Prime Minister Modi Must Immediately Lift Communications Blackout And Engage With The People Of Jammu And Kashmir

Amnesty International India
Bangalore / New Delhi: 15 August 2019 2:58 pm

Photo Credtis: The Gaurdian

It is a paradox that as India celebrates its 73rd Independence Day today, the people of Jammu and Kashmir continue to be subjected to a lockdown for the past 10 days. Amnesty International India calls on the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi to lift the communications blackout and listen and engage with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

In a media interview on 14 August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “The people of India, irrespective of what their political preference is, have supported the steps taken in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. This is about the nation, not politics”.

“If Prime Minister, Narendra Modi believes that his decisions regarding Jammu and Kashmir have the support of the people of India, then he must immediately lift the 10-day old communications blackout in Jammu and Kashmir. The Prime Minister must listen to the people in the region, engage with them and hear what they have to say when it comes to decisions that affect their lives. This sadly has just not happened since 5 August”, said Aakar Patel, head of Amnesty International India.

“Right now, as India celebrates her freedom, the people of Jammu and Kashmir are unable to contact their loved ones and express their views freely. Any restrictions must always be limited in duration and scope, demonstrably necessary and proportionate for a legitimate purpose defined under international law”, said Aakar.

The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and other global human rights experts have stated that shutting down entire parts of communications systems can never be justified under international human rights law. Yet the right to freedom of movement and right to freedom of expression and opinion of the people continues to be paralysed in Jammu and Kashmir. The lockdown has ensured the Indian Government’s near-total control over information coming out of the region. Political opposition leaders and activists in the region continue to be silenced by the government. There are no details available on former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti who were detained on 5 August. Access to education and healthcare remain hindered.

“The Government of India must realise that the ongoing complete clampdown on civil liberties in Jammu and Kashmir will only likely increase tensions, alienate the people and increase the risk of further human rights violations”, said Aakar Patel.

Also read Blow To People Of Jammu And Kashmir As SC Refuses Lifting Of Lockdown

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Nazia Erum
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