Amnesty International slams India’s move to revoke Kashmir’s Special Status

NEW DELHI, India: The Amnesty International has warned that the unilateral decision by the Indian government to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s Special Status without consulting the valley’s stakeholders and amidst a complete clampdown on civil liberties & communications blackout is likely to increase the risk of further human rights violations and inflame tensions.

What J&K (Jammu & Kashmir) has been witnessing over the last few days – the additional deployment of thousands of security forces, a blanket blockade of telephone and internet services, restrictions on peaceful assembly – has already pushed the people of J&K to the edge. To make matters worse, key political stakeholders have been placed under house arrest. Important decisions about J&K are being decided by the Parliament without absolutely any consultation with the people,” the Head of Amnesty International India Aakar Patel said in a statement on Monday.

The human rights organization said that the revocation of Article 370 is expected to cause unrest and wide scale protests in the state. It said that so far, the Indian government’s response to dealing with protests in the state has been heavy-handed and has led to gross human rights violations such as blinding, killing and traumatizing people over the past few years.

The Amnesty International India said that blanket and indefinite suspensions of telecommunications services in J&K are also not in line with international human rights standards. It said that these shutdowns affect the ability of people in Kashmir to seek, receive, and impart information, which is an integral part of the right to freedom of expression.

It further said that these blackouts also impede the ability of friends and relatives to reach out and inform about their safety further increasing tensions and feelings of insecurity.

An end to the abuses in J&K cannot come without the involvement of its people,” Aakar Patel added.