West News Wire: Ahead of the G20 summit, which will take place in New Delhi, India, the following month, Amnesty International and five other rights organisations signed an open letter demanding an end to human rights abuses in Kashmir and the release of imprisoned human rights activists and political detainees.
Concerns over human rights abuses taking place in Indian-administered Kashmir (IAK) were raised in the letter, which was published on August 23 and emailed to representatives of G20 member countries, guest countries, and invited international organisations.
“As your leaders prepare to attend the G20 Summit in September 2023, we urge your government to raise these issues directly and forthrightly with the government of India in accordance with your obligations under international law and call on India to adhere to its international legal obligations,” the letter states.
According to the letter, the government has “continued its repressive policies” since 2019, when India revoked Articles 370A and 35A and removed Jammu and Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status, including restricting freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, and failing to investigate and prosecute alleged violations by its military, paramilitary, police, and other forces.
Both India and Pakistan have claimed ownership of the disputed territory since 1947, and each country currently manages a piece of it.
The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, Front Line Defenders, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, the Kashmir Law & Justice Project, and Amnesty International all signed the letter.
Khurram Parvez, a well-known human rights advocate, was unfairly detained by India’s National Investigation Agency in November 2021. According to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Parvez, the director of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), was detained for “funding terrorism under the guise of protecting human rights.”
Irfan Mehra, a well-known Kashmiri journalist who had collaborated with JKCCS, was detained by the National Investigation Agency in March 2023 as a result of his affiliation with the charitable group.
Angana Chatterji, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, told news reporters that the Bharatiya Janata Party “uses extreme law and policy to further forms of coloniality in Kashmir to establish a Hindu nationalist state.”
“Impunity and authoritarian laws are used to repress civilians, disallow bail, silence civil society dissent and social movements, punish expressions of grief, rage and mourning, and harm human rights work and media reportage,” Chatterji said.
A well-known human rights activist named Khurram Parvez was wrongfully imprisoned by India’s National Investigation Agency in November 2021. Parvez, the director of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), was held in accordance with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for “funding terrorism under the guise of protecting human rights.”
The National Investigation Agency detained Irfan Mehra, a well-known Kashmiri journalist who had worked with JKCCS, in March 2023 as a result of his connection to the nonprofit organisation.
A University of California, Berkeley researcher named Angana Chatterji told news reporters that the Bharatiya Janata Party “uses extreme law and policy to further forms of coloniality in Kashmir to establish a Hindu nationalist state.”
Allegations of sexual violence, including rape, committed by security forces in Kashmir have been reported by various human rights organizations and media outlets over the years. These allegations are deeply concerning and have raised significant human rights issues.
The Indian government has, in some cases, acknowledged instances of misconduct and abuse by security forces and has stated that appropriate actions are taken against those responsible. However, there have also been instances where investigations and accountability have been criticized for being inadequate or lacking transparency.