Over 500 academics, scientists concerned about IOK situation » Kashmir Media Service

New Delhi, September 21 (KMS): Over 500 academics and scientists from India, South Asia and other parts of world in a statement have expressed deep concern about the humanitarian crisis in occupied Kashmir caused by continued curfew.

Occupied Kashmir has been under lockdown since August 5 when since Indian government repealed special status of the territory.

The signatories said that while they held differing views on Article 370, all of them are appalled by the shutdown of the communications system and internet in the territory. “We understand that landlines have been restored in some parts of Kashmir, but since landline tele-density in Kashmir is below 1% according to the government’s own statistics, this measure has failed to provide substantive relief to Kashmir’s residents,” they said in the statement. “In our own institutions, we have witnessed students suffering because they are unable to maintain contact with their families,” they added.

The signatories revealed that the restrictions had apparently made it difficult for citizens to even buy medicines or for children to attend school. “We believe the authorities’ actions in detaining and restricting the communications of opposition leaders and dissidents in Kashmir are deeply undemocratic,” the signatories said. “Whatever views one might hold about these individuals, a fundamental norm in a democracy is that the party in power does not have the right to lock up its political opponents when they have not even been accused of any crime,” the statement said.

The academics and scientists said that they were disturbed by the reports of human rights violations in occupied Kashmir. “We would like to express our solidarity with the people of Kashmir and offer our support to those outside Kashmir who have been cut off from their families and friends as a result of these decisions taken by the Indian government,” they said.

The signatories said that the authorities were duty-bound to uphold the rights and welfare of all citizens. They demanded that full communications means be immediately restored in Kashmir, restrictions be lifted, opposition leaders released, and investigations conducted into violations of human rights in the territory.

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