Amnesty Slams GoI Over ‘Clampdown On Civil Liberties In Kashmir’

Srinagar: Global human rights watchdog Amnesty International has slammed the government of India over the alleged clampdown on civil liberties in Kashmir, its handling of the anti-CAA protests, farmers’ protests, Delhi riots besides the “punitive” lockdown in response to the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.

In the hard-hitting report released Wednesday, Amnesty alleged that a year after the government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and split the state into two union territories, the “clampdown” on civil liberties and restrictions on communications services continued.

Political leaders such as Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, who were administratively detained in 2019, were released in 2020. However, the union government continued to silence those who demanded accountability and imposed a harsh media blackout, said the report titled “The State of the World’s Human Rights 2020/2021” that examines the human rights situation in 149 countries.

At least 18 journalists in Kashmir were physically attacked by police or summoned to police stations. Dissent was further suppressed when a new media policy was introduced by the Jammu and Kashmir government to create “a sustained narrative on the functioning of the government in media” by checking “anti-national activities”, the report said.

On 20 October, the Jammu and Kashmir government closed the office of the Kashmir Times, without prior notice, after its editor, Anuradha Bhasin, had challenged the communications blockade in the Supreme Court. The NIA also raided the offices and residences of civil society activists including Khurram Parvez and three of his associates, and Parveena Ahanger, who had reported extensively on human rights abuses in Kashmir. The NIA alleged that the activists had raised funds for “carrying out secessionist and separatist activities” in Jammu and Kashmir.

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