LONDON: London-based world human rights watchdog, Amnesty International has said that it documented a clear pattern of the Indian authorities arbitrarily detaining activists, politicians and even children if they are thought to hold dissenting opinions, as the crackdown in occupied Kashmir continues, Kashmir Media Service reported.
After conducting interviews in occupied Kashmir in the last six weeks, Amnesty International India is demanding the immediate release of all detainees held without charge or trial, and a complete lifting of the communications blockade in the territory, said a press release issued by the rights body on its website.
The statement said that the Amnesty also recorded a pattern of the authorities using excessive force and intimidation. “Almost every detained person interviewed by Amnesty described being beaten and threatened, with several of these cases amounting to torture or other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. In some instances, people reported forces ransacking their homes, intentionally damaging property and threatening families,” it said.
“In most cases of people detained, lawyers and family members of the detainees are not informed of the grounds of arrests and the whereabouts of their clients and relatives. Refusal to share critical information with the detainees’ family members and lawyer constitutes a serious violation of the detainees’ right to a fair trial. It effectively prevents them from seeking an independent judicial review of the lawfulness of their detention,” it added.
Patel, Head of Amnesty International India, said, “The cases documented by Amnesty International India clearly show the authorities’ witch-hunt to curb dissenting voices in Kashmir. An atmosphere of fear and reprisal has ensured silence from many quarters. This has been compounded through arbitrary detentions.”
statement said that the Amnesty International India interviewed 21 people in the territory including those detained and their lawyers, medical professionals, local journalists and political leaders.
Meanwhile, normal life remains crippled on the 76th consecutive day, today, in the Kashmir Valley and Muslim majority areas of Jammu region due to the military siege and gag on internet and prepaid mobile calls and SMS services.
People continue to observe shutdown as a silent protest against India’s recent actions in the territory with shops, business establishments and educational institutions remaining closed and public transport off the roads.