New Delhi: The army has decided to set up a special Human Rights Section headed by an Additional Director General of Major General rank which will serve as an umbrella organization under the Vice Chief of Army Staff for enhanced focus on human rights issues.
This was approved by Defence Minster Rajnath Singh as part of a number of decisions taken regarding the reorganization of Army Headquarters.
“An umbrella organization under VCOAS for enhanced focus on human rights issues – To give high priority to the observance of human rights convention and values, it has been decided to set up a special Human Rights Section headed by ADG (Major General rank officer) directly under the VCOAS,” an official release said.
“It will be the nodal point to examine any HR violation reports. To enhance transparency and ensure the best of investigative expertise is available to the section, a Police officer of SSP/SP rank will be taken on deputation,” it said.
The decision assumes significance in the context of allegations of violation of human rights by the army in conflict zones like Kashmir and the north east.
The ministry said that an independent vigilance cell will also be made functional under Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
“A separate Vigilance Cell under COAS with Tri-Services representation – Presently, the vigilance function for the COAS is through multiple agencies and there is no single point interface. An independent vigilance cell will be made functional under COAS,” the release read.
“Accordingly, ADG (Vigilance) will be placed directly under the COAS for this purpose. It will have three Colonel-level officers (one each from Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Navy). This will be done within the existing posts at Army Headquarters,” it said.
The ministry said that 206 officers including 3 Major Generals, 8 Brigadier, 9 Colonel, 186 Lt. Colonel/ Major will be relocated from Army Headquarters to Formations/Units of the Field Army.
“Re-location of 206 Army Officers from AHQ to Formations/Units of the Field Army – A total of 206 officers will be optimized from AHQ and these officers will be made available additionally to Formations/Units of the Field Army,” read the release.