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Financial constraints irk rights panel
Jammu, March 27
The J&K State Human Rights Commission has taken a serious note of the state government violating the Act by “hijacking” the commission’s financial independence and not taking steps to remove hurdles in its independent functioning.

2 top Lashkar ultras killed
Srinagar, March 27
Two self-styled commanders of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba, three other militants and a counter-insurgent were killed and a sarpanch injured in the Kashmir valley overnight.


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Financial constraints irk rights panel
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 27
The J&K State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has taken a serious note of the state government violating the Act by “hijacking” the commission’s financial independence and not taking steps to remove hurdles in its independent functioning.

The commission, in its annual report that was presented in the Assembly today, pointed out that it was being provided with the annual budget just like any other government department and is put under strict adherence to instructions and restrictions imposed by the government from time to time.

The report that is signed by the chairperson of the SHRC, Mr Justice A.M. Mir and the two members, Mr G.N. Mir and Dr Ved Prakash Gupta, has lamented that once the financial independence of the commission is hijacked it is left totally dependent and at the mercy of the government. In such circumstances how could the independent character of the commission be ensured. As many as 406 cases were registered with the SHRC last year which included 103 complaints of human rights violation.

There is a clear provision in the Act that the government should provide finances to the commission by way of grants so as to allow its functioning without any constraints. Even for petty matters the commission has to request the government for relaxation of the restrictions imposed for re-appropriation. The report points out that the composition of the SHRC was inadequate as two posts of members continue to be vacant.

The Act envisages that the SHRC shall have its own staff, but practically this provision has also been kept in cold storage. The government has provided maximum staff from the administrative department on deputation. As many as 14 posts were lying vacant.

The investigating agency of the SHRC was headless for the past four years as the Inspector General of Police was withdrawn in 2002 and no one has been posted so far.

The commission is also facing problems because of inadequate accommodation and it is operating from a private building that was occupied in December 1997. Construction of the commission’s own building was stopped three years ago. The commission does not have infrastructure for its sub-offices in the districts of Doda and Rajouri.

The report points out that government functionaries were observing the recommendations of the SHRC in breach.

The SHRC has recommended that the jail at Kerawa in Anantnag should be constructed without any delay and prisoners belonging to the Kashmir valley lodged in the prison at Jammu should be shifted to the valley.

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2 top Lashkar ultras killed

Srinagar, March 27
Two self-styled commanders of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), three other militants and a counter-insurgent were killed and a sarpanch injured in the Kashmir valley overnight.

Security forces arrested four LeT militants in north Kashmir in the past 24 hours.

A defence spokesman said two militants were killed in an encounter at Baban forest in the frontier district of Kupwara early today during a search operation.

In another incident, acting on a tip off, the security forces cordoned off Sheikhnar Sogam village in north Kashmir last night to nab militants hiding in the area.

However, when the security forces were searching the village, militants attacked them with automatic weapons. The fire was returned and one militant was killed in the encounter. One AK rifle and arms and ammunition were seized.

The slain militants were identified as Saad Rafiq, alias captain a battalion commander of LeT and Hatha Khan of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM).

However, a spokesman for the Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed four security personnel were killed or wounded in the encounter.

In another encounter at Kupwara, the security forces killed a militant. Two security personnel were also injured in the shootout, the sources said.

A report from Baramula said militants shot dead a counter insurgent, Rafiq Ahmad Khan, at Nadihal in north Kashmir today.

A top commander of LeT was killed by the security forces in an encounter at Sarkanth late last night. The encounter ensued after a search party was attacked by the militants, the sources said.

Security forces and the Jammu and Kashmir police Task Force in a joint operation arrested four militants Manzoor Ahmad Raina, Shamim Ahmad Khan, Fayaz Ahmad Khan and Gulzar Ahmad Dar of the LeT, the spokesman added. — UNI

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