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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Kashmir admin may roll out witness protection scheme for those who help armed forces

In a significant development, the administration of Jammu & Kashmir is likely to roll out a scheme for safeguarding witnesses based on threat perception, a news agency reported on Friday.

The Kashmir News Observer, quoting sources, said that the government is likely to come up with a witness protection scheme to facilitate the protection of persons who are involved directly and indirectly in providing assistance to law enforcement agencies.

“The scheme has already been rolled out by different states. There have been discussions over it at different levels in UT. We are likely to notice it,” a senior official said, adding that government will come up with a series of measures to be adopted to safeguard witnesses and their family members from intimidation and threats against their lives, reputation, and property.

He said the protection will be provided to witnesses on a case-to-case basis depending upon their vulnerability and threat perception. “The witness protection measures will be proportionate to the threat for a specific period,” he said, adding that the measure will ensure improved convictions in criminal cases.

It is worthwhile to mention that in 2019 Jammu and Kashmir High Court framed a protocol for recording evidence of vulnerable witnesses.

It defines vulnerable witnesses as children below 18 years of age, victims of sexual violence, material witnesses in dangerous crimes, and such other witnesses as may be deemed by a trial court for reasons thereof to be recorded in writing.

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