International Outcry Grows Over Unjust Detention of Kashmiri Human Rights DefendersNovember 22, 2023
The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has intensified its call for the immediate release of illegally detained Kashmiris, including the prominent human rights defender Khurram Parvez. Khurram Parvez, who marked two years in illegal detention on this day, was arrested in 2021 by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) on charges deemed trumped-up, such as “waging war against the Government of India.” Subsequently, he was booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The APHC spokesman, in a statement from Srinagar, condemned the punishment meted out to Khurram Parvez for bringing attention to human rights violations by Indian troops in occupied Kashmir. This arrest, the spokesman emphasized, underscores the misuse of anti-terror laws to target Kashmiris, adding that the situation is indicative of a broader trend.
Apart from Khurram Parvez, the APHC highlighted the plight of numerous detainees, including Masarrat Aalam Butt, Shabbir Ahmed Shah, Aasiya Andrabi, and journalists Aasif Sultan and Irfan Mehraj, who are languishing in various jails across India and occupied Kashmir. The spokesman urged the international community to intervene and work towards the release of these detainees.
Simultaneously, APHC leader Devinder Singh Behl, in a statement from Jammu, urged India to promptly release all Kashmiri prisoners. Behl applauded the Caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, for emphasizing that lasting peace in South Asia hinged on the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. He noted Pakistan’s consistent support for the Kashmiris’ struggle for self-determination and called for international efforts to overcome India’s obstinacy in resolving the longstanding issue.
Internationally, human rights organizations, including the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), issued a joint statement condemning the continued illegal detention of Khurram Parvez and Kashmiri journalist Irfan Mehraj. They decried the politically motivated charges against them, emphasizing that these detentions are emblematic of India’s systematic criminalization of civil society and human rights defenders in occupied Kashmir.
The rights bodies issued a fervent call to Indian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Khurram Parvez and Irfan Mehraj, drop all charges against them, and cease all forms of harassment against Kashmiri human rights defenders and civil society organizations. As international pressure mounts, the spotlight on the unjust treatment of Kashmiri detainees becomes sharper, urging a reevaluation of India’s actions in the region.