NATIONAL

Int'l Watchdog Slams India For HR Abuses In IIOJK

A prominent international watchdog Human Rights Watch has slammed the Modi government for intensifying repression in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, targeting Muslims in India and harassing, arresting and prosecuting activists, journalists, and other critics.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch in its World Report 2021 said the Indian government continued to impose harsh and discriminatory restrictions, particularly on access to communications networks, in IIOJK since revoking special status of the territory in August 2019. It said that these restrictions adversely affected livelihoods of the people, particularly in the Kashmir Valley.

The report said that scores of people remained detained in IIOJK without charge under the draconian law, Public Safety Act. The report while mentioning the killing of three innocent youth by Indian troops in a fake encounter in Shopian in July, last year, maintained that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act continued to provide effective immunity from prosecution to Indian forces, even for serious human rights abuses.

The HRW said that the Indian forces also continued to use pellet guns to disperse crowds, despite evidence that they are inherently inaccurate and cause injuries indiscriminately. The report also mentioned the new media policy announced by Indian government in IIOJK that empowers the authorities to take punitive action against the dissenting media outlets, journalists, and editors.