambasted India over rights violations.
India is a key member of the 47-member UNHRC divided into five regional groups. India voted for US-led resolution targeting Sri Lanka at the 19th sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva last February.
Diplomatic and political sources, based both in Colombo and Geneva, said that UN demand that India abolish the National Security Act, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, and the Unlawful Activities Act etc highlighted the insensitivity of those in the UN system.
Addressing the 19th sessions of the UNHRC Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya accused India of failing to implement existing law instruments. The former Ugandan judicial officer alleged that some of the relevant Indian laws were out-dated and not in conformity with international human rights standards.
The assessment was based on a visit Sekaggya undertook from January 10 to 21 last year.
India also came under fire for targeting journalists. The UN official went to the extent of accusing the judiciary and human rights commissions, both at the central and state level of failing to do their duty. She asserted that the judiciary and human rights commissions needed to do much more to ensure a safe and conducive environment for defenders.
The UN also recommended that the ‘highest authorities of the state’ recognise the importance and legitimacy of the work and work accordingly.
Sekaggya said that Indian security forces, police and intelligence agencies should be made aware of and trained in the role and rights of human rights defenders. She stressed the need to train Indian forces on international human rights standards to ensure they comply with required standards.
Sources said that it would be important to establish how the Channel 4 production team had been in the Kashmir valley at the time of last year’s stone-pelting incidents in which over 100 youths were killed.
Many an eyebrow has been raised over the possibility of the production team having prior information as regards the planned protests, which led to killings.
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Last Updated May 22 2013 | 10:58 pm