Take note of ‘acute HR violations’ in J-K, Untoo asks global rights bodies

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International Forum For Justice Human Rights J-K on Tuesday said that New Delhi continues to impose harsh restrictions on the people in Jammu and Kashmir and ‘that the unwarranted restraints on the rights to free speech, free media and a persistent crackdown on people have rather intensified in Jammu and Kashmir.’ 

Chairman of IFJHRJK, Muhammad Ahsan Untoo in a statement said that Indian authorities’ claim that it was determined to improve Kashmiri lives ring hollow, and instead the authorities have maintained stifling restraints on Kashmiris in violation of their basic rights.

Untoo said hundreds of Kashmiris remain in custody under the draconian Public Safety Act, and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act while the Indian authorities keep arresting and jailing Kashmiris for voicing their concerns in the aftermath of the illegal annexation of Kashmir.

He said, in fact, the authorities have made fresh arrests and there have been allegations of torture, and ill-treatment by Indian forces. The authorities also have used harsh laws to clampdown on critics.

Untoo said although the world human rights bodies including the Human Rights Watch and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, repeatedly voiced concern about human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir that has not brought any relief to the people of Kashmir.

“Three reports on the rights violations in Kashmir were released last year, but, there was no follow up to those reports,” Untoo rued.

He said that the Indian authorities in Kashmir registered 636 FIR’s in the 10 districts of the valley in 2020 while 211 FIR’s have been registered till March 2021 this year. He said these FIR’s have been filed mostly against the young students under the infamous Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). 

So far since January 2020 the Indian Authorities in Kashmir’s capital city Srinagar have registered 94 cases under the infamous law while southern Kashmir’s Shopain district tops the list with 125 FIR’s.

Untoo impressed upon the International Human Rights Organisations to pursue the case of acute Human Rights Violations with the Indian authorities. He said that merely issuing statements would not bring any respite or change the situation in Kashmir. “The HR organisations have to rise up to the occasion and take strong note of the HR abuses in Kashmir,” he said.

He said Indian authorities should take immediate steps to protect rights by releasing political detainees; upholding the right to free speech, including by withdrawing cases against journalists and activists; and holding to account officials responsible for rights violations

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