In a statement issued from Oslo, President of Kashmir European Alliance Sardar Pervez Mehmood has appealed to UN to speak up for the rights of the Kashmiri people held hostage in Indian part of Kashmir.

With the passage of four months since New Delhi put India-held Kashmir under lockdown, another grim milestone has been passed, Sardar said. While the people of the forsaken Valley suffocate under India’s stifling restrictions, as millions of Kashmiris continue to live in an open-air prison. Kashmiris are facing a multitude of problems, stemming from the communications blockade put in place by India. Thousands remain incarcerated under flimsy pretences.

Independent Human Rights agencies have reported serious human rights violations in Indian part of Kashmir.

HR agencies points out that India has used excessive force to respond to protests by Kashmiris. The government’s focusing all blame for Kashmir’s past problems on outside factors, cross border militant groups and Pakistan’s support for them and ignores the government’s abusive and rights-violating tactics that over decades has increased support and recruits for militant groups.

There has been a spike in violent protests and militant attacks in Kashmir in recent years. Indian security forces have often used excessive force to respond to protests, including using pellet-firing shotguns as a crowd-control weapon, which have caused several protester deaths and many serious injuries.

Indian troops have seldom been held accountable for human rights violations that have occurred during counter-insurgency operations. India’s Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) continues to provide Indian soldiers effective immunity from prosecution for serious human rights abuses. Since the law came into force in Kashmir in 1990, the Indian government has not granted permission in any case to prosecute personnel in civilian courts.

Indian government has also repeatedly imposed internet shutdowns in Kashmir, restricting mobile and broadband internet services. There have already been 55 instances of shutdowns in the state in 2019, the largest number in the country.

India has continued to lead the world with the largest number of internet shutdowns. As of November, authorities in India had ordered 85 shutdowns. This is the legacy of abuses that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have suffered, although India is not been willing to confront these problems.

Since the BJP first came to power in 2015, Indian authorities have been increasingly using sedition and criminal defamation laws to stifle dissent. Journalists have been harassed, and at times detained, for their reporting or critical comments on social media, and faced increasing pressure to self-censor including on matters connected to Jammu and Kashmir.

Mob violence against minorities, especially Muslims, by extremist Hindu groups affiliated with the BJP have continued amid rumors that they traded or killed cows for beef. Muslims were also beaten and forced to chant Hindu slogans. Police have largely failed to properly investigate the crimes, stalled investigations, ignored procedures, and filed criminal cases against witnesses to harass and intimidate them. These worsening trends appear to be connected to the increasingly nationalist rhetoric and actions of the ruling BJP party reflecting a link to the human rights problems in Jammu and Kashmir.

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