World HR bodies denounce Khurram Parvez’s arrest, demand his releaseDecember 3, 2021
The United Nations and other international rights organizations have denounced the arrest of a Srinagar-based leading Kashmiri human rights defender, Khurram Parvez and demanded his immediate release.
Khurram Parvez, who is the coordinator of Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a Srinagar-based human rights group, was arrested on November 22 by India’s dreaded National Investigation Agency and was booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code on fake charges.
The report said that immediately after Khurram Parvez’s arrest, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Mary Lawlor in her tweet had expressed fears that he may be implicated in false terrorism-related cases by the Indian authorities. “I’m hearing disturbing reports that Khurram Parvez was arrested 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,” tweeted Mary Lawlor.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in its statement, expressing concern over the arrest, had called for his release. “We are deeply concerned at the arrest of Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA),” it had said. The UN rights body, the report added, also demanded amendment in the law to bring it in line with the international human rights law and standards.
David Kaye, a former UN Special Rapporteur, said Khurram’s arrest under terrorism charges was “yet another extraordinary abuse in Kashmir.”
Amnesty International, in a tweet, said that the arrest of Kashmiri activist Khurram Parvez is yet another example of how anti-terror laws are being misused to criminalize human rights work & stifle dissent in India. The tweet added, “Instead of targeting HRDs, authorities should focus on bringing accountability for human rights violations”.
World Organisation Again Torture (OMCT), a Geneva based non-profit which works with groups across the world to fight for human rights, said it was deeply concerned by Khurram’s arrest, “We are deeply concerned about the high risk of torture while in custody. We call for his immediate release,” OMCT said in a tweet.
Anuradha Bhasin, a journalist and political analyst based in Kashmir, termed the arrest as an attempt to silence activists. “This is being done to silence the human rights activists,” Bhasin said in a media interview, referring to Parvez’s arrest under the draconian law. “Already, the government has crushed the media in Kashmir,” she said, referring to the crackdown on journalists and media organisations in IIOJK.
The KMS report said, the arrest is an attempt to frighten and silence other rights groups in the occupied territory as Khurram Parvez has been at the forefront to highlight human rights violations by Indian troops in IIOJK. The report said, JKCCS has published several scathing reports on rights abuses by Indian troops in the occupied territory. Arbitrary arrests of HR activists in IIOJK are clear evidence of India’s state terrorism, it maintained.
It said, the arrest of Khurram Parvez is shameful for the world’s so-called largest democracy. Raising voice against Indian repression in IIOJK has become a crime, it said, adding, targeting human rights activists in the occupied territory is part of Modi’s iron-fist policy.
The report said that India must be held accountable for targeting and harassing human rights organizations and activists in IIOJK.