The response of the Indian state to the recommendations as laid down during the UPR3 in 2017 has come. The member countries like Pakistan, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Germany, Norway etc have recommended certain measures to be taken to improve the existing laws in India. Some countries like Pakistan and Germany had shown displeasure over the draconian laws like AFSPA that have been implemented in Kashmir in particular.
Indian state, like always, has responded in vague. It has again repeated to rectify some treaties like it had promised in the last two UPR’s. It has provided certain justification to the continual implementation of AFSPA in certain parts of India and in Kashmir.
India in its response has justified the presence of AFSPA by playing the card of national security interests and linked it with terrorism. However, we maintain that this is a ploy to dodge the repeal of AFSPA.
In the past as well as today, India is using AFSPA in Kashmir, to crush the dissent of the local population and curb down on the dissent in Kashmir, besides strengthening it military occupation over Kashmir.
Similarly, it has claimed that it remains committed to stopping human rights violations, especially torture and extra judicial killing of the civilians and political prisoners. However, this is just a lie. Indian state continues to torture the political prisoners in Kashmir. In 2016 uprising, dozens of news reports and reports by the human rights organizations like Amnesty International have clearly stated that the torture still exists and is systemic and systematic. In the past too, hundreds of torture centers were run by the state across Kashmir, infamous one are Papa 2 and Papa 1.
APDP again stresses that India should stop systemic torture in Kashmir and rectify the respective treaties and uphold them.
In the past too, India has committed to ratify the treaties concerning torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, and extrajudicial killings. However, they are not serious to ratify them but instead continue to do gross human rights violation in Kashmir.
In the case of Enforced Disappearances, the state is not willing to investigate them independently and bring to justice those who committed it. Instead, it has provided legal impunity to state actors via various laws like AFSPA and PSA. In case of the disappearances, the state still subjugates Kashmiris civilians to it. The recent example being a disappearance of Manzoor Ahmed of Devar Lolab, Kupwara in September 2017.
Similarly, the extra judicial killings still occur and have taken an unprecedented level in last decade. The state forces killed at least 400 civilians in last decade in peaceful protests. In the recent non violent uprising against Indian rule in Kashmir, the state killed more than hundred civilian.
Arbitrary detention too is rampant, using the Unlawful Activities law. This law has been used as a tool to detain the political prisoners and human rights activists. In the recent uprising, hundreds of political prisoners were detained under the law. And human rights activists too, like Khurrum Parvez, a rights activist and coordinating head of JKCCS.
Again India has ensured and is claims to be committed to preserving the freedom of the press, religious freedom, human rights on internet, right to privacy besides other things. However, in Kashmir this commitment has been relegated to periphery.
The press and the journalists are constantly attacked in Kashmir by the state. The news of the journalists being thrashed, threatened, beaten, and booked under draconian laws are rampant. In 2016, the state banned newspaper in Kashmir. Kashmir Reader a daily English newspaper was banned in September 2016. The state said that it was ‘provoking’ the masses for protest. However, the news paper, as has been stated many times in the press by the Newspaper management, was reporting extensively on the human rights violations at the hands of the state forces in Kashmir.
Journalists were targeted by the state forces, one photojournalist was targeted with pellet gun and he lost his eye to it.
Similarly, the state has clamped down on the internet services a dozen times since last year, sometime extending the ban on internet for months. This is in clear contrast to what it says in UN.