Brutal repression in Kashmir since the end of special Constitutional status: Amnesty
In the three years since it revoked the special Constitutional status for Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian government has drastically intensified the repression of its people, including journalists and human rights defenders by subjecting them to multiple human rights violations, Amnesty International has said in a newly released report.
The new report, titled “We are being punished by the law: Three years since of abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir,” documents how civil society at large and journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders in particular have faced relentless interrogations, arbitrary travel bans, revolving door detentions and repressive media policies while blocking access to appeals or justice in courts and human rights bodies.
The violations by India include restrictions on rights to freedom of opinion and expression; to liberty and security of person; to movement; to privacy; and to remedy and access to justice, according to the global rights watchdog. The authorities have committed these violations with absolute impunity, Amnesty said.
“People of Jammu & Kashmir are considered with utmost suspicion, including the most powerful people – whether it’s bureaucracy, politicians, intellectuals, or media. Everybody is treated as someone who needs to be subjugated or needs to be shown the right path. For heaven’s sake, do people of Jammu and Kashmir have no agency of their own? If Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India, so are its people,” a senior journalist who has faced harassment from the Indian authorities to Amnesty.
Through the interviews conducted by Amnesty International and review of media sources, the organization recorded the details of at least 60 instances in which journalists and human rights defenders have been subjected to interrogations, criminal investigations, arbitrary arrest, detention, and surveillance since August 2019.
“The Indian government claims their actions are a legitimate response to “terrorism”. However, their actions cannot be considered a proportionate response to the purported threat of terrorism and so constitute human rights violations. While national security is recognised by international human rights law as a legitimate justification for the restriction of certain human rights, such restrictions are strictly circumscribed,” the report has said.
Supreme Court gives “interim” bail to renowned human rights defender Teesta Setalvad
India’s Supreme Court on Friday bailed globally renowned human rights defender Teesta Setalvad, who was arrested two months ago on the completely bogus charges of forging documents against Prime Minister Narendra Modi years previously.
While giving her bail, India’s Chief Justice U. U. Lalit said the alleged crime occurred 20 years ago and the police have had their chance for “custodial interrogation.” The court clarified this was “interim” bail, since her petition for bail was still pending with the high court in Gujarat state, where she has been arrested.
Setalvad is one of India’s most recognized activists, notable for her work in bringing justice to victims of a pogrom against Muslims in 2002 in Gujarat when Modi was its chief minister. Over 2,000 people were killed, an overwhelming majority of them Muslims, in that violence.
Setalvad has been in Modi’s crosshairs since then, as she persisted with a petition seeking an investigation into his role in that mass violence. In June, the Supreme Court rejected her petition by accepting the police version that Modi had committed no crime. That court ruling also unnecessarily and without evidence said Setalvad should be investigated, which prompted the Gujarat government to arrest her.
Gujarat is ruled by Modi’s Hindu extremist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Nine Hindu men arrested for assaulting a Muslim man who spoke to Hindu woman classmate
Police in Karnataka’s Mangalore district arrested nine Hindu men who had assaulted a Muslim man for talking with a Hindu woman.
Mohammed Saneef, 19, was attacked with sticks and knives on Tuesday after the Hindu men objected to him for speaking with the Hindu woman.