Human Rights Watch slams India on its human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir

Human Rights Watch (HRW), on Tuesday, condemned India on its blatant human rights violation in Jammu and Kashmir.

According to Human Rights Watch, India continues to impose harsh and discriminatory restrictions on Muslim-majority areas in Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian government’s decision to impose unwarranted restraints on the rights to free speech, access to information, health care, and education have been compounded by COVID-19 pandemic.

“Indian government claims that it was determined to improve Kashmiri lives ring hollow one year after the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s constitutional status. The authorities instead have maintained stifling restraints on Kashmiris in violation of their basic rights,” read the statement issued by the watchdog.

HRW has also condemned the ‘telecommunications blackout’ imposed by Indian authorities in the disputed valley. The limiting of networks to 2G has made it impossible for online classes to function adequately, whereas the internet also helps doctors to keep a tab on developments around the world, it said.

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The watchdog has highlighted that measures taken by Indian government are in clear contradiction of international laws and conventions which ensure the provision of freedom of speech and expression.

Government lockdown has had severe economic implications on Jammu and Kashmir’s tourism industry and local businesses.

Citing Kashmir Chamber of Commerce, it highlighted that the first three months of the lockdown to prevent protests since August 2019  had cost the economy more than US $2.4 billion.

It is to be noted that the valley has been under strict lockdown since August 5 2019 after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution which essentially revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special autonomous status.

What is Article 370?

The Article 370 of the Indian constitution granted special autonomy and status to the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir. It allowed the state to formulate and implement its own laws regarding permanent residency, ownership of property and fundamental rights.

Pakistan, on multiple occasions has reiterated its undeterred and unconditional commitment and support for the Kashmiris and their struggle against illegal Indian occupation.