A sessions court in Srinagar ordered the release of human rights activist Khurram Parvez who was put in preventive detention last week as international support for Parvez grows.
According to Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), Parvez’s family and lawyers were in Kupwara to process his release. The 39-year-old is the chairperson of Asian Federation Against involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and the program coordinator of JKCCS.
Parvez was arrested on Thursday midnight and lodged at a prison in Srinagar. About 24 hours later, he was shifted to a sub-jail in Kupwara. The police said it was a “preventive detention” because of an “apprehension of breach of peace”.
Support for the Srinagar-based activist’s release gained steam after international support grew and a social media campaign pushed for it.
A group of 52 prominent scholars, activists, academics and writers – including Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Partha Chatterjee, Harsh Mander and Basharat Peer – wrote an open letter on Sunday, demanding his immediate release.
“The actions against Mr. Parvez are symptomatic of the escalated repression in Kashmir by institutions of state since July 8,” the letter said.
A “Free Khurram” campaign is also doing the rounds on Facebook and Twitter. Activists launched a Facebook page called “Free Kashmiri HR activist Khurram Parvez” which garnered over 3,500 followers.
The page curates content published internationally on the arrest and has also released a video which introduce Parvez and his work.
Many Facebook users, mostly Kashmiris well-versed with Parvez’s work, changed their profile to a graphic featuring Parvez’s face and “#Free Khurram”.
According to a media report, police wrote to an executive magistrate accusing Parvez of instigating people outside a mosque. But Parvez’s family countered the allegations as “a complete lie”. The JKCCS also questioned the legal basis of his transfer to Kupwara jail.
On Monday, the JKCCS said Parvez, who is disabled, was being “helped to a great extent by other inmates” as the jail isn’t disabled-friendly.
Parvez had lost a leg in a bomb blast in 2004 while on election monitoring duty in north Kashmir.
Parvez apparently told his family and lawyers that “his specific request about his special needs due to his disability was ignored”.