Srinagar, April 07, 2020 (PPI-OT): The United Nations and six other global rights bodies have expressed serious concern about the plight of the Kashmiri detainees languishing in different jails of the territory and India. UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres’ Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric told reporters in Washington that the UN Secretary General believes that any political solution must take into consideration the issue of human rights. He said that already on March 25, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also called on the international community to protect prisoners from the pandemic by releasing vulnerable ones.
Six international human rights organizations in a recent joint statement in Geneva have already said, the fate of hundreds of arbitrarily detained Kashmiri prisoners hangs in the balance as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in India passes the 4,000 mark. These organizations include Amnesty International, the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation, International Commissions of Jurists, International Federation for Human Rights and World Organization Against Torture.
They stressed that under international law, India had an obligation to ensure the physical and mental health and well-being of inmates. The global human rights watchdogs expressed the apprehension that various state governments in India had begun releasing detainees, but there was a concern that hundreds of Kashmiri youth, journalists, political leaders, human right defenders and others arbitrarily arrested would not be among those benefiting from the measure.
The statement said, as entire India is in a lockdown and a ban on prison visits for the duration of the outbreak imposed, inmates are more isolated from the outside world than ever. They added that the phenomenon was even more alarming in view of the huge number of custodial deaths due to torture and ill-treatment in Indian prisons.
The Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Youth Social Forum, Umar Aadil Dar, in a statement in Srinagar welcomed the joint statement by the six human rights bodies over Kashmir’s grim human rights situation. He appealed to the United Nations and other international human rights organizations to prevail upon India to shun excessive use of force against the peace-loving people of occupied Kashmir.
Hurriyat leaders, Farooq Ahmad Tawheedi and Khawaja Firdous, in their statements denounced India for playing with the lives of Kashmiri prisoners in the face of fast spreading coronavirus. They rejected the introduction of new domicile law by India in occupied Kashmir and asked the Kashmiri people to pay heed to the call of the Chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Gilani, that they must not sell their properties to non-state residents.
Meanwhile, Indian troops launched fresh cordon and search operations in Awantipura and Handwara areas of Pulwama and Kupwara districts. The troops sealed of the areas, subjected the inmates to brutal torture and ransacked household goods. Five more persons were tested positive with coronavirus, today, raising the number of such patients in the entire occupied territory to 128.
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