Amnesty for release of political leaders, journalists

Amnesty International on Wednesday asked Government of India to immediately release all political leaders, journalists and activists from administrative detention, restore 4G mobile internet, decongest prisons and launch a prompt and independent investigation into the attacks on journalists in Jammu & Kashmir.

“Over the last one year the Government has been systematically dismantling all avenues for justice for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. With zero representation, protracted internet restrictions, arbitrary use of some of stringent laws, verbal orders of detention and crippling of the local media – most of this disproportionately higher in Kashmir – it’s been a complete year since we have heard the people of Jammu and Kashmir speak,” said Avinash Kumar, Executive Director, Amnesty International India on the first anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

“Amnesty International India acknowledges that the Government of India may have legitimate security concerns which may merit reasonable restrictions on the right to freedom of expression in certain circumstances. But these restrictions must always be limited in duration and demonstrably proportionate as set out under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which India is a state party.”

Avinash said in the e-mailed statement, “In an absolute violation of India’s international obligations, the entire population of Kashmir has been deprived of their right to freedom of expression and opinion through protracted communication restrictions since the last one year.” “This has been compounded by a censored media, continuing detention of political leaders, arbitrary restrictions due to the pandemic with little to no redressal.”

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