EU asked to raise rights of Kashmiris in its Summit with India

Brussels, May 08 (KMS): The Chairman of Kashmir Council Europe (KCEU), Ali Raza Syed, has asked the European authorities to raise the issue of human rights violations in its Summit with India in Portugal.

The European leaders who will be assembled in Porto, the city of Portugal, today (8 May 2021), will also talk the Indian leaders including Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, via a video conference.

The KCEU Chairman, Ali Raza Syed, dispatched an open letter in the context of human rights in India and Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir to Charles Michel, President of the European Council, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission and Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs who will participate in the Summit.

The letter says, our organisation, KCEU, together with numerous international human rights bodies urges the European Union to raise the fast-deteriorating human rights situation in India and IIOJK during its Summit with the Indian leaders.

The letter maintains that there are now hundreds of Kashmiri political leaders and pro-freedom activists detained in Indian jails, many of them held illegally and without any reason. Among these are prominent political leaders, Shabbir Ahmed Shah, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Masarrat Aalam Butt, Aasiya Andrabi and many other notable figures.

“In a recent development Assabah Khan, the wife of Farooq Ahmad Dar, Dr Bilquies Shah, wife of Shabbir Shah and wives of a number of others called for early release of their husbands as threat to the life of the prisoners has increased because of rapid spread of COVID-19 in the Indian jails. We have to regrettably say that Mr Ashraf Sehrai, while illegally detained has passed away in Indian custody recently due to lack of necessary medical facilities in the jail. Death of Sehrai in a critical condition also increased the threats to the life of other Kashmiri prisoners in the Indian jails and if they are harmed, Indian Modi Government would be responsible for that,” the letter says.

In his letter Ali Raza also criticized that Indian government ignored call from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for release of every person detained without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners, and those detained for critical dissenting views to prevent the growing rates of COVID-19 viral infection. Even, the Indian Supreme Court on Friday asked states in the country to release prisoners in a bid to decongest jails on account of the virulent second wave of coronavirus sweeping the country. As well several local and international human rights organizations also drew the attention to the fact that the Indian government has imposed harsh and discriminatory restrictions on Muslim-majority areas in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir since revoking the special status of the territory in August 2019. The human rights activists and journalists affiliated with independent media reporting the human rights abuses have also been targeted by the Indian authorities, it adds.

The KCEU Chairman in his letter urges that on the occasion of the Summit, the European leaders should ask the Indian authorities to immediately release all arbitrarily detained human rights defenders, political prisoners and pro-freedom Kashmiris, journalists, and other critics as well as repeal repressive laws used to silence dissent and discriminate against minorities, or unfairly target nongovernmental organisations. EU should also protect freedom of expression and assembly; and ensure accountability for human rights violations against the oppressed minorities and ethnic groups in India and IIOJK, he further says. KMS—1M

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