‘Aberrations’ dealt quickly by existing legal mechanisms: India

Friday, December 17, 2010

NEW DELHI - India Friday asserted that any “aberrations” are dealt within the “existing legal mechanisms” after leaked diplomatic cables quoted International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) as telling US diplomats that the Indian government condoned custodial violence in Kashmir.

“If and when an aberration occurs, it is promptly and firmly dealt with under existing legal mechanisms, in an effective and transparent manner,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash asserted. India, he added, is an open and democratic nation which abides by the rule of law.

India has a “healthy tradition” of debate and freedom of expression on issues that concern the welfare of citizens “anywhere in our country”, he said.

“Neither have we shied away from an open and candid discussion on such issues when raised by our international friends and partners,” he added.

British newspaper Guardian Friday published cables released by WikiLeaks that revealed that US diplomats were secretly briefed by ICRC staff about the use of electrocution, beatings, sexual humiliation and other methods of systematic abuse against hundreds of detainees in Kashmir in 2005.

The most damaging dispatch is likely to be an April 2005 cable from the US embassy in Delhi that reported the ICRC had become frustrated with the Indian government which, it said, had not acted to halt the “continued ill-treatment of detainees”.

The ICRC declined to comment on the leaked cables, stating that it was an “internal communication” within the US government.

“The ICRC will refrain from commenting on the contents of the cable as the latter is an internal communication between the US embassy in New Delhi and Washington, DC,” said ICRC India’s spokesperson Alexis Heeb in a statement here.

The ICRC said it is looking at the matter “internally, particularly because these reported events took place prior to 2005″.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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