The UN as well as several international human rights organizations have condemned Indian occupation forces’ arrest of Khurram Parvez.
He is a leading human rights activist in Kashmir.
Mary Lawlor, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, called his arrest “disturbing”.
In her tweet, Lawlor said, “I’m hearing disturbing reports that Khurram Parvez was arrested today [Nov 22] in Kashmir & is at risk of being charged by authorities in India with terrorism-related crimes. He’s not a terrorist, he’s a human rights defender.”
Netherlands’ human rights organization, Rafto Foundation, that had awarded its 2017 prize to Parvez, termed his arrest “disturbing news”.
“Kashmiri Human Rights Defender and Rafto Laureate 2017 Khurram Parvez arrested today (22 Nov). We appeal to Indian authorities to release him from detention without delay,” the statement said.
The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) also issued a statement calling for his immediate release.
OMCT is a global network of over 200 NGOs fighting for human rights and against torture.
“We are deeply concerned about the high risk of torture while in custody,” it said in its statement about Parvez’s detention.
Parvez, arrested from his home, is well-known internationally for his human rights work.
Aided by the local police and paramilitary forces, India’s National Investigative Agency (NIA) personnel raided his house.
The Agency has gained notoriety for its criminal conduct against innocent Kashmiris who have been struggling for the right of self-determination for more than seven decades.
During the raid, NIA personnel confiscated Parvez’s cell phone, laptop and some books.
His wife’s cell phone was also snatched.
Program coordinator for the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), Parvez was arrested a week after his organization issued a statement condemning recent killings of civilians in Srinagar, the state capital.
Indian occupation forces have been using Kashmiri civilians as human shields.
Several have died under such circumstances what are euphemistically called “encounters” with militants but in reality, Kashmiri youth are being extrajudicially executed.
JKCCS is an umbrella group of various rights organizations and individuals based in Indian occupied Kashmir.
Parvez is also chairperson of the Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD).
According to the charge sheet handed to his family, Parvez was booked for multiple alleged offences including the notorious Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
It is reflective of the stifling atmosphere under Indian occupation that even human rights work in Kashmir is classified as ‘unlawful activity’.
The raft of sections under which the case has been filed include sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 121 (waging war against the government of India) and 121A (punishment for conspiracy to wage war against the government of India) of the Indian Penal Code and sections 17 (raising funds for terror activities), 18 (punishment for conspiracy), 18B (recruiting any person or persons for commission of a terrorist act), 38 (offence relating to membership of a terrorist organisation) and 40 (offence of raising fund for a terrorist organisation) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967.
Having kept the people of Jammu and Kashmir in prison-like conditions for more than two years, Indian occupation forces are now criminalizing human rights work as well.
This is what the arrest of Parvez means.
The JKCCS has published several reports on gross human rights abuses in Kashmir under Indian military occupation.
Its last report, ‘Kashmir’s Internet Siege’ highlighted the arrest of thousands of people and failure of the judicial system in IOJK after India unilaterally and illegal abolished Articles 370 and 35A in August 2019.
This is not the first time Khurram Parvez has been arrested.
In 2016, he was imprisoned for 76 days under another notorious law, the Public Safety Act (PSA).
He was prevented from boarding a flight to Switzerland to take part in a session of the UN Human Rights Council.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir have struggled against India’s illegal occupation since October 1947.
Even before India gained independence from British rule, the Kashmiris were struggling against Dogra rule.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is overwhelmingly Muslim but the ruler, Hari Singh was Hindu.
Under the partition plan, the state of Jammu and Kashmir should have become part of Pakistan. This was also the desire of the vast majority of people.
They were frustrated in their genuine by a diabolical plot hatched by the British and India’s new rulers and illegally occupied the state.
India maintains more than 900,000 troops in Kashmir to oppress and terrorize the people.
While the people’s struggle against Indian occupation has been ongoing, in August 2019, the fascist regime of Narendra Modi unilaterally abrogated a number of articles that had granted some measure of autonomy to the people.
Indian occupation forces have also intensified their reign of terror against the people including arresting human rights activists.
Khurram Parvez’s arrest is part of this clampdown.
Thousands of other Kashmiris also languish in India’s notorious jails.
Unless there is concerted international pressure on India, the Modi regime will continue with its inhumane policies.
It must not be allowed to succeed.