We at Kashmir Unheard, recently spoke to Khurram Parvez, a prominent human rights activist from Kashmir about the overall situation of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir post abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which granted special status to the territory.
The government used its military might post 5 August, 2019, after the abrogation of Article 370, to enforce silence in J&K. They arrested hundreds of people, businessmen, lawyers, activist and politicians, internet and phone connections were banned. The number of encounters has increased, and people allege that disproportionate force is being used.
Three young men were also recently killed in a fake encounter, which appears to be done for rewards by the forces.
The government has criminalised politics over the past years; the police summon people who voice something on social media.
Every opinion other than the opinion of the government is being criminalised, that is not how the democracies work.
Killings: At least 366 killings in different incidents of violence took place across J&K in 2019. The year witnessed extrajudicial executions of at least 80 civilians in J&K, besides the killings of 159 militants and 129 armed forces.
Among 80 civilians killed in 2019, 12 were women. The year also saw targeted violence against non-local workers post the abrogation of Article 370 on 5 August, during which unidentified gunmen killed at least 14 non-local workers and several others were injured. Out of the 80 civilians killed, 19 were killed by the armed forces, 17 were killed in cross LOC shelling between Indian and Pakistani armed forces.
Encounters: A total of 87 encounters took place in Jammu and Kashmir leading to the killings of 150 militants and 29 personnel from Indian armed forces and J&K Police.
The abrogation of Article 370 has also lead to the winding up of various Commissions including the Jammu and Kashmir State Information Commission (SIC) and the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) and Consumer Commission. This again has led to the closure of the information and justice sought by people which in turn lead to the continual denial of justice to the people.
In 2019, five political activists and one relative of an elected Sarpanch were killed in various incidents of targeted violence in J&K.
In the first half of 2020, 229 killings took place. Government forces conducted 107 search operations. Internet was shut down 55 times, while 48 properties were destroyed.
Children and women continued to be victims of violence in J&K as three children and two women were killed in the first half of 2020. From 1 January to 30 June, at least 107 Cordon and Search Operations (CASOs) and Cordon and Destroy Operations (CADOs) were conducted in J&K which resulted in the killing of 143 militants.
At least 57 encounters took place between Indian armed forces and the militants following CASOs in the first 6 months of 2020. During CASOs and encounters, vandalism and destruction of civilian properties were reported.
The report further states that about 200 jail inmates contracted coronavirus.
When you deprive people of using the internet, you are also depriving people of income generation capacity.
Demographic changes started in 1947. About 500,000 people were forced to migrate to Pakistan. The return of these people is an internationally recognised right; their properties are now mostly illegally occupied by people.
People in Ladakh and Jammu are also equally opposing these demographic changes.
Media has been under threat since the 90s. It was brazen then, now the government has tried to sophisticate its means of pressurising and controlling media and has again become brazen.
The people who want to resist are subject to torture and even killings.
On 28 October and 29 October, the National Investigation Agency conducted searches at several locations in Jammu and Kashmir in connection with a case related to the funding of “secessionist and separatist activities”. Among those subjected to the raids was Khurram Parvez. This interview was recorded before the NIA raid.
The interview first appeared in Kashmir Unheard.