UN Human Rights watchdog urges India to unlock Kashmir

The United Nations expressed concerns over the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir, and asked authorities to fully restore their rights.

“We are extremely concerned that the population In 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,” Rupert Colville, Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said.

The undeclared curfew imposed by the authorities in the region was lifted from much of Jammu and Ladakh region within a few days, but is reportedly still in place in large parts of the Kashmir Valley.

Curfews are preventing the free movement of people, as well as hampering their ability to exercise their right to peaceful assembly, and restricting their rights to health, education and freedom of religion and belief, the press note read.

“We have also received reports of armed groups operating in Kashmir threatening residents trying to carry out their normal business or attend school, as well as several allegations of violence against people who have not complied with the armed groups’ demands,” Colville added.

The Human Rights watchdog criticised the Supreme Court as well, saying ‘habeas corpus’ petitions were slowly being dealt with.

Three former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir among 4,000 people were taken in preventive custody including to prevent any backlash after the Modi Government unilaterally ended special status and bifurcated the state into two union territories.

Spokesperson Rupert Colville also said that key institutions such as Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission, the State Information Commission and the State Commission for Protection of Women and Child Rights were yet to be established after being wound up.