SC slow in dealing with Kashmir petitions: UNHCHR

Geneva, Oct 29: Expressing concern over the situation in Kashmir, the UN Tuesday said that people in the Valley continue to be deprived of a wide range of human rights and urged the Indian authorities to fully restore their rights.

“We are extremely concerned that the population In Kashmir continues to be deprived of a wide range of human rights and we urge the Indian authorities to unlock the situation and fully restore the rights that are currently being denied,” said Rupert Colville, Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR).

 

“The Supreme Court of India has been slow to deal with petitions concerning habeas corpus, freedom of movement and media restrictions,” the spokesman alleged.

The nudge by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights came just two days before the state is split into two centrally-administered union territories.

The statement also coincides with a visit by a group of European Union parliamentarians to the Kashmir valley.

Normal life remained disrupted in Kashmir for the 86th day on Tuesday following the August 5 decision to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories. Markets remained closed while transport remained off the roads due to the clashes.

“There have been several allegations of excessive use of force by security forces during sporadic protests,” the spokesperson said.

“We have also received reports of armed groups operating in Kashmir threatening residents trying to carry out their normal business or attend school, as well as several allegations of violence against people who have not complied with the armed groups’ demands,” Colville said.

Hundreds of political and civil society leaders, including three former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, have been detained on a preventative basis, he said.

While some political workers have reportedly been released, most senior leaders especially those from the Kashmir Valley remain in detention, he added.

“We have also received a number of allegations of torture and ill-treatment of people held in detention. These must be independently and impartially investigated. Torture is totally and unequivocally prohibited under international law,” Colville said.

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