Thursday, April 18, 2019 | 10:29 PM

Don't harass militants' families, orders HC

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The High Court on Friday directed police and security authorities to ensure families of militants in Kashmir were not harassed and to protect their properties, while it sought a response from the Indian defence ministry and the J&K government to a bunch of petitions.

“In the meantime, the respondents shall not harass petitioners without following the procedure of law and shall ensure protection of their life and property,” the court ordered. On behalf of the aggrieved families, advocate Mir Shafaqat Hussain along with Mir Wajid submitted before the court that “a militant holds a gun, his family cannot be victimised; their right to life and liberty is an individual right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.”
The court issued the directions while hearing the petitions, filed by the families of militants through advocate Shafaqat Hussin, seeking directions for stopping harassment of families of militants in southern Kashmir areas.

Justice Tashi Rabstan issued notice to deputy commissioner Pulwama, deputy inspector general of police (South Kashmir range), senior superintendent of police Pulwama, superintendent of police Awantipora, in-charge special operations group of J&K police in Tral, Pulwama, in-charge special operations group of police in Aribal Pulwama, in-charge police station Tral, in-charge of army’s 56 post office and commanding officer of army’s 42 Rashtriya Rifles camp in Tral.  

The assistant solicitor general of India Tahir Shamsi accepted the notice on behalf of the Indian defence ministry and the army.  

“The state is the custodian of life and other individual freedoms guaranteed under chapter III of the Constitution and the state authorities are under obligation not to interfere with these freedoms or endanger life of these individuals,” advocate Hussain pleaded.   

The army, the petitioners have argued, is “not allowing them to live peacefully and due to raids, the petitioners have become socially disconnected as people keep away from their homes due to the situation created by the army and police for them.”

He submitted before the court that “daughter of one of the petitioners had to leave her studies midway in class 12 as a consequence of illegal and continuous harassment at the hands of army and SOG.”

The petitioners approached the concerned police stations but no action was taken, the petition states.

“The petitioners are peace-loving and law abiding citizens of the state and have not committed any offence and are entitled to protection of their life and liberty which is being jeopardised by the aggression of the state actors. The petitioners have become victims of state aggression,” Hussain argued.  

The illegal action of the respondents to harass the petitioners on the account of their sons being militants is illegal and unconstitutional, the petition states, adding: “It is unconstitutional to punish one person for the acts of another person.”  

Hussain pleaded that the respondents be directed to ensure protection of life, liberty and property of the petitioners. 

The petitioners have also sought directions for lodging of FIRs against the army and SOG for harassing them.
Hussain also pleaded that directions be issued for paying Rs 50 lakh compensation for “unconstitutional and illegal use of force against the petitioners.”