Demanding an end to training given to Indian police officers involved in “severe violations” of human rights and international law in Kashmir, at least 40 Israeli countrymen have filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Israel, on January 2, 2020, reported a Delhi based news organisation, The Wire.
The petition filed by the Israelis, followed the refusal of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israeli Police and the Ministry of Internal Security to “pre-screen” specific Indian police officers who wish to train with the Israeli Police in the State of Israel, so that none of them are involved in, or responsible for, serious human rights violations in Kashmir, and in particular police officers who allegedly blind, murder, rape, torture and forcibly disappear civilians in Kashmir, the report said.
According to the report, Indian police officers are being trained in “counter-terror warfare” by the Israeli Police in the State of Israel, as part of the agreement between the Government of the State of Israel and the Government of the Republic of India regarding cooperation on homeland and public security issues, from October 1, 2014.
Earlier in 2017, it was announced by the Israeli Ministry of Public Security that 120 Indian police officers have completed “a two-week course with the Israel Police on terrorism and intelligence”.
In a petition, it was argued that India is an extremely important economic and political partner of the State of Israel and Western countries, cannot legally and morally justify the provision of assistance to specific Indian police officers that are involved and responsible for “grave crimes” under international law in Kashmir, by way of their training by the police in Israel.
In Kashmir, the petition mentioned that “hundreds have lost their eyesight in one and in some cases both eyes when, in response to demonstrations – both non-violent and those in which some participants throw stones at Indian armed forces – they have used live fire and pellet rifle fire.”
The pellet rifles that came into use by Indian armed forces in Kashmir in 2010, quickly fire 400-600 small pieces of metal at a time, so there can be no guarantee that they will not cause unnecessary harm.
Ever since the special status of JK was abrogated, the report said hundreds of thousands of armed forces personnel have been laying siege to the residents of Kashmir, and there is a fear that another wave of insurgency is about to break out, and accordingly another wave of massive repression and collective punishment.
The report mentioned that among other things, the internet and communication lines were cut off and about 3,000 people were arrested.
“Among them are many of the pro-Indian elite that has run Kashmir for Delhi for many years, along with judges, lawyers, heads of the Kashmir Bar Association, businessmen, political and social activists, human rights activists, journalists, teachers, students and more. In addition, the Government of India prevents foreign journalists, human rights organisations and diplomats from visiting Kashmir. In 2019 alone, about 500 habeas corpus applications were pending with the Jammu and Kashmir high court, with some 300 filed after August 5,” the report mentioned.
According to the report, Israeli Police and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted their response to the Supreme Court on May 4, 2020. Among other things, they sought to “dismiss the petition on the grounds that an intervention as to the identity of the Indian police officers coming to Israel to participate in training would be construed as a blatant intervention by the State of Israel in India’s internal affairs, and could damage foreign relations and trust between both states.”
It was also claimed that they do not have the practical ability to pre-screen police officers participating in the training, since this is information that the Israeli Police does not have access to. “This is a very puzzling claim.”
“First, pre-screening can be done, among other things, by gathering information about which police officers are denied entry by Israel’s allies around the world (e.g, in the US), and which officers are mentioned in reports by local human rights organisations (e.g., the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons – APDP, which outlines a long list of police officers responsible for human rights violations and the forced disappearance of civilians); international groups (such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch); in reports by the UN and its various organisations; in legal proceedings in India; in investigations and publications of governmental and non-governmental human rights Commissions in India; and reports and publications of the lawyers’ organizations,” the report said.
The report added that collection of information is possible by requiring the presentation of a “police certificate” of sorts (a certificate of personal integrity) and a statement by the police officer who wishes to train in Israel as to which countries he has visited in recent years, that he has never been barred from entering another country, and has not been involved in severe human rights violations and crimes under international law.
“Even the Government of India requires that one answer a questionnaire on the matter in order to obtain an entrance visa, and it may prevent the entry of anyone who has been involved in an act of violence, genocide and killing on political grounds,” the petition mentioned.
Second, one notes that the Israel Police and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have shown their ability to gather “intelligence” and “screen out” BDS activists who have sought to enter the State of Israel.
According to the report, it is surely no less important to prevent the entry into Israel, and training in Israel, of those who blind, murder, rape, torture and forcibly disappear civilians in Kashmir, than to prevent the entry into Israel of an American student who during her studies in Florida “fought” the selling of an Israeli-owned chickpea salad.
The another argument, according to the report, has been made is that it is not possible to discriminate and be stricter with Indian police officers, and that such a policy would oblige the Israeli Police and the foreign ministry to filter out representatives of the armed forces from other countries as well.
“One notes that just recently, in response to a freedom of information request, it became clear that the Israeli foreign ministry has no problem discriminating against Indian citizens – local cleaners at the Israeli embassy in New Delhi receive 7 New Israeli Shekels (NIS) per hour, while an American cleaner at the Israeli embassy in Washington receives 67 NIS per hour. A demand submitted to the foreign ministry to pay Indian local workers at the Israeli embassy in New Delhi at least the minimum wage under Israeli law (29 NIS) was turned down this week by the ministry’s legal adviser, Reut Rozenblum, the report mentioned.
The report said that after the State of Israel became entangled and after it was condemned all over the world for its military and political assistance to Myanmar, when “crimes against humanity and genocide” were committed against the Muslim Rohingya minority, it was expected from the Israeli government to take moral stock and take all necessary steps to prevent Israeli assistance to perpetration of crimes against another Muslim minority population.
The petition added that there are many Israeli countrymen who wish an end of the repression and express solidarity with the struggle Kashmiris face.
The report said that activists in Israel are up for any kind of assistance in their power to assist in the international campaign for the protection of human and civil rights in Kashmir.
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