UNHCHR deeply concerned at impact of Indian acts on human rights of Kashmiris
September 9, 2019
GENEVA (KMS) – United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Michelle Bachelet, has expressed deep concern over the impact of recent actions by the Indian government on the human rights of Kashmiris, including restrictions on internet communications and peaceful assembly, and the detention of local political leaders and activists. Speaking at the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva about the deteriorating situation in occupied Kashmir on Monday, the UN rights chief asked India to ease lockdowns to ensure people’s access to basic remedies. She said it is important that the people of Kashmir are consulted and engaged in any decision-making processes that has an impact on their future. Later, her spokesperson underlined that UN High Commissioner’s concerns and calls are consistent with the position taken by the UN system vis-à-vis the human rights situation in Kashmir including the continuing restrictions and crackdown on fundamental rights and freedoms of the Kashmiri people. Deccan Herald citing official data says the ongoing internet gag in Occupied Kashmir is the longest ever witnessed in the territory. A recent study by International Council for Research on International Economic Relations, a Delhi-based think-tank, reveals that frequent suspension of internet services has dealt a body blow to Kashmir’s fragile economy resulting in losses worth almost Rs 40 billion since 2013. In Occupied Kashmir, curfew and restrictions, imposed from August 5, have been further tightened by the Indian authorities to prevent Muharram processions across the territory. The commercial hub of Lal Chowk and adjoining areas of Srinagar were completely sealed with concertina wires placed at all entry points and two major arterial stretches, MA Road and Residency Road, to restrict public movement. Even ambulances and medical staff were not allowed to move. Indian troops drove around the city, announcing through loudspeakers that strict action would be taken against violators of curfew. However, people defied curfew and participated in processions at many places including Abiguzar locality in Srinagar. At least six more similar processions were taken out, with police detaining all the participants. Police also beat the mourners with bamboo sticks and fired pellets.