HRW grills Indian authorities over highway closure in IOK » Kashmir Media Service

India’s muscular approach disregards Kashmiris’ rights

New York, April 10 (KMS): The New York-based International human rights watchdog, Human Rights Watch, has said that the beleaguered people of occupied Kashmir are facing a new challenge after the Indian authorities declared that Srinagar-Jammu highway would be closed to civilians for two days every week.

The HRW South Asia Director, Meenakshi Ganguly in an article posted on the website of the organization said that after the first road closure on April 7, residents reported extreme hardship in transporting products or accessing services including critical health care. She said that the Human Rights Commission of occupied Kashmir noted that schoolchildren, medical patients, government and private employees, as well as other civilians, would not be able to reach their destinations well in time.

“While the authorities have a responsibility to provide security for the population in Kashmir, measures such as closures of a crucial highway that undermine fundamental rights to movement, food, and health, must be narrowly tailored and proportionate to a legitimate aim,” she added.

Meenakshi Ganguly wrote that both admirers and critics described as ‘muscular’ the Indian government’s approach towards the conflict.

“There are widespread allegations of the security forces using excessive force to quell protests and detaining hundreds under the draconian Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA), which permits up to two years in preventive detention,” Ganguly said in her article.

“The muscular approach may also have encouraged a culture of collective punishment against Kashmir’s Muslim citizens, with mobs carrying out attacks against students and traders in various cities across India.”

It’s important that authorities in Kashmir recognize that respecting human rights is not at odds with providing security, but an essential component of it, the article concluded.

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