The United Nations (UN) Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called on India to restore rights to India-administered Kashmir on Wednesday.
On August 5, India’s government introduced a bill that revoked the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir. The government decided to divide the state into two federally-administered territories, which will come into effect this Thursday.
An undeclared curfew imposed by authorities in August is still in effect in areas of Kashmir Valley. Authorities have prevented the people from moving freely and have restricted health, education, and religious freedom rights. Hundreds of political and civil society leaders have been detained, and there have been allegations of torture and mistreatment of the detained individuals. Additionally, there is no internet access in the Kashmir Valley and media outlets are restricted.
There have been allegations of excessive use of force, including security forces’ use of pellet-firing shotguns, tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters. Unconfirmed reports tally at least six civilian deaths and numerous serious injuries since August 5 due to this force. Armed groups have also threatened civilians who are participating in daily activities. There have been at least another six deaths resulting from the actions of these armed groups.
As the spokesperson for the UN OHCHR, Rupert Colville, wrote:
We are extremely concerned that the population of Indian-Administered 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.