Amnesty International India launched a global campaign on Thursday in an attempt to highlight the human cost of a month's imprisonment in occupied Kashmir.
"The blackout of draconian communication in [occupied] Kashmir is a scandalous and prolonged assault against the civil liberties of the people of Kashmir, "reads a press release from the human rights control body.
"In response to this indefinite communication blockade, Amnesty International India launched the #LetKashmirSpeak campaign on September 5, 2019, which marks a month of the communication blockade, to request the immediate lifting of the blockade," Amnesty International India said.
"While the restoration of landlines has been announced, its obsolescence in the recent past will be unfortunately short to facilitate communication to the 8 million inhabitants of Kashmir."
The global campaign can be accessed. here.
On August 5, the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stripped the cashmere of constitutional rights they had for seven decades through a hasty presidential order. An indefinite curfew was imposed on occupied Kashmir and elected leaders were placed under house arrest.
By repealing article 370 of the constitution, people from the rest of India will now have the right to acquire property in Kashmir and settle there permanently. The cashmere, as well as critics of the Hindu government led by Hindu nationalists, see the movement as an attempt to dilute the demography of Kashmir occupied by a Muslim majority with Hindu settlers.
"This is not normal, let Kashmir speak"
"The blackout is already one month old and the Indian government cannot prolong it any longer, since it has seriously affected the daily lives of the people of Kashmir, their emotional and mental well-being, medical care and access to basic needs." and emergency services. It's destroying families, ”said Aakar Patel, head of Amnesty International India.
“While the Jammu region has begun to see the reduction of the blockade in many districts, most of Kashmir is still under severe communications blackout. Depriving an entire population of their right to freedom of expression, opinion and movement for an indefinite period is similar to returning the region to the dark ages, "said Patel.
"Aya Naya Kashmir" cannot be built without cashmere. The country has not yet heard from Kashmir after a month that the Indian government told him repeatedly that everything is normal. This is not normal. Let Kashmir speak. "
In pictures: What is happening in occupied Kashmir?
The statement says that while Amnesty International India recognizes that the Indian government may have legitimate security concerns "that may merit reasonable restrictions on the right to freedom of expression in certain circumstances," it does not believe that the current closure meets the requirement of necessity, proportionality and legality established under article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a party.
"Instead, it deprives the entire population of Kashmir of their right to freedom of expression and opinion and access to crucial information, thereby inflicting a form of collective punishment on the 8 million people in Kashmir. Lack of transparency in the criteria used to cut off "All communication services and what mechanisms are available to challenge radical restrictions put India in a clear violation of its international obligations."
Reports of medical emergencies, arrests, torture.
The organization's press release said that "incomplete reports leaving the region have highlighted neglected medical emergencies, arrests and mass detentions, children and youth who are picked up in the middle of the night, torture of civilians, indiscriminate use of gases tear gas, rubber bullets and pellet guns at protesters. "
According to ReutersPharmacists say there is a shortage of medications in some private pharmacies due to logistical problems, particularly thyroid, diabetes, antidepressants and cancer medications.
A Reuters The reporter saw a chemist in the Srinagar area of Jawahar Nagar who rejected half a dozen clients asking for common drugs on Wednesday, saying he had nothing left.
"All this against the backdrop of a strong military presence and a history of serious human rights violations in the region. This adds to the increase in tensions and feelings of insecurity at a time when families cannot contact each other. each other and ensure their well-being, as many young and old remain locked in their homes, "the press release added.
Muzzling the media
"Attempts to restrict press freedom, as in the case of journalist and author Gowhar Geelani who was arbitrarily detained at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, to board his flight to Germany, have further aggravated the effect of the blackout of communication, "said the watchdog.
"According to a recent statement from the Kashmir Press Club, at least three veteran Kashmir journalists were asked to leave government lodges as soon as possible, which is" nothing more than harassment aimed at forcing journalists to follow a particular line ".
Read: The media feel the pressure in the Kashmir occupied by the Indians
"The government's attempts to create a public opinion of & # 39; normality & # 39; in Kashmir while curbing the freedom of the independent press have usurped the people's voice. This excessive censorship has not only affected the public's right to know and threatened the basic rules of freedom of expression but also also puts the lives of journalists, health professionals and service providers at risk, which increases their chances of being harassed, intimidated and detained in relation to their work, "Amnesty said Indian International
"Given the chronic impunity for the abuses committed by security forces in the past in Kashmir and the lack of unconditional and unrestricted access to the news of the valley, the situation demands to lift the blackout of communications without further delay and listen and participate with the people of Kashmir, "he urged Patel.
"This is no longer a repression of Kashmir's communication systems, but a repression of the hearts and minds of cashmere."
The issue of the blockade is also pending before the Supreme Court of India, which issued a notice to the federal government on all petitions that challenge the revocation of article 370. Five judges will begin a regular hearing in October.