New Delhi, August 27 (KMS): The Government of India must immediately release all political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir and put an end to the deliberate silencing of voices in the region, said Amnesty International.

Aakar Patel, head of Amnesty International India in a statement said, “For the 22nd day in a row, life has been derailed for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The communication blockade and security clampdown, the alleged detention of political leaders and restrictions on media to report has created an information black hole in Jammu and Kashmir, a region which has witnessed serious human rights violations in the past.”

He added that depriving an entire population of their right to freedom of expression, opinion and movement for an indefinite period runs squarely counter to international norms and standards. “Worse, it gives the Government of India a near-total control over the information coming out of the region,” the Amnesty said.

Amnesty International India is also concerned about the wider human rights impact of the communication clampdown. While access to information to the people of Jammu and Kashmir remains hindered in times of crises, their access to emergency services, and other information and services, including healthcare and education also remains highly restricted. Further, the unlimited clampdown also hampers the government from circulating information to communities about the ongoing protests which could be vital for the safety and protection of the local population of Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Council has called the Government of India to end this crackdown terming it as a form of collective punishment for the people of Jammu and Kashmir inconsistent with the fundamental norms of necessity and proportionality. The UN Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups have also raised their grave concerns about the “allegations that the whereabouts of some of those detained is not known as well as the general heightened risk of enforced disappearances, which may proliferate against the backdrop of mass arrests and restricted access to the internet and other communications networks”.


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