Rights group urges end to restrictions in IOK

Ankara, February 05 (KMS): Marking Kashmir Solidarity Day, an international human rights group has urged an immediate end to draconian restrictions in occupied Kashmir.

The Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) in a statement on Wednesday, said: “For the past six months, the people of Kashmir have been living under siege and denied their fundamental rights under the most draconian of measures.”

Pakistan and Kashmiris around the world are observing Kashmir Solidarity Day, observed on Feb. 5 every year, to extend moral support to people in the disputed territory.

On Aug. 5, 2019, India scrapped special status of Kashmir and divided it into two Union Territories.

The Indian government also imposed an indefinite curfew, shut down the internet and cut telephone lines for the public in the valley.

“These grave violations of human rights must come to an end, and accountability must be established for the serious violations that have occurred since Aug. 5,” the Federation said, urging India to fully reinstate communications in the territory.

It added: “The Indian government implemented repressive measures in Jammu & Kashmir to limit the rights to freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly, and movement. The people of Jammu & Kashmir have now lived through the longest internet shutdown in India’s history, which is an unacceptable denial of their basic rights.”

It asked New Delhi to take immediate steps to reinstate and guarantee all fundamental freedoms in the territory.

The group said that though accurate figures were unavailable, thousands of arbitrary detentions have been reported since Aug. 5, 2019, including hundreds of detentions under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA).”

It said that the reorganization and division of Jammu & Kashmir had also resulted in a number of measures that will have long-term implications for the human rights situation in the territory, i.e. the disbanding of the Human Rights Commission of Jammu & Kashmir — one of the few avenues available to locals for justice. “More than 500 cases of enforced disappearances were pending before the Commission at the time of its disbandment,” it said.

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