India’s Supreme Court has been slow, says UN rights panel on J&K situation
The statement by the UN’s human rights panel coincides with a visit by a group of European Union parliamentarians to the Kashmir valley.Updated: Oct 29, 2019, 19:58 IST
A United Nations panel has reiterated its concern about the situation in Kashmir after India scrapped the state’s special status in August and asked the government to “unlock the situation” and fully restore the rights that the committee said, are currently being denied. The nudge by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Tuesday came just two days before the state is split into two centrally-administered union territories.
The statement by the UN’s human rights panel coincides with a visit by a group of European Union parliamentarians to the Kashmir valley.
The panel said some “very restrictive measures” were introduced in Jammu and Kashmir after the state’s special status was cancelled.
The authorities, it said, had lifted the “undeclared curfew” imposed in the state from much of Jammu and Ladakh region within a few days of being imposed. But it is reportedly still in place in large parts of the Kashmir Valley, preventing the free movement of people, the panel said.
The rights panel also referred to allegations of security forces using excessive force during sporadic protests that it said, had led to six civilian deaths since August.
“We have also received a number of allegations of torture and ill-treatment of people held in detention,” the UN panel’s statement said before expressing its dissatisfaction with the Supreme Court’s intervention.
“The Supreme Court of India has been slow to deal with petitions concerning habeas corpus, freedom of movement and media restrictions,” the rights panel said. It also pointed to continued detention of political and civil society leaders including three former chief ministers.
It added that other watchdogs in the state which oversee human rights, transparency and protection for women and children were being wound up due to the change in the state’s constitutional status into two union territories. And new ones are yet to be set up.
The panel also made a fleeting reference to terror groups operating in the state that threaten “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.”
At least six people have been killed and over a dozen injured in alleged attacks by armed group members since 5 August.