Journalists, activists continue to be targeted in J&K: Amnesty

The report reviewed 1,346 cases on the website of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court

Updated - September 03, 2022 12:15 am IST

Published - September 02, 2022 11:13 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Congress workers stage a  protest over price rise, GST hike on essential commodities and abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A in Srinagar on August 5, 2022.

Congress workers stage a protest over price rise, GST hike on essential commodities and abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A in Srinagar on August 5, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Amnesty International on Friday said it had recorded at least 60 instances of crackdowns on journalists and human rights defenders in Jammu and Kashmir since the revocation of special status of the erstwhile State in August 2019.

In a report titled “We are being punished by the law: Three years since abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir”, Amnesty documented interrogations, travel bans and detentions of journalists and human rights defenders.

“For three years now, civil society and media in Jammu and Kashmir have been subjected to a vicious crackdown by the Indian government, which is determined to stifle dissent using draconian laws, policies and unlawful practices in their arsenal,” said Aakar Patel, the chair of the board of Amnesty International India.

Amnesty said it had found at least six people, including journalists, human rights activists and academics, had been prevented from traveling abroad despite having the requisite travel documents. At least 27 journalists had been detained and arrested since August 5, 2019, it said.

“Journalists including Fahad Shah, Aasif Sultan and Sajad Gul have been subjected to ‘revolving door’ arrests. In a continuing pattern, they have been arrested under one law, granted bail by the court, and then re-arrested almost immediately under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) – India’s primary anti-terror law in Jammu & Kashmir, keeping them perpetually detained,” Amnesty said.

The report reviewed 1,346 cases on the website of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and found that by August 1, 2022, the number of writ petitions had increased by 32%, which it said indicated an increase in unlawful detention.

“Amnesty International also reviewed the data published by National Crime Record Bureau and found that there has been a 12% increase in the use of UAPA in Jammu & Kashmir since 2019. This emerging trend of using the draconian UAPA in addition to the much-abused Public Safety Act (PSA) is also evidenced by an analysis of information on the High Court’s website,” it said.

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