Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Army organises seminar on Human Rights

AKHNOOR: A Human Rights Seminar was conducted under the aegis of White Knight Corps on 20-21 December 11 at Sangha Auditorium in Akhnoor. 

The Seminar comprised of three sessions of which first two sessions were held on 20 Dec 11 and the third session was held on 21 Dec 11. 

The seminar was attended by an audience of approximately 350 Army Officers, 45 PMF Officers, 16 IAS Probationers & 250 students of schools & colleges.

Theme of the seminar was ‘Changing Concept of Human Rights In Present Environment’. The seminar commenced on 20 Dec 11 with the Key Note Address delivered by Lt Gen KT Parnaik, UYSM, YSM, GOC-in-C, Northern Command.  Delivering the Key Note address, the GOC-in-C, Northern Command said that the Army has institutionalised the aspect of Human Rights by setting up Human Rights cells at various levels in the Army in Mar 1993.  It indeed happened six months prior to the creation of National Human Rights Commission by the Government, which is an indication of the seriousness the army attaches to this issue.    
The Army Cdr also went on to add that the Armed Forces are the last bastion of the country, made responsible to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the State and has a huge responsibility on its shoulders to operate against the inimical elements,  keeping the tenants of Human Rights uppermost  in our minds.  The Army has a policy of zero tolerance for Human Rights and has tried to be as transparent as possible.  He informed the august gathering that army operations have evolved over a period of time and there is a change that has taken place in army’s thinking, operating procedures, rules of engagement which flows straight from army’s well formulated conventional doctrine of “Iron Fist with a Velvet Glove”. 
The first session of the seminar on 20 Dec 11 was chaired by Hon’ble Justice Syed Bashiruddin, Former Chairman, SHRC, J&K. Hon’ble Justice BC Patel, Member, NHRC, Mr SM Sahai, IGP Kashmir, J&K Police,                            Lt Gen (Retd) Prakash Menon, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, Military Advisor to National Security Council of India,Dr Vrinda Grover, Human Rights Activist and Lawyer were the eminent speakers. The second session of the seminar was chaired by Hon’ble Justice BC Patel, Member, NHRC. Col (Retd) SK Sakhuja, VSM, former PRO, DPR, MoD, Hon’ble Justice Syed Bashiruddin, Former Chairman, SHRC, J&K enlightened the audience during this session.

The Seminar on the first day during the first two sessions examined the emerging trends in Human Rights in light of the contemporary conflict dynamics in Jammu & Kashmir and the perceptions of the local population. The deliberations evaluated the role of the armed forces in upholding the human rights and freedom of people in insurgency affected areas. All speakers freely shared their views. The proceedings were marked by healthy interactive session on each topic.

The third session of the seminar on 21 Dec 11 was chaired by Hon’ble Justice BC Patel, Member, NHRC. Brig (Retd) MB Anand, VSM, Consultant, ICRC, Lt Gen (Retd) Nirbhay Sharma, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, VSM, Member, Union Public Service Commission, Mr Nitin Gokhale, Senior Editor, NDTV and Col AK Mohla, commanding officer of a Rashtriya Rifles Battalion in Jammu and Kashmir were the eminent speakers who enlightened the gathering in the third session of the proceedings.

The Seminar witnessed a number of issues related to Human Rights covered by various eminent speakers over a period of two days. A large number of College and School students from Jammu, Akhnoor and Sunderbani also shared their valuable thoughts on the subject during the interactive session held on both the days of the seminar on each topic. The seminar culminated with the closing address by Lt Gen AS Nandal, AVSM, SM, GOC, White Knight Corps.

The Seminar was an effort on part of the Army to generate awareness about issues related to Human Rights and will prove invaluable in evolving the strategy of the armed forces to meet the emerging challenges and carry out people centric operations.  

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