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Civilians become human shields for terrorists if cases against stone-pelters are withdrawn

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The Centre has said that the decision to withdraw FIRs against stone pelters in Jammu and Kashmir would hurt the morale of the security forces. Making the submission before the National Human Rights Commission, the Centre said that this would also lead to terrorists using civilians as human shields.

Civilians become human shields for terrorists if cases against stone-pelters are withdrawn

The submissions were made in response to a petition filed by three children of Army personnel. They challenged the decision of the Jammu and Kashmir government to withdraw cases against the stone pelters and said that such a decision would demoralise the forces largely.

The petitioners referred to an incident that took place at Shopian where an Army Major was booked for firing at the stone pelters. They said that no such action was taken against those who were pelting stones. Do personnel of the armed forces who face grave and serious violations of human rights, not deserve the attention of the custodians of human rights? We are concerned about the state of affairs of the armed forces, the petitioners also contended.

The Centre in its response said that it is the duty of the state government to take strong action against stone-pelters to safe guard the human rights of members of the armed forces who are operating in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The state government has a good will measure decided to withdraw cases against stone pelters who were first time offenders. The decision was however criticised in several quarters. One of the main contention was that such a decision would not change the mindset of the stone-pelter.

Moreover it was found that in several cases, that the stone pelters were hired by terrorist groups and were even paid on a daily basis. There were also incidents where terrorists stood behind the stone pelters and fired at the armed forces.

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