Amnesty International urges India to revoke Kashmir law

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An Indian paramilitary soldier stands guard at the City Center, Lal Chowk, in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir, 02 June 2015Image source, EPA
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India has deployed tens of thousands of security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir

Rights watchdog Amnesty International has called on India to revoke a draconian law which provides immunity to security forces accused of human rights violations in Kashmir.

In a damning new report, the group also called for an "independent and impartial" inquiry into cases of abuse.

The law, AFSPA, was introduced in the region in 1990 as a response to violence by insurgent groups.

But it has contributed to increasing people's alienation, the report says.

Tens of thousands of security forces are deployed in Indian-administered Kashmir to fight the militancy which began in the late 1980s. AFSPA - the Armed Forces Special Powers Act - allows troops to shoot to kill suspected militants or arrest them without a warrant.

Amnesty says these sweeping powers have led to a cycle of impunity for human rights violations in the troubled region.

The report says not a single member of the armed forces has been tried in a civilian court for violating human rights in Kashmir.

"This lack of accountability has in turn facilitated other serious abuses," says Minar Pimple, the group's senior director of global operations.

"By not addressing human rights violations committed by security force personnel in the name of national security, India has not only failed to uphold its international obligations, but has also failed its own constitution," she added.

The report documents the excesses carried out by the armed forces over the years and says the government's response to these violations has failed to deliver justice.

There was no immediate government response to the report.